Home light bulb types and uses

I’m quite surprised people still don’t know what are the benefits and uses for different types of light bulbs that can be used in home. I work with these on daily basis and I thought, why not explain their usage to you guys in a quick article. So, here is a tiny guide on what to use, where to use and when to use the correct bulb for the given situation…


HalogenBulbIncandescent (halogen):

+ cheap
+ turns on instantly+ relatively durable for repeated on/off
+ compact size
+ can operate well at very high and low temperatures
+ dimmable
– high power consumption
– generates tons of radiated heat
– relatively short lifespan (usually up to 2000h)
– doesn’t like shocks and strong vibrations
– slightly more tolerant to voltage fluctuations



“Old” incandescent or current slightly improved halogen light bulbs are still an excellent choice for transition rooms where they don’t glow for longer periods of time and are often turned on and off in very short intervals. They are cheap and will still operate for very long time in such situations. They are also a good choice for sensor lights that are triggered by motion and for usage in very cold (outdoor lighting for places with winters) or very hot environments (lava lamps, salt lamps, ovens etc). Glowing wire is always dimmable so that can be useful for certain situations.

They are also a bit more tolerant to voltage fluctuations. If you happen to live closer to a power distribution station, these might last longer than other two. They do get their life shortened, but they will most likely survive few of such incidents.

They are not recommended for rooms where they’ll be used for several hours at a time (power consumption) and where no heat should be radiated around it (desk lamps, inside refrigerators etc).



+ relatively small
+ low power consumption
+ generates very small amount of radiated heat
+ very long lifespan (up to 20.000h)
+ quite compact
= moderately expensive, but can be very cheap
– doesn’t like shocks or vibrations
– takes up to 1 minute to reach full brightness
– doesn’t like repeated on/off unless specific model
– doesn’t like very low or very high temperatures
– not dimmable unless specific model
– they contain traces of mercury
– somewhat sensitive to large voltage fluctuations


They are in a way a dying breed of lightbulbs seeing how prices of LED are dropping. But you can get them really cheap now and they can still be very useful for quite a lot of situations, especially for rooms where they might glow for hours without a break and you need a very affordable initial investment.

They however have quite some limitations, the time needed for most to start-up is quite long so they aren’t useful for transition rooms and sensor lights unless you pay premium for quick-start models and even those need few seconds to reach full glow. Repeated on/off shortens their lifespan considerably unless you pay premium for models with 100.000x On/OFF models and they aren’t dimmable unless if you pay premium to get such model. They also don’t like very low temperatures unless if you pay premium for outdoor models. They also contain traces of mercury (usually around 5 milligrams), but I personally don’t see it problematic considering we actually ingest mercury regularly by eating fish. It is an environmental problem though when they get disposed (especially when not done properly).

Unlike halogen, these tend to be more sensitive to voltage fluctuations. Halogens just get their life shortened where these often just die instantly.



+ turns on instantly
+ can be turned on and off very frequently
+ compact size
+ very low power consumption
+ generates no radiated heat
+ extremely long lifespan (up to 50.000h)
+ highly shock and vibration resistant
= loves colder environments, dislikes hot environment
– still relatively expensive
– not dimmable unless specific model
– somewhat sensitive to large voltage fluctuations


Latest and greatest, LED is basically the best all-around option. They consume very little power, you can flip them on and off as much as you like, they reach full brightness instantly and while they generate heat, it is not a directed radiated heat, instead it’s released at the back through a metal heatsink and they actually love colder environments, so winters aren’t really an issue for these. In fact they increase their lifespan, because they are cooled properly.

Unlike halogen, these tend to be more sensitive to voltage fluctuations. Halogens just get their life shortened where these often just die instantly.

The only real remaining limitation is the price and limited use in certain situations like lava lamps where bulb has to generate heat, otherwise it just won’t work or for ovens where heat actually slowly shortens the lifespan of the LED elements. The future is in LED for sure.

Still not sure?

Feel free to ask me below, I’ll be happy to advise🙂

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