A 100W rating on a lamp doesn’t mean you can only install 100W bulbs. 100W is the maximum energy the lamp can tolerate. In other words, any rating that doesn’t exceed 100 watts is perfectly acceptable. However, a 60W bulb will deliver a lower light output.
The dim lighting may compel some consumers to revert to a 100W bulb. The bulb type makes a difference. For instance, a 60W incandescent bulb will produce less light in a 100W lamp. But a 60W LED bulb will generate more light than a 100W incandescent bulb in a 100W lamp.
To understand the answer to this question, you need to know the variables that influence a bulb’s relationship with a lamp. They include the following:
1). What Is The Wattage?
This question sounds obvious, but it isn’t because people confuse wattage with lumens. E-Green Electrical in Australia wants consumers to realize that watts don’t reveal the brightness. A 100W bulb is most likely brighter than its 60W counterpart.
However, the watts are primarily concerned with the bulb’s energy consumption. The higher the wattage, the more energy the bulb consumes.
2). What Are Lumens?
The lumens matter because they reveal the brightness. A bulb’s packaging will show you the watts and lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Technically, the higher the watts, the higher the lumens. For instance:
- 40W = 450 lumens
- 60W = 800 lumens
- 75W = 1,100 lumens
- 100W = 1,600 lumens
- 150W = 2,600 lumens
The bulb type makes a difference. Consider the table the Saskatchewan Research Council has published. It compares the different bulb types, their wattage, and lumens.
You can see that a 40W incandescent light generates 450 lumens. However, you can get the same brightness from a 28W halogen bulb and a 9W CFL light. This is why it helps to understand the lumens.
If you don’t know what lumens mean, you may buy a 100W bulb because you want the brightest light your local store has to offer. You won’t realize that a 20W LED bulb can generate the same 1,600 lumens you find in a 100W incandescent bulb.
3). What Are The Bulb Types?
If you wish to replace a 100W bulb with its 60W counterpart, your options will include the following:
- Incandescent – Current runs through a tungsten metal wire, producing heat and light. This Kansas State University article discourages consumers from using incandescent bulbs because the glass surrounding the filament is hot enough to burn your hands if you touch it before it cools.
- CFL – Compact fluorescent lights consist of a tube with electrodes, argon, and mercury gases. Electrons flowing through the tube will cause the phosphor coating to generate visible light. CFL lights produce less heat than their incandescent counterparts.
- LED – Light-emitting diodes use a chemical chip in a plastic capsule to make light. They are the most efficient of the bunch. You may spend $7.23 per year on a 60W incandescent bulb and $1.26 on an LED lamp within the same period.
4). 60W VS 100W Bulb
If you have a 100W lamp, one assumes it previously held a 100W bulb. But if that is true, does replacing it with a 60W bulb make sense? No, it doesn’t. If the bulbs are the same type, a 60W bulb will generate less light than a 100W bulb.
60-watt bulbs are associated with 800 lumens and 100-watt bulbs with 1,600 lumens. Does this make 100W the superior option? Yes, but only if you require all those 1,600 lumens.
Keep in mind that a lower wattage equates to less heat. You are less likely to overwhelm the lamp with a 60W bulb. Therefore, if you have an enclosed light fixture, 60W is the better option. Enclosed light fixtures are tricky because the ventilation is poor.
The heat has nowhere to go. Therefore, a bulb with a higher wattage may generate enough heat to destroy the socket.
In other words, your selection will depend on your need and the environment. Use 100W if you need the 1,600 lumens it offers. Use 60W if overheating is a tangible threat.
What About Using 100 Watt Bulb In A 60 Watt Lamp?
According to NPR, you shouldn’t exceed a light fixture’s safety rating. The rating shows you the maximum energy the fixture can tolerate. Exceeding that rating leads to overheating. The wires will melt, and a fire will start.
Therefore, a 60W lamp’s bulb shouldn’t exceed 60 watts. Pairing a 100W bulb with a 60W lamp is called overlamping, and it won’t end well because the 60W lamp cannot handle 100 watts of energy.
Electrical experts have warned that overlamping can permanently damage the light fixture. A dead light fixture is more expensive to replace than a dead bulb. This risk is even higher for enclosed lamps because they permit the heat to accumulate at a much faster rate.
Overlamping is only acceptable if you change the bulb type. For instance, a 100W LED bulb can survive in a 60W lamp because it doesn’t actually use 100W. Manufacturers will attach a 100W label to an LED bulb because laypeople don’t understand lumens.
But they understand incandescent bulbs. Therefore, manufacturers use incandescent bulbs as the standard for measuring brightness. A 100W LED bulb can mimic the brightness of a 100W incandescent bulb, hence the 100W label. However, it uses 20 watts or less.
CFLs are in a similar boat. A 20W CFL bulb can produce the same lumens (1,600) as a 100W incandescent bulb. Therefore, you can attach it to a 60W lamp without starting a fire.
If you have doubts about the limitations of your lamp, talk to a professional. They can account for factors such as the environment, lamp design, and bulb type before identifying the appropriate wattage.
Ultimately, the brightness will shape your decision. A bulb that is too dim to satisfy your needs is useless, regardless of whether or not it can run in a 60W lamp without overheating.
Factors To Consider When Using 60-Watt Bulb In 100 Watt Lamp And Vice Versa
1). The bulb type is the most important consideration. The Guardian’s research has shown that incandescent bulbs are prominent in poor communities. On the other hand, you find energy-efficient LEDs in affluent areas. This is unfortunate because LEDs generate almost no heat. Therefore, you can connect an LED bulb with a higher wattage to a lamp with a lower rating without starting a fire.
2). Avoid enclosed light fixtures. An open lamp can tolerate a bulb with a higher wattage, at least for a while, because the open air allows the heat to dissipate. If you prefer closed fixtures, stick to bulbs with a lower wattage (60W bulb in a 100W lamp).
3). If you have a bulb with a lower wattage, make sure the lumens are high enough to satisfy your needs. For instance, a 60W incandescent bulb in a 100W lamp will deliver a lower output in terms of brightness. Find a bulb type with a lower wattage than the lamp but higher lumens. A 15 to 19W LED bulb can produce the same brightness as a 100W incandescent bulb. But it can work in a 60W lamp.
4). The quality matters. A low-quality 60W lamp is more lightly to burst into flames if you attach a 100W bulb. Some high-end lamps have cooling technology that prevents excess heat from harming the light fixture. You may see this technology in fixtures specifically designed to accommodate LEDs.
5). Dimmable lights are the safest option, especially for incandescent bulbs, because you can lower the brightness to reduce the strain a 100W bulb exerts on a 60W lamp. Dimming technology won’t make a 60W bulb in a 100W lamp any brighter.
6). Prioritize fixtures that can tolerate high-temperature environments.
7). Use the correct color temperature. For instance, even though 60W bulbs in 100W lamps are not as bright as some people want, you can maximize their light if you secure a daylight bulb. Daylight bulbs use bright colors such as white. You can also use softer tones for 100W bulbs in 60W lamps if you want dim lighting.