This year, I’ve decided to complement my husband’s Uncle Fester Halloween costume and dress up as a light bulb. Browsing the hardware store for inspiration, I saw how difficult choosing a light bulb could really be.

Here are some handy tips to shed some light on picking the right light bulb for you.

Look at the lumens

If you want a brighter bulb, the lumens, not the watts, will tell you how much brightness a bulb will generate. Watts will tell you how much electricity the bulbs use. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use far less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, but can emit the same amount of light.


Determine the direction


While LEDs are generally the best at saving energy, they don’t work well for all lighting scenarios. They produce a directional light, meaning they work best for downlights, recessed cans and dimmable sockets, rather than general lighting.

Consider the color

A big turnoff for many homeowners in making the switch to CFLs or LEDs has been the bluish-white light they emit. However, if you look at the light appearance number or the correlated color temperature (CCT), which is measured in degrees Kelvin (K), you can start to decipher the look of the light before buying the bulb. The higher the number, the cooler (more blue) the hue. If you want to mimic the warm, yellowish light of the traditional incandescent bulbs, look for a number around 2700K.

When shopping, don’t depend on the numbers alone. Get a few options and try them in the rooms they’ll be used in before swapping out all of your bulbs.

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