Ceiling fan light bulb types come in a range of sizes and base shapes, and you have options to LED, CFL and other bulb types. So it is important to know your light bulb size and type before you order replacement bulbs or go to the store in search of them.
Tip: If you are going to the hardware store to buy bulbs, take one of the bulbs with you to be sure to get the same replacement size and type.
Light Bulb Types
What type of light bulb goes in a ceiling fan?
There are three types of ceiling fan light bulbs – incandescent, which is pretty much being phased out, LED, which are very popular and CFL light bulbs.
Common Ceiling Fan Light Bulb Types:
LED Light Bulb
CFL Light Bulb
Incandescent Light Bulb
|Average Life (Years)||9-22 Years||7-9 Years||1-2 Years|
|Wattage||2.5 – 16 Watts||3 – 120 Watts||5 – 500 Watts|
|Color Temp||Soft White, Bright White, Daylight||Soft White, Bright White, Daylight||Soft White|
* This table from Home Depot.
Each of the common ceiling fan light bulb types has its pros and cons.
Incandescent bulbs are cheap but don’t last long. And they use a lot of energy to produce the light. While the average life is 1-2 years depending on use, these bulbs can sometimes burn out in a few months.
CFL bulbs were all the rage when they first came out. They’re available in a wide range of wattages. And they use less energy than incandescent light bulbs, but they’re not the most energy efficient choice. CFL bulbs contain mercury.
LED bulbs are now the standard for the lighting industry. For example, Hunter, a major manufacturer of ceiling fans, switched entirely to LED in 2018 on their ceiling fans and light kits. LED lights last the longest. Some are rated for 25000 hours. And they are the most energy efficient.
However, LED light bulbs contain small amounts of arsenic, lead and nickel.
Tip: If your ceiling fan is high off the ground, and changing the bulbs is difficult, it is essential to have long-lasting LED bulbs of the highest quality to minimize the need for changing them.
Light Bulb Base Types
This is where things get a little tricky. Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t standardized light bulb base sizes, so there are various options, but only one base type will work in your fan.
There are several models of ceiling fans that utilize light base types such as Bi-Pin, E10, E14, and E27.
|Base Type||Model Sample|
|E27||Home Decorators Collection Grayton 54 in.|
Hampton Bay Cedar Lake 44 in.
|Bi-Pin||FANIMATION Kwartet 52 in.|
|E10||Big Ass Fans Haiku L 52 in.|
|E14||Home Decorators Collection Aberwell 56 in.|
Note: This data is based on 500 popular ceiling fans sold by Home Depot in stores and online.
The letter is the type of base. The number is the size of the base.
The most common ceiling fan light bulb base types: E12 and E26, are used by many manufacturers. Hunter went to E26 for all its fans and light kits, which makes getting replacement bulbs easier. It is the most popular size and base.
These are standard screw-in type bulbs. The E12 is candelabra size. The E26 is the standard medium sized base. The E14 is a common European size, but it is being used more in US manufacturing.
As you can see from the chart, those common ceiling fan light bulb base types are far from the only ones available.
Light Bulb Shape and Size
There is a second code to know about with light bulb size and shape. The code for the base is covered above. There’s also a code for the shape of the bulb.
Light bulb sizes are measured in 1/8’s of an inch. An A19 bulb, which is considered the “classic” shape, is 19/8 of an inch in diameter at its widest, or 2.375 inches.
Many base types are manufactured in more than one light bulb size, as this list shows. The first number is the base size and type. The second number is the bulb size and type.
- E10: A19
- E14: T25
- E27: A19
- E12: B12, C7
- E26: A15, A19, B10, ST19, T12
Here are common base types and their size.
Mini-Candelabra (E11) – The base has a width of 0.43 inches.
Candelabra (E12) – The base measures 0.47 inches wide.
Intermediate (E17) – Its base is 0.54 inches in width.
Medium (E26) – The base has a width of 1.03 inches.
[Image Frome Hunter]
Light Bulb Lumens and Wattage
The major improvement in lighting technology is that LED and CFL lights give far more light for the amount of energy used.
Watts is how much power the light bulb draws.
Lumens is how much light the bulb gives off.
|25 lumens||5 watts||N/A||N/A|
|100 lumens||15 watts||N/A||1-2 watts|
|200 lumens||25 watts||N/A||2-3 watts|
|350 lumens||35 watts||N/A||4-5 watts|
|450 lumens||40 watts||9-13 watts||6-8 watts|
|800 lumens||60 watts||13-15 watts||9-13 watts|
|1100 lumens||75 watts||18-25 watts||12-15 watts|
|1600 lumens||100 watts||25-30 watts||16-20 watts|
|2600 lumens||150 watts||30-35 watts||25-28 watts|
* This table is from Lowes
Note the impact this has on energy usage. To get 800 lumens, the incandescent bulb, the kind we all grew up with, draws 60 watts. They were called “60 watt bulbs,” but the more important detail is how much light they provide.
Note this package says “60W Replacement.” That’s accurate. It is a 9-watt bulb. Size A19, 800 Lumens at is estimated to last 13 years!
Many sites still talk about watts as if it’s the most important detail. But the development of CFL and LED lights has changed the conversation.
You might have a fixture that says, “Maximum wattage: 60,” but there are no LED and CFL bulbs that draw that much energy. Not in the ceiling fan discussion anyway.
You get the same 800 lumens for a fraction of the power used. For around a quarter of the watts, a CFL bulb provides 800 lumens. And for about 20% of the energy, an LED delivers 800 lumens.
Yes, LED bulbs cost more, but again, you save on energy from day 1, and they last longer too. So, there’s no downside to switching to LEDs.
Changing Ceiling Fan Light Bulb Size
Do you have a ceiling fan that uses small candelabra bulbs? And they don’t give off the amount of light you want?
For example, if your ceiling fan uses E12 or E17 bulbs and you’d like to upgrade to E26 bulbs, an adapter like this will do it quickly and easily. Of course, this won’t work for all base types.
Caution: Don’t use these adapters with incandescent light bulbs because using three 75-watt or 100-watt incandescent bulbs will almost certainly exceed the rating of the fixture. LED bulbs are recommended for such a conversion because they draw far less energy. The wattage rating for your fixture should be listed on the fixture or in your owner’s manual.
Adapters are produced in a number of sizes. Just know what size bulbs you have and what size you want to find the right adapter.
You can also downsize. Adapters are made to reduce from E26 down to E12 candelabra bulbs, for example.