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Globe Types Explained:  A Guide on Bulb Bases

Globe Types Explained: A Guide on Bulb Bases

Posted by Zest Lighting on 26th Jun 2023

When shopping for a lighting fixture, most people first think about their preferred size, style, colour, and shape. That's natural - after all, your lamp's appearance is a definite factor when considering if the lighting, and by extension the room, is glam or sham.

However, there is an essential factor that you also need to know when choosing your next pendant or wall light, and that's its globe type. Newbie lamp buyers tend to dismiss this, only to find that your local lighting store doesn't sell the light bulb for your table lamp's bulb base. Of course, you can opt to shop online, but if you don't know the basic knowledge on bulb bases, how do you choose the correct one for your lights?

Hence, here's a guide about light bulb bases, from the meaning of the letters to a general idea of the most popular types.

Bulb Types Connotation: What do the letters and numbers mean?

When searching for light bulbs, you'll come across some combinations of letters and numbers like E14, GU10, and B22.

Typically, the letters either denote the origin of the lamp name, its material, or the general shape of the lamp's base mount. For example, the E in E27 bulbs mean Edison Screw Base, named after Thomas Edison himself, its developer.

On the other hand, the numbers represent the diameter of the lamp base or the gap in between the bulb's connectors, in millimetres or inches, depending on the light bulb's origin. In the previous example, the 27 in E27 bulbs meant that the light bulb's base width was 27mm.

Globe Bases: Picking the Right One

By understanding the meaning of the letters and the numbers combined, you now have a general idea of what each bulb term meant when reading their tags while shopping in your district's hardware store. Next would be introducing the most popular bulb bases used on residential and commercial lighting fixtures.

E14 - Small Edison Screw 14

E14 bulb bases, also known as SES bulbs, are part of the Edison Screw globe base group. Bulbs in this category have threaded metal bases that can be screwed to it's matching fitting, hence the name. They are the most common light globes available in lighting fixtures from Australia. Therefore, they are also omnipresent in hardware stores and lighting shops.

These bulbs come in many shapes and sizes - candle-shaped, round, and bulbs with bent tips are a few choices among its wide range. Often used as bulbs for reading lights and table lamps, E14 globes match chandeliers and wall lamps for any room, too.

E27 - Edison Screw 27

Like E14 bulb bases, E27 light bulbs are part of the Edison Screw company; only these bulbs have 27mm fitting sizes. It's the current standard for large mains volt light fittings. Many lighting fixtures that function as general lighting equipment in rooms use E27 bulbs.

Aside from the variety of E27 bulb shapes and sizes, they're also available in many colour temperatures and lumen variants. If you're not familiar with colour temperatures, check out our guide about them for more information.

B22 - Bayonet Cap 22

Bayonet Cap 22 is the classic bayonet base fitting with a 22mm-diameter bulb cap. They have tons of available varieties of B22 bulbs in the market - from the old-school “out-of-phase” incandescent bulbs to the energy-efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs and anything in between.

Bayonet Cap bases, or BC bases, have two protruded segments on each side of its bulb base. These unique mounts allow B22 bulbs to perfectly fit their matching socket with L-shaped holes. Unlike Edison Screw bulbs which needed to be screwed into the fittings, BC bases only need a twist-then-lock action to secure it in place. Bayonet Caps is one of Australia's most common globe bases, next to Edison Screws.

G9 - Glass Type 9

Originally, G9 bulbs were made from glass, hence the name Glass Type 9. However, due to the advent of technology, G9 bulbs and other bulbs of the Glass Type are now unrestricted to this material. So instead, when people think of Glass Type bulbs, they associate them with two pins on the bulbs' bases.

G9 bulbs, in particular, have two looped pins at the bottom of their caps. The 9 denotes the 9m-distance between the centres of the pins. These bulbs are often used for decorative and under-cabinet lighting due to their small fitting size.

GU10 - Glass Type U-Shaped 10

GU10 bulbs, also known as PAR16, are also part of the Glass Type bulb base family. However, unlike G9, GU10 bulbs have two short square-ish pins extending from their bases and a u-shaped ceramic base mount. Moreover, the gap between the middle part of the pins is 10mm, hence the name GU10.

These bulbs are often used for intense directional lighting, so they're most commonly applied to downlights and spotlights. Its layman's term is spotlight globe, and are often seen as kitchen, hallways, garden, or garage lights.

MR16 - Multi-Faceted Reflector 16

MR16 lights are closely similar to GU10 bulbs due to their bases and applications. In fact, they're also known as GU5.3 bulbs, termed for the 5.3mm space in between its protruding segments. And like GU10, MR16 bulbs are also famed spotlight bulbs. Its multi-faceted reflector is an efficient controller for precise beam intensity and directional control.

However, MR16 has two thin pins on its base instead of rectangle-like ones, so be careful not to confuse them. Moreover, most GU10 bulbs run at 240 volts, while MR16 light bulbs only need to function at 12 volts.

Bulbs and Lights Combined

Now that you're familiar with the popular globe bases in the current market, it's finally time to buy the light bulb you need. Most lighting fixtures and lamps have a unique code printed on the bulb socket or the packaging to determine the compatible light bulb, so do check that out before going to your local light bulb store.

Better yet, why not revamp your room style with new lighting fixtures and lamps? Zest Lighting offers many designer lighting series with matching pendant lights, floor lamps, chandeliers, wall lights, table lamps, and desk lamps. We welcome you to browse our collection and elevate your space with new designers lights.