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What are the Different Types of Incandescent Light?

S. Zaimov
S. Zaimov

Incandescent light is a form of electric illumination that uses extreme heat to produce artificial light. This type of light bulb has been widely used for over a century to light homes and entire cities. There are different types of incandescent light, and each differs in the amount of energy required and the radiance emitted.

A standard incandescent light bulb has a number of different components that make it work. When the power switch in a room is turned on, an electric current flows inside the bulb and runs through the thin wire filament inside. This filament is often made of tungsten, which is a metal resistant to high temperatures that produces bright illumination. The filament is usually covered by a thin glass bulb that keeps oxygen outside and protects the tungsten.

Incandescent light bulbs.
Incandescent light bulbs.

Tungsten halogen lamps are a type of incandescent light bulbs that often use less energy, but provide more light. These are made with a special glass that retains the heat that might be lost in standard bulbs. This allows the tungsten to use less power when heating up, and usually gives the lamp a longer life span. One drawback of halogen bulbs is that they are often more expensive than standard ones.

Standard incandescent light bulbs are often used to illuminate homes.
Standard incandescent light bulbs are often used to illuminate homes.

Reflector lights are commonly used in show business, such as on theater stages or by film studios. These bulbs are easily moved, or directed, and can shine light on specific areas. Spotlights are often used for highlighting an exact spot on the stage, while floodlighting and downlighting produce lights of different intensities and sizes to fill space. These lights can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Bulbs that produce a softer light may help to reduce eye strain.
Bulbs that produce a softer light may help to reduce eye strain.

Incandescent light can also include heat lamps, which require a lot of energy and are commonly used as a heat source. These lights are often installed at farms to keep the animals warm during winter. Farmers typically put them in chicken coops or houses where they encourage the birds to lay more eggs.

There are other types of modifications that can be made to incandescent light for specific purposes. Lamp manufacturers sometimes consult the color spectrum to apply different tints to bulbs. Most standard lamps emit a clear light, which often appears yellow and does not illuminate an entire room evenly. To correct this problem, the interior of some bulbs is coated with a blue and green diffusion layer that brightens the light and allows it to illuminate more space. To reduce eye strain, bulbs designed for reading, or similar activities, are often larger than average and feature a white interior coating that produces a softer light.

Discussion Comments


@cloudel – Yes, incandescent black light bulbs do exist, and I had one as a teenager. I didn't use it all the time, but it was really cool to use while listening to music and dancing.

It looks just like a regular incandescent bulb, except that it is very dark. It has a layer that filters out a lot of light, only letting certain wavelengths pass through. To me, a black light makes a room look very purple.

I had some black light reactive fingernail polish and makeup, and my friends and I made a cool video of ourselves dancing around the room. All you could really see were our lips, our eyelids, and our fingernails!


Is there such a thing as an incandescent black light? I have always loved the glow in the dark effect black light has on certain things, and I think it would be neat to have one in a room of my house.

I have seen black lights in the form of long tubes used at skating rinks and clubs. My friends and I used to wear white on purpose to these places so that our shirts would glow.

I have a couple of black light posters that I got as a gift, but I have never been able to see them as they are meant to be seen. If I could find a black light bulb, I could finally unlock their mystery.


My dog sleeps outside, so we use an incandescent flood light to keep her warm during the winter. We tried letting her stay indoors, but she kept chewing on the furniture and urinating on the floor, so we decided to let her sleep in the outdoor utility room instead.

We hooked up an incandescent lamp above her bed, making sure that she could not knock it over or touch it. I stayed in the room awhile, just to see if it worked, and it got quite a bit warmer in there.

At first, I felt bad making her sleep out there, but after I saw how warm the light could make the room, I didn't feel bad at all. With her long fur and the heat from the lamp, she would be just as toasty as I was in the house.


I prefer white incandescent light to yellow light. It just seems more natural, and it doesn't give the room that yellow hue that makes it seem stained.

I grew up with the yellow incandescent bulbs, but after I discovered the white ones, I was hooked. They just seem to make a room so much brighter, and they mimic daylight much better.

The walls in my room are white, and the white bulb keeps them looking white. I once had a yellow light in here, and it made the walls look so old. It also made my blonde hair look sort of green! I guess yellow on yellow just isn't attractive.

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    • Incandescent light bulbs.
      By: tr3gi
      Incandescent light bulbs.
    • Standard incandescent light bulbs are often used to illuminate homes.
      By: Matthew Jones
      Standard incandescent light bulbs are often used to illuminate homes.
    • Bulbs that produce a softer light may help to reduce eye strain.
      By: Voyagerix
      Bulbs that produce a softer light may help to reduce eye strain.