Not all lightbulbs are created equal or intended for the same purpose. Anyone who has bought one and watched it immediately burn out or not work period can attest to this. Different appliances and outlets have different wattage outputs and different lightbulbs are designed to take those different wattage outputs. Too much wattage for a lightbulb and it will quickly burn out. Too little wattage for a bulb and it will flicker or may not even light up at all. On top of that you have different types of lightbulbs themselves, that use different mechanisms to generate light.

Getting the right lightbulb is incredibly important for the function of whatever household appliance it’s going into.

Understanding what makes a lightbulb work can be the key to making the right choices and avoiding annoying and time-consuming mistakes when it comes to getting lightbulbs changed out for your appliances.

Below are the three most common lightbulbs you will find for household use and some information about them.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

These are your typical lightbulbs, the kind you’re used to seeing. They feature a tungsten filament that glows when current is sent through it, resulting in the light you see. A sudden or burst-like flow of energy through the filament can cause it to heat too quickly and burn out. This is the original lightbulb and has been used since the invention of electric light.

Fluorescent Bulbs

While incandescent bulbs rely on a fairly straight forward glow to emit light, fluorescent bulbs are a bit more complex. They rely on energy flowing through a fluorescent tube where the electric current passes between cathodes which excite thee gas inside and result in the glow of radiating energy. They use the same amount of energy as incandescent bulbs to produce more and better light.


Light emitting diode, more commonly known as LED, are a type of energy efficient light that’s becoming more and more common in homes. They utilize a semi-conductor device where energy hits a negatively charged diode causing the flow of electrons and the release of photons which combine together to form the light you see coming from an LED bulb.

Related Questions

What is the most environmentally friendly bulb?

Different lightbulbs have pros and cons when it comes to their ability to be friendly to the environment. Incandescent bulbs are easier to dispose of than fluorescent bulbs, but they waste a lot more energy. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient, but they are expensive and contain dangerous gases. LED lights are the most energy efficient bulbs you can find.

What bulbs are best for my home?

That depends on a lot of factors. A home full of incandescent bulbs will be changing out bulbs regularly and wasting a lot of energy. Fluorescent bulbs last longer but are far brighter and can be somewhat garish in certain settings. It all depends on your needs and the build of your home.

Talk to a professional electrician about your options and what will work best for the lightning in your home.

Bratcher Electric is a full service electrical contracting firm that has been working with businesses and residents throughout Michigan for over 50 years. We take care of our customers by providing complete customer satisfaction for every job we perform; residential, commercial and industrial. Our electrical services include new home wiring, generator service and installation, electrical code and service upgrades, surge protection and much more! Contact us today for a Free Consultation!