Halogen, Neon-Compact and LED, Which Bulb to What Use?

Disappointed by your last purchase of electric light bulb? Follow the buying guide to find the bulb that is adapted to each room in the House.

The Categories of Light Bulbs

As we have seen in the November news article last “know the light bulbs today”, incandescent bulbs are banned from sale from 2012. For environmental issues, we now have the choice between 3 categories of lamps: halogen (or Eco-halogen), the Fluo-compact (or lamps low consumption) and the LEDs (or LED lamps).

Then we can choose any bulb regardless of its use? The answer is no… not at all. Unlike conventional incandescent and their universal use, the current bulbs have specificities which must guide our selection. A wrong choice will lead a desagreement, but, and it is less known, can also pose a risk to our health.

The Specifics of the Current bulbs

Before offer you a choice of category depending on the andyeducation.com, I propose to know a little better the characteristics of these bulbs.

(1) the halogen bulb


Suitable for all uses

Instant start

Light soft and shiny

Good (IRC) color rendering index

Low purchase price: 2 to 5 euros


Strong electricity consumption to the ranked in category C (only 30 to 40% savings in power consumption compared to our old incandescent bulbs)

Limited life span (about 2500 hours)


These bulbs are closest to our old incandescent bulbs and this is normal since their operation technologies are similar. You will therefore not be disappointed for use by these bulbs. On the other hand, even if they are the least expensive of the 3 categories, to use to purchase they are pretty little economic and their life expectancy is shorter than that of its two competitors.

Last point, their disappearance is scheduled for 2016 because on that date, the sale of bulbs of category C will be prohibited by the European Union.

(2) the compact fluorescent bulb


Low consumption (80% of power consumption compared to our old incandescent bulbs savings)

Long service life (about 10 000 hours)

The fastest ROI in 3 categories (i.e. the ratio of the purchase price, battery life and the cost to use)


Slow ignition

Less withstands repeated ignitions and cycles power on/off short

Don’t like the cold

Emits electromagnetic waves. The national agency of sanitary safety and Ademe advocate so to stand at a distance of more than 30cm of the bulb (distance which waves are strong enough to pose a risk to our health)

Contains mercury. Until the bulb is intact there’s no problem. However, in the case of breakage must ventilate the room for 15 minutes and leave this room, come back then to pick up the pieces with gloves, a broom and dustpan (especially no vacuum), lock up all in a hermetic bag (bag of freezing for example) that you will bring to the regular collection of used bulbs place and continue aeration for at least 4 hours. Also added to the health risk is the environmental risk. It is important to bring the bulbs HS on-site collection (waste collection centres or stores that sell bulbs) so that mercury is not a day in nature and on our plates.


These bulbs pose a real dilemma: on the one hand they have the best return on investment, on the other they may present a risk to our health and to the environment. Cel added is their bad reputation due to the ignition time which is not instantaneous. It is currently the most interesting choice economically, you abide by certain obligations to use safe and satisfactory.

(3) the LED bulb

Very low power consumption (90% of consumption savings power compared to our old incandescent bulbs)

Particularly long life (more than 50,000 hours)

Instant start


High price

Still quite low available lighting powers

Difficulties for the choice of the angle of scattering of light depending on the use and your type of luminaire

Has a luminance high (the amount of light emitted per unit area) and some models emit blue radiation. This presents a danger to the eyes when looking directly at the bulb. Children are particularly sensitive to the blue radiation, therefore, avoid to install these bulbs into their living spaces (room, games…)


Small, very energy efficient, with an infinite color spectrum, virtually unbreakable and indestructible: the LED most likely represent our lighting tomorrow… but in most cases, not even that of today. Expensive to buy (see very expensive), little powerful, versatile little and risk for the eyes, the LED technology does not yet make our light source of reference. And it’s probably well, since all of these LEDs are produced in Asia.

What Bulb For What Purpose?

As we do not use the lighting in our kitchen as one of our living room, or even that of our cellar, we will not use either the same bulb.

Based on the advantages and disadvantages, seen above, I propose to every room in the House a light bulb that will respond to your comfortable life but also to a relevant economic choice, i.e. which takes into account the price of the bulb, its life expectancy and its daily operating time. I do not indicate in the list below the necessary powers since these depend on the habits of each.


Main lighting: Fluo-Compact with a color of 2500 to 3000 ° K. Progressive lighting of the compact fluorescent bulb allows clocks smoothly without glare and hot white lighting will help you out of bed.

Lamps for bedside or e-readers: economically, the halogen is preferred because of its price low purchase and time of use of these short light sources. Attention for children, these lamps have high operating temperatures. If you’re a fan of reading in bed, then LED with quote share blue low is more appropriate. Linger on the angle of diffusion which must be a function of your fixture. Watch out for children, avoid the LED.


Main lighting: Fluo-Compact with a color > 5300 ° K and a short ignition time (ideally less than 30 seconds). Cold white lighting is ideal for workplaces.

Lighting of the work plan: LED spot, taking into account the angle of diffusion you need.

The top of Cabinet lighting: LED flexible Strip

Lighting of corners (ex: work under the elements of kitchen plan): LED flexible Strip

-Living room:

Main lighting and ambient lighting: Fluo-Compact with a color of 2500 to 3000 ° K. This lighting provides a warm atmosphere to the living room. In general lighting of the show stays on for a long time, the compact fluorescent bulb has no to undergo cycles of many and short ignition which could adversely affect its service life.

Accent lighting: LED with a warm color. In choosing well its angle of diffusion LED sheds targeted for objects or small areas of the show you want to highlight.

-Dining room:

Main lighting: Fluo-Compact with a color between 3500 and 4000 ° K and a (IRC) colour rendering index > 85. This piece, to a neutral light (atmosphere cosi or work environment) and a close color rendering of reality to make food look natural and realistic (in a word: appetizing).

Accent lighting: LED with a warm color. In choosing well its angle of diffusion LED sheds for objects or small targeted area of the dining room that you want to highlight.


Main lighting: Fluo-compact full spectrum (or full spectrum) with an IRC > 85. This bulb special property to reproduce the light of the Sun. She avoids the Green complexion of your reflection in the mirror and affects morale. Beware, it isn’t even when light therapy.


Main lighting: Halogen. Unless you have sound professional office at home, the room is generally little used and there is some short passages to fetch documents. Therefore, effective lighting immediately, with a light close to the light of day and which supports short and repeated ignition cycles. If on the contrary stay you long in your office, prefer the Fluo-Compact with a color of 3500 to 4000 ° K.

Desk lamp: halogen if point you it little to medium or LED if you use really long.


Halogen to support short and many passages and bring a number of important light immediately.

-Hallway and stairs:

Halogen to support short and many passages. Unlike the cellar is not necessary here to have high light powers.


Halogen to support short and many passages.


Armed with this information, you can now choose the bulb fits your need for lighting. And precisely this change of bulb is perhaps the right time to wonder about the financial sobriety of your fixture. Indeed even if it is the bulb that consumes, chandeliers, spotlights and appliques moving the cost of your lighting. A dark shade is going to require, for a same light rendering, a bulb more powerful than a clear Lampshade which increases your power consumption. A multi-branched chandelier will force you to change more often in bulb (2 bulbs: 2 times more often; 3 bulbs: 3 times more often… etc). So even if choosing a chandelier is somewhere, a matter of personal taste, keep in mind that some fixtures can be really very expensive to use.