How to Choose the Right Light Bulb - Roman Electric How to Choose the Right Light Bulb - Roman Electric
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How to Choose the Right Light Bulb

how to choose the right light bulb

Buying the right light bulb used to be a simple, straightforward task. There weren’t many options – if any at all – so your choice was easy. When Thomas Edison figured out how to create light bulbs, he definitely didn’t imagine the vast array of specialized bulbs we have access to today, but here we are.

Figuring out which type you would benefit most from can be time-consuming and a real head-scratcher. But it doesn’t need to be! The different varieties of light bulbs have different benefits and drawbacks, and we’re confident you’ll be able to find the right one with the help of the lighting pros at Roman Electric!

Let’s Work Through the Types

It’s best to start with a breakdown of the different types of light bulbs, just so you’ll have an idea of how the varieties you’ll encounter at a store will work.

  • Incandescent bulbs – These are what you probably envision when you think of a light bulb. They use a filament to emit light, and they’re the cheapest. But they’re also the most prone to breaking and to burning out, so you have to weigh how much you care about cheaper bulbs versus replacing them more frequently.
  • CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) – All of those twisty bulbs you’ve seen are CFLs. They’re better for the environment and have a pretty long shelf life. However, they’re not great at emitting ambient light for a room.
  • Halogen bulbs – Usually brighter than incandescent bulbs, and they’re more efficient. These resemble the harsher light you see during daytime, which makes them not so great for lamps and things like that. They’re better for direct task lights.
  • LEDs – These bulbs are more expensive to buy, but they’re electric-based instead of heat-based. As a result, they last much longer and are way more efficient.

What Do You Need?

If you’re just aiming for the bulb that will light up your living room the best, then it’s hard to go wrong with an incandescent bulb (if you don’t mind replacing them somewhat frequently) or an LED (if you’d prefer to just get one bulb and forget about them).

But other times we need different features. For example, perhaps you need a bulb with dimming capabilities. If that’s the case, then you’d want to avoid CFLs, which can’t dim at all.

Look for the Lumens (and the Warmth)

It’s obviously a good idea to figure out how bright you want a light bulb to be. Brightness is measured in lumens (not wattage, which is just a way to tell how much power the bulb needs to emit light), and a traditional incandescent bulb that you’d use in a living room lamp will give off anywhere between 300-600 lumens on average.

With that baseline, you can begin to get an idea of how powerful you need a bulb to be when you’re browsing the aisles at your local hardware store.


Light bulb shopping doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re in the market for a new lighting setup or just need a few pointers on how to make your space really “pop,” give the lighting experts at Roman Electric a call at 414-369-3798 today!


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