Why Are Incandescent Light Bulbs Bad?

Incandescent light bulbs have been a staple in many households for almost two centuries before people started seeing the dangers they pose. With the appearance of halogen and LED light bulbs, incandescent ones started to be phased out of use. Now, you may be wondering why are incandescent light bulbs bad.

The answer is pretty broad, as there are many disadvantages to incandescent lights, both technical and health-wise. This is why many countries have even outright banned the use of incandescent light bulbs. 

Why Are Incandescent Light Bulbs Bad
Source: Insights.regencylighting.com

Why Are Incandescent Light Bulbs Bad?

Incandescent light bulbs are bad for use for many different reasons. To begin, these bulbs emit radiation. They also pose a risk to the environment by emitting large portions of carbon dioxide. They are also less cost-effective than other light bulbs. Moreover, incandescent light bulbs are made of thin and fragile glass that can also be incredibly hot. 

The Disadvantages of Incandescent Light Bulbs 
Source: Renewableenergy.co.za

The Disadvantages of Incandescent Light Bulbs 

Incandescent bulbs have been used since the invention of light bulbs. An incandescent bulb’s structure is straightforward – it consists of a frosted bulb that glows as a carbon filament coil heats up. Since their creation 130 years ago, incandescent light bulbs have been widely utilized.

However, just because something has been widely used for a long time does not mean it is good, which is the case with incandescent light bulbs. Unfortunately, incandescent light bulbs have way more disadvantages than benefits. Not to mention that they can even be dangerous. 

Bad for the environment 

Incandescent light bulbs are considered so damaging to the environment that they have been completely banned in some countries. In the US, they have been in a phase-out since 2007. According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the remaining incandescent light bulbs sold each month equate to 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Not cost-effective 

Incandescent lamps’ high operating and maintenance costs are one of their key drawbacks. Compared to other bulbs on the market, they are significantly more expensive to maintain and offer no superior qualities that would make up for the higher cost.

A typical home might spend hundreds of dollars a year to keep the lights on, with 20 to 30 bulbs in most cases. A typical incandescent bulb burns for 700–1000 hours. In comparison, LED lights have a 20-year lifespan. Alternative light bulbs are more expensive upfront than incandescent bulbs, but they are considered more cost-effective in the long run.

Made of thin glass 

Another big disadvantage of incandescent lights is that they are made of incredibly fragile and very thin glass. Since incandescent light bulbs are made of very thin glass, the light can shine through them regardless of whether they are clear, colored, or frosted. 

As a result, it is incredibly brittle and susceptible to breaking with even the slightest bump. The tiny glass fragments that break off from the broken bulb might graze the foot or enter the eye, and they can be difficult to remove.

Additional Drawbacks of Using Incandescent Light Bulbs 

Danger of overheating 

Perhaps you have already observed that incandescent light bulbs produce a lot of heat. This increases the likelihood of the bulb burning out and causing the rooms to heat up, which can be quite unpleasant in warm weather. In order to avoid burning your fingertips, you should wait a little while before replacing an incandescent bulb.

Additionally, particularly when it’s colder outdoors, a sudden temperature change could result in the light bulb bursting. It should go without saying that this can be very dangerous. These qualities are not at all acceptable in a practical sense and present obvious fire dangers.

Not a quality choice

In terms of quality and color of light, incandescent bulbs offer far fewer options. Incandescent bulbs are rated lower on the color temperature scale than more modern lights like LED light bulbs, which explains their orange tint.

While incandescent bulbs are common and considered easier on the eye, they are not the ideal option for task lighting. Sometimes you need to pick a color that works well in a certain space.

Warm, orange hues are good for cozy, calming environments, but they are not the best for areas that might require brighter, sharper light. White, bright lighting, for instance, often works better in bathrooms, offices, and kitchens since it makes it simpler to see precisely what you are cleaning, preparing, or working on.

Low light output

Incandescent light bulbs are highly inefficient, as 90% of their energy is transformed into heat, while only 10% into actual light. So, while they may be cheaper to mass produce and buy than LED, they are not as useful in the long run. 

For example, LEDs have a lifespan of up to 60,000 hours, as opposed to 1,000 hours of incandescent lights. In the end, you will spend more on incandescent light bulbs because you will have to replace them more often. On the other hand, LEDs will last you for much longer. 

Bad for your eyesight 

Another serious drawback is that incandescent light bulbs can severely harm your eyesight. The incandescent light bulb can seriously harm your eyes, even causing cataracts. If you have incandescent lights, you must ensure that your bulbs are shaded or covered to reduce and filter the strong light they emit. 

The brightness can harm your eyesight from even a 40 or 25-watt light bulb. Avoid looking straight at an incandescent lamp. You want to avoid worsening your eyesight, and the best way to protect your eyes is by not using incandescent lights in your home. 


In conclusion, when talking about why are incandescent light bulbs bad, the answer is that they are inefficient and incredibly dangerous as they can overheat and the thin light will burst. In simple terms, incandescent light bulbs are not worth it. 

Moreover, incandescent light bulbs are incredibly harmful to the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions. And if you have them in your house, you should consider replacing them as they can be harmful to your eyesight.

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Scott Freeman

Scott Freeman is a seasoned expert in EMF protection with over 10 years of experience in the field. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master's in Environmental Science, Scott possesses a unique blend of technical and environmental knowledge. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to researching, developing, and promoting effective EMF protection products that prioritize both safety and efficiency. Scott's passion for helping others make informed decisions has made him a sought-after speaker and writer on the subject of electromagnetic field safety.

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