bulbsWith so many different types of light bulbs on the market today, it may get confusing when trying to pick out the right one. Incandescent, halogen, CFLs, LEDs- there’s so many options! Let’s take a closer look at each one of these bulbs.

Incandescent light bulbs are the ones most people are familiar with and can be found in many households giving off a steady, warm glow. A standard incandescent bulb, which has the ability to be used with a dimmer, has a lifespan between 700 and 1,000 hours. With an average price of $0.60, this traditional “Edison” light bulb emits more heat than visible light. Due to this inefficiency, incandescent bulbs are beginning to be phased out all across the globe. Australia placed a ban on them in November 2009 and the United States will be following with a similar action expected to take place in 2014.

Halogen bulbs, which are slightly more efficient than incandescent bulbs, have a lifespan of 2,000 to 3,000 hours. These are also compatible with dimmers, but when fully lit, can reach triple digit temperatures, making them a potential fire hazard. With an average price of $4 per bulb, this form of incandescent has the truest color rendering of any light source aside from the sun.

Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) are similar to regular fluorescent bulbs but are much more efficient and produce less heat. Although most cannot be used with dimmers, they can last up to 10,000 hours. These bulbs also have the ability to last up to eight times longer than incandescents, and at about $4 per bulb, you’ll see your monthly electric bill start to decrease. Be careful though, CFLs enclose trace amounts mercury and require special disposal methods.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are low in power consumption and have a long life span, ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 hours! With a price tag of $20-$80 per bulb, many people will be uninterested, but this high cost can be justified over time by their long life, high efficiency, and low toxicity. To see how LEDs compare to other types of light bulbs on factors not mentioned here, be sure to check out this chart.

Finally, there is a new type of light bulb making its debut. A group of seven guys recently created the LIFX, an energy-efficient, multicolor bulb that has the ability to be controlled with a smartphone. A customized iOS or Android app will put the power in your hands, allowing you to dim the bulb, schedule it to come on at certain times with increasing light, or even change to different colors! The LIFX is so technologically advanced that it can colorfully pulse to the beat of your favorite music and even flash when you receive a Twitter or Facebook notification. This Wifi-enabled bulb is highly efficient, using approximately one tenth the amount of power of regular bulbs. As expected, with all these features, the LIFX does not run cheap. At a price of $69, this light bulb will give you 25 years worth of electricity and entertainment.

As mentioned before, dealing with all these types of light bulbs can get pretty confusing. If you spend the time to research the best option for you, you will be sure to use less electricity and begin to see lower electric bills.