Incandescent Versus Fluorescent – What Bulbs Should You Use?

When it comes to purchasing new lightbulbs there are several options to choose from. The two main types to consider however are incandescent and fluorescent light technologies. While both of these options will do a generally decent job of lighting up a space, there are a few pivotal differences between the two that should be considered before going out and buying the first lightbulbs that you see.

In order to explore the differences of these two lighting options, one must first understand the technology behind them. Electric lighting is after all a type of technology. It is a relatively young technology at that, as it has only been around for a couple of hundred years.

Incandescent lighting is the original electrical lighting that was used for the majority of history. It creates light by generating heat with a filament within the bulb. This filament glows and produces a light that is considered by many to be the most natural kind of artificial light that there is. This can probably be explained by the fact that heat is producing the light, much in the same way that a fire or the sun might have produced it elsewhere.

Fluorescent lighting is a little bit newer and very different. Unlike incandescent light, fluorescent light is produced without generating any kind of heat. This means that they are not hot to the touch in the same way as incandescent lightbulbs are when in use. The light in a fluorescent bulb is produced by electricity flowing through ionized gas.

So now that you know what they are, what are the measurable differences between the two? As already stated, one gives off heat while the other does not. Also important is the fact that an incandescent bulb will generally be less efficient than a fluorescent bulb.

While this might make the fluorescent bulb seem like the better option, consider that incandescent bulbs light up much faster than fluorescent bulbs which take a few minutes to reach full brightness. Fluorescent bulbs also contain small amounts of mercury, which might be considered a health hazard by some. This is something to definitely take into consideration if you are a very health conscious person and do not want to take the chance.

Ultimately the two different lighting options both comes with pros and cons. Incandescent bulbs will get bright and hot very fast, while offering a slightly more natural light. Fluorescent lights use less energy and are not hot to the touch, but contain mercury. The choice comes down to personal preference in many cases.

Evan Shaner