Home & Garden

Need a light bulb? Check out this guide


Light bulbs used to be so simple to buy – run to the hardware store and get what you need.

Now, not only are light bulbs sold everywhere, but some stores have rows and rows to choose from. There are even specialty stores for just the Thomas Edison invention.

Here is an overview of one of today’s popular options, the LED bulb. Making the right choice starts with reading the label on the boxes and comparing that information with your specific needs.

What’s new? The numbers that measure light output are different, according to experts at Cree, a leading maker of LED light bulbs. Light output is now measured in lumens instead of watts. The higher the number, the brighter the light.

How long the bulb lasts is measured in years but this can be a little deceiving. A label might indicate over 22 years but there’s another item you have to look at in conjunction with this.

The word life is also there with a number next to it. This indicates how many hours a day it will work to get those 22 plus years. In this case it would be 3 hours a day.

Your average yearly cost is shown based on that same 3 hours per day and your home electrical kWh rate.

As mentioned the bulb isn’t measured in watts, but the Energy Used category shows how much energy in watts is used. The lower the wattage, the less energy used, which results in lower energy costs.

One of the most confusing things is light color. That’s measured in Kelvin and results in warmer or cooler looking colors. I prefer the daylight bulbs for a bright clean light (close to 6500 Kelvin) but you’ll have your choice here.

Don’t hesitate to ask an employee to demonstrate what a bulb’s color looks like. Those bulbs consume just 11 W of power when turned on at full brightness, which burns 82 percent less energy than an equivalent incandescent bulb. They last approximately. 22.8 years with a 25,000-hour lifetime, compared to about 1,000 hours for typical incandescent bulbs.

Also ask whether the bulbs you’re considering will work with smart home devices, which connect with an iOS or Android device to control lighting from anywhere.