Light bulb guide

Do you feel like you’ve been left in the dark when it comes to new light bulb technology?

Light bulb guide

Do you feel like you’ve been left in the dark when it comes to new light bulb technology? Find out how to get the most out of your bulbs in both energy and cost efficiency.

Before we get started with the different types of light bulbs available on the market, here are some of the key terms of which to be aware to help make sense of the different types of light bulbs available.

The power of light bulbs has been traditionally measured in watts (w), which is the amount of energy they consume. This was suitable when the market was dominated by incandescent and the relatively similar halogen bulbs. But new types of light bulbs have an emphasis on energy efficiency, so watts are no longer the standard. Lumens (lm) measure the actual brightness of the bulb. The table below will give you a rough idea of how bright traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs are, which will help you to find suitable replacements.

 Incandescent or halogen 












Colour temperature
One of the most common complaints with energy-efficient bulbs is that the light they produce is unpleasantly blue. New technology is allowing energy efficient bulbs to produce warmer and more natural-feeling light, but the most efficient bulbs will unfortunately be the ones with the harsher, bluish light. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and you can use this chart below to help you choose the right lights for your situation.

Colour rendering index (CRI)
CRI is the ability of a light bulb to make colours appear the way they would with natural light. You’ve probably noticed that colours appear ‘off’ under some lights, particularly energy efficient lights. This is due to a low colour rendering index. CRI is measured on a scale of a hundred, with incandescent and halogen bulbs scoring around the 100 mark. Most people will be happy with anything over 80 on the CRI, but if you have colour sensitive hobbies, such as drawing or painting, you might want to look out for a higher-scoring CRI with your light bulb.

Now that we’ve got these key points out of the way, head over to the NEXT page to find out about the pros and cons of each type of light bulb, particularly when it comes to cost and energy efficiency.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Sep 2015
    Thanks for this! Biddi
    8th Sep 2015
    Yes, we try to be as energy efficient as we can. So far seem to have chosen the right ones for the particular need. Thanks for this guide.
    8th Sep 2015
    We have been changing our light bulbs to LED gradually, almost done, and there is a definite change for the better in our last Electricity a/c
    8th Sep 2015
    Yes, I made the mistake of joining the Compact Fluorescent revolution early. Most of those globes have now been replaced with 10 or 14W Philips LED globes. The 14W are particularly good giving 1400Lumen output, equivalent to 100W incandescent. It's a shame the guide provided said very little and pointed to two US websites for reference which gave no real idea of what globes should cost here. Tom's guide was from two years ago which is ages ago as far as LED development is concerned. The 1400L 14W Philips is around $18 from Bunnings.
    8th Sep 2015
    You can buy them for a third of that price on Ebay, delivered to your door.
    8th Sep 2015
    Thanks for this guide. We are gradually changing to LED & the new warmer LED's are lovely in areas where you dont need bright light. A probelem we had with Compacts was that many light fittings could not take their size & bulk. But the LED's seem to fit better.
    A problem we have been having is not all LED's have clear labelling defining that they are LED & not CFL ! So may be your guide will help here. I have printed it off & put it on our notice board. Thanks again.
    8th Sep 2015
    Darn I bought some globes yesterday. Didn't see all of these.
    8th Sep 2015
    Was very upset a few weeks ago, a bulb blew on a newish kitchen setting of four in the ceiling, went to Beacon where we had bought the lighting system, they didn't have that type of globe anymore so I showed her the lighting system we had purchased and she sold us 4 LED globes, they are terrific but we'll not shop there again, the globes were $45.95 each.
    8th Sep 2015
    And they call THAT saving money!! I have also found these new fangled globes do NOT last that long at all
    14th Sep 2015
    Ditto, my 'everlasting' expensive lights don't last all that long! I keep on replacing them all the time!
    8th Sep 2015
    I thought I was the only one on the planet who did not grasp these "new" light bulbs. I never mentioned it to any one, because I felt I was the dimmest light in the chandelier!! I dreaded a light bulb blowing and would just swap them around. Longed for the days I could go out and buy a 60 or 75 w pearl/clear light bulb. So simple before more energy efficient bulbs became the norm. I now have more confidence in purchasing a replacement bulb! Thanks for the advice
    8th Sep 2015
    Plus you have to dispose of them properly can't just chuck in the bin and if they break danger of mercury -- unless they have fixed that??

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