Which Bulb Would Edison Choose?

Although the first inventor was an Italian, Alessandro Volta, nearly 80 years before our beloved Edison, they would both be amazed at the progress that path has led to. The light bulbs of today have expanded to 98 different types- if you include colored ones.

The biggest changes have been in how the brightness is measured. They were always called watts and now they are measured in lumens. Why? The answer is simple, watts processes energy use and lumens indicate brightness. Lumen is an acronym for “lighting understanding for a more efficient nation”. What really determine your results are lumens per watts.

The following is a list of types of bulbs on the market and their advantages and disadvantages.

Know your Bulbs

  1. Incandescent Bulbs: They are less efficient than fluorescent bulbs and are suggested essentially for tasks lighting. Light is created when electricity passes through a filament and a warm glow emits. They are inexpensive in comparison but they have a relatively short lifetime. Multiple types and shapes are available. They are currently available in three different shapes such as a teardrop for decorative lighting, or globes for indoor and outdoor use, and the common shape people have used for years.These bulbs can have various properties such as a coating that directs the light to a specific area or a reflector that provides twice as much light. Brightness is a factor for most purchases. Halogen bulbs provide a bright light and have a longer lifespan while increasing efficacy as do ridge looped lights. These can last up to 20,000 hours and remain cooler to the touch.
  2. Fluorescent Bulbs: Creates light by passing electricity through cathodes to excite mercury and stimulate gasses. They use far less electricity and last as much as 20 times longer. They also provide that warm glow instead of a stark blinding light. They are available in variable intensity and dimmable, just check the labels.The disposal is a point to consider, these bulbs have many good properties. However- they contain a small amount of mercury and must be properly recycled by dropping them off at accepted recycle places. Likewise, there are specific procedures to follow if a bulb breaks to avoid personal and environmental exposure.
  3. Led Bulbs: This is a light emitting diode, cool huh? What does that mean to consumers? Maybe nothing until you read up on them. They use a semiconductor that transforms electricity into light. They are extremely efficient and can cut lighting costs up to 75%. They don’t contain mercury so breakage and disposal are not a problem- they also are far less likely to break. Additional advantages are their size, they are small enough to fit anywhere and still produce adequate brightness. This is definitely the growing favorite.

When comparing traditional incandescent bulbs with more efficient bulbs such as LEDs one has to determine what they actually consider most important. The bulbs lifetime translates to fewer changes and if they are energy efficient as well, it seems like the best of what the world has to offer.