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light bulbs guide

Who, Watt, Where?

Watts are the amount of electricity a bulb consumes to produce light. The less wattage = energy savings. Not so long ago, they were the deciding factor for purchase.

Despite your lamp ‘watts’ still being important for energy consumption information, following the new EU directive, bulbs now have to be sold based on Lumens (lm) we think this is a great direction for lighting as bulb quality and design (particularly LED) play a big part in how much light is emitted from that particular bulb. To help you choose the right bulb brightness compared to the old watt system, please see our recommendations in the comparison guide on the right.

What type of bulbs you can buy

Incandescent (No longer manufactured)

The old standard 40 – 100 watt bulbs have been phased out from 2007 however you can still find them in some very small shops and online.

The new incandescent bulbs are similar in size and appearance however more energy-efficient, not by much (about 1000 hrs typically) but are the cheapest of the equivalents available.

Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) have been available for some time now, and recognisable by their slim tubular design, often in a spiral. CFL’s don't brighten as quickly as incandescent or LED bulbs, so wont work well for porches and driveways, or anywhere you need instant bright light. They also don't like to get nippy, so we do not recommend you use them outdoors in cold climates.

CFL’s typically last for about 10,000 hours, and use about 70% less energy than incandescent. They are little more expensive however will last you 9 times longer in addition to saving energy, which means the bulb will pay for its self in about 9 months. It is useful to note that these types of bulbs do not work on dimmer switches, they will flicker until they become faulty, you may want to opt for incandescent or dimmable LED instead.

LED light bulbs

Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use even less energy than CFL’s, and they last longer: up to a staggering 50,000 hours. They brighten instantly, even in cold temperatures. Using LED’s can help you save up to a whopping 80% percent in energy costs per year.

LEDs are the most expensive in the range so they are not always the best option for areas of your home that are rarely used as it may take a lot longer to recoup the energy savings. You can have dimmable LED bulbs which are generally a little more expensive. Please see our calculator so you can work out how much you may save changing to LED with ADH Electrical Services.


If you want lighting that resembles the warm colour (that of a standard incandescent bulb), you will want ‘warm’ light and for a brighter more stark light (popular in kitchens) you will want ‘White’ light.

Other funky colour variations are also available for dynamic lighting and effects.

Savings summery

If you are looking for instant savings, energy-efficient incandescent bulbs with basic fittings are the way to go. If you're looking long-term cost benefits, CFLs and LEDs will save you more money in the long run.

See how much you can save with LED

Choosing the right bulbs

Just like choosing a traditional light bulb, make sure the fitting or ‘cap’ matches what’s in your home. However, you should be aware that some energy saving bulbs emit a different colour compared with traditional bulbs, here are a few things to consider.

Traditional bulbs emit a warm colour so to replicate this, look for the phrase 'warm white' on the box. Some labels will detail the colour temperature in Kelvins (K); the lower the K’s, the warmer the colour will be. To provide some reference, please see our comparison guide below. 


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old bulb comparison