Pick the Perfect Bulb

Have you ever gone shopping for a light bulb and not been sure what kind of bulb you need? Have you ever found yourself wondering why there are so many different bulb types and cap types, and what makes an LED bulb brighter and more energy-efficient than a traditional incandescent?

Of course, when you look for lighting at Oliver Lamps, we’re always here to answer those questions for you! But, just in case you haven’t visited us yet, or if you’d like to find out a little bit more about the weird, wonderful and sometimes head-scratching world of lighting so you’ll know precisely the right kind of bulb to choose (and why), here’s our quick and easy ‘Everything you need to know about light bulbs’ FAQ.

Stand by to get illuminated!

What are the different cap types called?

The most common light bulb cap types are the Bayonet Cap and the Edison Screw.

The Bayonet Cap (BC) has two pins on opposite sides of the cap. The two-pin ‘twist and lock’ design keeps the bulb sturdy and secure and prevents external vibrations from shaking it loose. The Bayonet Cap was first developed in the UK at the end of the 19th Century, and it is still the standard light fitting in many Commonwealth countries. The traditional Bayonet Cap is 22mm in diameter, which is why it is often known as a B22.

You’ll find an example of a Bayonet Cap here: https://www.oliverlamps.com/product/integral-dimmable-filament-gls-lamp-b22-bc-4-5w/

The Edison Screw (ES) has a right-hand threaded cap that screws directly into the socket. It was initially patented by the inventor Thomas Edison in 1890, and its simple design and ease-of-use have made it a popular choice for domestic and industrial lighting around the world.  The standard Edison Screw Cap is 27mm in diameter, and often known as an E27.

Here’s an example: https://www.oliverlamps.com/product/led-filament-gls-dimmable-lamp-7w/

There are also smaller versions of the Bayonet Cap (15mm diameter, also known as a B15 or SBC) and the Edison Screw (14mm diameter, also known as an E14 or SES). The Smaller Bayonet Cap is generally used for mains voltage lamps, and the Smaller Edison Screw is often used in decorative light fittings and chandeliers.

Pin and Push style caps are also a popular design for LED lights. They have two parallel pins that make the bulb easy to insert into the light fitting, but they’re considered a type of bayonet cap because they twist and lock into place. The most popular sizes are GU10 and GZ10, and you’ll usually find Pin and Push caps used in kitchen and bathroom light fittings, as well as recessed lighting and track-style spotlights.

A GU10 with a Pin and Push cap looks like this: https://www.oliverlamps.com/product-category/gu10/

What are the main bulb types?

GLS (General Lamp Shade) bulbs are the traditional pear-shaped bulbs that have been in use since the early 20th Century. They are commonly fitted with either a Bayonet Cap or Edison Screw, and they are incredibly versatile.

The only difference between a GLS and a candle bulb is its shape. Just like its name suggests, a candle bulb is designed in the shape of a candle flame and purely intended for decorative purposes. Candle bulbs are fantastic for making any room in your home feel warm and inviting, and that’s the reason you’ll also find them used in places like pubs and hotels. They are available in a variety of Bayonet and Edison Screw cap sizes.

Globe and Golf Ball bulbs are stylish alternatives to the traditional light bulb and are available in both small and large sizes. They are usually used in decorative fittings and are easily recognised by their distinctive shape – a spherical bulb tapering down into a comparatively narrow base. Replacing a regular bulb with a globe or golf ball bulb can transform a room and create a truly dramatic effect. You can find them in both Bayonet and Edison Screw cap fittings.

Decorative bulbs tend to be less bright than ordinary bulbs, but when they’re placed perfectly around a room, they can really make an impact. As you’ll see from the link, there are several different styles available, and that’s just the beginning! Decorative bulbs are a perfect way to play with the lighting in your room, and give an overly-familiar light fixture a whole new lease of life!

A GU10 is an energy-efficient spotlight bulb that’s commonly used in track-style spotlights, directional downlighting, and kitchens and bathrooms. They’re also extensively used in offices and showrooms. GU10’s are perfect for any place where a bright, directional light is required, and they come in both a standard and ‘long barrel’ design. As we mentioned earlier, they have a Pin and Push ‘twist and lock’ base with two parallel pins that are 10mm apart.

By the way, if you’re looking for a GU10 bulb you’ve come to the right place; Oliver Lamps has a selection of GU10s.

Take a look at the link, and you’ll immediately see where Double D bulbs get their name! Double D (also known as 2D) bulbs are energy-saving fluorescent lights that are often found in corridors, stairwells, and flush-fitting ceiling fixtures. They typically last between 15,000 – 30,000 hours and expend up to 80% less electricity than standard lamps. Due to their butterfly shape, Double D bulbs project light more evenly and minimise shadow, making them perfect for places where there may be concealed areas, steps, or tripping hazards.

  • LED bulbs vs traditional incandescent bulbs: what makes LED so special?

There are so many ways we can answer this question, but let’s start with the basics:

Although a lot of people are still using traditional incandescent bulbs, they haven’t legally been available to buy since September 1st, 2018, when an EU directive banning their sale came into effect. If you still have incandescent lighting in your home, it’s definitely time to make the switch to LED. You’ll be glad you did!

LED lighting significantly saves energy, slashes your lighting costs, and is much kinder to the environment. LED bulbs use more than five times less energy than incandescent lights and last, on average, twenty-five times longer.

LED’s key advantages are:

  • More energy efficiency
  • Lower energy bills
  • Improved safety (because, unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, LED’s emit virtually no heat)
  • Much longer lifespan
  • Greater versatility and colour choice (LED lights come in all shapes and sizes so you can place them virtually anywhere you choose, operate them via a dimmer switch or remotely, and select the colour temperature that will give your home or workspace the perfect ambience)
  • Instant lighting and more efficient light dispersal (unlike incandescent bulbs, LED lights don’t have to warm up – they’re bright from the moment they’re powered on. Also, you can direct the light wherever it’s needed, so no light is wasted) 

In terms of equivalent wattage, that’s a little bit harder to explain but stick with us…

In the olden days of incandescent light bulbs, the brightness of the bulb was measured by the number of watts printed on the packaging. But watts were always an unreliable way to measure brightness because they’re actually all about power or energy use.

Since LED was introduced, the brightness of a bulb has been measured in lumens. Lumens are a much more accurate measurement of how bright the bulb will be.

If you want to convert the wattage of your incandescent bulb to its equivalent in LED, it goes something like this:

  • A 4-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 25-watt incandescent bulb (250+ lumens)
  • A 6-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb (400+ lumens)
  • A 10-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb (700+ lumens)
  • A 13-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb (900+ lumens)
  • An 18-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb (1100+ lumens)

So, as you can see, if you’re currently using a 60-watt incandescent bulb, a 10-watt LED bulb won’t only save you more money and energy, it will also be just as bright. In fact, most people find LED bulbs a lot more comfortable than incandescent because LED can be controlled and casts better quality light.

The simplest way to measure the efficiency of an LED bulb is by dividing the number of lumens it emits by its wattage: for example, a 10-watt bulb that emits 700 lumens will have a ratio of 70 lm/w.

Still need to see it to believe it?

If you drop into our gorgeous shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, you won’t just discover a friendly welcome and a wealth of exciting lighting ideas; you’ll also be able to test incandescent vs LED for yourself! Just bring your incandescent bulb with you, we’ll plug it into our lighting box, and you’ll immediately see what significant savings you’ll make if you replaced it with LED.

You’ll also enjoy another big bonus when you purchase your LED bulbs from us; if your bulb doesn’t last as long as it’s supposed to, we guarantee to replace it free-of-charge!

Hopefully, this very brief guide will make choosing your next light bulb and knowing what kind of wattage to select a little bit easier! Don’t forget; this is only a quick introduction to the most popular bulbs we have in stock. You’ll find a lot more bulbs in the catalogue on our website, and a fabulous world of quality lights, fixtures, and lighting-related products when you visit us in-store. If you can’t visit us, just give us a call on 01328 855028 or email [email protected] and we’ll do our very best to help you find what you need.

Stay safe, and see you again soon!