How to choose the right bulb

There are two main categories of energy-efficient bulbs that provide light at lower cost: LED and compact fluorescent (CFLs). Models in packages marked ENERGY STAR® certified are guaranteed to offer greater efficiency and reliability. Choose the right bulb from the various shapes, brightnesses and colors available based on your needs.

Choose the shape

  • See the various lightbulb shapes suitable for different kinds of fixtures.
  • Make sure an LED bulb is the same shape as the old one it’s replacing.
  • Make sure it won’t extend beyond your fixture.

Here are the various LED bulb shapes

Directional or mood lighting? Indoor or outdoor? Choose the right bulb for the job.

LED bulbs: globe, regular, candle and three types of reflectors.

Find out more about lighting

Here are the various CFL shapes

CFL shapes: globe, regular, candle and 2 types of spirals.

Find out more about lighting

Choose the brightness

How to tell how bright a bulb is

  • Look at the number of lumens (lm) to find out how bright a bulb is. Wattage is a less reliable indication for CFLs and LED bulbs, especially since LED technology is constantly changing to use fewer and fewer watts to produce the same amount of light.
  • See the comparison table for a better understanding of lumens and the equivalences between incandescents, CFLs and LEDs.

The lumen is a measure of light (or luminous flux) emitted by a source. It’s the best gauge of brightness.

Brightness

 400 lumens
INCANDESCENT BULB
(W)
40 W
CFL
(W)1
9 W
LED BULB
(W)1
7 W
 800 lumens
INCANDESCENT BULB
(W)
60 W
CFL
(W)1
13 W
LED BULB
(W)1
10 W
 1,600 lumens
INCANDESCENT BULB
(W)
100 W
CFL
(W)1
23 W
LED BULB
(W)1
19 W
LUMINOUS FLUX
(LM)

INCANDESCENT BULB
(W)

CFL
(W)1

INCANDESCENT BULB
(W)1
400 lumens 40 W 9 W 7 W
800 lumens 60 W 13 W 10 W
1,600 lumens 100 W 23 W 19 W
1 Estimated value

Choose the color of the light

The best choice depends on the atmosphere you want to create.
  • The terms warm white, soft white and cool white on bulb packages describe the type of atmosphere the light creates.
  • For a more accurate indication, look at the bulb’s color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), which is generally between 2,700 K and 6,500 K.
  • See the color temperature scale for a better understanding of kelvins and the equivalences between color temperature and mood lighting.

The lower the number, the warmer the atmosphere and the yellower the light, more like an incandescent bulb.


Warm white
800 lm – 2,700 K
Cool white
800 lm – 4,100 K