What Are the Different Types of Electric Bulbs?


Quick Answer

Incandescent, halogen, fluorescent and xenon are common types of electric light bulbs. Bulbs use different amounts of energy and have longer or shorter lifespans depending on their type.

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Full Answer

Incandescent bulbs are the original type of light bulb. They are the least expensive and most widely available type of bulb. Incandescent bulbs vary in watts from 15 to 150. They are available in clear, frosted or colored glass. These bulbs are less energy efficient than newer types of bulbs available.

Fluorescent bulbs use up to 40 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 20 times longer. Screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs, known commonly as CFLs, fit in standard lamp sockets and can be used in place of incandescent bulbs. Some states require Fluorescent bulbs be disposed of at designated recycling centers as they contain mercury which can be damaging to the environment.

Halogen bulbs produce bright light that is useful for task lighting. They have a longer lifespan and give more light per watt than incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs burn hotter than most other types of bulbs and may be a fire risk if not used properly. Xenon bulbs emit white light that is similar halogen bulbs but have a much longer lifespan. While the average halogen bulb will burn for approximately 750 hours, xenon bulbs last up to 20,000 hours. They also generate much less heat than halogen bulbs during operation.

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