Don’t waste your time buying bulbs that don’t suit your light fitting or are the wrong type of brightness. Let us show you how to get it right
How bright is your bulb?
To get a clear indication of how bright your bulb is, check the lumens (LM) rating on the package. This indicates brightness. Wattage measures a bulb’s energy or power consumption.
Cool light vs warm light
Work out what kind of light you’d like, whether its warm and soft or cool and contrasting. Light bulbs come in a variety of colour temperatures. These are measured in kelvins (K). The higher the code is, the cooler the light. A warm white will range between 2700K to 3000K, and will enhance the warm tones in your home, making it suitable for lounges, hallways and bedrooms. A cool white will feature around 4000K and will give off a bluer light that emphasis contrasts, making it suitable for lounges, hallways and bedrooms.
If you have light fittings with special features such as dimmer switches or fan lights, you’ll need to ensure you have a light bulb, such as dimmable bulbs, that fit that purpose.
Will it fit?
If you aren’t sure of what kind of fitting your bulb needs, take your old bulb or photograph of the fitting, with the reference number on the fitting, to the lighting shop and they’ll be able to help you.
The most efficient and longer-lasting light bulb on the market is the LED bulb. Compared with standard incandescent bulbs they can last much longer, using less energy while producing the same amount of light. They provide the perfect light quality for every occasion, such as a cosy evening on the couch to enhancing artwork on the wall. You’ll find you have a brighter home while not needing to change them as often.
There are various types of LEDs available: GLS (General Lighting Service) standard bulbs, available with screw and bayonet bases, which have the designations Exx and Bxx (referring to the base’s diameter). R-Series reflector bulbs, that are often used as floodlights and downlights, numbered by the size of the bulb’s diameter in millimetres. PAR-Series security lights and exterior floodlights. Spotlights – MR16 and GU10 spotlights.
Compact fluorescent lamp
A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is a toned-down version of the fluorescent tube lights often seen in offices and commercial buildings. CFLs are cheaper than LEDs and have a longer lifetime than incandescents but shorter than LEDs. They take a few seconds to reach full brightness and can fade over time.
Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent bulb, but are about 30 percent more efficient. They’re usually found in the home as low-voltage downlights and spotlights.
Words by: Catherine Steel.