The 7 Best Outdoor Light Bulbs to Buy in 2018

Shop for the best lightbulbs to light up your outdoor space

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Before energy wasting incandescent bulbs were phased out, shopping around for outdoor light bulbs seemed a lot easier because there wasn't a huge selection. These days, consumers face more options than ever thanks to the latest lighting technologies, which can make picking the right bulbs pretty daunting.

For instance, some outdoor light bulbs can turn any fixture into a security feature because they have built in motion sensors that trigger light at night. Other types can boost your outdoor enjoyment by repelling annoying flying insects. There are even bulbs that can eliminate dark spots in your yard by emitting 360 degrees of uniform light. 

To shed some light on all of your choices, here are the best outdoor bulbs to buy.

  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall: Lux LED Energy Efficient Light Bulbs, 6-Pack

    We love LEDs because they’re energy efficient, have a long life span and unlike CFLs, don’t contain mercury. These indoor/outdoor LEDs by Lux are premium bulbs that provide 750 lumens (equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb) of beautiful soft light.

    You can expect each bulb sold in packs of six to last up to 10 years or 10,000 hours. Even better, your out of pocket cost to operate one is around 84 cents per year — compared to an outdated incandescent, this bulb can provide you with a huge lifetime savings of $840.

    FYI, it works on dimmers and fits standard (E26) light sockets. We suggest using in an outdoor space with an overhead cover. And for your peace of mind, the light bulb comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

  • 02 of 07

    Best 360 Degree: SkyGenius 25W LED Corn Light Bulb

    This outdoor LED bulb, which resembles an ear of corn, provides 360 degrees of stable lighting (no more dead corners!) thanks to rows of tiny lights. It's available in a range of lumens, but our favorite is the 2,500 lumen bulb. Its brightness is equal to a 200W incandescent bulb, and the good news is it consumes only 1/10 of the energy.

    Don't let its newfangledness confuse you because it's designed to fit any standard (E26) light socket. We think it's an excellent choice for outdoor post fixtures where 360 degrees of bright light will illuminate both walkways and yards at night. So that you know, it doesn't dim.

    The estimated yearly cost to operate this bulb is around $3. You can expect it to last up to 10 years based on three hours of operation per day.

  • 03 of 07

    Best Smart Bulb: TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb with Wi-Fi

    Give your porch light a high tech upgrade with this smart bulb by TP-Link that you can control through a personal device.

    The dimmable three pack offers the best bang for your buck. Each bulb is 50W equivalent. Individual bulbs are also available with your choice of features including energy monitoring, multicolor settings, and tunable white. Whichever one you choose all can be controlled using a free app on your smartphone or using your voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. For your convenience, you can even set lighting schedules for this bulb, including timers and countdowns.

    Before buying, here are two essential things to know: First, don't use smart bulbs like this one with your existing dimmer switches. Also, the bulb works best outdoors in areas with an overhead cover in temperatures ranging between 5-degrees to 102-degrees.

  • 04 of 07

    Best Bug Repelling: TCP 5W Equivalent LED Yellow Bug Light Bulbs

    You can replace your old 40W incandescent bulbs with this LED one by TCP that only uses five watts. Unlike sources of white light, the bulb emits a pretty yellow glow that won’t attract pesky insects.

    Our pick will stand the test because its life span is nearly 23 years based on three hours of daily use. No worrying if this bulb will fit any of your existing sockets because it uses a standard (E26) screw base. FYI, this bulb works best outdoors in an enclosed fixture that protects it from the weather.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best Flood Light Bulb: Sunco 11W Flood Light Bulbs, 6-Pack

    Brighten up your outdoor space with this Energy Star listed LED flood light bulb by Sunco. It emits 850 Lumens (equal to a 60-watt incandescent bulb), and it’s available in three different color temperatures: Soft white (2700k), cool white (4000k) and daylight (5000).

    The bulb, which you can dim, is a top performer that can reduce energy use compared to a halogen bulb by 90 percent. Its average life is 25,000 hours.

  • 06 of 07

    Best Weatherproof: Feit Electric PAR38 Dimmable LED Light Bulb

    Weatherproof, dimmable, and best of all mercury-free this bulb is the perfect replacement for your 90W incandescent. The spot light uses only 18 Watts, roughly 75 percent less than an old standard bulb and you can pop it into either a recessed fixture or security fixture with a standard (E26) socket. You can expect our pick to last up to 25,000 hours.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Dusk to Dawn: Philips LED Dusk to Dawn Bulb, 3-Pack

    Dusk to dawn light bulbs like this one come equipped with sensors that turn the light on at night when triggered by movement. While this Energy Star certified bulb isn’t dimmable, it does emit a pleasing soft white light (equal to a 60 Watt incandescent). When it comes to energy use, it uses only 8 watts of power, so you can expect to save up to $143 over its 25,000-hour lifetime. Folks who own Phillips Hue System may be disappointed to learn that this bulb is not compatible.