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For the best lighting in the bathroom, look for light bulbs that offer clear, bright light that won’t appear yellow or dull. Generally, daylight light bulbs are considered a top choice for bathrooms, though some people prefer a softer white for ambiance or aesthetics. In addition, many of the most popular bathroom bulbs have a CRI rating of 90+, indicating superior color contrast and vibrancy. This is ideal for applying make-up or any other task where color accuracy and appearance are important.
Typically, bathroom light bulbs may be installed in an overhead fixture or on a vanity lighting fixture. While an overhead light might use a standard A19 light bulb, vanity lights generally look best with the more decorative globe shape of a G25 light bulb. Other considerations you’ll need to make are whether to shop for pricier but long-lasting LED bulbs for the bathroom, or more affordable incandescent versions—that require more frequent replacement.
Here, the best bathroom light bulbs that will brighten your space and provide much-needed illumination.
Best Overall: GE LED Reveal Light Bulb (60-watt Equivalent)
The best light bulbs for bathrooms offer bright, clear light—similar to daylight conditions. This type of light renders colors more accurately and is usually appreciated for makeup application, shaving, getting dressed, and similar activities. Typically, the best light bulbs for bathrooms offer a CRI of 90+, which translates to vivid color contrasts and clear light without excessively yellow overtones.
The GE Reveal LED bulbs are popular for use in the bathroom since they deliver a light that is very similar to natural lighting conditions. This makes the bulb ideal for beauty or grooming activities such as applying makeup, shaving, or tweezing. Each bulb outputs a substantial 650 lumens of light, but only uses 9 watts of energy. The bulbs have an average life span of 15,000 hours of use.
Best for Vanities: Philips G25 Halogen Clear Decorative Globe Light Bulb (60-Watt Equivalent)
Light bulbs for vanities are typically round and shaped like a globe—they’re referred to as a G25 bulb. If you’re looking for a light bulb for the bathroom that casts unobstructed light and has a decorative appearance, then check out these Philips G25 Halogen bulbs.
The 3-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 2 years of use and do 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.
Best LED: Feit Electric G25 Dimmable LED Light Bulb, Daylight (60-Watt Equivalent)
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. Like many other LED bulbs, it 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.
Best Budget: EcoSmart A19 Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
Brighten up your bathroom with these affordable bulbs from EcoSmart. Each bulb matches the light output of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but instead only uses 9 watts of energy. These budget light bulbs are great for bathrooms since they produce 840 lumens of light. The cool daylight color (5000K) is also appreciated by those looking for a bright, clean source of light in the bedroom. Overall, this bulb produces a crisp light that is excellent for any task where color and clarity are important.
The average lifespan for these EcoSmart bulbs is 11,000 hours—which is a little less than half of the life expectancy for other LED bulbs. At the same time, a four-pack costs under $6. So for affordable bathroom lighting, it’s hard to beat the value of these EcoSmart LED bulbs.
Best Splurge: Tala G25 Porcelain II Lightbulb (40-Watt Equivalent)
Go for a sophisticated look with 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 will 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.
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.
Best Smart: TP-Link A19 Kasa Smart Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
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 2700K to 5000K, 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.
The Kasa Smart Light Bulb stands out for its easy to use the app and the fact that it requires no hub—great for smart home newbies and advanced techies alike. It works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands.
Best Dimmable: Feit Electric A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)
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. 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.
Best Incandescent: GE Lighting A19 72-watt Soft White Bulb
If ambiance is important, look for a bathroom light bulb with soft light. This type of bulb is best for bathrooms where you plan to take a long, hot bath or a soothing shower to unwind after a long day. The easy light offered by this incandescent light bulb from GE is a great match for bathrooms that are intended to be a spot to rejuvenate.
Each 72-watt bulb offers an impressive 1270 lumens but retains a warm, soft white glow that you'll appreciate for its lack of glare. These incandescent bulbs use halogen gas to extend the life of the filament inside, but keep in mind that they won’t be as long-lasting as an LED or CFL bulb for the bathroom.
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 (view at Amazon) win our best spot. These long-lasting bulbs are the next-best thing to being outdoors. But if it’s glamorous style you’re after, you’ll appreciate the out-and-out beauty of the Tala Porcelain II Led Bulb (view at Pottery Barn), which is especially lovely in a bathroom vanity.
What to Look for in Light Bulbs for the Bathroom
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 5000K to 6500K, or bulbs labeled “cool white” or “bright white,” with a color temperature of 3500K to 4100K are best for the bathroom. By comparison, a “soft white” bulb is generally in the range of 2700K, which is a soft, slightly yellowed white light.
In terms of watts, typically you’ll want bulbs with the equivalent of at least 60 watts for sufficient bathroom lighting. If your bathroom is very large, or you prefer it brighter, you might want to use 75-watt-equivalent bulbs, however.
There are many different shapes and sizes of light bulbs. These are the most common for bathroom use.
Bathroom vanities often use globe-shaped bulbs, which are more attractive than regular bulbs. These bulbs are identified by 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, recessed lights, and some vanities. Smaller A15 bulbs are sometimes used in 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. That makes LED bulbs the best choice for bathroom lighting.