How to Choose the Correct Light Bulb

Choosing a lightbulb should not be a complicated process. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it can cause some confusion. Wondering whether or not to opt for an LED, thinking of which watt is best, and considering what will work with your home’s aesthetic can make lightbulb shopping complex. 

Well, never fear. This article will give you tips to ensure you make the right decision in finding a light bulb for your home.

UL Listings

When a product bears a UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) mark, it means it has passed the necessary safety requirements. When it comes to light bulbs, a UL listing is almost always required in commercial buildings to ensure it will not malfunction or cause a fire.  This is why UL marks the socket on lamps and fixtures.  It all depends on how much room the socket has from an enclosure to allow heat from the lightbulb to escape.  Never exceed the UL wattage limit.  When in doubt go down in your wattage or get yourself an LED bulb.

The same cannot be said of bulbs purchased for residential use. However, if you are concerned about the product you are buying, you may find a similar specification from the manufacturer. 

To LED or Not to LED

LED bulbs have transformed the lighting industry. Although they are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they are energy-saving and longer-lasting. The money you save on utility bills and buying extra light bulbs will more than pay off for the added upfront expense. They have also come a long way in making LED bulbs in all shades. LED no longer always has to mean cold and stark. Many warm, inviting shades are now available.

Watts, Lumen and Kelvin, What’s It All Mean?

Many of us think wattage refers to how bright the light bulb will be. However, it really refers to how much energy the bulb consumes. Therefore, LED bulbs all have pretty low wattages. 

If you are used to lightbulbs between 40, 60, and 100 watts based on the days of incandescent bulbs, and would like to use that as a reference, here’s how you can convert the numbers for LEDs.

Take the number of watts on the LED bulb and multiply it by 5. So, if you find a LED bulb that’s 12 watts, it will be comparable to a 60-watt incandescent bulb.  

To find out how bright the bulb will be, you want to look at the lumens. Think of one lumen as one regular candle. You can find bulbs that range from 450 to 2600 lumens. The higher the number the brighter the bulb. 

Kelvin is a scale that measures the light’s color. The scale ranges from 2000K to 7000K. Light bulbs with numbers lower on the scale will have a warm gold tint while bulbs with higher numbers will emit a colder somewhat blue light.  

Get a Dimmable Bulb

A lot of people feel it is important to have control over how much light their fixtures are emitting. This is possible if you have a dimmable fixture. However, a dimmable fixture will not give you the control you need unless you have a dimmable bulb. 

If dimming your lights is important to you, make sure to get a bulb that is described as being dimmable on the box. 

Picking the right light bulb may be complicated, but once you have this information, you will have it all down in no time. Which bulbs do you prefer to use in your home?