Best Flame Light Bulbs

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best flame light bulbs

When you’re looking to improve the atmosphere of your home or decorate for the holidays, nothing does the job quite like candles. However, you can’t leave candles unattended, as it’s a fire hazard. Fortunately, there are flame lightbulbs on the market that do an excellent job of mimicking the real thing.

Flame light bulbs have several advantages over candles aside from safety. They last longer, they can’t be blown out by gusts of wind, and they may have different colors and light modes. Most flame light bulbs use LEDs, but traditional incandescent bulbs or neon bulbs are available, as well. While there are only a few common base sizes to consider, flame light bulbs can vary in design, size, and flame mode and style.

Choosing the right flame light bulbs to add a classic light to your home décor is a matter of your available light fixtures and your personal preferences.

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Flame light bulbs are as easy to install as regular light bulbs — just screw them in and flip the switch.

Key considerations

Light type

Flame light bulbs may be LEDs, incandescent bulbs, or neon bulbs. Each type has a different flame effect and gives off a different level of light.


By far the most common type, LED flame lights stand out for their realistic animations and patterns and their ability to operate in different modes. In addition, they are the longest-lasting variety and consume little energy.


Although there are some flame-shaped candelabra incandescent bulbs, most put out a clear white light with no flickering to them. The few incandescent bulbs that are designed to flicker are prone to issues, but when they work, they look beautiful. Plus, you can use incandescent flame lights to illuminate an area.


If you are looking for an effect similar to a gas lamp, consider a neon bulb. These bulbs flicker convincingly and are often the least-expensive option. Because the light they produce is very dim, these are strictly decorative and will need to be supplemented with other lighting fixtures.


There are two components to light bulb sizes: the size of the base that screws into the socket and the physical size of the bulb itself. This is particularly true of LED bulbs. Before you buy them, you should measure the light fixtures you plan on putting them in to find out whether the bulb will fit comfortably.


The most common size for light bulb bases in the United States is a medium E26 base. This is the size you see on regular light bulbs, whether they’re 40W, 60W, 75W, or 100W. Many of the flame light bulbs have a medium E26 base, which means they’ll fit into nearly all of your existing light bulb sockets.

The other common size is the candelabra (E12) base. These are typically the little flame-shaped light bulbs that may be sold in packs.


Regular light bulbs are about 4 inches from the top of the bulb to the bottom of the base. The widest part of the glass is about 2 3/8 inches in diameter. LED flame light bulbs are generally longer and narrower.

Some flame bulbs measure over 6 inches from end to end, while the diameter of most flame light bulbs is about the same as regular bulbs or thinner.


LED bulbs last longer than incandescent or neon bulbs. Most LED bulbs last two to three times longer than incandescent bulbs — around 10,000 hours (or more). This makes LED light bulbs a good investment if you like the animated style of their flames.

Energy savings

Incandescent flame light bulbs use 40, 60, 75, or 100 watts, while neon flame light bulbs use between 1 and 3 watts. LED flame light bulbs only use between 2 to 6 watts.

Keep in mind that LED and neon bulbs are not designed to illuminate an area. They are designed to create a realistic imitation of a flame.



While many flame light bulbs have only one mode of operation, some bulbs have multiple mode options.

Traditional light: In this mode, the bulbs put out a steady yellow-orange light that does not emulate the movement of a flame.

Flame emulation: This is the mode that shows an imitation of a flickering or dancing flame.

Breathing: This mode gives the light a “breathing” effect as the light slowly brightens and dims in a rhythmic fashion.

Upside down: In this mode, the orientation of the light changes 180º when you insert the bulb upside-down in a socket. Some bulbs automatically detect when they are upside down.


Most flame light bulbs have reddish-orange or yellowish-orange flames, just like a regular flame. However, there are other options. Some brands give you “fairy light” options such as blue, purple, and green. If you have a particular color in mind, a detailed search can help you find it.

You can mix and match flame light bulb colors to create beautiful combinations.

Flame light bulb prices

Flame light bulbs come in various package sizes, from individual bulbs to six-packs, so you should evaluate the price per bulb to get an idea of the true cost of a pack.

Inexpensive flame bulbs range from $3 to $5 per bulb. These are generally smaller neon or incandescent candelabra bulbs that flicker or give off a steady light.

Mid-range flame light bulbs cost from $5 to $14 per bulb. Most flame light bulbs fall in this range and have four modes. These are often LED bulbs that will fit medium E26 bases. Bulbs in this range often have a few color options.

Expensive LED flame light bulbs range from $14 per bulb to $20 per bulb. These are generally high-end battery-operated bulbs with remote controls that offer several modes and come in different colors.


  • Multi-mode light bulbs require you to turn the light on and off multiple times to change modes.
  • Most multi-mode bulbs will return to their original flame emulation mode after being turned off for more than a set time — usually 45 to 60 seconds.
  • LED bulbs, flame light or otherwise, are much cooler than incandescent light bulbs, so there’s no need to worry about burning yourself.
  • Incandescent bulbs work better with dimmer switches than LED and neon bulbs do.
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It can be challenging to find a pack of flame light bulbs with the same number of bulbs as your candelabra or chandelier. If you can’t find an exact match, buying a set with more bulbs than you need will ensure that you have backups on hand.


Q. Are flame light bulbs safe?
They are far safer than actual candles. Open flames, regardless of how small they are or how controlled they may look, always present the risk of fire or burns.

Q. Can LED flame light bulbs be used outside?
Some models are designed to be used on porch lights or in enclosed lanterns on the front lawn. However, if you want to expose them directly to the weather, it will depend on the manufacturer, just as with any other type of light bulb.

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