We all know that the perfect lighting is important, whether it is for taking the perfect picture or making sure there is no glare on a screen. It is also vital to have the right lighting in each room of your home. Having lights that are too bright or too dull can cause eye strain and headaches.
The issue we find when talking to people about lightbulbs is this; although we use lightbulbs most days, there is just too much choice out there. Also, because we buy them so infrequently, most people do not remember what they have bought from one purchase to the next and therefore have the same indecision every time.
There is the additional headache of lamps. Most houses will have the same ceiling light fittings in every room, so you may choose to buy a multipack of bulbs that you know you can use in any room. However, lamps can differ significantly from one to another making it more difficult to choose bulbs.
We have pulled together information on different types of bulbs that are available to help you to make the best decisions for you.
Too Much Choice
When you are shopping for light bulbs, do you find yourself becoming frustrated or confused because there are just too many choices available? If that is the case, then you need to start by narrowing your options down. Before beginning to shop for a lightbulb, the first thing to do is check the light fitting. This will give you a smaller field of bulbs to choose from.
There are so many considerations to make when choosing lightbulbs:
- What wattage do you need?
- What voltage will you choose?
- What size bulb would you like?
- What shape of lightbulb should you pick?
You are not alone if you have previously chosen lightbulbs without asking yourself any of the questions above. For some people choosing a lightbulb is as simple as saying, ‘this is compatible with the light fixture.’ However, the questions we have listed are important ones to ask to ensure that you get the best lighting for your home.
The wattage of the lightbulb you choose is important for several reasons. The first is energy cost. The higher the wattage of the lightbulbs you are using, the more energy they use to light your home. The wattage of the lightbulb also determines how bright the light emitted is going to be.
If you suffer from headaches or are looking for subtle lighting, then a lower watt lightbulb is likely to suit you better. Lower wattage lightbulbs emit a softer level of lighting, so they are also often used in children’s bedrooms, where a harsher light can be too much for them.
The energy efficiency of a lower-watt lightbulb can also save you money on your electricity bills. Although a lower level of light is emitted, if you have a light fixture that has multiple bulbs, this may not be as noticeable. Also, if using multiple lightbulbs simultaneously, the cost-saving will soon add up.
Some brands of lightbulbs also include the energy efficiency rating on the box to help you to decide which you want to purchase.
It is very important that you do not use a lightbulb that has a higher wattage than the light fixture or lamp specified. Doing so can cause the bulb to overheat, which could cause injury or fire.
When considering the wattage of the bulb you are planning to buy, it is always important to consider the light placement. It is necessary to know if the lightbulb that you are buying will cause glare on any screens that you will be using in that room. If all of your screens are fixed, and glare does become an issue, it can be easier to buy anti-glare overlays for computer and TV screens rather than changing the layout of a room.
However, by using a bulb with an appropriate wattage level in order to not cause too much glare is the easiest option.
Voltage is similar to wattage in so much as a higher voltage will mean a brighter light. Voltage is the measurement of the amount of electrical current that can pass through the light. A lower voltage will not change the brightness of the light in your room. The voltage capacity of your electrical output is limited in each country. You should check the voltage limits for the country you live in if you are uncertain what the limit is.
Using a higher than recommended voltage for your light fitting will cause the lightbulb to overheat. This is dangerous as it can melt the fixture and wiring, leading to electrical faults and fire hazards.
There is nothing worse than choosing your lightbulb, ensuring you have the correct type of fitting, only to get it home and have the bulb be the incorrect size. We recommend that you always check the size of the lightbulb fitting to ensure that you do not buy a small screw-in bulb for a large light fixture.
It is not always easy to see from pictures the size of the bulb fitting you are buying, so if buying online, we recommend reading the dimensions to ensure the correct bulb. If buying in person, you can also check the dimensions on the box or check if there is a display bulb available.
You should also always look at the length of the bulb. If you have short light shades, you will need to ensure that the bulbs are not too long. Overhanging lightbulbs do not look very good but will also emit more light than they would behind a shade which could cause eye problems or headaches.
The size of the bulb you are buying can also impact the range of the light emitted. If you have one light fixture for a whole room, you should consider whether one small bulb would be enough to light the space you need it to. To counteract this, there is always the option to add lamps to spread more light. However, this would be an additional cost to purchase the lamps and bulbs, then further costs to have them on each evening.
The shape of the bulb that you are buying may depend on the type of light fixture or light shade that you already have in place. If you already know the shape of the lightbulb that you want, this will make it easier to filter search results online or ignore different bulb shapes in person.
If you have a wider light shade that will allow you to choose between the shape of the lightbulb, then it will be down to personal preference. However, as noted for size, ideally, you would want a lightbulb that does not overhang the shade.
Outdoor lighting requires specific bulbs to ensure that they are safe to be used. Each lightbulb may specify if it is for indoor or outdoor use or could be sectioned off in a store or online. Safety is the primary concern when shopping for outdoor lighting. It is important that in addition to the bulbs being suitable for outdoor use, you check that all wiring and fixtures are also able to be used outdoors.
Outdoor lighting is increasingly popular for parties at home, casual outdoor gatherings, and weddings. There is a wide range of outdoor lighting options available, from fire pits to fairy lights, so you should be able to find something that suits your tastes and needs.
When shopping for outdoor lighting, you should always check that you have enough space for the type of lighting that you are going to be using. If buying fairy lights or outdoor strip lights, you should first check that there is a suitable surface to attach them to. Wooden fences may not always be safe depending on how the bulbs sit as they could damage woodwork.
Cost should also be considered when deciding whether or not to install outdoor lighting. You should consider if you would need a professional to install outdoor lighting to ensure that all wiring is correct also, especially if you are installing outdoor security lights. Incorrect installation could make any outdoor lighting unable to be used.
Type of Lighting
There are so many different types of lighting available depending on your needs. Online stores now have extensive party lighting, which is becoming more affordable. This means that you are able to buy the color of bulbs that you are interested in, lights that create patterns, and as many or as few bulbs as you can reasonably fit into a space without it being overpowering.
The ability to buy so many different types of lighting and bulbs is great when planning smaller events but can at times become overwhelming. The amount of choice available for lighting types is considerable, so we recommend that you set your specifications before beginning your search.
If you are unsure of the type of lighting that would look good in the space you have, we recommend that you use online searches to see what other people have used. One way to help you to decide is through home living blogs that include images to help you to visualize what the space in your home could be like with certain lighting in place.
You should always consider fire safety when choosing the type of lighting you wish to buy and ensure that there is not going to be an overload in one room. Keeping all of your lighting within voltage limits will help with this. However, if you are ever unsure, we recommend that you consult an electrician.
Changing to Different Types of Bulbs
With the increased use of halogen and LED lightbulbs, it is important to ensure that your fixtures are suitable for the type of bulb you are buying. This is where bulb shields should be checked. If you are using halogen lightbulbs, then a bulb shield will be required due to the extremely high temperatures that the bulb reaches.
If, however, you switch to a standard or LED light instead, any bulb shields in place should be removed before fitting the new lightbulb. A bulb shield in place when it is not required will shorten the life span of your bulbs, as it will trap heat in place and wear out the components much quicker.
Where to Buy Lightbulbs
Standard home lightbulbs can often be purchased from general stores, often in bulk. It would be best if you did not overbuy bulbs as you may be disappointed to find that after your energy-efficient bulbs have lasted longer than you expected, the stock in your cupboard has broken filaments or has become broken when something has been put in the cupboard on top of them.
If you are looking for something more specific for your lighting, you may be better off with a hardware store or specialist supplier. In all instances, you should ensure that the store you are buying from (especially if you have not previously shopped there) can meet your needs. You should also ensure that you have checked reviews for any new shops you are planning to use.
If ordering lightbulbs or lighting online, you should consider how far it is being transported. The longer the transport, the more chance of damage during transit. While many companies will provide replacements for items damaged in transit, this is not helpful if the lighting or bulbs are needed before replacements can be received.
It may be that you keep things simple and are able to order identical bulbs for all light fittings in your home, and you are quite comfortable buying bulbs as and when you need them. However, if you have more complex lighting or you would prefer to remove the decisions each time, it is worth checking if any companies near you offer a subscription service or something similar. This would allow you to receive what you need approximately when you would need it without the additional headache of remembering what you have previously or are currently using.