Can you use LED bulbs in regular fixtures?

Can you use LED bulbs in regular fixtures? 7 things you need to know

We often receive emails from you, dear readers, with a question if you can put LED bulbs in regular lighting fixtures.

In this post, we will cover the question and will also talk about 7 things you should know about before switching to eco-friendly and long lasting LEDs.

Can you use LED bulbs in regular fixtures?

The short (and simple) answer is yes.

It is true as long as the LED bulbs you plan to install use less wattage than the max wattage allowed by the fixture.

When you see a description of a bulb state “100-Watt LED equivalent” that does not mean that the bulb truly consumes 100 Watts. It simply means that the bulb generates an amount of light equivalent to a 100-Watt incandescent bulb.

In fact, such LED bulb would consume only 15-20 Watt.

Refer to the table below (via cnet.com) to find out how LEDs bulbs compare with incandescent ones in terms of light output and wattage:

      LUMENS     

INCANDESCENT

          LED         

2600 lm

150 W

25-28 W

1600 lm

100 W

16 - 20 W

1100 lm

75 W

9-13 W

800 lm

60 W

8-12 W

450 lm

40 W

6-9 W

A real 60-Watt LED bulb would be an equivalent of a 300-Watt incandescent bulb. This would be a very bright light! Thus, if your fixture says “not to exceed 60-Watts” but you want to use a 100-Watt equivalent LED bulb, this would be a safe thing to do.

7 things you need to know when switching to LED bulbs

​LED bulbs are easy and convenient to use but they have their small tricks and secrets.

1

Use a special type of LEDs in recessed, enclosed, or semi-enclosed fixtures

Since LED bulbs use fewer watts, they produce dramatically less heat than their incandescent cousins.

However, it still means LED bulbs do get hot. The heat may damage the bulb so it needs to be pulled away. This is a job of a heat sink, a special part of the base of the bulb. The sink diffuses the heat into the air helping the LED bulb not only stay cold but also fulfilling its promise of a super-long life.

That's why you need to consider where you place your LED bulbs.

If you have fully or semi-enclosed fixtures, search for LEDs that are designed for recessed or enclosed locations.​

Examples of enclosed fixtures:​

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Enclosed fixture example
Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Enclosed fixture example
Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Enclosed fixture example
Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Enclosed fixture example

Allen and Roth Vistora

flush mount light

Allen Roth Castine

outdoor wall light

Allen + Roth Kenross

wall sconce

Allen + Roth Aged brass

flush mount

2

Use a special type of LEDs with dimmable switches

The common dimmer technology is designed to work with incandescent lights and it is not always compatible with LED bulbs. Some dimmer switches are designed to have a minimum load requirement to work. When those switches are connected to the very energy-efficient LEDs, the dimmers won’t operate at all.

The solution is to use dimmable LED bulbs. Such bulbs must be clearly marked as dimmable. There are plenty of them available on the market; you just need to choose which shape and light color you want. Even Edison style filaments can be an LED!

And the evolution of the technology does not stop there.

Randall Whitehead, a well known professional lighting designer and author, writes on lightinganddecormag.com about a new type of dimmable LEDs called "warm dim." These lights appear to get warmer than dimmed.

Such bulbs seem like a perfect choice for a romantic dinner with an eco conscious (or just LED loving) partner!

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Dimmable leds
3

Pay more upfront, get more return over time

One of the very few cons of LED bulbs is that these bulbs are pricier than the regular ones. If you need a dimmable LED bulb or one that works in an enclosed fixture, the price may go even higher.

For comparison, a 60-Watt incandescent bulb costs meager 79c at Walmart. Meanwhile, an equivalent LED bulb costs from a couple of dollars to $30-40 on Amazon.

However, what you get in return is a much longer life with significantly reduced expenses.​

For example, comparing to incandescent lights, the life span of LED bulbs is from 3 to whopping 25 times longer according to energy.gov. This results in an impressive life from a few to more than ten years for each LED bulb (depending on your light usage as mentioned on integral-led.com.)

Also, most of the high-priced LED bulbs have extra features such as a WiFi controlled switch or Alexa compatible module. These are high tech devices built around a regular bulb.

Don't shy away of LEDs because of their price. Instead, consider them as being an investment.

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: LEDs as investment
4

Pay attention to the light color

While incandescent bulbs produce yellowish light, LED bulbs come in a specter of various colors. It ranges from yellowish to match regular bulbs to more white (bright white) to blue-ish that is more close to natural daylight.

If you need a light bulb for a regular room, you may want to choose an LED bulb that gives a softer warm light. For an office or a reading spot, you may want to go with a cooler, more blue-ish LED light.

While choosing the LED light color, refer to this picture via www.earthled.com to get an idea what light color you may need:​

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Choosing a Proper Color Temperature for your next LED Bulb
5

Also pay attention to lumens in addition to wattage

When dealing with the brightness of an LED bulb, you should think lumens in addition to watts. As a common benchmark, an 800 lumen LED bulb produces the same amount of light as a conventional incandescent 60-Watt light bulb. However, the LED consumes only 10 watts.

Do you want to use something even brighter?

Not a problem.

The 150W LED equivalent delivers about 2,600 lumens while using only around 30 Watts. That means you could install a 150W LED equivalent bulb in a 60W fixture and get more than 3 times the light than your old 60-Watt incandescent bulb.

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Lumens
6

Improve your mood with a brighter light and home

Did you know that bright light can improve low mood and even help to battle with depression?

In 2013, Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience published a study showing how bright and dim light affects the levels of dopamine in our bodies which in its turn affects our mood.

Also, bright light can sometimes replace antidepressants. According to the study conducted in 2011 at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam and mentioned on well.blogs.nytimes.com, a positive effect of bright light therapy helped the research participants improve mood without any medications. Apart from that, their sleeping got also better.

All this goodness with no side effects!​

Since the LED technology allows you to install more luminous bulbs in the same sockets, you can make your home even brighter than before - and improve your mood with no extra cost.

Brighter home, better mood!​

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Improve mood with bright lights

7

Get what you paid for

While you can find relatively cheap LED bulbs, you should remember that you get what you paid for.

LED bulbs are quite similar to consumer electronics in terms of quality.

If you want your LED to provide an expected light output as well as function properly, you need to make sure all of its components are manufactured to last. To achieve that, it's always a good idea to buy from a company you're confident in. Cheap LEDs may give less light than expected or produce the light color that is unpleasant for an eye.

If you want to learn more about how cheaply-made LEDs compare with top-quality ones, check out this article on bulbs.com.

Can you use led bulbs in regular fixtures: Cheap bulbs

Summing it up

So, can you use LED bulbs in regular fixtures? The answer is yes; however, you should keep the following points in mind:

  • semi-eclosed, enclosed, and recessed fixtures should have LED bulbs specifically designed for them
  • for dimmable switches, use dimmable LED bulbs
  • LED bulbs are pricier than other bulbs; consider them being an investment
  • LEB bulbs come in a variety of light color from warm to blue-tinted; consider it while buying an LED bulb
  • look at both wattage and lumens while choosing LED bulbs
  • using LED bulbs make your home brighter thus improving your mood
  • if you buy cheaper bulbs, be prepared for worse quality of light

Go ahead and use LED bulbs in regular fixtures and everywhere in your home!

LED bulbs produce more light per wattage than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. While using them, you will save money on electricity and get a brighter and better lit home.

After all, bright light can help you to improve your low mood.

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