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How to Choose the Right Light Bulb for Your Home

30 April 2019

The world of light fittings can prove very confusing! That’s why the DIY experts at B&M have decided to create this handy set of tips for choosing the right light bulb for your home. Thanks to the following light bulb buying guide, you can stop scratching your head and start looking around for the best product for you!

Here are the main light bulb types explained, and how to choose between them.

Check Your Light Fitting/Socket

Light BulbIf you’re struggling to figure out how to choose a light bulb, the best way to start is by checking the socket into which your new bulb will fit. Most commonly, it will take a B22 bulb - otherwise known as the pin-type or bayonet base, which measures 22mm across the diameter of its base - but you may also find sockets that fit the B15 bayonet, the E27 or E14 Edison screw cap (so named because of the screw-thread design of their bases), or the GU10 spotlight cap, though there are plenty more besides.

It’s also worth checking to see what voltage the fitting will take. There’s usually a maximum wattage rating that you shouldn’t surpass for fear of blowing a fuse. Lightbulb packaging displays the wattage of the bulb in question, so it’s hard to make a mistake.

Shape & Design of Bulb

Light bulb shape and design
It’s currently very much in vogue for light bulbs to be selected to complement their surroundings - not just through the strength and quality of light they produce, but also through their size and shape. Take a look at the light fitting into which you’ll place the new bulb and consider what kind might look best.

At B&M, we sell everything from subtle GLS-style bulbs to elegant candle bulbs, spotlights, golf/globe bulbs, capsules, linear bulbs and much more besides.

Bulbs tend to come with either clear or pearl glass, though there’s not much difference between the two when it comes to the brightness and quality of the light they produce - it’s more about the look. However, you may find that some pearl glass diffuses the light very slightly, creating a softer feel.

Strength of Light

Strength of Light

The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens, so take a look at the packing to see how many each has. Different strengths of light are best for different tasks - for example, the best light bulb for reading should be in the mid-range - between 450 and 1,600 lumens, depending on the wattage of the bulbs you’ve chosen.

One of the most important tips for choosing the right light bulb is to remember that the number and type of bulbs you’ll need for each room can be determined by the recommended number of lumens per square metre. For example, the best light bulbs for a living room will produce between 100 and 200 lumens per square metre, while you should use this as a baseline kitchen and bathroom bulbs, but it’s possible to go higher.

If you require a light for detailed handiwork, it’s recommended that you never go below 1000 lumens.

B&M’s Energizer LED 100W B22 Bulbs offer a brilliant 1521 lumens, while our gentle Eveready Halogen R50 28W Spot Light Bulbs put out 160 lumens - though they’re designed to be fitted in groups, so you can manage how bright your space is by choosing the right number.

Light Quality

If you’re still unsure of how to choose a light bulb, a good idea is to imagine the type of light you’d like filling each space in your home.

Most light bulb packaging will display details of the type of light produced by the product. “Warm white” and “cool white” are the most common, but there are others. Living spaces and bedrooms tend to feel cosier with softer, warmer lights, while stylish modern kitchens and workshops look great with cooler coloured lights.

Technology & Environment

Here, you’ll find the main light bulb types explained according to their comparative strengths.

Another of our top tips for choosing the right light bulb is to educate yourself about what each type of light technology can offer. Most commonly, you can choose between halogen bulbs, energy saver or CFL bulbs and LED bulbs. LEDs use the least energy, saving 90% compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, though CFLs save 80% and offer a warmer, softer light. Halogens save 30% and feature stronger, brighter light, similarly to an LED. LEDs are also the longest lasting, with an estimated 25 year lifespan compared to the 10 year life of a CFL or the 2 year life of a halogen.

  • LED - most energy efficient; approx. 25 year year lifespan
  • CFL - good energy saver with a warmer light compared to LED; approx 10 year lifespan
  • Halogen - least energy efficient but brighter light; approx. 2 year lifespan

Fun Features

Fun features

Of course, if you want something different, you can select dimmable or colour-changing bulbs to match your mood!

We hope you found our light bulb buying guide useful! Take a look at the lighting section of the B&M website for more options.

B&M Top Tip: we’ve got a wonderful variety of lamp shades and pendants to select from once you’ve worked out how to choose a light bulb that is best for your home.

Have you got a unique and beautiful lighting set-up? Or any tips to share on how to fit a lightbulb? Share it with the B&M Community via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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