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LIGHTING INSIGHTS BLOG

Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

RL-LightApplications-Wall Sconce

Common incandescent light bulbs and LED retrofits by application

Posted by Andrew Thomas on

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There's a long and heated debate about the use of incandescent light bulbs. We have debunked the myth that incandescent bulbs were banned in the US, but the reality is that efficiency standards have changed the way consumers shop for lighting. 

And with changing efficiency standards come changes in product availability. 

Regardless of your stance on the political side of this issue, we still need light in our homes, offices, schools, gyms, airports – you get the idea. So, we get regular questions about where to buy incandescent light bulbs or what the best options are for converting to LED. 

We're interested in making lighting easier for our customers, so we've put together a list of the most common places you might find an incandescent bulb along with links for where you can buy either the incandescent product or a compatible LED upgrade. 

If you'd like to jump straight to a specific room, use one of these links:


Table lamp, floor lamp, or desk lamp light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Floor-Lamp

Most lamps use a standard light bulb (A19 shape) with a standard screw-in base (E26, medium, or "Edison" base). Note that there are some exceptions with different sockets or specialty bulb shapes on certain desk lamps.

A19-E26

Standard Light Bulb (A19)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A19 (2 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 100W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A19 incandescent bulbs
Buy A19 LED bulbs

Bathroom vanity light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Bathroom-Vanity

Most bathroom vanity fixtures use a standard light bulb (A19 shape) or a round globe light bulb (G25 shape) with a standard screw-in base (E26, or "Edison" base). Note that there are some exceptions with different sockets or specialty bulb shapes. You can also find linear fluorescent bulbs in some bathroom vanities or mirrors.

A19-E26

Standard Light Bulb (A19)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A19 (2 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 100W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A19 incandescent bulbs
Buy A19 LED retrofits
G25-E26

Globe Light Bulb (G25)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: G25 (3 1/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 60W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy G25 incandescent bulbs
Buy G25 LED retrofits

 

Recessed can light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Recessed-Cans

Most recessed cans use a type of reflector light bulb (R20 or BR30). These give a soft, even distribution of light in your room. The type of light bulb you use will depend on the size of the recessed can – four inch or six inch are the most common sizes. 

R20-E26E

4" Recessed Can Bulb (R20)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: R20 (2 1/2" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 30W to 45W

What are you looking for?

Buy R20 incandescent bulbs
Buy R20 LED bulbs
BR30-E26

6" Recessed Can Bulb (BR30)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: BR30 (3 3/4" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 45W to 75W

What are you looking for?

Buy BR30 incandescent bulbs
Buy BR30 LED bulbs


There are also halogen light bulbs that provide a more focused beam of light, depending on the look you're going for or how high the ceiling is. These are generally PAR20, PAR30, or PAR38 bulbs.

Additional 4" recessed can options

Buy halogen bulbs
Buy LED bulbs

Additional 6" recessed can options

Buy halogen bulbs
Buy LED bulbs

Ceiling fixture light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Ceiling-Fixture

Most ceiling fixtures use a standard light bulb (A19 shape) with a standard screw-in base (E26, or "Edison" base). A typical ceiling fixture will have more than one light bulb, though, so be sure to open the fixture to see what's there before you look for a replacement. 

If the bulb you pull out of your fixture doesn't look like the picture below, you may want to try this reference page to find the option you're looking for.

A19-E26

Standard Light Bulb (A19)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A19 (2 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 100W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A19 incandescent bulbs
Buy A19 LED bulbs

Wall sconce light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Wall Sconce

Most wall sconces use a standard light bulb (A19 shape) or a torpedo shaped light bulb (B10 or B11 shape) with a standard screw-in base (E26, or "Edison" base). If you have a torpedo bulb, be sure to check the base. If it's smaller than a standard light bulb, you probably have a candelabra (E12) base.

Occasionally, you'll find plug-in CFL bulbs in these fixtures, too, so this is another good time to open the fixture to be sure of what you're replacing. 

A19-E26

Standard Light Bulb (A19)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A19 (2 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 100W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A19 incandescent bulbs
Buy A19 LED bulbs
B10-E12

Torpedo Light Bulb (B10 or B11)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: B10 (1 1/4" diameter) or B11 (1 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26) or Candelabra (E12)
  • Wattage: 25W to 60W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy B10/B11 incandescent bulbs
Buy B10/B11 LED bulbs

Chandelier light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Chandelier

Chandeliers typically use a torpedo or flame shape light bulb (B10, B11, CA8, CA10, or F15 shape) with a candelabra base (E12 base). Here, again, you may find a medium (E26) base, so pay close attention to thesis of the base before ordering product.

B10-E12

Chandelier Light Bulbs

Technical Jargon:

  • Shapes:
    B10 (1 1/4" diameter)
    B11 (1 3/8" diameter)
    CA8 (1" diameter)
    CA10 (1 1/4" diameter)
    F15 (1 7/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26) or Candelabra (E12)
  • Wattage: 15W to 60W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy incandescent chandelier bulbs
Buy LED chandelier bulbs

Pendant light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-PendantsMost pendants use a standard light bulb (A19 shape) with a standard screw-in base. In some cases, you'll also find plug-in compact fluorescent or quartz light bulbs. 

A19-E26

Standard Light Bulb (A19)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A19 (2 3/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 25W to 100W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A19 incandescent bulbs
Buy A19 LED bulbs

Spot light or track fixture light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Track-Lighting

Track lighting fixtures generally use a type of reflector light bulb (MR16, PAR20, PAR30, or PAR38). These typically give a more focused beam of light which can vary based on the "beam angle."  When selecting track lighting, a smaller beam angle means a more narrow, focused beam of light.

PAR30S-E26

Common Track Light Bulb (PAR30)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: PAR30 (3 3/4" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26)
  • Wattage: 39W to 60W

What are you looking for?

Buy halogen PAR30 bulbs
Buy LED PAR30 bulbs

Ceiling fan light bulbs

RL-LightApplications-Ceiling-Fan

Most ceiling fans use a light bulb that looks like a small version of the "standard" size. this is an A15 size and either uses a medium (E26) or candelabra (E12) size socket. 

A15-E26

Ceiling Fan Light Bulb (A15)

Technical Jargon:

  • Shape: A15 (1 7/8" diameter)
  • Base: Medium (E26) or Candelabra (E12)
  • Wattage: 15W to 60W
  • Finish: Frosted or Clear

What are you looking for?

Buy A15 incandescent bulbs
Buy A15 LED bulbs

 

If you're looking for a hard-to-find light bulb or an option you don't see above, look for a part number stamped somewhere on the top or side of the bulb and give our product finder a try.