What Size Light Bulbs For Ceiling Fans?

House owners who have bought a ceiling fan with a light fixture get confused about the right bulb size. Fortunately, I have done some research, and here’s what I found about the bulb size of the fan. 

Generally, a ceiling fan needs a 55-100 watts bulb. The right bulb size depends on the ceiling fan type and size, the base type, and the fixture rating. For example, a 36-inch ceiling fan model needs a 55 watts bulb, whereas a 48-inch fan model needs a 75W light.

Selecting the right bulb size is difficult for a beginner. Keep reading the article till the end to receive detailed information about the ceiling fan’s bulb type and size. 

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Understanding the importance of choosing the right light bulbs for ceiling fans

Choosing the right light bulb for ceiling fans does not mean you go to the store and select any bulb. 

You should choose the right bulbs for the ceiling fans so that the light and fan work efficiently. 

Installing a wrong bulb size that doesn’t match the fixture rating causes fire hazards. 

For example, installing a 75W bulb in a fixture with a 60W maximum rating. 

The 75W bulb will draw more power from the 60W fixture, overheat, and cause a fire.

Besides, the insulation in the light fixture can handle only a certain amount of wattage or a heated temperature of up to 194°F before it becomes intolerable.

Below are some reasons why it is important to choose the correct bulb type:

  • The first reason is compatibility. The ceiling fans with light will have specific requirements for the light. Please choose the right bulb that matches the ceiling fan’s compatibility. Consult your manufacturer’s manual for it.
  • Using the wrong bulb type causes safety hazards. A wrong bulb will overheat and damage the fan, the light, and other objects close to it. You must choose a light rated for the enclosed fixtures, like those in the ceiling fans. 
  • Using the right bulb type is important for energy efficiency. It will reduce energy consumption and save money on electrical bills. For example, use LED light bulbs for your ceiling fans as they are energy-efficient and affordable.
  • The ceiling fans have an airflow that affects the room’s temperature. The right type of bulb should keep the room temperature the same. 

Types of light bulbs compatible with the ceiling fans

The ceiling fans usually are compatible with four types of bulbs:

  • Mini-Candelabra (E11)
  • Candelabra (E12)
  • Intermediate (E17)
  • Medium (E26)

They measure around 42-48 inches and have wattages between 55W to 100W. 

The actual bulb size for the ceiling fans is unknown. 

So, any bulb that fits the fixture in the ceiling fan is considered a suitable type and size for the ceiling fan. 

Let’s discuss these bulb types in a bit of detail.

Mini-Candelabra (E11) and Candelabra (E12) 

GE Lighting Decorative Light Bulbs, 40 Watt, Clear Finish, Candelabra Base (12 Pack)

LED Candelabra bulbs are famous for their energy efficiency in the high-lumen output per wattage, low costs, and longer bulb service. 

The Candelabra bulbs include a frosted, clear, and tinted surface finish.

The frosted bulbs have a slight trace of frosted components with different qualities that greatly decrease the pattern and glare. 

The LED Candelabra Base bulbs have different sets that use 4.5 watts but produce a brightness level of 60-watt incandescent bulbs. 

Additionally, you can easily install these bulbs, adjust their brightness level, and make them perfect for people wanting dimmable lights.

Some Candelabra bulbs with high scores include:

Intermediate (E17) light bulbs 

Maelsrlg E17 Intermediate Base LED Bulb, 6W (60 Watt Equivalent) G14 Globe Ceiling Fan Light Bulbs, Daylight White 5000K, 600 Lumens, Non-Dimmable, Pack of 6

The Intermediate lights go well for decoration in the restaurant pendant lights, chandeliers, ornamental lights, Christmas lights, wall sconces, and marquee lights. 

Appliances like refrigerators, ceiling fans, microwaves, and range hood fixtures use this type of light. 

A good quality Intermediate light is Maelsrlg E17 Intermediate Base LED Bulb, 6W (60 Watt Equivalent) G14 Globe Ceiling Fan Light Bulbs, Daylight White 5000K, 600 Lumens, Non-Dimmable.

Medium (E26) light bulbs 

SYLVANIA LED A19 Light Bulb, 60W Equivalent, Efficient 8.5, 10 Year, W, 5000K, 800 Lumens, Frosted, Daylight - 24 Pack (74766)

These bulbs are mostly used in the USA. 

The base types are interchangeable with E27 bulbs because their difference is only 1 millimeter. 

The light bases are commonly used for all screw bulb bases as they can easily connect with a few twists. 

The Medium E26 bulbs are used for general lighting, for example, ceiling lights, can lights, flood fixtures, outdoor spotlights, and vanity lights. 

Since they are used for various standard purposes, manufacturers use them in different styles.

SYLVANIA LED A19 Light Bulb, 60W Equivalent, Efficient 8.5, 10 Year, W, 5000K, 800 Lumens, Frosted, Daylight – 24 Pack (74766) is an E26 Medium-light with a good rating.

Recommended light bulbs for the ceiling fan

  • Handsang Candelabra LED Bulb
  • Luxrite LED Bulb
  • Comzler Candelabra LED bulb
  • Shinestar Ceiling Fan Light Bulb

Factors to consider while choosing the right size light bulbs for ceiling fans 

You must choose the right bulb size for your ceiling fan. 

Using a bulb that surpasses the fixture’s rating can start a fire. 

Besides, the fixture’s insulation can tolerate up to a certain temperature. 

Several factors determine the bulb size:

Base type

While selecting the light bulb for your ceiling fan, it is vital to check the base type of your fixture. 

Most ceiling fans will have a medium base. 

It is usually the standard size for the incandescent or candelabra bases. 

Fan size

Measure the size of your ceiling fan. 

The light will be bigger for larger fans with high wattages to provide sufficient illumination. 

On the contrary, smaller fans will need smaller-size bulbs to provide standard light. 

Fixture type

The light size you use must match the fixture’s rating. 

Choosing a bigger light that doesn’t match the light fixture’s rating will provide insufficient light, overheat, or start a fire.

Fan design

The fan’s design also plays a role in selecting the right bulb size. 

If your fan has light kits, limitations will be set for the bulb size in the ceiling fans. 

You must choose the ideal bulb size matching the fan’s design.

Room size

The light size depends on the room size. 

You will need a bigger or brighter light with higher wattage to provide adequate illumination for bigger rooms. 

A light with standard size and brightness gives sufficient light for smaller rooms.

Personal preference

Lastly, choose a size based on your personal preference. 

Some people prefer brighter and bigger lights, whereas some need smaller or dimmer lights for less light. 

I prefer a standard light for my room’s ceiling fan that can provide sufficient light, neither too bright nor too dim. 

I have a separate light for my room.

Light size of the already installed bulbs

Suppose your ceiling fan already has a light bulb installed, and you want it to replace. 

In that case, you should measure the existing light bulb instead for an ideal replacement.

The manual guide will also help.

Common sizes of light bulbs used in the ceiling fans

The light bulb sizes are measured in ⅛’s an inch. 

The classic bulb shape and size for a ceiling fan is A19. It is 19/8 of an inch in diameter at the width, or 2.375 inches. 

Here are some common bulbs sizes suitable for ceiling fans:

  • Mini-Candelabra E11 – 0.43 inches wide base and 0.51 inches high
  • Candelabra E12 – 0.47 inches wide base and 0.65 inches high
  • Intermediate E17 – 0.54 inches wide base and 0.82 inches high
  • Medium E26 – 1.03 inches wide base and 1.05 inches high

Here is a rough size recommendation of the lights according to the fan size and light wattage:

  • Ceiling fans with less than 44 inches – 60 watts Candelabra bulbs
  • Medium fans around 44 to 52 inches – 75 to 100 watts standard Medium bulb base
  • Fans measuring larger than 52 inches – 150 watts standard Medium light base

Do not follow these measurements blindly. Follow the factors before determining the right bulb size for your ceiling fan.

Wattage recommendations for the light bulbs in the ceiling fans

Three main factors determine the fixture’s maximum safe wattage:

  • The amount of heat produced by the light.
  • The maximum heat the fixture can tolerate.
  • The fixture type – whether enclosed or open to let the light heat dissipate.

Bulbs with high wattages produce the maximum heat. 

While choosing the light, make sure that the fan’s light fixture can tolerate the heat produced by the bulb.

The fixture type is very important. The fixture rating must match the rating of the light. 

If the manufacturer tells you that the light can give you a brightness equivalent to 60 watts, it is better to ignore them. 

Examine the amount of power the bulb consumes. 

When the fixture has a specific limit, it cannot tolerate the heat produced by a bulb higher than that rating. 

Similarly, don’t use a light with a wattage rating smaller than the fan’s light fixture.

For example, if you use a 14-watt bulb with a brightness equal to 100 watts in a 40W fixture, the light bulb will have a low shelf life. 

The energy efficiency also determines the light bulb’s wattage.

The high-wattage bulbs will consume more energy. For energy efficiency, you should use bulbs that consume less but provide enough light.

Usually, ceiling fans measuring 36 to 56 inches work fine with 55W-100W bulbs.

Below are some bulb recommendations for ceiling fans with their wattages and lumens:

  • 40 watts light is suitable for smaller rooms with small ceiling fans.
  • 60 watts light is a standard light for most standard-sized ceiling fans.
  • 75 watts is slightly higher for 44-48 inches fans and rooms that need slightly bright and focused light.
  • 100 watts and higher are recommended for larger fans and rooms that need proper brightness. Check the fixture rating of the fan before buying these lights.

Suppose the light fixture of the ceiling fan has measurements and sizes in lumens, and you need the wattage recommendation for it. 

If the light measurement is in lumens, below are some recommended wattages accordingly:

25 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 5 watts

100 lumens

  • Incandescent – 15 watts
  • LED – 1-2 watts

200 lumens

  • Incandescent – 25 watts
  • LED – 2-3 watts

350 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 35 watts
  • LED – 4-5 watts

450 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 40 watts
  • CFL – 9-13 watts
  • LED – 6-8 watts

800 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 60 watts
  • CFL – 13-15 watts
  • LED – 9-13 watts

1,100 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 75 watts
  • CFL – 18-25 watts
  • LED – 12-15 watts

1,600 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 100 watts
  • CFL -25-30 watts
  • LED – 16-20 watts

2,600 lumens 

  • Incandescent – 150 watts
  • CFL – 30-35 watts
  • LED – 25-28 watts

Energy efficiency considerations for the light bulbs in ceiling fans 

When choosing a suitable light bulb for the ceiling fan, energy efficiency is important. 

Here are some considerations related to energy efficiency:

  • Pick light bulbs with lower efficiency that gives proper brightness. Low-efficient bulbs use less energy, generate less heat, and provide enough brightness. 
  • High lumens mean high wattage. So, buy a light bulb that delivers enough luminance but consumes less energy. Use LED lights as they are bright and use less power than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • The color temperature is the light appearance. The bulbs with a color temperature of 2700k-3000k are the best for ceiling fans as they are warmer, consume less energy, and provide enough light.
  • Look for bulbs with low-wattage energy star ratings. 

How to install the light bulbs in the ceiling fans?

Ceiling fans with lights are available in wide varieties and designs.

If your fan does not come with a light, it doesn’t mean you cannot install one. Check the fan closely to find a setting for the light installation. 

Here are the steps:

  • Turn off the power at the fan’s circuit and check whether your ceiling fan has a housing cap at the center. It is the place where an optional light assembly will be installed. 
  • Unscrew the housing cap and remove the decorative plates covering the light attachment points and wires. Without housing, your ceiling fan cannot have a light.
  • Check whether the wires inside the housing cap are for an optional light assembly. Several wires of different colors (black and white) will be capped off with wire nuts. Sometimes, these wires might be labeled with LIGHTING POWER.
  • Measure the attachment point on the ceiling fan. Determine the light size, measure the diameter of the opening, and check the screw holes on the lighting assembly to attach the light. 
  • Also, note the group, fan style, and model number. Parts of the company will be easier to collect. 

Visit a store for the appropriate light kit.

Some companies have kits that can fit various fan models, whereas some will only fit fans of the same company. 

Check the style name and model number to receive the right parts. 

The ceiling fan’s light assembly will come in various styles. So, decide whether you want a fixture with one or more lights.

Here are the steps of installation:

  • Turn off the power at the breaker.
  • Open the housing cap to unhide the wires. Track the parts you remove because after installing the light, you need to put them back correctly.
  • Connect the light’s wires to the fan’s wire with the wire nuts parallelly by lining the two matching wires; the fan’s black wire with the light assembly’s black wire and the white with the white. Follow the manual once for verification. Secure the wires with a wire nut. 
  • Screw the lighting assembly in the ceiling fan. 
  • Install the light bulbs, the glass shades, and the pull chains. Follow the manufacturer’s manual for proper directions. 
  • The shades in the fixture will be placed with the thumbscrews. When you unscrew this, keep them attached with slight pressure on the multiple sides of the shades.
  • Now, flip back the power at the breaker, pull the chain, and check your fan with light. 

Follow the same process to replace the light in a fan that already has a light installed.

If there is any problem, call an electrician for help.

Troubleshooting common issues with light bulbs in ceiling fans

When you turn on the fan with a light, you will sometimes find that the light in the fan is not working properly. 

Expansion and contraction make electric current produce heat after turning on the ceiling fan, causing numerous issues over time. 

Another reason is a damaged ceiling fan kit or burned bulb sockets. 

This section will help you troubleshoot these issues easily. 

You can follow these troubleshooting tips to solve the issues without anyone’s help. In case this doesn’t work, hire an electrician.

Check the bulb conditions.

The common cause behind a ceiling fan with a light bulb not working is damaged or burn-out lights. 

If your fan has a bulb, the fan will not light up your room. So, replace the bulb. 

Ensure that the bulb’s power suits the fan’s requirements. 

Screw the new bulb properly in the light socket for adequate working.

Check for loose connections

Loose wire connections may cause problems with the light. 

To identify the reason, examine the wire connections keenly:

  • Turn off the power at the circuit. 
  • Locate the screws holding the light kit and unscrew them. In most ceiling fans, it will be under the fan blades.
  • Find the two-colored wires spiraled around a red wire close to the current supply. 
  • Check for loose connections or damage. If the connections are loose, tighten them properly. If they are damaged, hire an electrician to get them replaced. 
  • Restore the power to check its functionality.

Check for corrosion in the light sockets.

The sockets sometimes burn out during a sudden short circuit in the wires. To examine the wires:

  • Turn off the power at the breaker.
  • Unscrew the light from the socket and test whether the socket has power or not. 
  • Clean the corrosion part using a wire brush and a clean cloth.
  • Put the bulb back in the socket and check if the light works. 

If you still find issues, call an electrician to fix the problem. 

If the socket is damaged, replace it with a new one with the help of an expert.

Check the fan’s remote.

If you have a remote-control fan, examine the remote. 

Make sure that it has batteries. If not, replace the batteries and reset your fan settings. 

To reset the settings:

  • Turn off your fan with your remote. 
  • Press the remote’s power key for 10-15 seconds. 
  • Run the fan again after 20 seconds to see any changes. 

If it is still not working, get a new remote and try it again. 

Maintenance tips for light bulbs in the ceiling fans

Maintaining the light bulbs and the fan regularly can increase the fan’s and the light’s shelf life. 

Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Clean the light and the fixture regularly with a soft and dry cloth or microfiber. Dust can reduce their lifespan and the amount of light production. 
  • Check for loose connections regularly and fix them whenever you spot one.
  • Sometimes, the bulbs become difficult to remove from the fixture. Use a bulb lubricant to the bulb base to make the removal flexible.
  • If you ever find that the bulbs have burnt out, replace them immediately to prevent strain on the other bulbs in the fixture. 
  • Always turn off the power at the circuit before working with electricity. 

Also read:

Final thoughts

There is no fixed light bulb size for the ceiling fans. It depends on fan size, design, fixture rating, base types, and personal preference. The best light types for ceiling fans are Mini-Candelabra, Candelabra, Intermediate, and Medium light types. 

The bulbs’ styles, bases, and sizes will match the maximum ceiling fans. Another important factor is energy efficiency. Prefer lights that consume less energy but provide adequate illumination, for example, LED lights and energy-star rating lights.

Though most fans come with a light, some have separate installation options. Examine the fan housing cap, inside which you will find wires and fixtures for a light. Follow the installation steps to install a light in your ceiling fan and enjoy.

Can I use appliance bulbs in the ceiling fans?

Appliance bulbs are designed to tolerate harsh conditions and high temperatures. They have a durable filament that can withstand vibrations. So you can use them for your ceiling fans.

Can I use dimmable lights for the ceiling fans?

If your fan’s light fixture is for dimmable lights, you can use dimmable lights. Use a dimmable switch for a dimmable light. Otherwise, the light will overheat and damage both the switch and bulb. 

Reference: Ceiling Fans with Light Kits Wikipedia

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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