Choosing the Right Light Bulbs to Brighten Your Home

Light bulbs serve a functional and decorative purpose in the home. Learn about the different light bulb types and how to choose the right one for any room.

Create a Lighting Design
Lighting has a big impact on the ambience of a room. The right light bulbs combined with thoughtfully chosen light fixtures will provide effective illumination and a flattering look. To get the best results, it can help to learn a bit about home lighting design.
Two images of the same room with very different lighting
Differentiate Bulb Types
The world of lighting has made a lot of progress since the invention of the incandescent light bulb, over 100 years ago. Discover the main models of light bulbs.
LED

Picking a light bulb doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you can usually safely go with an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb. LED bulbs are the most efficient light bulb type available, offering the same light output—but much lower wattage—than traditional incandescent bulbs, which translates into less energy use.

LEDs shine by passing a current through small diodes, and a heat sink keeps the bulb from getting hot. Because they don’t add excess heat into the home, LEDs can help you save on air conditioning costs.

We like

It’s the most high-performance of all light bulbs. It’s lifespan in unmatched (15 years minimum). It stays cold to the touch. Its switch base is the same as an incandescent light. They fit all standard light sockets, do not contain any mercury, and can last more than 20 years.

Good to know

They are more expensive when purchasing but last a very long time. They can even be used outside as long as they are rated for outdoor use, which is indicated on the packaging.

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Incandescent

Once the most common type of light bulb, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out all around the world. However, more efficient designs are still available, and specialty bulbs will remain available as well. Incandescent light is produced by a heated filament, and the bulb usually lasts around one year. Incandescent bulbs also do not contain any mercury, and they can be used with dimmer switches.

We like

Its soft light, affordable price and the possibility to adjust the intensity.

Good to know

It’s the least eco-friendly bulb. It produces a lot of heat and often needs to be replaced.

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CFL

Its tube is filled with a gas that radiates and heats up its white fluorescent coating when in contact with electricity.

We like

It consumes little energy and lasts longer than both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Its screw base is the same as an incandescent bulb.

Good to know

The CFL bulb cannot be used with a dimmer and cannot be used outside. Do not throw it in the trash as it contains mercury.

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Halogens

Similar to incandescent bulbs, halogen light bulbs have a filament that glows when heated. They also last for around a year, but they use considerably less energy. Halogen bulbs do not contain any mercury.

We like

Its size and bright light. It’s perfect for light fixtures. It uses 30% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts 3 times as long.

Good to know

It produces a lot of heat.

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HID
HID (high-intensity discharge) light bulbs are most commonly used in commercial buildings, warehouses, and street lights. They contain electricity-conducting sodium or mercury vapour, and they last longer than most other light bulbs because they don’t have filaments.
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Pro Tip

When compared with standard incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs are champions in eco-responsibility. They are practically puncture-proof: they light up your space for 15 years and consume 90% less energy than a single incandescent light bulb. Find our selection of ECO certified ENERGY STAR products to take advantage of durable and environmentally friendly light bulbs.
Decipher the Packaging

Light bulb packages provide a lot of useful information to help you make your choice. You can find out the brightness, light appearance, bulb life expectancy, energy use, the estimated yearly cost to run, and mercury amount.

Are you confused when reading the packaging label? You’re not alone. Here is the meaning behind the terms used. Learn then, and you can then make the “bright” choice!

Lumens

Lumens measure light output. Simply put, more lumens mean a brighter bulb, and fewer lumens mean a dimmer bulb. A standard bulb has an output of about 1600 lumens.

Pick the best combination of output and longevity by comparing the lumens and length of life on different light bulbs.

Watts
Watts measure energy use. Lower wattage means a lower electric bill, and vice-versa. LEDs and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) produce the same lumens as an incandescent bulb for fewer watts.
Lumens/watts
When it comes to light bulbs, lumens and watts are two important units to understand. This is how we measure the energetic efficiency of a light bulb. The higher the number, the less it will cost electricity wise.
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Pro Tip

Do not use a light bulb that exceeds the maximum recommended wattage for a lighting fixture.
Pick the Light Colour That’s Just Right
Kelvins

Kelvin (K) is a measure of a light bulb’s colour or appearance. Lower numbers on the Kelvin scale mean yellower light, while higher numbers mean bluer light.

  • 2700K to 3000K, yellowish range: Soft White bulbs ideal for living rooms, bedrooms, dens, and illuminating dark wood. Standard incandescent bulb colour.
  • 3000K to 4000K, yellowish to white: Warm White bulbs perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, and workspaces.
  • 4000K to 5000K, white to blue: Bright White bulbs, like our GE Reveal bulbs, great for kitchens and bathrooms with white or chrome fixtures.
  • 5000K to 6500k, blue range: Daylight bulbs for bright and clear illumination. Easy on the eyes and good for reading.
Compare Wattage Between Bulb Types
The Government of Canada is phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favour of more efficient alternatives. Here is a quick chart to help you choose an energy-saving wattage equivalent bulb.
Incandescent
Halogen
CFL
LED
100 watts
72 watts
23 watts
14-16 watts
75 watts
53 watts
20 watts
12-13 watts
60 watts
43 watts
15 watts
8-9 watts
Incandescent
Halogen
CFL
LED
100 watts
72 watts
23 watts
14-16 watts
75 watts
53 watts
20 watts
12-13 watts
60 watts
43 watts
15 watts
8-9 watts
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Pro Tip

Turn off the light outside when you go to sleep. You could save up to $40 a year. Even better, use a programmable switch or even a motion sensor to limit outside lighting.
Line drawings of the various light bulb shapes available
Go for Design Variety with Bulbs of All Shapes and Sizes

Light bulb shapes and bases vary depending on function and style. Different LED bulbs, for example, are designed for use with pendant lights, wall sconces, table lamps, ceiling fans, and a variety of other light fixtures. For some extra flair, consider vintage and decorative bulbs.

When replacing a light bulb, bring along your old bulb or take a picture that you can refer to as you shop. This will help ensure that you buy the correct replacement while looking for more stylish or energy-saving options.

Adjust the Light Intensity with a Dimmer
DIMMERS LIGHT US UP

Replace your light switches with dimmers. These allow you to regulate the intensity of the light according to your needs. With this replacement, you can prolong the lifespan of your bulbs and reduce your energy consumption.

Before buying your light bulbs, verify the label to make sure they are compatible with a dimmer.

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Pro Tip

Take the time to dust off your light bulbs and fixtures. This is a small gesture that might seem trivial, but will allow you to regain up to 40% of your brightness if your fixtures are covered in dust.
Wall grow light above an indoor plant
Use LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Set up an indoor garden and enjoy year-round harvests with specialty LED grow lights that encourage strong and healthy plant growth. Choose balanced spectrum bulbs to nurture plants from the seedling to the budding stage, and then switch to advance red spectrum bulbs for the flowering or fruit production stage.

Wall-mounted grow lights above an indoor vertical garden
Discover the Latest in Light Bulb Tech

Light bulb tech has increased dramatically over the last several years. Stay on top of these innovations by considering some new lighting features. 

With a smart phone, we can adjust their intensity, the colour of the lighting, create an ambiance and more:

  • Light Bulb with Wi-Fi Relay
    Having issues with your Wi-Fi at home? This bulb not only brightens up your space—it also amplifies your Wi-Fi signal thanks to an integrated Wi-Fi relay. Brilliant!
  • Light Bulb with Light Sensor
    This light bulb switches off automatically when the daylight is enough. A simple way to save energy.
  • Light Bulb with Motion Sensor
    This light bulb switches on when a person enters the space. Ideal to avoid tripping in the dark.
  • Light Bulb with Integrated Camera
    Keep an eye on your house even in your absence. This light bulb also allows 24/7 HD video recording.
  • Light Bulb with Integrated Speakers
    Hello ambiance! Set the tone with a light bulb that allows you to play your favourite music in all your rooms.
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Pro Tip

When a compact fluorescent light stops working, it can emit a noise accompanied by smoke. This is normal. Do not throw them in the trash—bring them back to the store instead. We’ll recycle them.

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