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How to choose a light bulb

Lighting is one of the biggest energy draws in your home, so choosing the right light bulbs in not only an aesthetic choice, but also a cost consideration.

How to choose a lightbulb fwt How to choose a lightbulb fwt

LED bulbs

LED light bulbs are quickly becoming the most popular choice for consumers. Not only do they use up to 85% less energy than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, but they also last for up to 22 years compared to only 1 to 2 years for those bulbs. Their long lifespans make them ideal for hard to reach spots, such as pot lights or fixtures in vaulted ceilings. 

The cost of LEDs has come down considerably in the last couple of years, but the initial cost output is offset by long-term savings. If you were to convert all the bulbs in your house to LEDs, you would see a noticeable reduction in your energy consumption.

There’s also a wider selection of different shapes and looks of LED bulbs, as they become more similar to incandescent bulbs. And, since the wattage on LEDs is much lower than incandescents, you never have to worry about choosing a bulb that’s got a higher wattage than the max output that your fixture requires. 

There’s also a growing number of LED smart lights coming into stores as connected home technology becomes more popular. These bulbs can be dimmed, change colour or be turned off remotely from a mobile device.


Halogen bulbs

Halogen lights are slightly more efficient than an incandescent bulb, but do give off a fair bit of heat. They’re popular for directional lighting such as track lights as well as potlights, and they last 1 to 2 years, depending on usage.


Incandescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are a great value choice and are available in the widest variety of shapes, including specialty chandelier styles and globes. They last for 1 to 2 years, depending on usage. Make sure to choose an incandescent bulb that matches or is lower than the wattage required by the fixture.


Edison bulbs

These vintage-looking bulbs have become popular for light fixtures that have exposed bulbs. They’re available in both incandescent and LED versions.



Make sure you’re choosing bulbs that are the right shape for your fixtures. The most popular light bulb shapes are general all-purpose bulbs, also known as A-shape; chandelier bulbs, known as B-shape; globe bulbs, known as G-shape; and bulbs for tracklights or potlights, known as MR or PAR bulbs.

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Base size

There are also several different-sized bases for bulbs. To make sure you get the bulb you need, bring the bulb you’re replacing in store to compare to a new bulb or check inside the light socket of the fixture for all the information. If you’re buying bulbs for a brand new light fixture, the information will be on the packaging. Don’t forget to also check the wattage!

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Colour temperature

While incandescent and halogen bulbs have a slightly yellow glow, LED lights come in two different shades — soft white, which is closest to the colour of incandescents and halogens, and daylight. Soft white, or incandescents and halogens, work well in rooms with lots of natural light, like bedrooms and living rooms. 

Daylight LEDs give off a whiter light, which is ideal where there’s little or no natural light and therefore handy in basements and workshops. The right light bulb for your space will help you create the ambiance you want and work well with your budget.

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