What bulb is best for me?
That all depends upon where it is going and what it will be used for. Below is a simple guide that might help you choose the bulb that will give you the best result. Note that bulb technicology is evolving rapidly and there are great advances being made with LED bulbs in particular.
These are the original light bulb and come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have a distinct vintage feel. As the colour temperature is usually around 2200 - 2400K they give a warm atmospheric glow. These bulbs are often used in restaurants and cafes due to the wonderful ambience they create. However, they are the most energy inefficient of all types of bulbs. In Australia you can no longer import the old Edison bulbs over 25w, so the bulbs available are very dim and are not suitable for task lighting.
Halogen Incandescent Bulbs
Basically, these are incandescent lamps that use a more efficient halogen-gas-filled envelope that does two things; it reduces the amount of power required to get the same light output as a standard incandescent lamp and second, it doubles the life of the lamp from 1000 to 2000 hours. They produce light very similar to incandescent lamps and cost around 1/3rd the price of a CFL. Halogen incandescent bulbs typically are 3500k, so give a good quality clean light suitable for a variety of task lighting purposes, but they are not suitable for decorate lighting as they are too cold and white/blue. Note, they don't like to be touched or moved when warm though as they will often blow. The wattage for these can be a bit confusing but here's how the power rating works:
28-watt Halogen = 40-watt Edison
42-watt Halogen = 60-watt Edison
53-watt Halogen = 75-watt Edison
CFL or "Energy Saver" Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
CFL bulbs are energy efficient, however, they provide less pleasing light, start up slowly, may flicker, and are not disposable because of their mercury content. These bulbs are on the way out now due to the development of LED bulbs which are more efficient and last longer. They are also incredibly ugly!!! We call these "Crimes Against Lighting" - don't do it!
LEDs use up to 90% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs for the same light output. With a lifetime of at least 20,000 hours, around 15 times longer than a standard incandescent light bulb. Some LEDs are now even rated to 30,000 hours. The quality of the light may be an issue as most LED bulbs on the market are too cool for domestic use and create a very cold blue light.
However, Zaffero has partnered with Vintage LED to bring you the most technically advanced and innovative LED bulbs that not only save you energy but come the closest to matching the warmth of the original Edison bulbs.
If you want to use LEDs with dimmer switches, check the packaging to make sure you choose an LED model that suits dimmable light fixtures as most LED bulbs are not dimmable. Also most LEDs only go up to a 75W standard incandescent light bulbs equivalent, although there are a few new products available that go up to 100W equivalent.
Pay attention to the lumens!
Lumens refer to the amount of light the bulb will put out (as opposed to wattage, which is the amount of energy it uses). The higher number of lumens, the brighter the light bulb will be. Therefore, if you’re trying to illuminate a large space, you’ll want to use a light bulb with a high number of lumens (above 1000). A small fixture or table lamp does not require a bulb with a high number of lumens. Wattage is no longer relevant with the new bulb technology - shop for bulbs using lumens.
Colour Temperature Information
The colour temperature of you light bulbs will have a major effect on the mood you create in your home. Many people fail to realise the importance of this when replacing bulbs in light fittings. If you want to create a relaxed and subtle mood then white to very warm white is where you need to be in the colour temperature range. Unless you want your home to look sterile and uninviting we would strongly recommend not using cool white to cool daylight bulbs.
Colour temperatures are commonly found on low energy fluorescent lamps and LED lamps. Halogen and CFL bulbs generally don't list colour temperature information but normally produce a white or warm white colour. Edison bulbs produce a very warm white colour that is slightly golden to the eye. They usually fall into the 2200 - 2400k range. We recommend that all decorative lighting uses 2200k bulbs.
Colour Temperature Chart
|Very Warm White
The international colour code is often used to denote the temperature of a lamp's light. This code is a three digit number. The first digit refers to the colour rendering index: if it is 8, then the CRI is between 80 and 90, if it is 9, it lies between 90 and 100. The next two numbers are the colour temperature (to the nearest hundred) divided by one hundred kelvins, thus if the temperature is 6500 K, the number is 65.