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What are the different light bulb types?

When it comes to lighting in the twenty-first century, there are so many options to choose it can be a little mind-boggling.

Light Bulb Types

That's why we've put together everything you need to know about different light bulb types, all in the one place, so you don't suffer through pages and pages of information to find one small detail.

If you have any further questions, give All Purpose Trade Solutions a call on 1300 370 455 and we would be more than happy to assist.

The different light bulb types

There are four major types of light bulb types.

LED Light Bulb

Incandescent Light Bulbs

  • Traditional type of light globe.
  • Most common light used over the last 100 years.
  • Don’t last very long and are expensive to run.
  • A phase out of incandescent light bulbs commenced in 2009.
LED Light Bulb

Halogen Light Bulbs

  • Run in a similar way to incandescent bulbs.
  • More energy efficient option than incandescent bulbs.
  • Contain halogen gas.
LED Light Bulb

CFL Light Bulbs

  • Also known as ‘Compact Fluorescent Lamps’.
  • More cost effective than halogen and incandescent light bulbs.
  • More energy efficient than halogen and incandescent light bulbs.
  • Contain small amounts of mercury.
LED Light Bulb

LED Light Bulbs

  • Also known as ‘Light Emitting Diodes’.
  • Most cost effective option.
  • Most energy efficient option.
  • Only costs around $5 a year to run an LED light in the busiest room in your home.

How do light bulbs work?

The inner workings on how a light globe emits light depends on the type of bulb, so below is how the 4 major light bulb types work:

  • Incandescent light bulbs emit light through the heating up of the tungsten filament (the wire in the a bulb) to a high temperature by running an electric current through it until it glows brightly. The higher the levels of energy, otherwise known as 'watts', that run through the tungsten filament, the more light (lumens) is emitted. On the other side however, more energy creates more heat, which is more energy wasted.
  • Halogen light bulbs work in the same way as incandescent bulbs, however they contain halogen gas which speeds up the whole process. This allows it to be more energy efficient and cost effective when producing light, as well as lasting longer (as halogen gas protects the filament).
  • CFL bulbs and fluorescent tubes use the same process to generate light. They create an electric charge inside a mercury-vapour-filled tube, which also excites the vapour. Once excited, the vapour creates invisible UV light, which hits the phosphor lining inside the glass tube and excites the phosphor. After all this excitement, light is created!
  • LED bulbs are the most cost effective and energy efficient option available on the market, due to the fact that they send an electric charge through solid material, as opposed to filament or vapour, to create light. Sending this electric charge engages the electrons which are located inside, making them move quickly in the solid material and creating light. Additionally, the heat levels generates by LED lights is very low, meaning less electricity is wasted.

Comparing light bulbs

The below table, which is courtesy of Energy Rating , provides a comparison between all the different light bulbs:

LED (light emitting diode)

CFL (compact fluorescent lamp)


Circular and linear fluorescent

Typical omnidirectional light bulb and price

LED Light Bulb
CFL Light Bulb
Halogen Light Bulb
Circular and Linear Light Bulb

Typical directional light bulb and price

Low Output Light Bulb
Low Output Light Bulb
Low Output Light Bulb


Colour range

Warm White to Daylight

Warm White to Daylight

Warm White

Warm White to Daylight


Selected Brands

Selected Brands



Life span (hours)

15,000 - 30,000

6,000 - 15,000

2,000 - 4,000


Replacement globes (over 10 years)





All Purpose Trade Solutions

Your knowledgeable lighting experts

If you have any questions regarding the best light bulbs for your home or office, or would like to speak to one of our friendly team members regarding your next lighting project, give All Purpose Trade Solutions a call on 1300 370 455 today. We are your local lighting experts, so get in contact now!


Choice (How to buy the best light bulbs): https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/light-bulbs/buying-guides/light-bulbs

Energy Rating (Factsheet: Light Bulb Buyers Guide): http://www.energyrating.gov.au/document/factsheet-light-bulb-buyers-guide

Energy Rating (Choose Which Type of Bulb): http://www.energyrating.gov.au/lighting/types-of-light-bulbs

All black and white light photos are courtesy of Energy Rating.

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