How To Choose A Light Bulb Guide

Have you ever walked into Home Depot to buy a light bulb and were confused by all the choices? With so many different shapes and sizes, it can be overwhelming. What type of bulb should you be using for which application? What other important factors should you be looking for?


Color Temperature

First off it’s important to determine what you would like the lighting to look like. Are you looking for an application that requires warm lighting? Or are you looking for a cooler tone. For a warm color ambience, choose a bulb that has a color temperature of 2700-3000 Kelvin. A white bright light is produced by a color temperature of 3500-4100 Kelvin. For a daylight color temperature with a bluer hue, select a light bulb within 5000-6500 Kelvin. 

Lighting Technology


Incandescent bulbs reach their full light output capacity right away and are all dimmable.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

CFL’s take time to warm up and reach its full light output capacity.


LED light bulbs warm up instantly, similar to incandescent bulbs and many feature dimming capabilities as well.

Which Type of Bulb?

A Shaped

A shaped bulbs resemble traditional incandescent light bulbs. They are available in incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED technologies. A shaped bulbs are standard household bulbs and are used for General Lighting purposes and fit into a variety of applications including ceiling fixtures, pendants, portable lamps and wall mounts.


Spiral CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but use less energy. Spirals are ideal for use in the same applications as A shaped light bulbs.


Globe shaped bulbs are ideal for decorative applications in which the bulb is exposed such bathroom vanities and ceiling pendants. Its globe shape makes them more aesthetically pleasing.


These bulbs are ideal for decorative fixtures in which the light bulb is visible as well. Its sleek design allows them to fit into fixtures where globe shaped bulbs don’t.

R Type Reflector (R & BR)

R Type reflector bulbs provide directional light.  Think of recessed lighting applications in kitchens or dining rooms.

PAR Reflector

PAR Reflector bulbs are commonly used in outdoor settings including patio fixtures and landscape lighting.

PAR and R Type reflector bulbs can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. R Type Reflectors are more commonly used indoors and PARs  are more commonly used in outdoor lighting applications.

Mini Reflectors

Mini Reflector bulbs are small reflector bulbs. They reflect the light and disperse it similar to regular reflectors but are smaller in size. They are most commonly used for accent lighting such as highlighting artwork, portraits, china or display cases.

Have a question about what type of bulb to buy? Leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to help guide you in your selection.