The Five Types of Light Bulbs

Walking down the lighting aisle of your local home improvement store and you’ll see a dizzying variety of lighting fixtures. You’ll also see different types of light bulbs, each with unique characteristics, benefits, and uses. Before you purchase a lighting fixture or light bulb, here’s what you need to know about the five types of light bulbs.


The incandescent light bulb is the traditional bulb that produces a warm light. This type of bulb is commonly used in bathroom vanities, but tends to get hot during use. Compared to other bulbs, the incandescent bulb is inexpensive and less efficient.

All standard incandescent bulbs have been phased out, but specialty bulbs, such as chandelier bulbs, are still available.


Fluorescent bulbs are frequently used in laundry rooms, garages, and workshops because they offer optimal brightness. A fluorescent bulb produces about 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs and typically lasts a few years. But, like incandescent bulbs, they get hot to the touch during use. Because they contain mercury, they can’t be disposed of in the trash but need to be recycled.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

CFL bulbs are energy efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. They’re also more expensive. These bulbs are often used to light up basements, living rooms, and outdoor spaces. CFL bulbs are spiral-shaped and warm up during use. They need to be recycled because of their mercury content.


Halogen light bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs but aren’t very energy efficient. They’re frequently used for outdoor and indoor floodlights and get very hot with use. These bulbs can last up to one year, after which they can be thrown into the trash.

Light-emitting Diode (LED)

LEDs are the most expensive type of bulb but they last 25 times longer than incandescent ones. They have lower wattage than incandescent bulbs but emit the same amount of light using less energy. An LED bulb can last more than 20 years and doesn’t contain any mercury. LEDs can be used in any environment and are available in various colors. 

Modern Lighting Innovations

Lighting fixtures have been reimagined with features like voice recognition, Bluetooth speakers, and smartphone connectivity to offer greater convenience. When browsing lighting fixtures and bulbs, consider your lighting needs and preferences. If you have any questions, contact Tucker Hill for a consultation.