4 Types of Incandescent Light Bulbs Explained

an incandescent light bulb

With so many kinds of incandescent light bulbs available, shopping for one can become a confusing and frustrating task. Thus, it is important to know which type best suits your needs before hitting your local hardware store or placing an order on the internet. The following are some of the choices you’ll most likely face; consider the uses of each of these different bulbs.

1. General Service

General Service incandescent lamps, as they are known in the lighting industry, are the standard light bulbs employed by many households. They are a practical choice for you to use in your home, particularly in your bedroom, kitchen, and garage, as the light they emit is spread evenly in almost all directions. This type is usually pear-shaped with an electrical energy consumption ranging from 34 to 150 watts. Since general service bulbs are manufactured mainly for domestic use, installing them is easy and can be done without the assistance of an electrician.

2. Reflector

person holding light bulb up to the sun

The interior of reflector incandescent light bulbs are covered with aluminum; this is the reflective element. Because of this coating, the bulbs are able to direct light to a specific point or direction. This quality makes reflectors ideal for accent lighting and is the reason why they enjoy commercial success as floodlights and spotlights. However, they should not be used in place of general service incandescent lamps since they produce greater heat and are not as energy-efficient. Make sure to limit the frequency of their usage.

There are four different kinds of reflector light bulbs. These are standard, bulged, elliptical, and parabolic aluminized reflectors. Standard reflectors focus light on just one spot in uniform concentration. With bulged reflectors, on the other hand, light is more focused on the central part of the beam. Elliptical reflectors are great for recessed fittings because they direct light around two inches in the front of the lamp. Parabolic aluminized reflectors can also be used for recessed fixtures, but they are better suited for outdoor and industrial lighting needs because they produce more intense light beams.

3. Decorative

light bulb

If you’re interested in making your home visually appealing, decorative incandescent light bulbs are what you need. Though customarily associated with chandeliers, decorative light bulbs come in several fancy shapes that can also be used with other elegant light fixtures such as sconces, pendant lights, bathroom and bedroom vanities, and desk lamps. Some of the most common shapes of decorative light bulbs are torpedo, flame tip, globe, and candle.

4. Miniature

Because of their size, miniature incandescent light bulbs do not enjoy the same domestic popularity as the other types. Though they are used in household items such as flashlights, they serve more industrial and commercial functions. Industries that employ them include telephone and aircraft manufacturers.

The list provided above is not an exhaustive guide to incandescent light bulbs. There are more kinds to choose from and other considerations to take into account when making a purchase. If you are sensitive to bright light, for instance, you have the option of installing frosted general service incandescent light bulbs in your home as they produce softer light compared to clear bulbs. Shop around and ask questions to find the right bulb for your needs.