Halogen bulbs are incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs, however, are filled with a special gas that actually rebuilds the filament and provides longer average lifespan than normal incandescent bulbs. They come in different shapes and sizes for various different uses. The PAR series of halogen bulbs are flood shaped with heavy, thick glass that is common to many medium to large sized halogen bulbs. PAR stands for parabolic aluminized reflector. These types of bulbs will provide you with a higher light output, a more white-colored light (a higher color temperature - approximately 3000K), and longer life than normal R or BR reflectors.
Sylvania PAR38 bulbs are fairly common in larger fixtures. You can tell what kind of PAR lamp you have by measuring the distance across the widest point of the bulb. The number after 'PAR' represents the number of eighths of an inch the bulb diameter is. Therefore, PAR38 lamps are 4 3/4 inches across.
PAR38 lamps are widely available from Sylvania, Philips, Westinghouse, GE, and most other small bulb manufacturers. They have medium (standard) bases and are able to be used indoors or outdoors. They can be directly exposed to rain or snow and still function normally. They do not need to be covered by a light fixture, which makes the PAR38 lamps usable in many different areas.
The Sylvania brand for all PAR lamps is Capsylite. Philips brand for all PAR lamps is Halogena. The GE brand for all PAR lamps is Edison. The Westinghouse line uses only PAR to describe these bulbs. You can get the bulb in SP (spot), WSP (wide spot), NFL (narrow flood), FL (flood) and WFL (wide flood) beam spreads. The SP is about 10 degrees, the WSP is about 12 degrees, the NFL is about 25 degrees, the FL is about 30 degrees and the WFL is about 50 degrees. If you want to light up a large area, then use the FL or WFL. If you want to focus the light into a small area, try the SP.
You can get most types of Sylvania PAR38 bulbs in 120 or 130 volt. The 120 volt bulbs will be slightly whiter and brighter. The 130 volt bulbs will last about twice as long as the 120 volt bulbs. You can get these bulbs in a wide variety of wattages, from 53 watts all the way up to 250.
People use Sylvania PAR38 lamps are used a lot in track lighting. Due to their large size, many stores and restaurants use the smaller Sylvania PAR30 for the majority of their general lighting needs and use the PAR 38 bulbs for large, open areas. The items shown under this light will appear more brilliant and will display a brilliant color than under normal incandescent bulbs.