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What You Should Know About Choosing Light Bulbs

Here is how the most common types of bulbs compare:

Brightness and Efficiency

Because bulbs vary in their efficiency, it’s best to compare bulbs based on their light output (lumens) rather than their wattage (amount of energy used). The higher number of lumens, the brighter the light will be. Higher wattage bulbs use more energy. Here’s how bulbs compare.

Color Choices

Traditional incandescent bulbs emit a “warm” color. Today, bulbs are available in a range of colors:

Soft/Warm White
The standard color
of incandescent bulbs
Cool White
Good for kitchens
and work spaces
Good for reading
and work spaces
2700K 4000K 6000K / 6500K

Shape Choices

bulb-alineA-Line (A19 or omnidirectional) bulbs disperse light at a wide angle and are ideal for fixtures used to spread light throughout the room. A-line bulbs are a good choice for room area-lighting, reading lamps, and hallways.

Spotlights (BR30, BR40) concentrate light in a small area to produce a bright spot of light. Spotlights are a good option for track lighting and overhead recessed lighting.

bulb-floodlightFloodlights (PAR30, PAR38) cast a wider directional light than spotlights. Floodlights are ideal for recessed lighting, outdoor lighting, landscape lighting, and motion sensors.

bulb-candleCandelabra and Miniature Candelabra bulbs (E12) imitate the shape of a candle and provide ambient and accent lighting. They are for use in decorative lighting fixtures, including wall sconces, decorative fixtures and chandeliers.

Bulb Base Choices

bulb-mediumMedium (E26) – The bulb base design for standard light bulbs, used in most lamps and overhead light fixtures.

Candelabra (E12) – A slightly smaller bulb base, used in chandeliers, light sconces and other small fixtures.