The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe produces light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from oxidation in the air with a glass enclosure that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, filament evaporation is prevented by a chemical process that redeposit’s metal vapor onto the filament, extending its life. The light bulb is supplied with electrical current by feed-through terminals or wires embedded in the glass. Most bulbs are used in a socket which provides mechanical support and electrical connections. Incandescent bulbs are manufactured in a wide range of sizes, light output, and voltage ratings, from 1.5 volts to about 300 volts. They require no external regulating equipment, have low manufacturing costs, and work equally well on either alternating current or direct current. As a result, the incandescent lamp is widely used in household and commercial lighting, for portable lighting such as table lamps, car headlamps, and flashlights, and for decorative and advertising lighting.
Some applications of the incandescent bulb use the heat generated by the filament, such as incubators, brooding boxes for poultry, heat lights for reptile tanks, infrared heating for industrial heating and drying processes, and the Easy-Bake Oven toy. This waste heat increases the energy required by a building's air conditioning system.