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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
16 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best bathroom light fixtures

If there’s one room you visit on a regular basis, it’s the bathroom. Whether you’re bathing, shaving, or applying makeup, you require adequate light in the room. To boost bathroom illumination in a stylish way, consider investing in a new bathroom light fixture. 

When it comes to bathroom light fixtures, you’ll be impressed with the variety of designs on the market. There’s no shortage of styles, making it easy to match fixtures to your existing décor. You can choose a fixture that works with incandescent bulbs or LED bulbs; many have dimmable settings to suit your preferred light intensity. As far as design goes, you’ll find everything from single-light fixtures to those that house as many as a dozen bulbs.

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In addition to bathroom lighting solutions, certain over- and under-mirror fixtures may be used to illuminate artwork around your home.

Key considerations

Incandescent vs. LED light bulbs

The packaging of a bathroom light fixture will specify which type of bulb it requires. Many traditional fixtures still use incandescent light bulbs. However, these fixtures don’t offer the same white brightness as LED light bulbs. 

Not only are LEDs much brighter, but they’re also more economical, as they last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs. Many consumers prefer LED light bulbs for shaving and makeup application, as they offer maximum illumination. 

Specialty bulbs

Light bulbs may be functional in design, but some specialty bulbs can add a design flourish to your bathroom. It’s not unusual to see unique fixtures that require specialty bulbs, including globes, flames, and teardrops. 

Depending on the bathroom light fixture, you may be pigeonholed into using a specific shape, especially in those with limited space due to shades or hoods. For these, be prepared to spend extra money and time to find replacement bulbs.

Installation 

Unlike an AC-powered lamp, a bathroom light fixture is a permanent addition to a room. Electrical know-how is required for installation. Savvy DIYers may feel comfortable handling the job, but some homeowners prefer to hire a licensed electrician. 

Contemporary vs. traditional 

Matching your existing décor is likely a priority as you shop for new bathroom light fixtures. While countless styles and designs exist, offerings may be separated into two broad categories: contemporary and traditional.

Contemporary: Contemporary fixtures have a modern, sometimes high-tech appearance. They may be made of plastic, metal, or a mixture of materials that include wood or wire. A contemporary fixture is a sure bet if you have a modern bathroom, but it may lack the aesthetic appeal of a more traditional fixture.

Traditional: Traditional fixtures have a timeless appearance and mesh with most décor. They may be made of a variety of materials, but metal tops the list. It’s easy to find a traditional fixture to match your bathroom, but you may find yourself spending more on a fixture with an intricate or ornate design.

Consider the shape of your vanity mirror and the design of its frame when choosing a bathroom light fixture.

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Features

Popular designs

Single lights: Single-light fixtures are usually sold individually, but you’ll likely purchase them in multiples of two to evenly distribute light around a mirror. Single lights assume a variety of shapes and forms, from long bars to oversized lanterns. 

Over-vanity and under-vanity: These light fixtures can be placed above or below a vanity mirror. Some designs can only be hung one way, but others are bi-directional. Most fixtures in this category consist of a strip or row of three or more lights.

Parallel design: Parallel bathroom light fixtures hang on either side of a vanity mirror and are typically sold in pairs. They come in various lengths to accommodate mirror sizes. Some of these fixtures can also be mounted above or below a bathroom mirror.

Integrated design: While they’re in a category of their own, it’s important to mention integrated designs in which light fixtures are built into a mirror frame. These cost significantly more than other types of fixtures given their size and involved design. 

Popular finishes

Bathroom light fixtures tend to have components that are metal or at least exude a metallic appearance. Gold, silver, copper, chrome, and brass are common. The finish may be brushed, shiny, matte, hammered, or sandstone. It may seem a minor detail, but if you’re able to match the finish of your bathroom light fixtures to the rest of the hardware in your bathroom, it’ll result in a well-orchestrated look.

Adjustability

Select bathroom light fixtures have adjustability features in which the bulbs attach to tilt or swivel mounts. This is a highly desirable feature for households with members of varying heights. The light can be adjusted to shine wherever desired. It’s a premium perk, and it definitely adds to the overall cost of the product.

Dimmer settings

Some bathroom light fixtures are equipped with dimmer knobs. It’s easy to lean over and adjust the knob as you look in the mirror, and depending on the fixture, you may have three or more levels of light intensity from which to choose.

Light fixtures without this feature may be dimmed if they’re hooked up to a light switch dimmer. If you’re not sure whether a bathroom fixture has this capacity, you may wish to contact the manufacturer for more information. Keep in mind that fixtures with dimmer settings may require special dimmable light bulbs

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DID YOU KNOW?
There are plenty of ways to recycle bathroom light bulbs. Your municipality or city may have a dedicated program or community receptacle. Some retailers accept old light bulbs as well.
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Bathroom light fixture prices

Bathroom light fixtures range in price from $30 to $300. The price depends on the quality of construction and level of detail.

Inexpensive: Budget bathroom light fixtures cost between $30 and $60. These include fixtures with several lights as well as an assortment of simple over-the-vanity designs. Quality can be hit-or-miss, so be sure to inspect all components before buying. 

Mid-range: Between $60 and $125, you’ll find a variety of ornate bathroom light fixtures with fine details, such as etched or embossed designs. Fixtures in this category hail from well-known brands and usually come with decent warranties.

Expensive: Bathroom light fixtures priced from $125 to $300 include well-made designs, many of which are manufactured from the premium home décor and lighting companies. Some are detailed and stylish; others are quite simple in design. Often, you’re paying for the brand name in this price category.

Most bathroom light fixtures take incandescent or LED light bulbs, but some take CFL (fluorescent) or halogen light bulbs.

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Tips

  • Take a look at your faucets. If you’re not sure which finish would look best in your bathroom, simply choose one that matches or complements your faucets.
  • Measure before you drill. To avoid putting unnecessary holes in your bathroom wall, measure and mark off the area prior to drilling for the fixture mount.
  • Factor the cost of light bulbs into your budget. If the bathroom light fixture you desire requires hard-to-find light bulbs, you might be shelling out big bucks every time you need replacements.
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Depending on the design of the fixture, changing a bathroom light bulb can be challenging. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the task so you don’t rush and end up breaking the bulb or fixture.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need bathroom light fixtures, or can I simply rely on ceiling lighting or natural light instead?

A. If your ceiling lighting is bright, you might not need a separate fixture over your bathroom mirror. With that said, if you shave in the sink or apply makeup in front of the mirror, a bright light fixture is essential to see fine details. Some homeowners choose to install bathroom light fixtures only to boost the aesthetic appeal of the room, especially if they intend to list their house for sale.

Q. Do bathroom light fixtures come with warranties?

A. Most fixtures come with a one-year limited warranty; some cover parts or defects for as long as 10 years from the date of purchase. A warranty won’t cover damage or defects due to improper installation. 

Q. How should I clean bathroom light fixtures?

A. It’s a good idea to dust the fixtures as often as the rest of the furniture and surfaces in your home. For deeper cleaning, you may wish to remove certain components to wipe them down. This helps remove stubborn residue that sticks courtesy of ambient hair spray or room spray.

 

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