Fluorescent Light Bulbs Sizing Guide


Fluorescent light bulbs come to mind when contemplating the best option for illumination in your home, workplace, or business setting. 

When selecting a new light bulb, prudence and precision are required due to the numerous elements that must be considered. 

One of these many aspects is the size of the planned light bulb. It is critical to establish the exact size of the fluorescent light bulbs you wish to purchase because some fluorescent light bulbs require a certain type of appliance as well as a specific wattage. In the long run, this could protect you from purchasing an incompatible bulb or one with a higher voltage than you require, which could lead to electrical mishaps that could have been avoided.

Many people overlook this aspect because they are unaware of it or because they do not pay attention to detail when making decisions like this. 

In case you fall into any of these categories, this helpful sizing guide for you! Below, we will illustrate how to determine the size of your fluorescent light bulb in an easy-to-understand manner.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Sizing Guide

Does The Size Of A Fluorescent Light Bulb Contribute To The Brightness?

The brightness of a fluorescent light bulb has little to do with its size. Instead, consider the light bulb’s current as that’s the most important factor in determining the brightness of a light bulb. 

Types Of Fluorescent Light Bulbs According To Their Size And Usage

If you are looking to replace an old fluorescent light bulb or buy a fluorescent light bulb for a home remodel, you must learn about popular light bulb shapes, sizes, and types. That way, you can easily tell if your fluorescent light bulb’s shape will fit in your fixture.

1. Linear Fluorescent Bulbs

The most common type of fluorescent light is the linear fluorescent bulb. T5, T8, and T12 are the three sizes of this type of fluorescent light bulb. 

T12 fluorescent bulbs are currently obsolete because they are the oldest sorts. They have a 1.5-inch diameter and can be utilized in storehouses or old hallways. 

T8 linear fluorescent light bulbs are well-known for producing a large amount of light and having a 1-inch diameter. The four-foot T8 fluorescent lamp is mostly used in high-traffic areas, such as schools and offices. 

Lastly, The T5 linear fluorescent light bulb is the newest fluorescent lamp to hit the market. They have a diameter of 0.62 inches. Despite their small size, they are highly efficient because they provide more light than other types of fluorescent lights. As a result, they are commonly found in shopping malls and over-the-counter retail.

Bulb TypeT5T8T12
Diameter 0.62 inches1 inch1.5 inches
Length45.2 inches48 inches48 inches
Types of linear fluorescent bulbs

2. Compact fluorescent bulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs are commonly used as incandescent bulb replacements. They are distinguished by their interface, which can be either plug-ins or screw-ins. The former requires a ballast to fit into a socket, whilst the latter does not require any additional effort because it comes with its ballast. They are available in a variety of sizes and are largely utilized in domestic settings.

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3. Circline Fluorescent Bulbs

Circline fluorescent bulbs are cost-effective and energy-efficient. They are not widely used, but they are the best option for specific applications, which means they can only be used in specific fixtures. Circline fluorescent bulbs come in 1 and 1/8 inches in diameter with the smallest measuring 6 inches and the largest at 16 inches. They are employed in medical examinations in laboratories.

4. U-Bend Fluorescent Bulbs

These light bulbs are specially designed to fit small spaces. They are appropriate for settings that do not require extensive lighting for all areas of the room but do demand concentration on a single area. U-bend fluorescent light bulbs can be used in places like a home library or a workshop.

How to Find Out The Size Of Fluorescent Light Bulbs You Need

When it comes to figuring out the size of a fluorescent light bulb for your space, there are a lot of factors that come into play to help you make the best decision. 

You cannot make a final and right decision just by focusing on the length alone as there are other things to consider. Aside from reading the label on the base of the light bulb, some of the elements to bear in mind while buying the fluorescent light bulb are the width, diameter, watt, shape, base size, and even color. Each of these elements affects its functionality, and we will analyze them below:

1. Diameter

The first thing to consider is the light bulb’s diameter. The diameter is measured in eighths of an inch (1/8), it is always shown on the bulb as a series of numerals. These numbers are always written adjacent to the letters that indicate the bulb’s form. You also need to know the diameter of the base or the distance between the pins in millimeters for lighting.

2. Length

Following right behind the diameter, the length of the light bulb is equally important. You can find out the exact length of your bulb by using a measuring tape to measure the fluorescent bulb.

Note, the measurement of the fluorescent bulb should be taken from tube to tube and expressed in millimeters while its length should be measured from the back of the socket on the fixture. With the correct length measurement of a fluorescent bulb, it’s easy to determine the bulb’s wattage level.

3. Bulb Width

This is the widest point of the fluorescent bulb. The method of measurement is often dependent on the shape of the light bulb and can also be achieved with a measuring tape. Several light bulbs have their wide point either in the center or at the base of the bulb.

4. Shape

Fluorescent light bulbs come in a variety of shapes with the tabular-shaped ones being the most utilized. In addition, there are circular, U-bend-shaped fluorescent light bulbs and a host of others. Each of these bulbs is designed to fit into a given scenario and has its own set of features. The letters adjacent to the diameter at the base of the light bulb denote these shapes.

5. Color

The color of the bulb is the next item you do not want to overlook. Several factors tend to influence the color choice of the fluorescent light bulb. The most important factor being the exact area where the bulb will be used. Is it in a home or business setting? You decide. 

In a home setting, you might want the bulb to be put in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom. The color of your light bulb is a crucial aspect of sizing your light bulb because each of these places demands a different amount of brightness. The colors may vary from cool white to warm white, natural, ordinary white, and daylight.

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6. Wattage

The wattage of the fluorescent bulb can affect a lot of things such as how much energy your light bulb uses. It also determines how much light is produced. The wattage of each light bulb is listed alongside the size and form. Considering the wattage when buying a light bulb will save you money in the long run because any light bulb that consumes more energy will eventually increase the amount spent on the energy bills.

The table below shows a number of fluorescent light bulb lumens and the different wattages they generate:

Bulb Type200-300 Lumens300 -500 Lumens500-700 Lumens700-1000 Lumens1000-1,250 Lumens
Fluorescent bulb5-6 watts8 watts11 watts15 watts20 watts

7. Base

Lastly, think about the base of a fluorescent light bulb: the pin type bases, screw-type bases, intermediate bases, and several other sorts of bases for different light bulbs. Their characteristics vary, as does their size, and knowing this will help you pick a good fixture to go with it. Also, keep in mind that these bases are measured in millimeters.

Do All Fluorescent Light Bulbs Produce Ultraviolet Light?

Most fluorescent light bulbs emit a significant quantity of UV light, which does not pose any risk to the health of people. The majority of mercury-based bulbs are known to emit just enough UV light, and fluorescent light bulbs are at the top of the list, the amount of mercury in a fluorescent light bulb ranging from 0.7 to 115mg.

Understanding The Different Shapes And Sizes Of Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Since its creation, light bulbs, like every other type of invention, have greatly advanced. Being aware of these advancements provides you with a better chance of selecting the finest when choosing lighting selections for your use.

The industry continues to grow, and new series of forms are being developed to provide purchasers with a diverse choice of possibilities.

The A-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

This is the most common light bulb shape, also known as the Arbitrary series, and it is widely used for general lighting in homes. 

The A-series is quite antiquated, having a close resemblance to the first model of light bulbs made in the nineteenth century. They come in the shape of diffused light bulbs or clear glass, and in a variety of sizes, with the A15, A19, A21, and A25 being the most prevalent. One major problem that you will most likely have with the A-series bulbs is that they do not create enough lumen. Light is produced by a heated filament inside the bulb.

The B-Series, C-Series, and CA-series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Bulged series or Blunt tip series are other names for the B-series light bulb. Because they have the same base structure, this light bulb is classified as part of the C-series, also known as the Conical series, and the CA-series. They are distinguished by the shape of their tips.

The T-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

The T-series fluorescent light bulbs are also known as tubular fluorescent lamps. They are a type of fluorescent bulb that produces UV light using a gas called mercury vapor.  The bulbs have a phosphorous coating within the bulb that helps to make this light visible. 

The G-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

The G-series fluorescent light bulbs come in a sphere form. They are known to provide light through carbon or LED filament and are available in a variety of sizes. 

The MR-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Also known as Multifaceted reflector bulbs, the MR-series are unique in that they provide both wide and narrow spotlights, yet are smaller than conventional reflector light bulbs. G4, G5.3, and G10 are the most common base types.

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R and BR-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

The reflector and bulged reflector series light bulbs are typically grouped because they can be used interchangeably. Both light bulbs have a reflective lining that pushes light outside the bulb. They can either be clear, colored, or frosted glass and can help for an even distribution of light. 

AR and PAR-Series Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Aluminum-faceted reflectors and parabolic reflectors are also available in the reflector series. Created with aluminum at the back of the bulb to reflect light directly from there, the AR and PAR-series increase the amount of light produced. 

They are made for locations and circumstances where maximal brightness is not necessary. For example, if you only need lighting for a specific area of the room, these series would be ideal. 

Can The Size Of My Fluorescent Light Increase Energy Consumption?

Aside from the fixture, the size of fluorescent light has little or no relation to any other component. The wattage of your light bulb is the single factor that can determine your energy consumption. If the wattage of your light bulb is high, you are most likely consuming a lot of energy.

Is It Necessary For The Wattage Of My Fluorescent Light Bulb To Be The Same Wattage With The Electrical Fixture?

The main goal of measuring light bulbs is to make sure they fit into the fixture and that they both work appropriately. The wattage does not have to be equal because you can always acquire a bulb with lesser wattage than the one in your fixture.

Installing a bulb with a wattage that exceeds the maximum wattage of your fixture has the disadvantage of overheating your fixture, which could start a fire or a serious electrical problem. Some fixtures do not have the wattage listed; in this case, a light bulb with a wattage of 60 watts or less is recommended.

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The Risks of Using A Fluorescent Light Bulb With A Wattage Greater Than The Recommended Wattage Of The Fixture.

Every type of electrical item in the home, including light bulbs and light fixtures, must be handled with caution. Your light bulb may be old and in need of replacement, but you believe it did not last as long as it should have because the wattage was too low. 

Following this logic, you can choose to purchase a fluorescent light bulb with a larger wattage than the previous one without first determining the maximum wattage of your electrical fixture. This is a bad idea because buying a light bulb with a larger wattage could result in “overlamping”.

Overlamping is a term that defines the use of a high-wattage light bulb in a lower-wattage fixture. The insulation on an electrical fixture has the maximum amount of heat it can handle which is between 140°F to 194°F. If it exceeds the limit, the light fixtures will begin to overheat, potentially melting the fixtures or any other gadgets nearby. 

This can destroy a significant portion of your electrical fixtures, costing you a lot of money in repairs and replacements. It could also result in a fire; no one wants to return home to find their home in ruins, which is why paying attention to the number of watts when picking a light bulb is crucial.

Final Thoughts

Finding the ideal fluorescent light bulb is simple: all you need is the right amount of attention to detail and just enough precision. When purchasing a light bulb, understanding what to look for and making a note of it will save you time, energy, and money. You won’t end up with the wrong base type, color, or wattage this way.

There are simply too many possibilities to choose from as these light bulbs are available in a variety of appealing shapes, styles, and colors. Cutting down to the most critical elements like the wattage, if the base type of the bulb you want to buy fits into your fixture, whether the bulb is suitable for the situation you want to use it in, and a host of other extremely important attributes can help you choose between them. When you’re in a pinch and can’t decide whether the shape or the diameter of your fluorescent light bulb is more significant, what do you do? Always choose the latter option.

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