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Different Light Types

These days, there a range of light types available. Each of these are based on an underlying technology. We would focus our discussions on the ones that are more commonly used form a household purpose. 

We all must have grown looking at that traditional round-shaped bulb, which would often go bust. Well, these are actually the oldest form of lighting technology, called incandescent bulb or in technical terms, GLS (General Lighting Service). These have been replaced over the years with CFLs and now with LEDs. So, what is the difference between these and which one should you go for?

Generally, any light type is defined by 3 important characteristics of longevity, power consumption and purchase costs. 

- Longevity: LED bulbs last long, really long. They have a rated life span of 50,000 hours of operation. Compared to this, the incandescent bulbs have typical life span of 1,000-1,200 hours, while CFLs have 10,000 hours. 

- Power consumption: Lights that consume the least power are lighter on your pocket and your electricity bills would be lower. But power consumption of a light is determined by the amount of light you need. The amount of light you need is determined by various factors: you can read the same here. 

Different light types have different efficiency, so to give the same amount of light (as measured by lumens), they would consumer different power. This efficiency is the highest for LED bulbs, medium for CFL bulbs and lowest for incandescent bulbs. 

The following table would give you a good starting idea to determine the power wattage you need dependent upon the lumens needed and the type of light chosen:

Lumens To Watts Conversion Chart

As you can see, for 400 lumens, you can either go for 40W of incandescent bulbs, 9W of CFL or just 6W of LED. As a general thumb rule, efficiency of different light types is give below:

- Incandescent bulbs: 12 lumens/WATT

- CFLs: 40 lumens/WATT

- LED: 60-65 lumens/WATT

- Purchase costs: LED bulbs are expensive compared to other two light types. But this gap has been narrowing over the years. For example, we sell a 6W LED bulb for Rs. 360 while a 9W CFL is available for between Rs. 100-120.

There are other factors as well like light quality (incandescent bulbs give out a "dirty" yellowish light not liked by many people these days), presence of polluting materials (like CFLs contain small amounts of mercury), flick-free start (CFLs flicker before starting unlike incandescent and LEDs which power on immediately).


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