What LED light bulbs can I use for my ceiling fans?

Asked by Joe
Philadelphia, PA

The ceiling fan is surface-mounted and enclosed. The fixture takes a maximum of 40W, but I would like the equivalent of at least 60W of incandescent light. The fixture can only take very small B type bulbs, no more than 3.75 inches in length and 1.5 inches wide.


David Bergman

Answered by David Bergman

New York, NY

David Bergman Architect

January 10, 2013

I love the concept of LEDs and some of the bulbs are terrific.

With each evolution of the technology, the quality of light is getting better and the prices are becoming more within reach. (The bulb prices have actually been viable for a while now because you save money in the long run, but the upfront cost can be a major barrier.)

One of the problems with LEDs, however, has been brightness. We're only now beginning to see 100-watt equivalent LEDs to replace standard "A-lamps."

The brightness is even more limited with the smaller candelabra-type bulbs that you're interested in.

  • To the best of my knowledge, most of the LED candelabra bulbs top out at around a 25-watt equivalent.
  • There are a few 40-watt guys and I haven't seen any 60s yet.
  • On top of that, some of the brighter ones are larger than the space you have available.

But the technology is advancing at a Moore's law rate, so my advice would be to use CFLs for now (those do exist in the size and brightness that you're looking for) and, when those burn out, check back to see what's come on the market.

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