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Learn More About Lighting

What type of lamp do you need?

Clamp-on lamp


Ideal for: Desks or work areas where an adjustable and focused light source is needed. Saves desktop space, since lamp mounts on edge of desk rather than sitting on its surface.

Key features:

  • Base of lamp attaches securely to the edge of a horizontal surface with adjustable metal/plastic clamp. Most clamps fit surfaces up to 2" thick.
  • Flexible, movable arms or necks allow for optimum positioning for particular task. Reach of up to 45".
  • Made of metal or heavy–duty plastic for durability. Metal is the sturdiest.
  • Some shades have internal reflectors to increase light output, but keep the shade cool to the touch for safety.
  • Accepts either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs or mini–tubes (some sold separately), depending on the model.

What’s available: Various adjustable clamp–on styles are available, with spring–suspension arms, flexible goosenecks, or swivel connectors. Some also have tension controls for additional flexibility.

Tip: Look for a lamp that features polarizing, which reduces glare by 50% to 80% over regular lamps and lessens eye fatigue.


Desktop lamp


Ideal for: Desks or tables where an adjustable and focused light source is required and ample horizontal space is available. Comes in a wider variety of styles than the clamp–on lamp, but takes up more room.

Key features:

  • Made to sit on a desktop or tabletop. Has weighted metal base for stability.
  • Most models have adjustable swing arm (with a reach of up to 45") and/or swivel head that allows light to be directed exactly where it is needed. Some are dimmable.
  • Made of metal or heavy–duty plastic for durability. Metal is the sturdiest.
  • Most lamps have light–diffusing shades made of painted/brushed metal, frosted/colored glass, or fabric, depending on the style. Glass is more fragile, but more durable than fabric. Metal is the most durable shade material, but is not as stylish as glass or fabric.
  • Some shades have internal reflectors to increase light output but keep the shade cool to the touch for safety.
  • Accepts either incandescent (basic, everyday light), halogen (focused, crisp, pure white light), or fluorescent (general, energy–efficient light) bulbs or mini–tubes (some sold separately), depending on the model.
  • Look for a lamp that features polarizing, which reduces glare by 50% to 80% over regular lamps and lessens eye fatigue.

What’s available: A wide variety of styles are available, from traditional to contemporary. Some models have a built–in desk organizer at the base of the lamp, which holds paper, pencils, and paper clips.


Magnifier lamp


Ideal for: Areas where close inspection and magnification is needed, such as at a drafting table or other work area.

Key features:

  • Has lighted magnifying lens encased in metal shade on a swing–balanced, adjustable arm (with reach up to 45").
  • Either enlarges 225% using a 5" diameter lens or enlarges 175% using a 4" diameter lens.
  • Metal shade has positioning handle to allow for easy adjustments. Some have a splash guard on the shade to protect the lens when used around liquids, paints, etc.
  • Either clamps on the edge of a horizontal surface or has a weighted base that sits on top of a desk.
  • Accepts circular fluorescent tubes or halogen bulbs (some sold separately), depending on the style.

Tip: Halogen bulbs produce a white light and work best when correct color illumination is required, such as in photography or design work.


Floor lamp


Ideal for: Reception areas, conference rooms, offices, homes, or wherever general room lighting is required. This stand–up lamp is larger than clamp–on or desk lamps, and is not made for adjustable task lighting.

Key features:

  • Intended to be placed on the floor and provides general space lighting.
  • Between 59" and 71" high.
  • Some have limited adjustability with a short swing arm or swiveling shade.
  • Bases are made of metal. Shades are made of perforated metal, frosted glass, or fabric, depending on the model. Metal is the most durable shade material, but is not as stylish as glass or fabric.
  • Some accept three–way incandescent bulbs (sometimes sold separately) or more than one light bulb.

Tip: An office decorated with dark colors — mahogany woodwork, for example, and hunter green, maroon, navy, and browns in the carpet and furnishings — will need more lighting than an office with white or light walls and furniture.


Incandescent bulb


Ideal for: Inexpensive everyday lighting and dimming for home or office use.

Key features:

  • Provides warm, dimmable light.
  • The least expensive type of bulb available. Cost a few dollars each. Used for many different lighting applications, from nightlights to floodlights.
  • Contains a filament that is heated with electricity until it glows and produces light. Most common kind is a traditional pear–shaped bulb with a screw–type base.
  • Highly reliable and has been used for the past 100 years.
  • Regular incandescent bulbs last for approximately 750 to 1,000 hours.

What’s available: Extra–long life incandescent bulbs have a 130–volt design that extends their life to 5,000 hours, or 2.5 times a 120–volt incandescent. Expect to pay extra for the long–life feature.


Halogen bulb


Ideal for: Reading due to their focused, crisp, pure white light. More expensive than incandescent, but lasts longer.

Key features:

  • Provides a sharper, cleaner light than other types of bulbs.
  • Produces more light and uses less energy than an incandescent bulb with identical wattage.
  • Is constructed of a glass–encased capsule filled with halogen gas, which gives off a bright white light.
  • Lasts approximately 2,000 to 3,000 hrs., or twice as long as incandescent bulbs, which reduces replacement costs.

Tip: Because halogen bulbs produce a clear white light, they are an excellent choice for activities such as photography or graphic design work that requires correct color illumination.


Fluorescent bulb


Ideal for: General lighting in the home or office. Most expensive type of lighting, but lasts the longest. Tube styles are often found in kitchens, garages, and workshops. Compact bulb styles can be used anywhere energy–efficient lighting is needed.

Key features:

  • Cool to the touch. Most energy–efficient type of lighting available because this type of bulbs don’t produce heat.
  • Comes in either long thin tubes or compact bulbs of various sizes.
  • Tubes provide a range of soft white light and last approximately 10,000 to 20,000 hours. Their lifespan is 10 to 20 times longer than that of incandescent bulbs.
  • Compact bulbs provide a soft white light and are 75% more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but provide just as much light. They last about 10,000 hours, or approximately 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

What’s available: Compact bulbs come in a variety of shapes: traditional bulb; flat, low–profile to fit compactly into a fixture that’s next to a wall or ceiling; circular for table lamps; and spiral for better light distribution.

Tip: Use a fluorescent compact bulb in hard–to–reach spots. In addition to saving energy, you won’t have to change the bulb as frequently as you would if using an incandescent bulb.


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