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What Light Bulb Do I Have?

Many of us have probably found ourselves in a situation where a light bulb has burned out and we are unable to find a replacement. Trips to the local hardware store and several “test” bulbs have not worked. Armed with nothing but obscure labels and a mumbo jumbo of letters/numbers that make no sense, it seems the only solution is to get a new light fixture.

However, with the help of the light bulb guide that we compiled below, we hope to assist you with finding the right replacement bulb.

1. Determine the type of bulbĀ 

Common bulb types include incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, krypton, xenon, metal halide, etc.

2. Determine the shape/size of the bulb.

These are usually designated by a letter code followed by a number. The letter indicates the shape of the bulb and the number indicates the diameter in eights of an inch. For example, an MR16 would have a 2″ diameter and a PAR38 would have a 4.75″ diameter. See guide below for the most popular bulb shapes.

Bulb Shapes and Sizes

Souce: Bulbrite

3. Determine the base of the bulb.

The base is the part that connects into the socket. Use the guide below for some common bulb bases.

Bulb Shapes and Sizes & Filament Types

Source: Bulbrite

4. Determine the options

This includes wattage and color temperature. This can usually be determined by the ordering code (found on the actual bulb itself or on the rating of the fixture). See below for a guide on how to read ordering codes.

How to Read Ordering Codes

Source: Bulbrite

5. Figure out what fixture you have

If you know the brand and model # of the lighting fixture you are using, it is sometimes helpful to look up the specs to the fixture or contact the manufacturer directly to get replacement bulb info.

We hope the above guide will assist you in finding the correct replacement bulb. You can also contact us directly or submit an image of the bulb in question to [email protected] and let our team assist you.

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