4 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Light Bulb
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Buying a light bulb isn’t as simple as it once was. There are now more options than ever for consumers to choose from. The emergence of low-energy bulbs has been a real boon for those who are looking for an opportunity to reduce their electricity bills while also decreasing their carbon footprint. Purchasing a light bulb used to be a simple case of finding the right light bulb for the socket you have; now it is a much more complex decision.
However, just because there are lots of options to discover doesn’t mean that finding the right bulb has to be difficult. You simply need to know your way around. Here are some of the most important considerations to bear in mind when choosing a new lightbulb.
Look for the Lightning Facts Label
The Lightning Facts Label will tell you all the most important specifications of the lightbulb you are looking at. It is required to be printed on the box of most screw-based light bulbs. On the most energy efficient types of bulb, CFL’s and LED, there will also be an Energy Star label. The Energy Star label also certifies that the project meets a number of other technical specifications - see here for a full list.
In the past, the only measure of a bulb that mattered to consumers was the wattage, as this denoted both the power use and the luminosity (brightness) of the bulb. However, there has been a gradual phase-out of the traditional incandescent bulbs, which many people remember. As the world has become more ecologically and economically conscious, there has been an ever-increasing demand for energy-efficient bulbs, which are cheaper to run, and which have a longer lifespan.
However, most lightbulb manufacturers label their various kinds of light bulb with the equivalent incandescent wattage. If you are more used to the older system, then you should look for such comparison charts when purchasing. In general, the wattage has been replaced as a unit of measurement by the lumen. Whereas wattage is a measure of power usage, the lumen is a measure of light output.
Efficacy refers to the efficiency of a lightbulb, which will, in turn, determine its average lifespan. Light bulb efficacy is given in terms of the amount of light outputted (given in lumens) for every watt of energy it consumes. Traditional incandescent bulbs provide approximately 15 lumens for every watt of power that they use. By contrast, halogen incandescent bulbs provide somewhere in the region of 20 lumens per watt. CFLs are more efficient still, as they give between 55 and 65 lumens per watt. The most efficient type of bulb currently available is the LED, which can achieve an impressive 78-130 lumens per watt, depending on the specific product. LED light bulbs are considerably more efficient than any of the other options. They have a long lifespan, but when the time does come to replace them, have a look at this article on how to choose the right led bulb replacement.
The specific shade of light emitted by a lamp is directly related to the color temperature. Most modern smartphones contain a blue light filter. This changes the color temperature of the screen during the evenings so that the usual blue light (which can negatively impact sleep) is shifted to a more gentle orange color, a color which doesn’t cause the same reaction in the brain. Bulbs will report the color temperature of the light that they produce, measured in Kelvin (K). Lower Kelvin values refer to warmer light (anything below 3000K is in the low range). These are similar in their output to traditional incandescent bulbs and will enhance yellows and reds in their surroundings.
Bulbs with an output over 3500K give off a cooler light, which is inclined to emphasize blue and green. The light within the temperature range of 3500K – 6500K is sometimes referred to as ‘natural’, or ‘daylight’. The output of “daylight” bulbs is similar in physical makeup to daylight.
If at all possible you should try out the different types of bulb. Seeing them up close is the best way to gauge the subtle differences in the light that they produce. Many people find that different temperatures work better in different rooms. For example, the lower temperature, warmer colored, light often works very well in the bedroom, whereas the more natural, higher temperature bulbs are better suited to communal areas such as the kitchen and living room.
Choosing the right light bulb can be a minefield. Your purchase should mostly be guided by the life that you can expect to get out of the bulb. LED bulbs offer the most efficient performance and with this impressive performance comes an impressive lifespan. You might have to pay a bit more for a long-lasting light bulb, but you will have more time before you need to replace them again.