High-quality light in your bathroom can provide the illumination you need for your daily post-shower routine or touch-ups before heading out. "Two of the most important locations, in your home, for great lighting are the kitchen and the bathroom," says Larry Campbell, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board and electrical expert. "Bathroom lighting takes on many forms; vanity lighting, overhead lighting, and shower lighting are examples."
With that in mind, we researched dozens of bulbs, weighing their brightness, color rendering index (CRI) rating, longevity, and energy efficiency. Our top pick is the GE LED Reveal Light Bulb since it produces a light that mimics natural daylight and saves energy.
Here are the best light bulbs for bathrooms.
Best Overall: GE LED Reveal Light Bulb (60-watt Equivalent)
Dimmer feature could be smoother
What do buyers say? 91% of 1,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The GE LED Reveal Light Bulb offers you everything you could want in bathroom lighting. It brings you clear, white light that emulates natural daylight and has a CRI score of 90 or more for great color contrast without any yellow overtones. Everything under the light should look true to its colors as it would under natural light, which makes it ideal for beauty and grooming activities.
With 650 lumens, the bulb is plenty bright. Plus, it’s dimmable, so if you have a dimmer switch installed, you can always lower the brightness at night or set the mood for a relaxing bath. However, some users note that the dimmable feature is not always as smooth as they would like it to be.
Aside from offering you excellent light, it also delivers an energy-efficient design. The bulb relies on only 9 watts to provide the equivalent of 60 watts of power and has an estimated lifespan of up to 13 years.
Price at time of publish: $13
Best for Vanities: Philips G25 Halogen Clear Decorative Globe Light Bulb (60-Watt Equivalent)
Clear, well-dispersed light
Free of branding on bulb face
Less energy-efficient than LED models
Light bulbs for vanities are typically round and shaped like a globe—and referred to as G25 bulbs. If you’re looking for a light bulb for the bathroom that casts unobstructed light and has a decorative appearance, check out these Philips G25 Halogen bulbs.
The three-pack of vanity bulbs provides bright, clear light for routine bathroom activities like shaving or applying makeup. Each light bulb emits 550 lumens, using 40 watts of energy. While not as energy-efficient or long-lasting as an LED bulb, these globe bulbs are rated for about two years of use and provide excellent performance and lifespan. Another nice feature of these bulbs is the lack of any product or brand information stamped on the face of the bulb—this preserves the decorative look of these globe bulbs.
Price at time of publish: $12
Best LED: Feit Electric G25 Dimmable LED Light Bulb, Daylight (60-Watt Equivalent)
Energy-efficient and attractive
Great color contrast
Could be brighter
Words prominently printed on bulb
The Feit G25 Daylight LED bulb is a great option if you want the distinctive globe shape of many bathroom bulbs but the energy efficiency and excellent color contrasts of an LED bulb. Ideal for bathroom vanity light fixtures or open fixtures where the bulb is on display, this clear glass G25 LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt bulb but uses just 5.5 watts of energy. These bulbs last a long time—just over 13 years, depending on hours-per-day usage.
The bright, pure white light produced by this LED bulb is perfect for bathrooms and is just right for applying makeup or checking colors in an outfit. However, these light bulbs offer 500 lumens of brightness, which is less than many other options. Like many other LED bulbs, this Feit option has a CRI rating of 90+, which means color contrasts are easy to see and appear more vivid. It’s also dimmable and compatible for use in enclosed fixtures as well.
Price at time of publish: $16
Best Budget: EcoSmart A19 Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
Energy-efficient and bright
Great task lighting
Could be too bright for some
Brighten up your bathroom with these affordable EcoSmart A19 Non-Dimmable LEDs. Each bulb matches a 60-watt incandescent bulb's light output but only uses 9 watts of energy. These budget light bulbs are great for bathrooms since they produce 840 lumens of light. If you're looking for a bright, clean source of light in the bathroom, the cool daylight color (5000 Kelvin) could be just what you're looking for. However, if you like a bit of warmth, you won't find that in this option.
The average lifespan for these EcoSmart bulbs is 11,000 hours—which is slightly less than half of the life expectancy for other LED bulbs. Still, it's hard to beat the affordability of this multiple-pack of EcoSmart LED bulbs. Overall, this bulb produces a crisp light that is excellent for any task where color and clarity are important.
Price at time of publish: $27
Best Splurge: Tala G25 Porcelain II Lightbulb (40-Watt Equivalent)
Unique, clean-cut aesthetic
Light could be brighter
If you prefer a sophisticated look for your lighting, consider the Tala Porcelain II bulb. This unique light bulb for bathrooms is made of mouth-blown porcelain and has a brass alloy base that screws into standard E26 fixtures. The matte glass orb of this bulb could look especially stunning in bathroom vanity lights, but can also be used in pendant lights or other lighting fixtures. Each bulb emits 540 lumens of light while using just 6 watts of energy. That's the equivalent of a 40-watt incandescent bulb. However, 540 lumens is a lower brightness than other light bulbs on this list.
It’s not all vanity when it comes to this light bulb splurge. In addition to looking great, the Tala Porcelain II has an average lifespan of up to 30,000 hours of use, making these LED bulbs long-lasting and eye-catching. The company also plants 10 trees for every 200 bulbs sold, making your energy-efficient light bulb choice an eco-friendly option as well.
Price at time of publish: $22
Best Smart: TP-Link A19 Kasa Smart Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
Alexa- and Google Assistant- compatible
No hub required
Great brightness range
Wi-Fi connection required
Extra step for app setup
A smart light bulb is an easy way to adjust the lighting and ambiance of any room in your home, including the bathroom. This 60-watt-equivalent version from Kasa makes it easy to tune the color spectrum of the light from 2700 Kelvin to 5000 Kelvin, making it simple to switch from a softer warm light—great for bubble baths—to a cool, bright light that is ideal for applying makeup, shaving, or other aspects of your morning routine.
You need a good Wi-Fi connection for this light bulb to consistently work via app controls, and app setup requires an extra step at the start. However, the Kasa Smart Light Bulb stands out for its easy-to-use app and the fact that it requires no hub—great for smart home newbies and advanced techies alike. It also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands.
Price at time of publish: $30
Best Dimmable: Feit Electric A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
Bright, accurate lighting
Writing on light bulb
Lifespan can be shorter than listed
These LED bulbs from Feit Electric are a great option for a dimmable bathroom light bulb. At full power, they offer 800 lumens and are on par with a 60-watt light bulb while only using 8.8 watts of energy. These daylight bulbs have a color temperature of 5000K and a CRI of 90+, ensuring that colors appear both realistic and vibrant. When used with a dimmer switch, these bulbs have full-range dimming capabilities while producing even light distribution, and there's no annoying flickering or audible buzzing.
In addition, these bulbs are RoHS compliant and 100 percent mercury-free. They also comply with Title 20 of the California Energy Commission. However, there's writing on these light bulbs, which means they may not be the best option for decorative lighting. On the plus side, you can expect years of reliable use from this dimmable bathroom light bulb—the average lifespan is 25,000 hours of use or about 22 years.
Price at time of publish: $13
The most desirable bathroom light is as close to natural sunlight as possible, making it easy to put on makeup, shave, or carry out other grooming activities without harsh glare or shadow. That’s why the GE Reveal LED Light Bulbs wins our best spot. These long-lasting bulbs are the next best thing to being outdoors. But if it’s glamorous style you’re after, consider the Tala Porcelain II LED Bulb, which is especially lovely in a bathroom vanity.
What to Look For in Light Bulbs for Bathrooms
While romantic mood lighting might be desirable in the bedroom, you typically want bright and clear lighting in your bathroom. As a rough guideline, bulbs labeled “daylight,” which generally have a color temperature of 5000 Kelvin to 6500 Kelvin, or bulbs labeled “cool white” or “bright white,” with a color temperature of 3500 Kelvin to 4100 Kelvin, are best for the bathroom. By comparison, a “soft white” bulb is generally in the range of 2700 Kelvin, which is a soft, slightly yellowed white light.
Light bulbs come in many different shapes and sizes, and a few types are most common for bathroom use.
Bathroom vanities often use globe-shaped bulbs, which are more attractive than regular bulbs. These bulbs have a “G” in their description. G25 is the most common globe-shaped bulb used in bathroom vanities, but there are larger bulbs, such as the G50, and smaller bulbs, including the G16.5. A19 bulbs are the typical “light-bulb-shaped” bulbs used in standard lighting fixtures on your bathroom ceiling, in recessed lights, and in some vanities. Edison or vintage bulbs have prominent filaments and a vintage vibe. These bulbs are often A19 in shape and size, although there are other options as well.
While incandescent bulbs were once the standard, today, they are being phased out in favor of LED bulbs, which are far more energy-efficient, last much longer than incandescents, and don’t generate nearly as much heat as incandescent bulbs. These characteristics make LED bulbs the best choice for bathroom lighting.
What watt light bulb should you get for a bathroom?
Bathroom lighting should be bright and clean enough so that you can do things like shave and apply makeup with precision but not so bright that it is unflattering. In terms of watts, Campbell recommends 60-watt incandescent bulbs or 12-watt LED bulbs. If your bathroom is very large, or you prefer it brighter, you could use 75-watt-equivalent bulbs. You can opt for dimmable lighting if you want to adjust the light during different times of the day and night.
What color light bulb should you get for a bathroom?
Some people prefer cool white light that gives the bathroom a bright, well-lit appearance but isn't flattering for people. Others prefer to install warmer yellow- or orange-tinged lighting that is more flattering but may not be suitable for activities such as applying makeup.
The best option for a bathroom is to include multiple light fixtures that allow you to adjust and layer light. You might combine general lighting in a cool white tone with dimmable bulbs for DIY manicures or beard trimming and wall sconces with warmer bulbs you can brighten for skincare or dim at bathtime to create a relaxing ambiance.
As for the color temperature, Campbell notes that 3000 Kelvin is a suitable option for bathroom lighting but adds that "if you work in-office and are trying to see how you will look under similar lighting as the office, 4000K-5000K would be best."
What kind of light bulbs go in a vanity?
"Vanity lighting is great for putting on your makeup or removing it," says Campbell. "The bulbs here should closely match the color scale of your work environment so that your makeup doesn't look three shades off." To illuminate a vanity, opt for a decorative globe-shaped G25 light bulb. While some people continue to use incandescent light for its flattering effect, it makes more sense to opt for energy-efficient LED bulbs that are better for the planet and your wallet over time. Campbell recommends LED bulbs that produce clear light with a color somewhere in the 3000 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin range.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Erica Puisis is a writer and lifestyle expert, specializing in content related to interior design and home products. She researched various light bulbs for this piece, taking into consideration their brightness, style, and overall functionality.
Sarah Toscano, a writer for The Spruce who specializes in smart home and tech content, conducted additional research. She consulted Larry Campbell, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board and electrical expert, to gain better insight into the best light bulbs for bathrooms.