Which Light Bulb to Choose?
You head online to buy a light bulb and are hit with a huge range of different options.
Which light bulb to choose? Here we’ve provided a simple guide on everything you need to know to make the right choice.
LED vs Incandescent?
Nowadays it should be getting more difficult to buy anything other LED. Although not impossible. Governments around the world have been phasing out the use of incandescent & halogen light bulbs in favour of energy efficient alternatives since 2005. The UK started the phase-out of general use incandescent light bulbs in 2009. Which is great news for our environment and our pockets. Innovation in LED light bulbs has massively improved so now there is a wide range of shapes & sizes of LED light bulb on the market which provide the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs at a fraction of the power requirements.
What is an incandescent light bulb?
Incandescent light bulbs are an electric light source created by heating up a tungsten filament inside an enclosure of argon gas in a glass bulb. The gas is used to increase the life of the filament by preventing is from deteriorating too quickly.
The lifespan of an incandescent light bulb is very short at approximately 1000 hours.
It is a very inefficient way of illumination because only 5% of the energy it produces converts into visible light and the rest is lost as heat. In fact, it is the worse light source in terms of efficiency and environmental impact because they require more energy than they produce.
What is Halogen light bulb?
The halogen light bulb is an incandescent lamp enclosed in halogen gas and a glass bulb. It has a longer life than a standard incandescent lamp because the combination of halogen gas and tungsten filament produces a chemical reaction which redeposits evaporated tungsten on the filament, increasing both life span and clarity producing a brighter whiter light source.
Lifespan of an halogen light bulb is approximately 2500 hours.
Halogen light bulbs also require more energy than they produce, so they are an inefficient way of lighting.
What is tungsten?
Tungsten is a rare metal found naturally on earth. It has one of the highest melting points of all metals. Tungsten is used as the filament within incandescent and halogen light bulbs.
What is an LED light bulb?
An LED or Light Emitting Diode is an electrical semiconductor device, which emits light when a current flows through it. There is no requirement to heat up a tungsten filament, and therefore it only loses 10% energy as heat. 90% of the energy is produces is converted to light, which is why LED bulbs can create as much light as a higher wattage incandescent bulb at a fraction of the energy needed. The lack of heat loss also means LEDs have a much longer lifespan. Approximately 40 times longer at around 40,000 hours or more.
Light Bulb Cap Types
There are lots of light bulb cap variations but the main two types are: -
Bayonet Cap (BC)
Edison Screw Cap (EC)
You can check what you need, by either looking at the light bulb that comes out of a light fixture that you want to change. Or if you look at the lampholder inside the light fixture, you can see whether it takes a screw in lamp (EC) or a push & twist lamp (BC)
How to choose the best light bulbs for your home?
Choosing the correct light bulb for your home is a combination of science and art. Essentially you’ll need to determine what you need for sufficient illumination and how you want it to look aesthetically.
How much light do I need?
This is the science part, or quantitative consideration. Each room will be different and, in some cases, will serve multiple functions. For example you might use your kitchen for all sorts of activities. Your kitchen may not only be a space for cooking, but also for entertaining, watching tv, doing homework and eating. So the lighting in this room will need to be multi-functional. You will need bright white lights throughout for when completing tasks such as cooking or homework, plus low level or warmer lights for evening meals & entertaining. These light fixtures can be a combination of functional ceiling spotlights, characterful feature lighting and wall lights on dimmer switches which provide added flexibility.
The kitchen above combines functional task spot lighting throughout the ceiling space with a feature light hung lower over the island which provides ambient lighting for entertaining and dining when the spot lights are turned off.
Bedroom lighting will be much the same. You will need a good general bright light for getting up and ready as well as some low level lighting for bedtime. This could come in the form of a lovely ceiling feature pendant light plus some table lamps.
As a general rule of thumb you would need between 70-100 lumens per square meter to read comfortably. Therefore, multiple the square meter size of your room by 70-100. If your eyesight is less good than it used to be, multiple your room size in sqm by 100! So a 3x3m office will need 900 lumens. You could get all 900 lumens from one light bulb or spread the lumens over multiple fixtures.
Once you have decided how many lumens and light sources you need, the next consideration is the colour temperature of the light bulb. Do you want your light bulb to be warm or cool? Warm being more orange and cool being a whiter light. Colour preferences can be very personal and there is no exact science to it.
Colour temperature is measured in kelvins which range from 1000 – 10,000. The higher the kelvins the cooler the colour. Below is a kelvin chart to assist. The colour on this chart can be thought of like natural sunlight during the course of a day. Very bright blue sunlight of 6000k can be measured at midday whilst at sunset temperatures might be lower than 3000k emitting a low orange light. Generally colour temperatures for home lighting fall anywhere between 2500k and 5000k.
Warm light is typically anything under 3000k. 4000k and above is considered cool white. 3500k is considered the neutral temperature and can look either warm or cool depending on the environment it is lighting.
Something else to consider when considering the colour temperature of your room, is the furniture materials. For natural wood furniture a warmer colour around 3000k might compliment the room better. Whereas a more modern room with white gloss cabinets might work better with cool light bulbs around 4000k. Task lighting is generally whiter light, so ideal for kitchens, workshops and your home office.
Ultimately it is your personal choice and this is just a guide but this kelvin range is good to keep in mind:
2200-2700K: produces a warm light that’s best for low-light areas where ambient lighting is needed – similar to an incandescent bulb.
3000-3500K: produces a soft white light that’s crisper than 2700K, similar to halogen lamps.
4000-4500K: produces a bright white light that’s ideal in kitchens, home offices and places where detail-oriented tasks are performed.
5000K and up: produces a bright white/blue hue of light, common in commercial environments.
At Loomlight we are lighting professionals and have tried and tested many light bulbs over the years and use only the best with our industrial & vintage light fixtures. Our lights are reclaimed, restored vintage & industrial lighting so LED filament style light bulbs look best with our fixtures. We send a 6w warm white 2700k LED filament bulb. If this isn't suitable however please let us know what you would prefer.
If you purchase a strip light from us the tubes are included with your order. The Edison strip light tubes are 2100k and the T8 strip lights take a 3000k T8 tube.