To choose the right lamp, you should consider the best bulb to get the job done. There are 3 commonly used bulb types: 1) Incandescent - The most common bulb used in lamps today because they are inexpensive and widely available. Common incandescent bulbs vary from 15 to 150 watts and produce a soft yellow-white light, emitted in all directions. They are generally available in clear, frosted, or colored. Incandescent bulbs are great for standard ambient lighting and higher wattages are good for task lighting. (Never exceed the maximum wattage recommended for your lamp!) 2) Halogen - Many of today's lamps use halogen bulbs, which produce a bright, white light. They most closely replicate the color spectrum of the sun. Halogen bulbs have a longer life and provide more light (lumens) per watt than regular incandescent bulbs. Their small size and intensity make halogens great for task lighting. Since halogen bulbs burn hotter than other types, they require more caution. All halogen lamps sold today in the USA have approved safety shields to reduce fire risk. When changing a halogen bulb, be sure to wait until the bulb cools to touch it. Always use a clean rag to handle a halogen bulb, as oils from your hand will cause the bulb to burn hotter and can greatly reduce the life of your bulb. 3) Fluorescent - A very energy efficient bulb, using 20-40% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs, and can last up to 20 times longer. Many new compact styles make fluorescent bulbs practical for task lighting. Screw-in types can be used in place of incandescent bulbs in standard lamp sockets. Warmth and softness of the light is improving.