Difference between incandescent lamp and fluorescent lamp.

Most modern household lighting fixtures are equipped with incandescent and fluorescent lamps. What is their specificity?

What is an incandescent lamp?

Lamps of the corresponding type include artificial sources of illumination, in which the light rays are formed due to the heating of a special element - the incandescent body - with the help of an electric current. In modern lighting fixtures, this element is usually made of tungsten or other refractory material.

Incandescent lamp

The structure of the incandescent lamp also contains a bulb. In it, in fact, the incandescent body is located, to which an electric current is supplied. An inert gas is usually present in the flask, or a vacuum is provided without any gases. This is necessary so that the metal body of the filament does not oxidize under the influence of atmospheric oxygen and does not enter into a chemical reaction with other atmospheric gases.

The main advantages of incandescent lamps:

  • low cost;
  • environmental friendliness;
  • the formation of a luminous flux, close in structure to sunlight, familiar to human eyes.

It should be noted that classic tungsten incandescent lamps are characterized by a fairly high level of energy consumption. Therefore, their use is becoming less common in some areas. For example, many apartment owners choose to ditch incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy efficient appliances.

There is a special subspecies of incandescent lamps - halogen lighting fixtures of the corresponding type. Their specificity is that halogen is introduced into the bulbs of these lamps - a special gas that is capable of returning metal particles that evaporate from the incandescent body back. This significantly extends the life of the lighting fixture - which is not too long with modern classic incandescent lamps.

What is a fluorescent lamp?

By fluorescent lamps, it is customary to refer to artificial sources of illumination operating on a gas-discharge principle. In these devices, the electrical discharge in the mercury vapor forms ultraviolet rays, which are converted into light radiation by means of phosphors, such as, for example, calcium halophosphate.

Fluorescent lamp

Fluorescent lamps therefore do not have an incandescent body. However, the luminous efficacy of the lighting fixtures in question is generally much higher than that of incandescent lamps. Luminescent devices have a fairly long service life and are characterized by a sufficiently high energy efficiency.

Fluorescent lamps are most often produced in 2 varieties:

  1. high pressure devices;
  2. Low pressure devices.

Lamps of the first type are most often used to organize outdoor lighting - in the courtyards of houses, on the roads. Low pressure lighting fixtures are most often used to illuminate rooms inside buildings.

The main advantages of fluorescent lamps:

  • high energy efficiency;
  • the ability to select lighting in different shades;
  • long service life - up to several tens of thousands of hours.

Fluorescent lamps, however, are not very environmentally friendly, as they contain mercury vapor. Corresponding lighting fixtures must be disposed of according to special rules after use.

It can be noted that some common types of household fluorescent lamps are traditionally referred to as energy-saving lamps. Indeed, due to their high energy efficiency, lighting devices of the appropriate type allow apartment owners to save money when paying for electricity.


The main difference between an incandescent lamp and a fluorescent lamp lies in the principles of operation: a lighting device of the first type functions by heating a metal thread (if we talk about modern products), while a luminescent lamp is based on the gas-discharge principle, by converting ultraviolet radiation into visible. The types of lamps under consideration also differ in cost, energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, the structure of the generated luminous flux, in many cases - in terms of service life.


Let us reflect more clearly the difference between an incandescent lamp and a fluorescent lamp in a small table.


Incandescent lamp Fluorescent lamp
Forms a luminous flux by heating the incandescent body (usually metal)Forms a luminous flux by converting ultraviolet rays into visible light radiation
Less energy efficientMore energy efficient
GreenerLess environmentally friendly (contains mercury)
Typically, has a shorter life (this applies to modern conventional incandescent lamps, non-halogen)Generally has a longer life
Usually cheaperUsually more expensive