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Professional Resources

Which Light Bulb is Right for Me?

Choose the right light bulb or light source is a balancing act between energy savings, comfort, durability, cost, and compatibility. Each area of a home or office will require different types of light and present different opportunities for savings. Use the chart and information on this page to pick the perfect bulb or light source for your needs.

Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs provide rich and warm light quality, excellent color rendering, and have the best dimming performance. However, they are the least efficient and have the shortest life span.

CFL screw-in bulb
Screw-in CFL Bulbs

Screw-in CFL bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, however, they provide less pleasing light, turn on slowly, may flicker, and are not disposable due to their mercury content.

halogen bulb
Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs but are about 30% more efficient. While not as efficient as CFLs, they do not have any of the drawbacks. Their dimming performance and light quality are just as nice as that of an incandescent bulb.

Screw-in LED Bulbs
Screw-in LED Bulbs

Screw-in LEDs are the most efficient out of the other screw-in bulb types, have the longest lifespan, and are available in a wide variety of lumen outputs and color temperatures. However, because there is no manufacturer standard with LED bulbs, their dimming performance will vary from bulb to bulb.
Learn More
Find a compatible LED bulb for your dimmer

Linear Fluorescent
Linear Fluorescent

Linear fluorescent fixtures have similar characteristics to their screw-in counterparts, however their dimming performance depends on the ballast being used. Lutron invented the world’s first electronic dimming ballast over 30 years ago and offers an extensive selection of ballasts and controls for guaranteed dimming performance.
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LED Fixtures
LED Fixtures

LED fixtures have similar benefits to their screw-in counterpart in that they are typically very efficient and are available in an array of lumen outputs and color temperatures. However like linear fluorescents, their dimming performance depends on the LED driver used in the fixture. Lutron offers a wide range of LED drivers and controls for guaranteed dimming performance.
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Find an LED fixture with a Lutron driver

When selecting a light source you should consider the following:
Energy Savings Energy Calculator
Incandescent Fluorescent LED
  1. A dimming ballast is required when dimming a 4 pin compact fluorescent (CFL).
  2. Limited dimming available.
  3. Dimming range depends on the LED driver used.
  4. CRI 85 to 100.
  5. Color temperature 2700 to 3000K.

Superior Superior
Adequate Adequate
Not adequate Not adequate

Standard Halogen Linear CFL screw-in LED LED screw-in
Efficiency Reduced energy usage Not adequate Adequate Superior Superior Superior Superior
3000+ hours lamp life Not adequate Superior Superior Superior Superior Superior
Location Living spaces Superior Superior Adequate Not adequate Superior Adequate
Utility spaces Superior Adequate Superior Superior Superior Superior
Office spaces Not adequate Adequate Superior Adequate Superior Adequate
Price Low operating cost Not adequate Superior Superior Superior Superior Superior
Low price Superior Adequate Superior Superior Not adequate Not adequate
Controlability Timers and sensors Superior Superior Superior Not adequate Superior Superior
Fully dimmable Superior Superior Superior Adequate2 Superior3 Adequate
Performance Instant start-up Superior Superior Superior Adequate Adequate Superior
No pop or drop out Superior Superior Superior Adequate Superior Adequate
Sustainability Mercury-free Superior Superior Not adequate Not adequate Superior Superior
Easily disposable Superior Superior Adequate Not adequate Superior Superior
Quality Excellent color rendering4 Superior Superior Not adequate Not adequate Adequate Adequate
Flicker-free operation Superior Superior Superior Not adequate Adequate Adequate
Pleasing color temperature5 Superior Superior Adequate Not adequate Adequate Adequate

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