How To Read Your Light Bulbs?

Since the days of Thomas Edison, Light bulbs have been illuminating our apartments, offices, and buildings Two centuries after, lights bulbs have seen massive development and critical improvement in terms of efficiency, quality of light, density, and conservation of energy.

Even though we still carry the basic image of a light bulb in our mind; the light bulbs can now be found in different shapes, sizes, voltages, and material. Types of Light bulbs include:

Types Of Light Bulbs

Light bulbs come in different types. Let’s look at some of these types, shall we?

1. Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are the most common and typical kind of bulbs. They have been the most common type of bulbs found in buildings until recently, and are now being replaced by newer technology such as LEDs, HID bulbs and fluorescent. An incandescent bulb illuminates when the tungsten filament glows while a current passes through it. Also, a vacuum or nitrogen gas surrounds the tungsten filament.

The bulbs are very common and widely available in different sizes such as GLS, globe, candies, mushroom and also a variety of glass types such as frosted, clear, or colored glass. However, Incandescent bulbs only last for 700–1000 hours, which is roughly about a year. The sudden flow of current causes the filament to heat and burn out thereby causing incandescent bulbs not to be energy conservative.

The watt rating of incandescent light bulbs ranges from 40-110 watts. Incandescent light bulbs can be used in lamps, vehicle headlamps, torchlights, and decorative lighting.

2. Fluorescent bulbs

The fluorescent bulbs are a little more complex in the way by which they illuminate than the incandescent bulbs. In a fluorescent tube, when an electric current pass between the cathodes, mercury and other gasses which are filled inside are taken to an excited state, thereby radiating energy.

Fluorescent tubes are coated with phosphorous on the outside, which converts the radiant energy into visible light. The fluorescent lamps compared to the incandescent bulbs use less energy to produce the same amount of light and can last much longer. They are difficult to dispose of due to the mercury they contain.

Fluorescent Tubes may have guards to help protect them from moisture, dust, and accidental breakage. Fluorescent tubes are suitable for use in an office complex, apartments, warehouses, factories, workshops, and fast-moving consumer goods retail stores.

3. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

The CFL was designed to replace incandescent bulbs in apartments and commercial buildings, and office spaces. The CFL produces the same amount of light with less power while working on the same principle as fluorescent tubes.

The CFL is made up of multiple tubular like loops, filled with mercury and closely resembles the incandescent bulb. The CFLs have a longer lifespan up to 10000 hours when compared to the incandescent bulbs, are more energy conservative, while emitting a similar or higher Lumen output. But just like the fluorescent tubes, the mercury contained in the tubular loops makes them difficult to dispose of.

CFL light bulbs use less energy than incandescents. These lamps require a warmup period, and most should not be paired with vacancy sensors, occupancy sensors, or photocells.

The repetitive on-off cycles that occur when paired with these technologies can shorten the life of the bulb.

4. Halogen Lamps

Halogen lamps are an improved variation of incandescent bulbs which contain a small capsule filled with Halogen gas and emits a bright white light.

The bulb gets its name from the filling of a small amount of Halogen with an inert gas. The inert gas increases the illumination and lifespan of the bulb resulting in higher luminous output and better-quality light.

These lamps are generally also smaller in size as compared to the incandescent. They are more expensive than incandescent bulbs and burn at a higher temperature thereby emitting more heat.

It is recommended that gloves should be worn when handling halogen lamps, as they are sensitive to the oils on your skin, which can cause hot spots on the lens and cause the glass to break or explode when heated.

5. Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Light Emitting Diode bulbs are becoming increasingly popular because of their energy conservation and a variety of available light colors.

They are energy efficient and can produce very bright light, LED is a semiconductor device in which the electricity is applied to the negatively charged diode, resulting in the flow of electron and release of the photon. The photons combine to emit light from the diode.

6. High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HID Lighting)

High-intensity discharge lights consist of metal halide, high-pressure sodium (HPS), and mercury vapor lights. HID light bulbs give out a substantial amount of light and can be found found in parking lots, streets, and warehouse lighting.

Light Bulb Sizes

Light bulbs are grouped using alphabets, and examples are the A-series, P series, C Series, etc.
Each group has a number affixed to them which helps to indicate size and diameter, the bigger the number, the bigger the size or diameter of the bulb, which means an A22 rated bulb would be bigger in size than A21, A20, A19 and so on.

How to Read a light label

The essence of the label is to provide users or prospective buyers with all the information they need to select the most energy-efficient bulb to meet their needs, but sometimes all that information can be confusing and difficult to make sense of.

Here is a guide to help you make sense of the most common terms used in lighting along with specs, and certifications.


1. Light Appearance (Light Color)

A Light’s color is often graded by color temperature, represented in Kelvin (K).

Lower color temperatures are associated with warm lights(around 2700k) and vice versa for cold lights (range up to over 5000k).

2. Energy Use

A light bulbs watt give us information on how much energy the bulb consumes, but more energy-saving light bulb like LEDs and other low energy-efficient bulbs list their ‘watt equivalent.

This watt equivalent lets you how bright the bulb is in comparison to an incandescent bulb of the same wattage. So, a 60-watt incandescent bulb equivalent LED light bulb, in terms of brightness may only use 10 watts and be much better at conserving energy than a 60-watt incandescent.

3. Lumens

A light bulb’s wattage used to be the way we determined a bulb’s brightness in the past, but is no longer the way. We now use lumens to determine brightness, the more lumens, the brighter the bulb.

4.Bulb Life

The lifespan of most bulbs is listed on the label in years, and some in hours with the exception of LED bulbs which do not typically burn out. Instead, the LED starts to fade over time and is considered useful until it’s decreased below 70 percent.

5. Energy Star

Light bulbs that carry the Energy Star service mark have their energy levels certified to be 20–30% less than required by the federal standard.

6. Mercury-Free

All LED light bulbs do not contain mercury. CFL bulbs, however, do carry a small amount of mercury.
You shouldn’t be too worried, as the amount of mercury found in a CFL light bulb poses little to no health risk if it guidelines and due process of disposition as per the guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency are followed.

7. Notice – LED Blue Light Warning

Some manufacturers of LED have decided to add label notices warning about the risks that come with exposure to blue light.
Sleep problems have been proven to be associated with exposure to light at night. Cooler bulbs that emit a greater amount of blue light, above 3000K are usually not advised to be used at homes, and light bulbs with a color temperature of about 2700k are preferable.

8. CRI – Color Rendering Index

Color Rendering Index is the measurement of how colors look when illuminated by an artificial light source when compared with sunlight. The higher the CRI, the better you can see any color the bulb illuminates, like the difference between a pair of black or navy colored socks. CRI is measured from 0-100.

9. Omnidirectional

Omnidirectional is used to describe an LED light that illuminates in all directions.

Light Bulb Security Camera?

Light bulb security cameras are small camera’s that are attached to a light bulb to aid security. They are really small and are almost virtually undetected by people in that surrounding, thus making them effective.

Are Light Bulbs Waterproof?

There are waterproof or weatherproof light bulbs that are built to withstand even the harshest of weathers. They can come in very handy during rainfalls or snowstorms.

Waterproof Light Bulbs

Below is a list of waterproof light bulbs:

• Lux LED Energy-Efficient
• SkyGenius 25W LED Corn Light
• TP-Link Smart LED w/Wi-Fi
• TCP LED Yellow Bug Light
• Sunco 11W Flood
• Feit Electric PAR38 LED
• Philips LED Dusk to Dawn

Best Outdoor Light bulbs / for Cold Weather?

There are light bulbs that have been built specifically for better performance outdoors and in cold weather. Examples include:

• IP67 LED Bulb waterproof 7w E27
• B22 E26 E27 IP65 220V 230V 7W 11W Waterproof LED Light Bulb with dimmable option
• Waterproof LED bulb E14 AC 110V 220V
• E27 IP65 waterproof LED Corn Light
• E27 LEDwaterproof lighting bulb IP65 Par38 18w

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