Incandescent bulbs are the oldest and, as of 2010, still the most prevalent type of electric lighting in existence. Although there are currently more energy-efficient lights available, there are still some benefits to using incandescent light bulbs.
One of the main benefits of incandescent lighting is their high color rendition rating—which is a rating scale that measures the ability of a lighting type to mimic what an object looks like under natural light conditions. Incandescent bulbs rank at 98 to 100 out of a 100 on the color rendition scale, while other options, such as fluorescent lighting rank between 50 and 90.
Anyone using incandescent bulbs can rest assured that they're operating a proven and safe technology. The first incandescent bulbs were invented in 1820 and used a carbon fiber filament. The downside was that these bulbs lasted a very short period of time. It was not until 1879 that Thomas Edison invented an incandescent bulb that featured a tungsten filament. This light bulb could last for up to 1,000 hours. Today, incandescent bulbs have changed very little, and maintain a lifespan of 750 to 1,500 hours—using the same tungsten-filament design.
For people looking to spend as little as possible on purchasing light bulbs, incandescent lighting is their answer. It is the cheapest type of lighting to purchase. Although fluorescent bulbs—as well as many other types of lighting—last much longer and are more energy efficient, they only offer a lower long-term maintenance cost and a higher initial cost.
The main benefit to a lighting type having such an long history is that it has become widely used throughout the world. Although fluorescent lighting is becoming very popular since it is up to 25 to 35 percent more energy efficient, it is still not available in many areas of the world. Incandescent bulbs can be found even in remote regions across the globe and serve as the primary lighting source not only in developed countries, but in developing regions as well.