How to Choose the Correct Light Bulb

Choosing the right light bulb is a balancing act between energy savings, comfort, durability, cost, and compatibility. Each area of a home or office will require different types of light and present different opportunities for savings. 
Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs provide rich and warm light quality, excellent color rendering, and controllability, but are the least efficient.
Screw-in CFL Bulbs
Screw-in CFL bulbs are energy efficient and have the longest life of all light bulbs. However, they provide less pleasing light, start up slowly, may flicker, and are not disposable because of their mercury content. Most dim poorly, although Lutron offers dimmers for the Philips Energy Saver dimmable CFL.
Halogen Bulbs
Halogen bulbs, an efficient variety of incandescent lighting, are up to 30 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. When dimmed by 30 percent, they offer many benefits of CFL and standard incandescent lights without the drawbacks.
General Rules
Use a halogen bulb with a dimmer where:
  • Light quality is important.
  • You want energy savings with ambiance.
  • You want to control the light with dimmers, timers or sensors.
Use a CFL bulb, possibly with a dimmer, where:
  • Light quality isn’t important.
  • There is no risk of children or animals breaking the bulb.
  • You want maximum light with minimum energy consumption.
  • You don’t need sensors or timers.