Lighting is just as crucial for creating an ambiance as decor, and few things create a romantic and alluring mood as well as a flickering fire. Of course, keeping an open flame going inside your home at all times can be dangerous, not to mention a hassle. Instead, you can turn to flame light bulbs, which mimic the look of a natural flame.
Though there are many options to choose from, the Hudson Bulb Co. LED Flickering Flame Light Bulb stands out as a top choice for its low power usage, reliable operation and, perhaps most importantly, realistic flickering.
Just like any other light bulb for your home, flame light bulbs come in several types, each of which offers pros and cons. When deciding which is best for your needs, you will need to consider lifespan, energy usage, illumination and how realistic the flame effect is.
LED flame light bulbs
If looking for the most energy-efficient choice, you will want to opt for an LED bulb. These generally use between 2 and 6 watts and can produce a realistic flame effect. They also boast a very long lifespan, often 20,000 hours or more, so they will last for years even with regular use. The downside to LED flame light bulbs is that they generally don’t provide much illumination. This means they are better for decorative purposes than for lighting up an area.
Incandescent flame light bulbs
Incandescent flame light bulbs are less common than the LED options, and they often don’t have a flickering effect. Instead, the bulb’s shape is a flame. However, they don’t look as realistic but can still be quite decorative. They consume more electricity, usually coming in 40, 60, 75 and 100-watt options, but are also brighter and better for illuminating a space.
You can find some incandescent flame light bulbs that do flicker if you search the market, but they are prone to issues and often don’t function reliably. Also, the average lifespan of an incandescent bulb is only 1,000 hours.
Neon flame light bulbs
As with LED bulbs, neon flame lights don’t provide much illumination and are more energy-efficient than incandescent options, generally consuming between 1 and 3 watts. They produce a very realistic flicker and give off a warm but weak glow, making them best as a decorative component rather than lighting up space. Neon bulbs also have a long lifespan, usually in the neighborhood of 10,000 hours.
When choosing a light bulb, you need to consider both the size of the bulb itself and the base. The most common base size in the United States is E26, and the majority of fixtures in your home will usually be this size. However, night lights and some decorative light fixtures will require candelabra bulbs with a smaller E12 base.
Once you have determined that you are buying a bulb with the correct base size, you next need to consider the overall size of the bulb to ensure it will fit inside your fixture. Take into account both the width and height. Standard light bulbs are roughly 4 inches tall and 2 ⅜ inches in diameter, but some flame light bulbs may measure six inches or more in height.
Most flame light bulbs have a cylindrical shape. However, some are flame-shaped. Others are also long and thin, and there are also short and thick options. You should consider the shape for how well it will fit, how it will look inside a fixture and how it may enhance or detract from the realism of the flame effect.
You may want to opt for a flame light bulb that has several illumination modes for the most versatility. These include a traditional light mode where the light output is steady like a regular bulb, a flame emulation mode where the light flickers and a breathing mode that slowly brightens and dims.
If placing your flame light bulb in an upside-down fixture, such as those found in many outdoor lanterns, it is crucial to choose one that has an autorotation feature. These contain a gravity sensor inside them that allows the flame to flip if you place the bulb upside down.
The majority of flame light bulbs come in a reddish yellow hue designed to mimic a real flame. However, if you are looking for something a bit more fantastical, you can find them in various other colors, such as purple, blue and green.
Depending on the light type, size, wattage and features, flame light bulbs tend to cost from $5-$20.
A. Flame light bulbs are just as safe as any other light bulb. This makes them significantly safer than having an open flame in or near the outside of your home.
A. Flame light bulbs are no more or less energy efficient than other bulbs of the same type and wattage. Therefore, if energy efficiency is a priority, opt for an LED option.
What you need to know: Offering a realistic flame and reliable operation, it’s hard to beat this option from the Hudson Bulb Co.
What you’ll love: It only uses 3 watts yet produces 200 lumens of illumination, and the flame rotates if you place the bulb in an upside-down fixture.
What you should consider: Some may feel that it flickers too quickly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Not only do these Texsens bulbs have four illumination modes, but they come as a pack of two for the same price as many other companies charge for a single bulb.
What you’ll love: They are available in blue or a traditional flame color, have a thick shell for durability and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
What you should consider: The flickering is very predictable, which takes away some of the realism.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: These bulbs are slim yet still have an E26 base, so they can fit into fixtures many others can’t.
What you’ll love: They feature a gravity sensor and are suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
What you should consider: They produce less light than many others.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.