A Comprehensive Guide to Light Bulb Identification and Types

Navigating the world of light bulbs can be daunting- with their different shapes, sizes and types. Did you know that there are more than fifteen different kinds of light bulbs commonly used today? Our comprehensive guide simplifies this by breaking down each bulb type, its characteristics and how to identify them.

Let’s illuminate your knowledge on this subject!

Key Takeaways

  • There are different types of light bulbs available, including incandescent, halogen, CFLs, and LEDs.
  • Incandescent bulbs produce warm yellowish light but are not very energy-efficient.
  • Halogen bulbs produce bright white light and have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs.
  • CFLs use less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

A Brief History of Light Bulbs

Thomas Edison invented the first practical incandescent light bulb in 1879, followed by advancements from Frederick de Moleyns, Hermann Sprengel, and Matthew Evans and Henry Woodward.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was a smart man. He worked hard to make our lives better. In 1879, he made a big leap in light bulb design. Before him, light bulbs would burn out fast. But his new type of bulb could glow for many hours.

This was because of his choice to use a thin thread inside the bulb that turned white hot when power passed through it but did not break or burn out quickly like other bulbs at the time.

Frederick de Moleyns

Frederick de Moleyns was an inventor who made significant contributions to the development of light bulbs. He worked alongside Thomas Edison and helped improve the design of incandescent bulbs.

Frederick de Moleyns’ work focused on making the filaments inside the bulb more efficient, which increased their lifespan. This means that thanks to his efforts, we now have light bulbs that last longer and provide better illumination.

DIY enthusiasts can appreciate the impact of Frederick de Moleyns’ innovations when choosing light bulbs for their projects.

Overall, this guide provides valuable information about identifying different types of light bulbs and understanding their characteristics. It delves into details such as bulb shapes, sizes, codes, and base types to help DIY enthusiasts make informed decisions when purchasing or replacing light bulbs for their projects.

Hermann Sprengel

Hermann Sprengel was a German chemist who played a crucial role in the development of light bulb technology. He invented the mercury vacuum pump, which made it possible to create high-quality glass bulbs for incandescent lamps.

Sprengel’s invention allowed Thomas Edison and other inventors to improve their light bulbs by removing air and impurities from the glass bulb, resulting in longer-lasting and brighter lights.

His contribution revolutionized the production of light bulbs and paved the way for modern lighting systems that we use today. In his honor, his name is often associated with advancements in light bulb manufacturing processes.

Matthew Evans and Henry Woodward

Matthew Evans and Henry Woodward played a significant role in the history of light bulbs. They were two Canadians who developed an early version of the incandescent light bulb before Thomas Edison.

In 1874, they obtained a patent for their design, which used carbon filaments to produce light. While their invention was not as commercially successful as Edison’s later model, it was an important step towards creating practical electric lighting.

Their contribution paved the way for further advancements in light bulb technology, including the development of more energy-efficient options like LED bulbs that we use today.

Types of Light Bulbs

– Incandescent Bulbs: These traditional bulbs produce light by heating a filament until it glows, but they are less energy-efficient and have a shorter lifespan. Read more to discover the other types of light bulbs available today.

– Halogen Bulbs: With a halogen gas-filled chamber, these bulbs produce bright white light similar to natural daylight. They are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs but still have a limited lifespan.

– Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): CFLs use electricity to excite mercury vapor, producing ultraviolet light that is then converted into visible light. They are highly energy-efficient and can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

– Light-Emitting Diode (LED): LEDs are the most energy-efficient option, using semiconductors to convert electrical energy into light. They have an incredibly long lifespan and come in a variety of colors and brightness levels.

Continue reading to explore how different shapes and sizes of

Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are the traditional type of light bulbs that many of us grew up with. They produce light by heating a filament inside the bulb until it glows. These bulbs are known for their warm, yellowish light that creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere in any room.

However, they are not very energy-efficient, as a large portion of the energy they use is wasted as heat. In fact, incandescent bulbs have been phased out in many countries due to their high energy consumption.

LED bulbs are now the preferred choice for most people because they use significantly less energy and last much longer than incandescent bulbs.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are a type of light bulb that produce bright, white light. They are similar to incandescent bulbs but have some differences. Halogen bulbs use a tungsten filament enclosed in a small glass envelope filled with halogen gas.

The halogen gas helps the bulb last longer because it prevents the tungsten from evaporating as quickly. Halogen bulbs also produce more light and have a higher color temperature than incandescent bulbs, making them ideal for tasks that require crisp and clear lighting, like reading or working on projects.

They come in different shapes and sizes to fit various fixtures and are known for their excellent color rendering ability, which means they show colors accurately and vividly. It’s important to handle halogen bulbs with care because the oil from your fingers can cause hot spots on the glass, leading to premature failure of the bulb.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are a type of light bulb that is more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They use less electricity and can last up to 10 times longer.

CFLs work by sending an electric current through a tube filled with gas, which then emits ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light causes the phosphor coating on the inside of the tube to glow, producing visible light.

CFLs come in different shapes and sizes to fit different fixtures, so you can easily find one that suits your needs. They are a great choice if you want to save money on your energy bills and reduce your environmental footprint.

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. LED light bulbs are a popular choice because they are energy-efficient and long-lasting. They use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, which can help save money on your energy bills.

LED bulbs also emit very little heat, making them safer to use. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can find the right one for your needs. LEDs have become the preferred choice for many DIY enthusiasts due to their durability and eco-friendly features.

Identifying Light Bulb Shapes and Sizes

To properly identify light bulb shapes and sizes, you need to understand the different types of bulbs available in the market.

Type A Light Bulbs

Type A light bulbs are the most common type of light bulb that you will find. They have a typical pear-shaped design with a medium screw base. You can easily identify them by their code, which is usually “A” followed by a number indicating their diameter in eighths of an inch.

For example, an A19 bulb has a 19/8 or 2.375-inch diameter. Type A bulbs come in various wattages and are available in incandescent, halogen, CFL, and LED options. These bulbs are versatile and can be used for general lighting purposes in lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and many other applications.

When choosing a Type A bulb, make sure to check its compatibility with your fixture and consider energy-efficient options like LEDs to save on electricity bills.

Type B and C Light Bulbs

Type B and C light bulbs are two common types of light bulb shapes. Type B bulbs have a smaller diameter compared to other bulb types, making them suitable for decorative fixtures like chandeliers and candle-shaped lamps.

They have a candelabra or intermediate base. On the other hand, Type C bulbs are similar in shape but with a cone-like tip at the top. These bulbs are often used in nightlights and accent lighting fixtures, providing a softer glow.

Both Type B and C light bulbs typically use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, making them more energy-efficient choices for your DIY lighting projects.

Type BR Light Bulbs

BR light bulbs are a type of light bulb that have a bulged reflector shape. They are often used in recessed lighting fixtures and track lighting. BR stands for “bulged reflector.” These bulbs provide a wide beam angle, which means they can spread light over a larger area.

They come in different sizes, such as BR30 and BR40, with the number indicating the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. BR light bulbs are known for their directional lighting capabilities and can be a great choice for illuminating specific areas in your home or workspace.

LED versions of BR bulbs are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan.

Type PAR Light Bulbs

Type PAR light bulbs, also known as Parabolic Aluminized Reflector bulbs, are commonly used in track lighting and recessed fixtures. They have a reflector inside that helps to direct the light in a focused beam.

These bulbs come in various sizes and wattages, making them versatile for different lighting needs.

One important thing to note about Type PAR light bulbs is that they are available in both incandescent and LED options. Incandescent PAR bulbs produce warm white light but are less energy-efficient compared to LED PAR bulbs, which provide similar brightness but consume less electricity.

LED PAR bulbs also have a longer lifespan, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

When choosing a Type PAR bulb, it’s essential to consider factors such as the beam angle and color temperature. The angle determines how wide or narrow the light beam will be spread out, while the color temperature affects the ambiance of your space.

So whether you need focused task lighting or want to create a cozy atmosphere, there’s a Type PAR bulb suitable for your needs.

Type MR Light Bulbs

Type MR light bulbs are a type of halogen bulb that are commonly used for accent lighting and task lighting. These bulbs have a multifaceted reflector, which helps to direct the light in a specific direction.

They come in different sizes and wattages, with the most common sizes being MR16 and MR11. One important thing to note is that these bulbs operate at higher temperatures than other types of bulbs, so they should be handled carefully to avoid burns.

When choosing an MR bulb, make sure to check the base size and wattage to ensure compatibility with your fixture.

Type LFL and T Light Bulbs

LFL and T light bulbs are commonly used in various lighting fixtures. LFL stands for “linear fluorescent lamp,” while T refers to the shape of the bulb, which is tube-shaped. These types of bulbs are often found in commercial spaces like offices, schools, and hospitals.

LFL and T light bulbs are energy-efficient and provide bright illumination. They come in different sizes, such as T5, T8, and T12. The number indicates the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch.

These bulbs require a ballast to operate properly. The ballast regulates the electrical current flowing through the bulb. Some LFL and T bulbs also use electronic ballasts that offer improved efficiency and flicker-free operation.

When choosing replacement bulbs or fixtures for LFL or T lights, it’s essential to consider factors like color temperature (measured in kelvin) and whether you need dimmable options.

Type G Light Bulbs

Type G light bulbs are a common type of bulb that you might come across when looking for the right light for your DIY project. These bulbs have a distinctive shape and size, making them easy to identify.

They are often used in pendant lights and chandeliers because of their decorative appearance. Type G bulbs can come in different forms, such as incandescent or halogen bulbs, but LED versions are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and longer lifespan.

So if you’re looking to add some style and brightness to your home or workspace, consider choosing Type G light bulbs for your next lighting project.

Choosing the Right Light Bulb

To choose the right light bulb, determine the source of your light, identify the features you need, and consider the bulb’s capacity and replacement frequency.

Determine the source of your light

To choose the right light bulb, you first need to determine where the light will be coming from. Is it for a ceiling fixture? A table lamp? Knowing this will help you understand what type of bulb you need and how much light it should provide.

For example, if it’s for a reading lamp, you may want a brighter bulb to ensure proper visibility. Consider the purpose of the light before making your selection.

Identify the features you need

To choose the right light bulb for your needs, it’s important to identify the features you require. Consider factors like brightness (measured in lumens), color temperature, and energy efficiency.

Think about whether you need a dimmable bulb or one that is suitable for outdoor use. Additionally, take note of the bulb’s lifespan and warranty to ensure long-lasting performance.

By identifying these features upfront, you can make an informed decision when selecting a light bulb that meets your specific requirements.

Consider the bulb’s capacity and replacement frequency

When choosing a light bulb, it’s important to consider its capacity and how often you’ll need to replace it. LED bulbs have a longer lifespan compared to incandescent or halogen bulbs, which means they can last for years without needing replacement.

This not only saves you money in the long run but also reduces the hassle of frequently changing bulbs. Additionally, LEDs are more energy-efficient and produce less heat, making them a practical choice for both indoor and outdoor lighting needs.

So, when picking a bulb, think about how often you want to change it and opt for one with a longer lifespan like LED bulbs.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide provides essential information on light bulb identification and types. It covers the history of light bulbs, different types of bulbs available in the market, and how to identify their shapes and sizes.

With this guide, DIY enthusiasts can easily choose the right light bulb for their needs and make informed decisions when purchasing. Remember to consider factors like wattage, lumens, and the energy-efficient LED option.

So go ahead, brighten up your space with confidence!


1. What is the Bulb finder?

The bulb finder is a tool that helps you identify light bulbs by their types, size, diameter, codes or base types.

2. How can I use the bulb size chart and bulb shape chart?

You can use these charts to match your own light bulbs with those on the charts to get their sizes and shapes.

3. Is there an app for identifying light bulbs?

Yes! A Bulb Identification App uses features like light bulb dimensions and wattage to help figure out what kind of light bulb it is.

4. Can this guide help me with different types of light bulbs?

This Guide gives details about compact fluorescent bulbs along with other major types of bulbs based on their characteristics.

5. How do I know my Light Bulb’s Size?

You refer to a “Bulb Size Guide”. It will show you all different sizes so you learn how to look at yours in order compare it right away.

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