The best light bulb types for different uses

There are so many light bulb types on the market; different shapes, different materials and different colour temperatures, that making the right choice can be confusing – especially if you don’t know the jargon.

Our team has created this handy guide to light bulb types, to give our customers all of the information they need when choosing a light bulb for their requirements. We hope it sheds some light on the situation!

Light bulb types explained

There a number of different light bulb types, which each have their own specific functions, suitable applications and pros and cons to be considered. Choosing the right light bulb type for your needs is the first step towards making the right purchase.

Light Emmitting Diode (LED) Lamps

LED lamps are known for being one of the most energy-efficient, and therefore cost-effective choices when it comes to light bulbs. They are versatile, and can be used for a range of purposes and to illuminate all environments. They also have a longer lifespan than other types (some have up to 11 years of continuous use) meaning they create less waste. They are also chemical-free, making them less harmful to the environment. LED Lamps are available in all bulb types, including GU10, LED candles, GLS bulbs, MR16 and reflector bulbs.

Halogen and Compact Lamps

Halogen bulbs and lamps contain a filament surrounded by halogen gas that produces light. These bulbs often burn a bright, clear light, which makes them suited to task-focused work where people need to see in detail, such as offices, kitchens or bathrooms. They are also more energy-efficient than traditional filament bulbs, making them a popular choice. Halogen bulbs and lamps are available in a number of bulb types, including golf ball, reflector bulbs, spotlights, halogen candles, double-ended and General Lighting Service (GLS) light bulbs.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulbs

HID lamps and bulbs contain noble gases that produce a high levels of light, making them perfectly suited to environments that need to be well-lit; they are often used for security lights, and warehouses, and are commonly seen in street lighting. HID bulbs have a long lifespan, meaning they are a cost-effective investment, for the light output they offer. HID bulbs are available in a range of bulb types, including metal halide, sodium, double-ended and ceramic.

Light Bulb Shapes

Light bulbs are available in a range of different shapes, which are suited to a variety of home and commercial uses. Find out more about the different light bulb shapes below.

General Lighting Service (GLS) light bulbs

As you’re likely to have guessed, GLS bulbs have the standard, classic lightbulb shape, and are the most widely-recognised lightbulb style. Choose GLS bulbs in lamps and ceiling light fittings in the home. View our most popular (GLS) light bulbs.

Candle light bulbs

Candle light bulbs look like a candle flame, and are therefore more decorative than other choices. These are used in home ceiling lights and lamps, to create a more rustic or vintage feel. View our most popular candle light bulbs.

Golf ball or globe light bulbs

As the name suggests, the shape of golf ball light bulbs is more round than traditional bulbs. The attractive circular shape is less conventional than other forms, making it a more contemporary choice. They are also smaller than other bulbs, making them a space-saving alternative. View our most popular golf ball and globe bulbs.


Another more contemporary choice, reflector bulbs contain reflectors that push the light back out into the room, making a bright light for efficient energy usage. This makes them perfect for commercial and domestic properties, as they help to keep energy bills down. View our most popular reflector bulbs.


The spotlight bulb, as the name suggests, is in the shape of a spotlight. They channel a path of light, and are often grouped in clusters to light a room fully. These bulbs are often used in kitchens and bathrooms, and can be adjusted to different angles to suit your needs. View our most popular spotlight bulb the GU10 LED and the MR16 LED.

Colour temperature

Colour temperature refers to the appearance of the light that your light bulb emits. The (generally) white light that comes from light bulbs can be in both warmer shades, towards yellow and orange, and cooler shades, containing more blue hues.

Colour temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K), from 1,000 to 10,000 Kelvins. The warmer the tone of bulb, the lower the colour temperature is.

Choosing a colour temperature
The light in a room can have a real impact on its look and feel. Warm tones (at lower colour temperatures) are brilliant ambient lights, and help to create a relaxing atmosphere, but are often not bright enough for occupants to see what they need to.

Cooler tones (at higher colour temperatures) provide a brighter, much clearer light, making them conducive to task lighting in offices and studies.

The colour temperature of light bulbs, and the best applications for them, are as follows:

Cool Daylight – 6500 Kelvins


Cool daylight bulbs are more specialist, as they omit a particularly ‘white’ light, often used in specialist, task-focused applications, such as display areas and security lighting.

Daylight – 6000 Kelvins


These bulbs simulate daylight, and can be effectively used to combat the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a form of depression that is linked to a lack of daylight. Daylight colour temperature bulbs can be used anywhere in the home, and are great for task-focused work, as they provide a clear light.

Cool White – 4,000 Kelvins


Cool white lightbulbs can create a bright, task-focussed ambiance which helps people to stay alert. Based on this, they can be used well in work environments, but are also commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms where a clearer light is needed.

White – 3,500 Kelvins


Many fluorescent and compact fluorescent tubes are this colour, and as it’s in the middle of the colour temperature scale, white bulbs are incredibly versatile. Use effectively throughout the home and workplace for a bright, multi-purpose light.

Warm White – 3000 Kelvins


Warm white bulbs are some of the most common to be found in the home, and help to create a cosy, softer ambiance than cooler shades. Use these in living rooms and bedrooms, when you’re trying to create a welcoming environment in which to relax.

Extra Warm White – 2700 Kelvins


The least ‘bright’ on the colour scale, these bulbs are much less conducive to productivity, and much more focussed on creating an inviting ambiance. Use these in restaurants and bars, or in the living rooms and bedrooms.

We hope you’ve found our guide to the different light bulb types useful in choosing the right product for your needs. You can shop our selection of bulbs, lamps and tubes, or get in touch with our team if you have any further queries, and they’ll be happy to help you find the right bulbs for your needs.