Halogen bulbs are light bulbs with tungsten filaments (the part that glows) and filled with halogen gas. They burn much hotter and brighter than normal bulbs which makes the light appear clearer or whiter. Halogen bulbs generally last longer and are more efficient than regular bulbs. Because Halogen lights burn much hotter, they are compromised if grease or dirt gets on their surface; so handle with care. Generally, halogen is used where bright full spectrum lighting is needed. Common applications are art lighting, headlights, recessed lighting, floodlight, and accent lighting.
Florescent light bulbs have gas inside of them that “excites” when electricity runs through the bulb. This causes the bulb to glow. These lights are more efficient than Halogen lights because they transfer more energy into light. Because the light bulbs are gas based, fluorescent lights generally require a ballast to control the flow of electricity through the light bulb. This is why many dimmers to do not work with fluorescent lights. Florescent lights are generally cooler than halogen lights and have a smaller light spectrum which means they do not present color well. Common applications are closet lights, office lighting, warehouse lighting, and outdoor signs. Many fluorescent lights contain mercury so handle with care.
Xenon Lights are similar to halogen but contain Xenon gas. They are generally brighter and clearer than halogen lights. Xenon lights are relatively new but can be found in under cabinet and art lights.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED lights emit energy in the form of light when current passes through them. These lights are very energy efficient and represent the next wave in lighting. LED lighting is standard in electronics but is now making headway in household lighting.