What is the best boat light? A really hard question to answer. It is a regrettable fact that the ideal boat-light fixture in terms of illumination do not always match the aesthetic requirements of your partner, who is all about looks and not performance. When you go to your local boat lighting outlet the choice can be somewhat overwhelming. The challenge is therefore trying to come to a suitable compromise with your partner and the boat builder or bank manager. It used to be that a boat light choice was made on a mixture of technologies that included fluorescent lighting and halogen light bulb or latterly LED lights to provide all of the necessary illumination solutions. These days LED lighting is the only way to go but then not everyone will agree with that position. Fortunately you don't have to renew the fitting as LED "bulbs" are available for most every type of light base.
The most common boat light has been the fluorescent lighting tube fitting. The quality units are not cheap, but the trade-off is that they are well engineered quality fittings, they will last as long as the boat, unlike most other fittings they will probably go through a lot less tubes, and similarly they will not cause aggravating Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). As a note all European fluorescent-lighting fixtures are interference free due to stringent requirements. Low-energy-lighting fixtures used to be my preferred type. I had installed several brass finish fittings on my previous boat and was more than pleased with the appearance and the lumen output of them, with a very low power consumption. The better news these days is that the LED light has made the fluoro light redundant as well s lower energy and more economic long term.
My machinery spaces used to have a couple of nice halogen light bulb fittings, so that I have maximum illumination around the engine when I need it, and they look the part as well. They have since been replaced with LED fixtures. Incandescent light fixtures used to their place and I had installed two stainless surround semi-recessed Italian lighting fittings in the toilet and shower area of my previous boat. They looked terrific, are well made, and what is more being incandescent they do not suffer as much from repeated switching on and off, but then along came very much improved LED lights. My only incandescent light is an Aqua Signal red fixture in the galley area for night vision retention on passage making when that coffee is essential to survival through the small hours and that is about to be changed as well. All about boat lighting. More great information at fishing and boats.