When you go to select a new light bulb for any given purpose, the socket it fits into will probably take a backseat. You need to ensure you’re using the right light bulb for the job, with the proper color temperature and the right wattage righting. You also need to ensure that you’re using the right ballast or driver if the light bulb in question needs one. Some light bulbs, like HID lamps, can only be burned in a given position, which is something else you’ll need to manage.
However, when you’re looking for light bulbs, there are a few other considerations you need to take into account, such as the base type. Naturally, without aligning the base type, you could end up with a bulb that just won’t work for your purposes.
– Screw type bases: These are the base types with which most homeowners will probably be more familiar. They’re the sockets that you screw light bulbs into and account for most incandescent and halogen light bulbs. They’re also very common for most tiny, specialized candelabra lights; on the smaller side of the spectrum you have E10 bases, and on the other side you have what is known as E40, or Mogul bases.
– Bi-pin bases: While the majority of domestic light bulbs will screw into their bases, there are a number that “plug” into their bases using a set of pins. Many of these types of light bulbs have what are known as “bi-pin” or “2-prong” bases and are simply inserted into the socket. Many small incandescent bulbs have bi-pin bases, (some have medium bi-pin sockets, which require medium bi-pin bases) although there are some fluorescent lights and specialized LEDs that have these types of bases (pin-style bases) as well.
– CFL bases: A large number of CFLs, or compact fluorescent lights, “plug” into their sockets, in a manner similar to that of bi-pin light bulbs. The only difference here is that CFL bulbs typically don’t have just two pins, but rather very unique arrangements of connectors that enable them to fit into highly specialized sockets designed to receive them.
– Fluorescent pin bases: Many fluorescent lamps “clip,” “slide” or “plug” into their respective bases and use pine-shaped connectors. Many fluorescent bulbs have single-pin or bi-pin connectors, but with fluorescent bulbs, you also need to be sure of the size of the socket. For example, many commercially available fluorescent bulbs are in the “T8” configuration, which means they require a T8 socket. Other common sizes of fluorescent lights (particularly linear fluorescent lights) are T5 and T12 bulbs, which require T5 and T12 sockets, respectively.
– Specialty bases: In addition to these common styles of bases, there are a number of other specialty bulb bases that can only be used with specific sockets. Among these are side-prong bulbs, rigid loop bulbs, R7 bases, wedge bases, and festoon bases; if you suspect your light bulb has an atypical base (or your fitting requires an atypically based bulb) you’ll need to take care to ensure that you select the right one for the job.
It would be very difficult to succinctly categorize every single type of bulb base out there, but there is a fair likelihood that the base of the bulb in question fits into one of these categories. Whenever you’re looking at the specs of a light bulb, you’ll be able to glean some information on the base type.
By the way, just in case you can’t find the information you need, get in touch with the specialists at Atlanta Light Bulbs. With over 40 years in the business, Atlanta Light Bulbs has seen a thing or two in lighting, and they can pass that experience along to you.