How To Buy The Right Light Bulb in 2022

By William K. Arner •  Updated: 05/28/22 •  5 min read

Purchasing a light bulb is a little more complicated than in the past. You can’t just buy a similar watt bulb. Previously you could expect it would match the other bulbs in the room. Sometimes, if you buy a random bulb, it won’t even fit in your fixture. So before you go to the hardware store, let us show you how to buy the right light bulb.

Check your bulb base size and shape

Light bulbs come in various sizes and shapes. The a19 bulb and e26 base are today’s U.S. household’s standard light bulbs. The stereotypical image of bulb shape refers to as an A bulb. The 19 designates the size.  

The E means the bulb uses an Edison Screw. The 26 represents the ground is 26mm across. European countries use an E27 bulb with a 27 mm ground.

Another letter you might encounter:

 For reference, Bulbs.com has a great light bulb shape chart

Determine much light you need

Instead of looking for watts on the bulb, look for the number of lumens. Knowing the lumens will tell you the emitting of how much light occurs. Watts is a measurement of energy. You will often find a watt equivalent on the box, but look for the lumens to be sure. 

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How bulb wattage will affect lumens :

The fixture’s ratings occur for the maximum watts they can safely handle. The energy-saving bulb can produce a brighter light if you select one with more lumens and stays safely within the maximum allowed wattage. 

For instance, a 9-watt LED bulb provides the same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. So you could safely upgrade to a 15-watt LED bulb that produces the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. 

Select the right color

Not all light bulbs have the same color of white. They produce a color cast. 

Warm light bulbs can emit a traditional yellow light. The daylight bulbs produce a bluish light.

Manufacturers like to use terms like “soft,” “daylight,” or “warm.” Unfortunately, these terms aren’t standard across manufacturers. It would help if you looked at the color temperature measured in degrees Kelvin to determine the direct color replacement. 

Here’s how 

Smart LED lights have a broad spectrum of white light. These may be interesting as different color variants may work better for specific tasks.

Finally, not all light bulbs accurately show an object’s true colors. The measuring of color accuracy occurs by CRI or color rendering index. The CRI scale range is from zero to 100. 

You can find a perfect CRI of 100 in incandescent halogen bulbs. As long as compact fluorescent or LED bulb has a CRI of 80 is good, and a rating over 90 is very high quality.

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Find out if you need a dimmable bulb

Not all light bulbs can be dimmed or used in 3-way fixtures. If the bulbs have dimmable or 3-way on the packaging, you will know the bulb will work with your dimmer or 3-way fixture. 

            1. Can the light bulb be used in an enclosed fixture or recessed can

The use of light bulbs in enclosed fixtures and recessed fixtures produces heat in enclosed structures. Make sure you look for a rated bulb for use in an enclosed fixture. LED bulbs are susceptible to heat and won’t last as long if used in these fixtures. LED bulbs last longer if rated to be used in an enclosed fixture. 

            2. Choose the correct type of light bulb

When you’re buying new bulbs, you’ll want to look for the Energy Star label, no matter the type. Testing of Energy Star light bulbs must meet specific requirements to become certified. The benchmarks will include labeling to tell you precisely what you are buying. 

The Energy Star label will indicate the bulb’s color, energy usage, lifespan, lumens, and cost to run it for a year. As a result, you can compare bulbs with this information.

These are the three classes of energy-saving bulbs: 

The LED bulbs seeing a price reduction means the bulbs make more sense to purchase. The less efficient bulbs are more expensive to run and replace. So replace your old bulbs with the appropriate LED bulbs.

I hope you found this guide on how to buy the right light bulb proper. Check out our other articles to guide you in other future purchases. 

William K. Arner

William K. Arner is an expert on lighting & indoor gardening. He has 12 years of research experience in lighting products and indoor gardening. William likes to collect different types of lighting & gardening products like grow lights, indoor-outdoor lights or automotive lights, and test them in different ways. He likes to write his experience as tips and reviews about lighting related products so that people can choose the best and perfect one for them.