Floodlights are some of the brightest bulbs you can buy. They’re designed to emit light over a wider area, ‘flooding’ a room with light, rather than spotlights or downlights that tend to be more focussed (although downlights can vary).
You might decide that you want to install a floodlight as a replacement for another type of bulb. Still, the question is, can you install a floodlight into any regular socket?
Simply, floodlights will work in any regular socket with the same type of base. Most indoor floodlights, and some outdoor bulbs, have an E26 base, which is the same as a standard US light bulb socket.
In this article I’ll explain:
- Why the socket type matters
- What the most common floodlight bases are
- Whether floodlights draw more power than regular bulbs
Socket Base And Light Base Is The Key
You can install an LED floodlight bulb in any socket in which it fits. If the base type matches the fitting, then the bulb will work. It’s as simple as that.
Floodlights tend to be used for larger spaces, both indoor and outdoor. They might be used as a security light for your garden or to illuminate a warehouse.
However, you might choose one for an office space, your garage (mainly if you spend your evenings and weekends working on your car), or even for an open plan room in your home. They’re very wide-angled and very bright, so you need to check that you’re happy with that before you commit. Even if you use them outdoors, they can be too bright for some tastes.
As there are so many different uses of a floodlight bulb, you’ll be relieved to know that you don’t need to replace all of your light fittings if you decide to install one.
One other consideration is heat generation. Floodlights will generate more heat than a spotlight or downlight due to the extra power. For smaller indoor floodlights, such as a BR30 or BR40, the amount of heat generated is negligible, so you don’t need to worry.
For other types of bulbs, make sure there’s a heat sink. This can help to dissipate the extra heat generated in a safe and controlled manner.
The only other factor to consider is the size and shape of the bulb. In the vast majority of cases, this won’t be a concern, but if you’re using a fitting that is recessed, you should make sure that the actual bulb itself will fit before you buy.
The Most Common Type Of Flood Bulbs Base
The most common type of floodlight bulb for indoor use is the same as a standard US light bulb, an E26 screw fitting.
This makes it very easy to use a floodlight in any room you wish to. The only difference indoors tends to be where you have GU10 spotlight fittings. Still, you can also buy spotlight floodlight bulbs – though I wouldn’t recommend replacing a series of spotlights in your kitchen with floodlights unless you wish to be dazzled every time you cook.
Most outdoor bulbs in the US also use the same E26 bulb fitting, although you’ll just need to make sure you buy a bulb that states it is for outdoor use. This will be down to whether it is rainproof and dustproof– you don’t want to install an indoor-only light where the weather could cause it to become a safety hazard.
Look for anything with an IP65 certification or better. This number isn’t “65” but is a 6 and a 5. The first digit is how protected it is against solids, with 6 being the best and meaning dust-tight.
The second digit refers to liquids, with a 5, meaning it can withstand water jets. The best rating is an 8, or in full IP68, which means the bulb can withstand being submerged in up to one meter of water.
For more light outdoors, you’re likely to buy a self-encased light fitting rather than a bulb. These are a lot more powerful, but you’d likely replace the entire light and not the bulb once it has burned out, and you can’t add them to a regular socket.
In Europe, other types of LED floodlights are widespread, including R7 tube lights. So before you start placing orders for your bulbs online, check what fittings are available in your own country and make sure you get a compatible option. Don’t assume that fittings are the same everywhere!
If you’re interested in buying floodlights, I’ve written an article on some of the best LED bulbs for both indoor and outdoor use, explaining the benefits of LED bulbs in general and why I’ve chosen certain bulbs over others. You can find that here.
Do Floodlights Draw More Power From The Fixture?
Broadly speaking, an LED floodlight will draw more power from a light fixture than a regular LED bulb would because they’re more powerful. However, that difference can be negligible depending on the bulb you buy.
Many indoor floodlights, such as the BR30 and BR40 bulbs, draw almost equivalent power to a regular LED bulb and so won’t use much more energy – certainly not an amount that you would notice on your bills.
The actual LED floodlights that tend to be much higher Wattage are those self-enclosed security lights and other floodlights that you won’t be plugging into a regular socket anyway. They’re still extremely energy efficient compared to their halogen equivalents.
When it comes to LED light bulbs of any kind, the general rule of thumb is that if it fits, then it will work. You just need to check the fixture to find the matching light bulb base and ensure that the bulb will fit inside any recess.
That’s another reason LED bulbs are so much better than halogen. Halogen bulbs have much more diverse power ratings. So you need to be more careful about installing a floodlight in a regular socket.
Just be careful before you start thinking that you can brighten your home with floodlights – they really are bright, and you might end up returning the bulbs when you see just how bright they can be!
Have you installed any floodlights in or around your home? How easy was it to find a bulb that fits?
Let me know in the comments.