These bulbs used to be the standard and for many years were the only type of bulb available. They give off a soft, warm glow similar to candlelight. Their nice ambiance isn’t enough to makeup for their terrible energy efficiency. Many countries no longer produce incandescent bulbs because of this. Even though they come in a wide range of color temperatures, shapes and wattage, they have a short life span, contributing to their energy inefficiency.
The term CFL stands for compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs function by passing an electrical current through fluorene gas, which then gives off light. This design doesn’t lose much energy to heat. Originally CFLs had a limited range of color temperatures, but it’s been updated to include more colors. A wide range of wattages is available. They have good energy efficiency and a good lifespan. They do require a ballast to be dimmable. Like their larger cousins, disposal requires special treatment.
Standard Fluorescent Tubes
These bulbs are familiar to anyone who’s ever looked up in a supermarket or warehouse. Long glass tubes filled with fluorine gas are lit when an electrical current passes through them (just like with CFLs). They have excellent energy efficiency and very long life spans, but a terrible range of color temperatures. Most standard fluorescent light fixtures are fitted with ballast to regulate electricity. Unfortunately, the ballast often creates an irritating buzz. Mostly associated with institutional lighting and industrial spaces, fluorescent light is rarely looked on favourably. Its best use in the home is in utility spaces (garage, laundry room, mud room, basement, etc.). Because fluorine gas is hazardous, disposal requires special treatment.