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What Are the Different Types of Lights ?

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Having proper lighting can significantly impact the look and feel of your space.

For that, you need to be aware of which lighting is suitable for the space and your requirements.

When it comes to choosing lights, there are several options to choose from.

To help your decision-making process easier, we curated this article for you. In this write-up, we will explore the different lighting options. This will help you narrow down your selection.

Let us try to find some light together.

Types of Lights

Lights are available in different types to illuminate your space and complement your lifestyle. Below are the most common ones to choose from based on your requirements:

1. Indoor Lights

  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Compact Fluorescent
  • LED
  • Halogen

2. Outdoor Lights

  • Metal Halide
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
  • Low Pressure Sodium (LPS)
  • LED Street Lamps
  • Phosphor-Converted Amber (PCA) LED Street Lamps
  • Narrow-Band Amber (NBA) LED Street Lamps

Indoor Lights

As the name says, these lights are for brightening your space and elevate the atmosphere inside your rooms. Incandescent bulbs are the most common indoor lights used in many homes. The other popular indoor lights include CFLs and LEDs. Let us have a look at the different kinds of indoor lights and their significance:

a) Incandescent

Incandescent bulbs look similar to traditional bulbs and are the most familiar ones.

Construction

These lights consist of a tungsten filament. When electricity runs through this thin wire, it gets heated and starts glowing, further producing light.

Efficiency

The incandescent bulbs are less energy-efficient and produce a lot of heat when operating.

Lifespan

These lights work for about 700 – 1000 hours only.

Cost

Incandescent bulbs are cost-effective.

Ideal For 

Incandescent lights are most suitable for residential buildings.

Advantages
  • The incandescent lights are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and voltages.
  • They are cost-effective.
  • They turn on instantly without any delay time.
  • They provide pleasant and warm lighting.
  • The incandescent bulbs promise excellent colour rendition.
Disadvantages
  • Incandescent lights have less energy efficiency.
  • They have a shorter lifespan.
  • They have high operational costs when compared to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

b) Fluorescent

These lights use fluorescence to produce visible light. Hence, the name fluorescent.

Construction

The fluorescent bulbs or tubes contain low-vapour mercury and a phosphor coating inside. When electricity passes through mercury, it produces ultraviolet (UV) light. Because of the coating, these UV rays turn into visible light.

Efficiency

Fluorescent bulbs are high energy-efficient than incandescent lights.

Lifespan

These lights have a longer lifespan, which is six times that of a regular incandescent bulb.

Cost

The fluorescent lights are cheaper than regular lights.

Ideal For 

The fluorescent lights are most suitable for installing them in offices, workshops, kitchens, and hallways.

Advantages
  • These lights have a longer lifespan.
  • The fluorescent lights do not give off any heat. They produce about 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  • These lights have high energy efficiency.
  • They keep the rooms cool.
  • They have diffuse nature of light.
  • The fluorescent lights are cheaper than regular lights.
Disadvantages
  • The fluorescent lights contain mercury and phosphorus that are toxic materials.
  • Frequently turning on and off may reduce the lifespan of these lights.
  • These lights emit ultraviolet light.
  • The fluorescent lights require magnetic ballasts to operate them.
  • These lights are not environmental-friendly.

c) Compact Fluorescent Lamps

The compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs are a replacement for incandescent lamps.

Construction

The compact fluorescent lamps usually consist of two or three tubular loops, and hence they look similar to incandescent bulbs. They emit light from the mix of phosphor inside the bulb.

Efficiency

The CFLs are high energy-efficient than fluorescent lights.

Lifespan

These lights have a longer lifespan, which is eight to fifteen times the shelf life of incandescent lamps. They can last up to 10,000 hours.

Cost

The CFLs are less expensive than the LED lights.

Ideal For 

The CFLs are most suitable for installing them in larger spaces like kitchens, large rooms, and basements hallways. Their best use can be for task lighting, overhead lights, etc.

Advantages
  • The CFLs have a longer lifespan and work up to 10,000 hours.
  • These lights can operate for longer periods.
  • These lights have high energy efficiency and use about 75% less energy than incandescent lamps.
  • They help you save about 40% on your electricity bills than the incandescent bulbs.
  • The CFLs are cost-effective and less expensive than incandescent lights.
  • The CFLs are recyclable.
  • They do not require frequent replacement.
Disadvantages
  • The CFLs require a warm-up period to reach maximum brightness.
  • These lights contain mercury and one needs to be careful when disposing of the CFLs.
  • The light produced by CFLs can be harsh on the eyes.
  • They have less lifespan when compared to LEDs.

d) LED

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the most popular lights that are in use today almost across the world.

Construction

The LEDs are semiconductors wrapped in plastic. These do not have a filament like a lightbulb. Instead, they have electrons that create photons, i.e., light. These lights require very little energy to create the same amount of brightness as incandescent lights.

Efficiency

The LED bulbs are highly energy-efficient lights of all.

Lifespan

The LED bulbs last longer than the regular ones.

Cost

The LEDs were initially very expensive (almost double) than the incandescent bulbs. However, the prices have come down after they earned significance in the market. They are more costly than the CFLs.

Ideal For

You can use the LED bulbs anywhere just like you previously used the incandescent lamps.

Advantages
  • The LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient lights of all types.
  • They use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • They are available in different sizes, colours, and shapes.
  • Although these lights offer only directional lighting, the recent advances of the lights produce diffused lighting.
  • The LED bulbs have a longer lifespan than the other types of lights.
  • They last up to five times longer than the CFLs.
  • These lights are highly durable.
  • The LED lights offer more brightness and better light quality than the other types.
  • These lights light up instantly without any delay time.
  • The LED lights are environmental-friendly. They do not contain any mercury.
Disadvantages
  • The LED lights have higher upfront costs.
  • They have a high flux density.
  • The LED lights are sensitive to temperature levels.
  • They have voltage sensitivity.

e) Halogen

The halogen lights are an advanced version of incandescent bulbs.

Construction

These lights consist of tungsten filament which comes enclosed in a quartz capsule filled with halogen gas. Hence the name, halogen lights. These lights work similarly to incandescent lights. When electricity runs through this thin wire, it gets heated and starts glowing, further producing light. However, these are smaller in size when compared to incandescent bulbs.

Efficiency

The halogen lights are more energy-efficient than a traditional incandescent bulb.

Lifespan

They have a shorter lifespan, i.e., they last up to 2500 hours.

Cost

The halogen bulbs are cost-effective and affordable than CFLs and LEDs.

Ideal For

The halogen bulbs are ideal for indoor and outdoor floodlight applications. You can even use

them for accent lighting.

Advantages
  • The halogen bulbs are energy-efficient.
  • They are a low-cost lighting option.
  • They do not need a warm-up period.
  • They are compact in size and hence you can use them anywhere.
  • They are available in dimmable options.
  • They are suitable for ideal for residential and decorative purposes.
Disadvantages
  • They have a shorter lifespan.
  • They are costly than incandescent bulbs.
  • The halogen bulbs emit a lot of heat and are uncomfortable sitting under them.
  • You should not touch them with bare hands as the oil from your hands may shorten their lifespan.

Outdoor Lights

Outdoor lighting or exterior lighting is yet another crucial type of lighting that complements the buildings. They enhance the look and add security during the night time. Although they are different from the indoor lights, they are available in different kinds. Let us have a look at what they are and discuss in detail about each type:

a) Metal Halide

The metal halide lights are the High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights.

Construction

Also known as MH, these lamps produce light when the electric current passes through a combination of mercury and metal halide gas.

Efficiency

These lights are almost three to five as efficient as incandescent bulbs.

Lifespan

The metal halide lamps have a longer lifespan which is about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Cost

The metal halide bulbs are very expensive because of the high manufacturing costs.

Ideal For

You can use metal halide lamps both indoors and outdoors. They are ideal for stadiums, construction sites, and parking lots.

Advantages
  • The metal halide lamps are versatile to use for both indoor and outdoor purposes.
  • They have a longer lifespan about 15,000 to 20,000 hours.
  • They have high energy efficiency than incandescent lights.
  • The metal halide lights are available in a variety of colours and colour temperatures.
  • These lights have high luminous efficacy.
Disadvantages
  • They require a warm-up time to emit light.
  • They require a cool-down period to restart again.
  • The metal halide lights have a colour shifting issue.
  • These lights produce UV light.
  • They contain mercury inside, which is toxic.

b) High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

The high pressure sodium lights are the most commonly used streetlights across the world. Even these are a part of the HID family of bulbs.

Construction

Also known as HPS lights or HPS lamps, these lights operate at high internal pressure. They consist of an arc tube filled with xenon gas and sodium mercury amalgam, and a ballast. The combination of these gases and metals inside the glass tube produces orange-white light generally found in light streets.

Efficiency

The high pressure sodium lights have high energy efficiency.

Lifespan

They have a longer lifespan, which is about 24,000 hours.

Cost

The HPS lights are cheaper than the LED lights. However, they require frequent replacement and have associated labour costs for the same.

Ideal For

The HPS lights are ideal for street lighting and security lighting.

Advantages
  • The high pressure sodium lamps are the most efficient members of the HID family.
  • They have a longer lifespan of about 24,000 hours.
  • They have high energy efficiency than incandescent lights.
  • HPS lights have excellent lumen maintenance capability.
  • They have less warm-up period than the metal halide lights.
  • These lights have high luminous efficacy.
  • The HPS lights are most suitable for commercial and industrial applications.
  • These lights require less maintenance.
  • They have low upfront costs.
  • HPS lights come in different shapes and sizes.
Disadvantages
  • The HPS lights produce golden white colour light, which may not be suitable for all applications.
  • They require a brief warm-up time to emit light.
  • They require a brief cool-down period to restart again.
  • The HPS lights are not good at colour rendering.
  • They require ballasts.
  • Frequently turning on and off may reduce the lifespan of the HPS lights.
  • Continuous operations of the HPS lights may damage the lamp ballast.
  • They contain mercury inside, which is toxic.
  • The HPS lights are omnidirectional, i.e., they produce light in 360 degrees.

c) Low Pressure Sodium (LPS)

The low pressure sodium (LPS) lights are similar to the high pressure sodium (HPS) lights.

Construction

Also known as LPS lights, these lights operate similarly to HPS lamps. They consist of a borosilicate glass tube filled with solid sodium metal inside. When you turn on the lamp, this metal vapourizes producing bright or monochromatic yellow light.

Efficiency

The low pressure sodium lights have an excellent energy efficiency of all the available lighting sources.

Lifespan

They have an average lifespan of about 14,000 to 18,000 hours.

Cost

The HPS lights are cheaper than the LED lights. However, they require frequent replacement and have associated labour costs for the same.

Ideal For

The LPS lights are ideal for street lighting, highway lighting, and security lighting.

Advantages
  • The low pressure sodium lamps are the first sodium lamps to have maximum efficiency than all other lighting systems.
  • They have a longer lifespan than incandescent, fluorescent, and HID bulbs.
  • They have high efficiency than the incandescent, fluorescent, and HID bulbs.
  • LPS lights have excellent lumen maintenance capability.
  • They have less warm-up period than the metal halide lights.
  • These lights have high luminous efficacy.
  • The LPS light provides good fog penetration.
  • These lights require less maintenance.
  • They have low upfront costs
  • LPS lights come in different shapes and sizes.
Disadvantages
  • The LPS lamps are monochromatic.
  • They require a brief warm-up time to reach full brightness.
  • They require a brief cool-down period to restart again.
  • The LPS lights have a very low colour rendition index.
  • They require ballasts.
  • They contain mercury inside, which is toxic.
  • The LPS lights are the most expensive to install.
  • The LPS lights are omnidirectional, i.e., they produce light in 360 degrees.

d) LED Street Lamps

The LED Street lamps are nothing but integrated lights.

Construction

The LED Street lamps are those lights that use the LED technology as the light source.

Efficiency

They have higher energy efficiency when compared to the high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lamps.

Lifespan

The LED street lamps have the longest life span of about 10 to 15 years.

Cost

These lights are expensive than the other lighting systems. However, they have low maintenance and energy costs. They are more economical in the long run.

Ideal For

The LED street lights are ideal for street lighting, road, and highway lighting.

Advantages
  • The LED street lamps consume less energy.
  • They have two to four times longer lifespan than the HPS lights.
  • They are excellent at providing more accurate colour rendering.
  • These lights do not require any warm-up period and turn on instantly with full brightness.
  • They do not require a cool-down period to restart again.
  • These lights are environmental-friendly because, they do not contain mercury, lead and do not release any poisonous gases.
  • The LED street lights do not give any UV light, and hence insects do not get attracted to them.
  • These lights produce less glare.
  • The LED lights perform better even during low temperatures.
  • These lights are dustproof, waterproof, and can withstand all weather conditions.
  • These lights require less maintenance.
  • They have low maintenance and energy costs.
  • The LED lights are more economical in the long run.
Disadvantages
  • Many people may not like the ambiance produced by the LED lights.
  • The LED lights offer directional lighting.
  • These lights are expensive than the other lighting systems.
  • Getting exposed to the LED street lighting for a prolonged period can cause irreparable harm to the retina of the human eye.
  • These lights produce a lot of blue light, which can be harmful to both human health and wildlife.

e) Phosphor-Converted Amber (PCA) LED Street Lamps

PCA LED lamps or Phosphor-Converted Amber LED Street Lamps are high-power LED lights that have been in the market for the last three years.

Construction

The PCA LEDs use phosphor for converting the blue light to, yellow, amber light, etc. Hence the name Phosphor-Converted Amber LEDs.

Efficiency

These lights are highly efficient lighting solutions.

Lifespan

They have a longer lifespan.

Cost

The PCA LEDs fall on the expensive side.

Ideal For

The PCA LED lights are ideal for street lighting, road, and highway lighting. You can use these lights for decorative purposes, as well.

Advantages
  • The PCA LEDs minimize energy consumption.
  • They deliver good colour rendition.
  • The light produced by PCA LED is very pleasing to the eyes.
  • These lights are wildlife-friendly.
  • The PC amber LED lights help prevent negative outcomes resulting from overexposure to light.
  • They have higher energy efficiency like the LED lights.
  • They have a longer lifespan.
  • You can use these lights for decorative purposes, as well.
Disadvantages
  • The PC amber LED lights are very expensive.

f) Narrow-Band Amber (NBA) LED Street Lamps

The narrow-band amber (NBA) LED street lights, or NBA LEDs are the new LED innovation.

Construction

Unlike PCA LED lights that use phosphor, these street lights emit the yellow-amber coloured light directly.

Efficiency

The NBA LED lights are very energy-efficient.

Lifespan

They have a longer lifespan.

Cost

Just like the PC amber LED lights, even the NCA LEDs fall on the expensive side.

Ideal For

The NBA LED lights are ideal for street lighting, road, and highway lighting.

Advantages
  • The NBA LEDs minimize energy consumption.
  • They deliver good colour rendition.
  • The light produced by NBA LED is very pleasing to the eyes.
  • These lights minimize skyglow, glare, and ecological impact.
  • They have higher energy efficiency like the LED lights.
  • They have a longer lifespan.
  • You can use these lights for decorative purposes, as well.
Disadvantages
  • The narrow-band amber LED street lights have a lower colour rendition than the PCA LEDs.
  • These lights are very expensive.
  • Since this technology is new, the NBA LED street lights are not widely available.
  • The narrow-band amber LED lights may experience significant thermal instability.
  • These lights are not turtle-friendly.

Conclusion

Wrapping up, there are different types of lighting systems available in the market, each for a specific purpose. This article dealt with everything you need to know about the different types of lights. Now that you are aware of all the lights, choosing proper lighting for your home and other commercial purposes will no longer be an overwhelming task. Let us know what would you choose and prefer by posting your options in the comments.

Let us know if you find this article helpful, insightful, and informative. Let us know if you have any queries or need more information. Do not hesitate to add your inputs to the article.

Your feedback matters a lot to us, and let us know if we missed out on any points.

We would love to hear and learn from you.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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