How to Choose the Right Incandescent Bulb for Your Needs

Your Guide to buying the best Incandescent bulbs


Incandescent bulbs are one of the oldest and most commonly used types of lighting. Despite the rise of more modern and energy-efficient lighting solutions, incandescent bulbs remain a popular choice for many households and businesses due to their affordability and ease of use.This buying guide is designed to help you make an informed decision when purchasing incandescent bulbs. It will discuss the different types of incandescent bulbs available and provide information on features, quality and cost. With this guide, you will be able to make an informed decision about which incandescent bulbs are best suited to your needs.

Key features

  1. Type of bulb – Consider the type of bulb you need for the desired application; for example, a standard bulb, a floodlight, a spotlight, a candelabra, etc.
  2. Base – How the bulb connects to the fixture or socket, this can be a screw-in base, a pin base, a bayonet base, or a mogul base.
  3. Wattage – How much power the bulb uses. Common wattages range from 5 watts to 150 watts.
  4. Size – The size of the bulb which is determined by the shape and by the number of bases it has. Common sizes include A19, A21, A23, A15, A14, etc.
  5. Color Temperature – This refers to the color temperature of the bulb in kelvin, usually in a range from 2700K (warm white) to 6500K (cool white).
  6. Lumens – This refers to the amount of light output the bulb produces. Common lumen ratings range from 30 lumens to over 5000 lumens.
  7. Life Span – The average life span of the bulb. Incandescent bulbs typically have a life span between 800 hours and 1500 hours.
  8. Dimmability – Whether the bulb is dimmable or not. Not all incandescent bulbs are dimmable.

See the most popular Incandescent bulbs on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Cost: Incandescent bulbs are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of light bulbs.
  • Brightness: Incandescent bulbs provide a bright, warm light for a wide range of lighting needs.
  • Durability: Incandescent bulbs have long lifespans, and are often rated for up to 1,500-2,500 hours of use.
  • Temperature Control: Incandescent bulbs have a wide range of temperature control options, allowing users to adjust the brightness and color of the light.
  • Dimmable: Incandescent bulbs are generally dimmable, allowing for flexible lighting options and energy savings.


  • Short lifespan: Incandescent bulbs typically have a shorter lifespan than other types of bulbs, ranging from 750 to 2,000 hours.
  • High energy costs: Incandescent bulbs are less energy efficient than other types of bulbs, which can result in higher energy costs.
  • Heat output: Incandescent bulbs produce more heat than other types of bulbs due to their lower energy efficiency.
  • Susceptibility to shock: Incandescent bulbs are more susceptible to shock than other types of bulbs, meaning they can easily break if dropped.
  • Too bright: Incandescent bulbs often produce too much light for some applications, making them unsuitable for certain tasks.

Best alternatives

  1. LED Bulbs - Low-energy, long-lasting bulbs that use a fraction of the wattage and last up to 20x longer than incandescent bulbs.
  2. Fluorescent Bulbs - Bulbs that use a fraction of the energy and last up to 10x longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  3. Halogen Bulbs - Bulbs that provide a bright, clear light and can last up to three times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  4. CFL Bulbs - Compact fluorescent bulbs that use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10x longer.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Bulb Socket - the device to which the bulb is connected to provide power.
  • Bulb casing - the outer shell of the bulb, typically made of glass.
  • Filament - the thin metal wire inside the bulb that heats up and produces light.
  • Base - the metal part of the bulb which connects to the socket.
  • Cap - the part of the bulb which is used to secure the filament.
  • Light diffuser - a plastic or glass piece that is placed over the bulb to soften the light.
  • Reflector - a metal piece that is placed over the bulb to reflect and direct the light.

Common questions

  1. What are the differences between different types of Incandescent bulbs? Incandescent bulbs are available in a variety of types, such as A-shape, pear-shape, globe-shape, and reflector-shape. A-shape bulbs have a traditional shape while the other bulb shapes provide a more stylish look. The reflector-shape bulbs are commonly used in track lighting.
  2. How do I know what size bulb I need? The size of an Incandescent bulb is primarily determined by its wattage, measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the larger the bulb will be.
  3. What wattage should I get? The wattage you choose will depend on the type of lighting you need and where it will be used. For general lighting, using lower wattage bulbs will help save energy. For task lighting, you will need more wattage for the additional illumination.
  4. How does color temperature affect the light of an Incandescent bulb? Color temperature is expressed in Kelvin (K) and refers to the warmth or coolness of the light. Incandescent bulbs come in a range of color temperatures, varying from warm (2700-3000K) to cool (5000K or higher). The higher the Kelvin, the cooler the bulb will appear.
  5. What is the lifespan of an Incandescent bulb? Incandescent bulbs typically have a lifespan of around 1500 hours. This is significantly shorter than other types of bulbs, such as LED or CFL bulbs.


An interesting fact about incandescent bulbs is that Thomas Edison is often credited for their invention, but he actually improved on an existing technology developed by Humphry Davy. Edison created a light bulb that lasted much longer than Davy's original design. The story of Edison's lightbulb has become a classic symbol of innovation and has inspired many inventors over the years. Source: Wikipedia.

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.