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5 steps for choosing energy-saving light bulbs

Don’t be in the dark about energy-saving light bulbs - follow these 5 simple steps before you buy:

Step 1

Take a look at your old light bulb to see what type of shape it is. There are many shapes, including the traditionally-shaped bulb, candle, spiral, stick, spotlight and tube (for fluorescent lighting).

Step 2

Check the fitting. Energy-saving light bulbs come with small and large bayonet fittings, small or large screw fittings, pushpin fittings and many other specialist caps. This is an essential point to consider or your bulb will be useless!

Step 3

Choose your technology. Old fashioned incandescent light bulbs have been phased out, so there are now three main types of regular light bulb - CFLs (compact fluorescent lamp - the most common type of energy-saving light bulb), halogens or LEDs. The cheapest to run in the long-term are LED light bulbs. They use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 years. However, they are more expensive to buy initially.

The next cheapest to run of the energy-saving light bulbs are CFLs. Years ago they took a long time to light up, but the technology has improved now. They are quite cheap to buy and quickly pay for themselves and start saving you money.

Halogen bulbs are similar to the old incandescent bulbs in light quality and colour. Some people love them, but they don’t save much money. Out of the commonly available technologies, they have the shortest shelf-life.

Step 4

Consider the brightness of the light you require. This is measured in now measured in lumens instead of watts.

Wattage is a measure of power. With the latest energy-saving light bulbs, you can now produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb using far less energy (wattage) and therefore save money. To know how much light a bulb produces, we use lumens to measure brightness. As a rough guide, 400 lumens is good for a bedside lamp, while a large living area might require between 1500 and 3000 lumens (and will probably require more than one bulb). Larger office spaces often required fluorescent lighting tubes.

Step 5

Do you want a warm, yellow light or a cool, blue light? The colour of light is measured on the Kelvin scale. Living spaces benefit from the warmer end of the light spectrum, the lower end of the scale. Light bulb manufacturers often refer to 'colour temperature' on the packaging. The higher the Kelvin rating, the starker the light.

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