Which Light Bulb should I Use?

Choosing the right light bulb is a balancing act between energy savings, comfort, durability, cost, and compatibility. Each area of a home or office will require different types of light and present different opportunities for savings. Use the chart and information on this page to pick the perfect light bulb for your lighting needs.

Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs provide rich and warm light quality, excellent color rendering, and controllability, but are the least efficient.

Screw-in CFL Bulbs

Screw-in CFL bulbs are energy efficient and have the longest life of all light bulbs. However, they provide less pleasing light, start up slowly, may flicker, and are not disposable because of their mercury content.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs, an efficient variety of incandescent lighting, are up to 30% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. When dimmed by 30%, they offer many benefits of CFL and standard incandescent lights without the drawbacks.

General Rules

Use a halogen bulb with a dimmer where:
  • Light quality is important
  • You want energy savings with ambiance
  • You want to control the light with dimmers, timers, or sensors
Use a CFL bulb, possibly with a dimmer, where:
  • Light quality isn’t important
  • There is no risk of children or animals breaking the bulb
  • You want maximum light with minimum energy consumption
  • You don’t need sensors or timers
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