Best Edison Light Bulbs

Updated June 2021
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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.

33 Models Considered
20 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
120 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 Edison light bulbs

History was made in 1880 when inventor Thomas Alva Edison, building off the work of others before him, submitted a patent for an incandescent light bulb. While Edison wasn’t the first with the innovation, he triumphed commercially, cementing himself as the light bulb’s creator in the annals of history. And the Edison light bulb endures today in a somewhat different form.

Today’s Edison light bulbs are demonstrably different from Edison’s original, but they aim to recreate the original using completely different technology. Indeed, the Edison light bulb is sought after because it’s an attractive bulb that many enjoy for its aesthetics as well as function. Edison light bulbs are varied in terms of appearance and power and are used in many different types of fixtures.

There is plenty of jargon about light bulbs that can make shopping for them confusing. In order to find the best Edison light bulb for you, there are a few important details worth knowing, and we’ve compiled them in this buying guide along with some of our favorites.
 

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Through the 1800s, many inventors experimented with lighting, including English physicist Joseph Wilson Swan and Canadian inventor Henry Woodward. Both men sold patents to Edison later when their work did not meet commercial success.

Key considerations

What is an Edison light bulb?

The original Edison light bulb was an incandescent light source that converted electricity to visible light by way of a filament of carbonized bamboo. The first Edison light bulb was transparent, so the filament was visible.

Today, consumers buy Edison light bulbs because they want to see the filament, unlike modern LED bulbs with opaque glass. Edison light bulbs offer a retro, vintage, or rustic look, and those who buy these light bulbs are looking for the aesthetic as much as the function. Even the phrase “Edison light bulb” is more a marketing term than anything else because new shapes and styles have been developed since Edison’s original creation.

Uses

Edison light bulbs are used in fixtures or sockets that don’t hide the bulbs. Since their appeal lies in their look, the unique nature of Edison light bulbs is wasted when they sit under a shade or cover, which also means they emit light in every direction. Edison light bulbs are most often used in hanging fixtures like pendant lighting in kitchens or bathrooms, often in rooms with farmhouse or rustic décor. Most Edison light bulbs are quite fragile, so it’s important to handle them with care and position them so they won’t be disturbed or bumped.

Incandescent vs. LED

Edison light bulbs are available as both traditional incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs. 

Incandescent bulbs have been around for a long time, and while they’re inexpensive, they aren’t very energy efficient. They also have a shorter lifespan than LED bulbs and tend to take some time to reach peak brightness.

LED bulbs are today’s alternative, and they not only boast a longer lifespan but use less power too. LED bulbs reach their optimal brightness instantly. Edison LED bulbs have an LED strip that acts as the filament in order to recreate the antique look. Most of these are made of tungsten.  

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Did You Know?
Incandescent light bulbs can be thrown in the trash, but LED bulbs must be recycled. Check with your municipality for options in your area.
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Features

Dimmable

Some Edison light bulbs are designed to work with a dimmer. These dimmable bulbs are often used in bedrooms or other rooms where you want to control the ambiance. Bulbs that are incompatible with dimmer switches can flicker or hum.

Smart lighting

Recent innovations incorporate light bulbs into the modern smart home. Some companies sell bulbs that are intended to be used with smart outlets and hubs. Depending on the platform, you can control your home’s smart lighting by voice or app. Generally, the light bulbs aren’t particularly expensive, but the first hub you purchase to operate the system can be costly.

Color temperature

The color temperature of a bulb can dictate the mood and ambiance of a room. Color temperature is measured in kelvins on a scale of 1,000 kelvins (candles) to 10,000 kelvins (blue light).

Cool: On the one end of the spectrum, bluish-white and cool white are bright and cool, ideal for spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. 

Warm: At the other end of the spectrum are warm temperatures that mimic the glow of candlelight. This describes the earliest incandescent light bulbs. Warm light is often used in living rooms and dining rooms for a calmer, more relaxed, even romantic ambiance. 

Style

Modern Edison light bulbs come in a variety of stylish shapes designed to cater to various styles of home décor. 

Bulb: In addition to the standard light bulb shape, you’ll find a few other options including the hairpin or tubular bulb. Globes are also popular. Some options have a dimple on the end while others have a more pronounced tip.

Filament: The filaments can differ too. Some are straight while others are spirals, helixes, or cages. Other bulbs have multiple filaments. Among the more popular options is the candelabra bulb that’s designed to mimic flame.

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Did You Know?
Exposed light bulbs accumulate dust over time. Periodically turn them off and wipe them with a soft cloth.
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Accessories

Smart light switch: WeMo WiFi-Enabled Light Switch
For those looking for added convenience and accessibility in their smart home, it’s time to upgrade to a smart lighting system. We recommend this simple push-button option by WeMo that works with virtual assistants like Alexa.

Bathroom light fixture: Design House 3-Light Fixture
Edison light bulbs are popular in modern bathrooms but require the right fixture. We like this rustic option from Design House that shows off the Edison bulbs to perfection.

Edison light bulb prices

Inexpensive: For $8 or less, you can buy a pack of two or three Edison light bulbs with a standard bulb and filament shape.

Mid-range: Most packs of Edison light bulbs cost between $8 and $20 depending on the number and type. These include LED bulbs.

Expensive: LED Edison light bulbs featuring unique designs and styles start at about $10 a piece.

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Did You Know?
The base and shape of light bulbs are designated by letters and numbers. There are only a few different types of bases, and they all start with the letter E. Bulb shapes vary greatly, with many different letter and number combinations used.
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BestReviews

Tips

  • Match the fixture to the bulb. Because Edison light bulbs have a certain style, they’re best suited to eye-catching fixtures. Develop your lighting design with the Edison bulbs in mind and choose appropriate fixtures. 
  • Match the color to the mood of the room. Color temperature is an important factor that contributes to the feel of a space. Match the bulbs to the kinds of activities that take place in the room, whether cooking, sleeping, or relaxing.
  • Match the lumens. Watch out for “replacement” bulbs. Some LED bulbs are advertised as the equivalent or replacement for a certain wattage of incandescent bulbs and emitting the same light. In some cases, this claim can be misleading or wrong. To determine a bulb’s brightness, look at the lumens.
  • Match the filament to the décor. It seems subtle, but the filament in the bulb goes a long way toward informing the style, especially when several bulbs are grouped together. Straight filaments have an industrial look, while spirals and helixes are more artsy and bohemian.
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Even if a bulb is advertised as “dimmable,” it might still flicker. This can be due to a loose bulb, incompatible switch, or faulty wiring.

FAQ

Q. How long does an Edison light bulb last?

A. You can expect a quality LED light bulb to last many years, even up to a decade depending on use. Incandescent light bulbs have a much shorter lifespan. Most products express the lifespan as a number of hours. Incandescent bulbs range from 1,000 to 5,000 hours, while LEDs may last anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 hours. As a guide, there are just under 9,000 hours in a year. Figure out how much of the time your bulb is on and you can figure out its lifespan.

Q. What’s the difference between watts and lumens?

A. Wattage tells you the power of a light bulb. The light output (brightness) is measured in lumens. Wattage doesn’t directly correspond to lumens because of the varied efficiency of different types of light bulbs. LED bulbs are far more efficient. While a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb has 280 lumens, a standard 9-watt LED bulb has 800 lumens.

Q. How much light do I need in any given space?

A. The first step to figuring this out is to measure the space and calculate the square footage by multiplying the length by the width. Generally, in kitchens and bathrooms, you want about 70 to 80 lumens per square foot, while living rooms and dining rooms tend to be around 30 lumens per square foot. For hallways and bedrooms, 10 lumens per square foot may suffice.

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