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Light Bulb Base Size Guide

  • 2 min read
When browsing our website, you may have noticed an array of letters and numbers next to the light bulbs, cords and sockets we carry. These identifiers can make light bulbs seem very complicated. But really, they are very simple. To help clear up any confusion, the Paper Lantern Store is happy to offer a primer on light-bulb base sizes.

To understand what size of light bulb base you will need, you first have to understand the nomenclature. There are many light bulb base sizes, but there are three basic sizes for the most common type of screw-in light bulb, also known as the Edison bulb for the man who invented them, Thomas Edison. These popular basic screw-in light bulb base sizes are E12, E17 and E26. The E just stands for Edison, while the numbers refer to the width of the light bulb base as measured in millimeters. For example, an E17 light bulb base has a base width of 17 mm.

Don't get confused by some other combinations of letters and numbers you see with bulbs. For instance, you might see a light bulb referred to as an A60. The letter just refers to the shape of the bulb. In this case, for instance, A means it is a general-service bulb. The number meanwhile refers to the size of the bulb. So an A60 light bulb with an E26 base would refer to a 60 mm bulb with a 26 mm Edison screw-in base. This is the standard type of light bulb most people use in their homes.

At the Paper Lantern Store, you will find a huge variety of light bulbs. We have bulbs with many styles and sizes of bases, including bulbs with the popular E12, E17 and E26 bases to fit the needs you have in mind and, more specifically, the sockets they will screw into. E12s, the smallest, are sometimes called candelabras and are popular for chandelier-type fixtures and decorative use. The intermediate size, E17s, are connected in many minds with old-fashioned Christmas tree lights, while the E26 is commonly associated with the standard household light bulb.

Are you still confused, or do you just have general or specific questions? No problem! We pride ourselves on our courteous customer service and are always here to help. Get in touch with our friendly customer service department by phone, email or instant chat for answers and advice you can trust.