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What Size Light Bulb For A Ceiling Fan?

It’s not uncommon for ceiling fan light bulbs to burn out unexpectedly. Whether it was the victim of a high voltage surge, lightning strike, or a faulty filament, it’s wise to use the correct replacement size. 

Ceiling fans need a bulb that fits according to the size of the fan and the diameter of the bulb’s base at its widest point. For instance, a fan measuring 48 inches requires a 75-watt bulb. You can know a bulb size by measuring your ceiling fan, an installed bulb, or reviewing the owner’s manual. 

The ceiling fan’s base and existing light bulbs are good indicators of the correct bulb size. Let’s explore how light bulb specifications assimilate with a particular fan. 

What Size Light Bulb Is Right For My Ceiling Fan?

Ceiling fans generally accept one of four light bulbs: min-candelabra, candelabra, intermediate, and medium

They generally measure anywhere between 42 – 48 inches and can require bulbs with wattages of 55 – 100 watts. Unless you have a well-trained eye, it’s not always apparent what bulb size should fit into a ceiling fan. 

Fortunately, you can discover which bulb type to install in your ceiling fan by examining the base of an existing light bulb, measuring your ceiling fan size, or consulting the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s specifications. 

If you have a fan with an odd number of blades, measure the distance from the fan’s center to the blade tip and multiply the result by two. Fans that have an even amount of blades require you to measure the distance symmetrically between opposing blades.

Here are the typical measurements for each bulb type:

  • Mini-Candelabra (E11) – The base has a width of 0.43 inches and a height of 0.51 inches.
  • Candelabra (E12) – The base measures 0.47 inches in width and 0.65 inches in height.
  • Intermediate (E17) – Its base is 0.54 inches in width and 0.82 inches in height.
  • Medium (E26) – The base has a width of 1.03 inches and a width of 1.05 inches.

If there are no current light bulbs in your ceiling fan to get measurements, it’s crucial to consider the maximum amount that is safe to fit into your ceiling fixture. 

In other words, the actual size of the light bulb is irrelevant. In such a case, any bulb that physically fits the fixture is generally safe. Safety is the priority because a regulated wattage will prevent dangerous hazards like fires. 

Mini-Candelabra (E11) And Candelabra (E12) Ceiling Fan Bulbs

Much like the rest of the bulbs, the candelabra bulbs also come in various types, including LED, halogen, CFL, and incandescent bulbs. 

LED candelabra bulbs are the most reputable due to their established energy efficiency in higher lumen output per wattage, improved efficiency, lower running costs, and longer bulb serviceability. Candelabra bulbs can have a clear, frosted, or tinted surface finish.

The frosted candelabra bulbs can have significant or slight tracers of frosted elements, and both consist of unique qualities that are great for reducing patterns and glare. The LED Candelabra Base Bulbs come in different sets, utilizes merely 4.5 watts, and produce a brightness level equivalent to a 60-Watt incandescent bulb.

Furthermore, these bulbs are some of the easiest to install, plus their brightness is adjustable, making them perfect for those wanting dimmable lighting. 

Among the many excellent examples of candelabra bulbs are FLSNT E12 candelabra bulbs Amazon score of 4.6/5.0 at 5779 ratings and GMY mini-candelabra bulbs with a score of 4.4/5.0 at  1822 ratings. 

Intermediate (E17) Light Bulbs For Ceiling Fans 

Like candelabra bulbs with E12 bases, bulbs with E17 bases are popular choices for decorative applications. 

They go well with venues like restaurant pendant lights, Christmas lights, chandeliers, ornamental lights, wall sconces, and sign or marquee lights.

Appliance lights, such as refrigerators, ceiling fans, microwaves, and range hoods light fixtures typically utilize bulbs with these bases.

Many reputable brands produce E17 light bulbs, with manufacturers like Maelsrlg creating an E17 Intermediate Base LED Bulb.

Medium (E26) Light Bulbs For Ceiling Fans

E26 bulbs find more use in America, whereas E27 bulbs are most common among European property owners. These base types are interchangeable since the base size difference is only 1 millimeter. These bases are the most common of all screw base bulbs, and they attach with a few easy twists of the wrist.

Medium E26 light bulbs see most for general lighting in standard light fixtures, such as ceiling lights, can lights, flood light fixtures, outdoor spotlights, and vanity lights. Due to their varying uses, manufacturers make them in many different styles. 

E26 light bulbs have a great variety that suits every preference, such as the Sylvania LED A19 Light Bulb that scores 4.7/5.0 on Amazon, with a whopping 11 790 ratings. 

Why Should You Use The Right Bulb Size In Your Ceiling Fan?

There’s more to fitting the correct lightbulb to its fixture than its features being too big or small. For one, installing any bulb that draws even a bit more current than the fixture can provide – like trying to use a 75W bulb in a fixture with a 60W maximum rating, is at risk of starting a fire

The insulation used within lighting fixtures can only withstand a certain amount of wattage or endure heated temperatures of up to 194°F (90°C) before it becomes a hazard.   

That is the maximum amount of heat that the wiring can withstand while remaining flexible and safe. The wiring in older lights may have a temperature restriction of 60 degrees Celsius, which is far below the regular capacity and puts them at a much higher risk of causing a fire. 

Three contributing factors determine a fixture’s maximum safe wattage: 

  • The amount of heat that the light bulb produces 
  • Maximum heat that the fixture itself can tolerate 
  • Whether the fixture is open or enclosed to allow heat to dissipate safely

Regarding open fixtures, an exposed fixture will be a safer alternative because heat can escape without building up and overeating the bulb. Furthermore, sizeable light bulbs can get rid of heat quicker than smaller bulbs. 

Can You Use LED Bulbs In An Incandescent Fitting?  

Over the years, LED bulbs have become reputable for producing a good amount of light while staying energy-efficient. Most people prefer them over other incandescent alternatives, especially in their homes. 

If you want to make the switch, can you use LED bulbs with higher wattage equivalents than my fixtures allow? In truth, you can utilize a higher wattage equivalent LED bulb than your fixture, as long as the LED bulb consumes less wattage than the fixture.

When you see a label that says 60-watt LED equivalent, it’s not implying that the LED bulb consumes 60 watts. Instead, the bulb emits the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

While most manufacturers put a statement like 60-watt equivalent on their newer CFL and LED bulbs, it would be better to ignore the reference. Instead, pay closer attention to the amount of power the bulb consumes – for instance, 14 or 15 watts. 

When a fixture warns not to exceed a specific Watt limit, it refers to the concerns of heat production associated with incandescent bulbs. However, unlike incandescent bulbs, LED light bulbs do not produce much heat.

As a result, if the socket warns against exceeding 60 watts, but you want to install a 100-watt equivalent LED light bulb, you may do so securely. However, remember that a high-wattage LED may not be appropriate for enclosed installations. 

For instance, if you were to use a 14-watt LED bulb – equating to a regular 100W bulb – in a 40W fixture, the light bulb would most likely have a low life expectancy if utilized in a small fitting.


You can know the right light bulb size for your ceiling fan by measuring a light bulb already installed, measuring your fan’s blades to find the base measurement, or looking at the fan manual to find the perfect bulb size.