There are several types of light bulbs out there:
Incandescent, LED, Halogen, CFL, Flourescent, ELV, MLV. Below are descriptions of these different bulb types and some pictures of them to help you identify which bulb type you have.
To identify the bulb type usually you want to look at the bulb shape and if you can't tell immediately you may need to read the text printed on the bulb itself.
LED bulbs use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to create light based upon a charge of electricity. These bulbs are normally frosted and have a plastic base (see above example). While many newer LED bulbs are dimmable, some LED bulbs are not dimmable. If you are not sure please search the product's website for details.
Incandescent bulbs are common but being phased out as a result of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act in the United States. Specifically 100, 75, 60 and 40-watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out and will no longer be produced. That said, many specialty incandescent bulbs, such as chandelier bulbs, will remain available.Incandescent bulbs use a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing. The glowing filament produces the bulb’s light.
- Incandescent bulbs last on average for 1 year.
- Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury.
- They can be used with a dimmer switch.
Halogen bulbs use a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing, the same as incandescent bulbs, but they use less energy.
- Halogen bulbs last on average 1 year.
- Halogen bulbs do not contain mercury.
- Halogen bulbs are dimmable
CFL bulbs or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs became very popular in the last decade. They are often a twisted form factor as picture above. These compact fluorescent bulbs or tubes are filled with mercury vapor that emits UV light when electricity is applied.
- CFL bulbs are NOT dimmable
Fluorescent bulbs or tubes are filled with mercury vapor that emits UV light when electricity is applied. The bulbs/tubes have a coating inside that turns the UV rays into visible light. They use less energy than an incandescent bulb.
- Fluorescent bulbs DO NOT dim
- Fluorescent lights are usually long and tube-shaped, but also come in u-shaped bulbs.
- Fluorescent tubes will not work without a ballast.