All of the latest news and insights into the electrical world, from Fastlec.
Light Bulb Type
The light bulb industry has changed dramatically in recent years with more choice for customers than ever before. Traditionally, the consumer base has favoured standard incandescent bulbs for a long time. This is due to a variety of reasons, mainly that incandescent bulbs create an aesthetically pleasing light and are relatively cheap. However, other lights such as LEDs and fluorescent bulbs are coming down in price and finally becoming viable alternatives to the standard bulb. When choosing the right bulb, there are a range of aspects to consider prior to making your mind up.
The first thing we think of when considering light bulbs is obviously brightness. Many people make the mistake of equating brightness with wattage but this is only the case with incandescent bulbs, a more accurate label for all bulbs would be lumens. Therefore make sure to check this prior to buying, for example, those looking for a brightness level of 400 lumens would purchase a 40W standard bulb, but the same brightness in a halogen bulb would be 28W.
Another important consideration is the hue or colour of the light bulb. On the whole, customers tend to prefer a slightly warm, yellow light which is soft and comfortable. It's for this reason that fluorescent bulbs, which often give off a bright white light aren't as popular in the home as they can appear clinical. Halogen light bulbs tend to offer a colour of light which is similar to the standard warm white offered by incandescent bulbs. In the past, LEDs have struggled to deliver a warm light but this has changed in recent years and is one the reasons they have seen a growth in popularity as of late. When shopping for your light, colour can be gauged using the Kelvin scale which should be noted on the packaging. The lower the score, the warmer the light.
Energy efficiency is a factor which does not only affect your monthly bills but also the wider environment as a whole. Incandescent bulbs are the least efficient and this is the reason for the notable shift towards fluorescent lighting in the past few years. Interestingly enough, LEDs are more energy efficient than fluorescent lights and are the cheapest to run overall. Halogen light bulbs are fairly similar to standard incandescent lights in terms of efficiency and this should be kept in mind when making a decision.
One of the main reasons behind the popularity of incandescent bulbs is their price. They have remained the cheapest form of lighting for many years but this is changing. Fluorescent bulbs have come down to similar prices but more importantly, LEDs which have always been relatively expensive are dropping in price. Halogen lights remain fairly expensive. It's recommended that you perform a price comparison search before committing to aÂ particular light bulb.
Lifespan is another issue which affect the overall cost of your light bulbs. We have grown accustomed to replacing standard bulbs ever few months but this could be a thing of the past. Halogen bulbs last slightly longer than standard lights, averaging around a year. Fluorescent bulbs are next with a lifespan of around 11 years but LEDs offer a staggering 25 years of use, making them the clear winner. It should be noted that LEDs achieve this life expectancy due its ability to remain cool and so they should only be used in places in which they can 'breathe', otherwise their lifespan will be diminished.
Finally, functionality isn't a factor which will affect every customer but it should be mentioned. Light dimmers, for example, are used in many homes and halogen and incandescent bulbs tend to be compatible with the majority of devices. Fluorescent and LED light bulbs are slightly different and you should check their dimmer functionality prior to purchasing. In terms of smart lighting, LEDs are definitely ahead of the pack. Users can connect their lights with their smartphone via Bluetooth and use their phones as a remote to switch their lights on and off or even change their colour. In terms of future-proofing your home, LEDs may be the way to go.