Bulb Guide

Bulb Types

In this handy guide we offer important information on the different characteristics of each bulb type in order to get the most out of your lighting and to avoid the dangers of using the wrong bulbs in your fixtures.

Halogen Bulbs

These bulbs have a tungsten filament and are filled with a mixture of argon and halogen gas. They are made out of a more expensive high-grade glass that can tolerate the extra high temperatures they reach. Halogen bulbs produce a very attractive bright white light that closely resembles sunlight. Although more expensive initially, they can last up to 3 times longer than the old style tungsten bulb of the same wattage and can be 20% more efficient. They can usually be dimmed but may require special dimmers. Halogen bulbs come in mains voltage (240 volt)and low voltage (12 volt) versions.

Energy Saving or CFL Bulbs

Energy is used to generate light rather than heat so these bulbs can be up to 80% cheaper to run. Although more expensive, these bulbs save money in the long run, especially in areas where the lights will be left on for long periods. Temperatures below zero can adversely affect the bulb's performance, so steer clear of using them in the colder parts of your home. They emit a light that is midway between a halogen and a tungsten bulb. Although the amount of mercury in a low level energy bulb is very small, because of its hazardous nature, used low-energy bulbs need to be recycled rather than disposed of in the bin.

LED Bulbs

These bulbs offer a 90% energy saving and an impressive 25 year lifespan. They give an instant, bright light through the use of a semi-conductor that emits light energy when an electrical current is passed through it. As they are relatively new, they tend to be the most expensive energy saving bulb, but prices are coming down. Unlike CFLs, LED bulbs work perfectly well in low temperatures. In order to dim LED lights, you might need to upgrade to a suitable dimmer. The light given off by an LED bulb can have a bluish tint, and until recently they were only available in lower wattage levels although this is getting better all the time.

Bulb Shapes

Classic – Traditional light bulb shape

Mini globe – Round bulb for a soft light

Candle – Flame-shaped bulb

Spotlight – Small bulb specifically for targeted light

Spiral and stick – Energy efficient bulbs

Reflector – Designed to illuminate large areas

Capsule – Small, two pronged halogen bulb for smaller light fitting

Bulb Wattage

Incandescent Energy Saving

100W 20W - 23W

60W 11W - 15W

40W 7W - 9W

Bulb Cap Types

BC (Bayonet Cap) - B15

SBC (Small Bayonet Cap) - B15

ES (Edison Screw) - E27

SES (Small Edison Screw) - E14

Energy Saving and Safety Tips

  • Use energy saving light bulbs where possible - this will save you money as they last longer.
  • Clean bulbs, shades and fixtures regularly as dust and dirt accumulate and absorb light.
  • Do not wait until the bulbs have completely burned out to replace them. Darkened bulbs may still work but they use the same amount of power as a new bulb and emit less light.
  • Don't use a higher wattage bulb than necessary. Try a 60-watt bulb in the hallway instead of a 75-watt bulb. The difference may be small in brightness but large on your electricity bill.
  • Finally for safety, do not use high watt bulbs in confined areas or for fixtures that require low watt bulbs as this is an extreme fire hazard. Read the fixture instructions and contact the manufacturer for additional information.
  • Please note that all electrical light fittings must be fitted in accordance with the current IEE wiring regulations and building regulations. We recommend a qualified electrician is employed for this task and that the product's fitting instructions are always followed.