How to Choose a Lightbulb

As if there weren’t already enough choices to make when faced with all the brands and types of groceries and household products, now even buying a lightbulb is confusing. Your hardest decision used to be just whether to buy a 60, 75 or 100 watt incandescent bulb. It started to get a little more difficult when compact fluorescent or CFL bulbs were added to the mix. Now there is the LED or light emitting diode bulb.

Soon, however, the decision will get a little easier because you’ll no longer be able to buy the traditional incandescent bulb. They will no longer be manufactured for use in the United States.

Although the fluorescent bulbs are more expensive, they last longer. When they were first introduced, there were some quality problems, but those have since disappeared for the most part. The big drawback is that they contain mercury, and shouldn’t be tossed into the wastebasket with the rest of your garbage.

The LED bulb is a relative newcomer to the market and will probably be the wave of the future. It lasts 10 or more years and doesn’t contain mercury. However, at the present time, it is very expensive, and may be out of reach of the typical homeowner. Just as the fluorescent bulb came down in price, the LED will probably do the same as more companies begin to manufacture them.

Meanwhile, your best bet and least expensive choice is the compact fluorescent. Just make sure to dispose of them responsibly. Home Depot is one store that will accept your used bulbs. For other sites, check with your local county or city office.