E12 vs B11 bulbs: key differences explained

Have you ever stood in the lighting section of your local hardware store, staring blankly at the wall of light bulbs? There are so many options to choose from that it can feel overwhelming. You start examining labels, noticing strange codes like E12 or B11 that don’t seem to mean anything.

Before you throw your hands up in defeat under the harsh fluorescent lights, take a deep breath. We’re here to shed some light on the situation and explain the difference between an E12 vs B11 bulb type, so you can make an informed decision and get the right kind of light bulb for your needs.

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What’s the difference between E12 and B11 bulbs?

So what’s the difference between B11 vs. E12 anyway? Both are common bulb types used in the home, but they have some key distinctions.

E12, also known as candelabra bulbs, have a smaller light bulb base and are used in most decorative lights and lighting fixtures like chandeliers or wall sconces.

They typically have a maximum wattage of around 60 watts. B11 bulbs, on the other hand, have a larger base and higher wattage, up to 100 watts, so they can be used as chandelier bulbs in table and floor lamps to provide more illumination.


The E12 bulb type is noticeably more compact, about the size of a golf ball, while B11 bulbs are roughly the size of a baseball. So if you have a small fixture, E12 is probably your best bet. For larger lamps, go with the B11.


In general, the higher the wattage, the brighter the light. So if you want a well-lit space, choose a B11 bulb. For decorative lighting or accent lighting, an E12 light bulb is ideal. The lower wattage also means E12 bulbs tend to last longer.


E12 bulbs are often a bit more affordable since they require less material to produce. However, the price difference is usually only a couple of dollars per bulb. So unless you’re outfitting your whole house, either bulb type should fit most budgets.

In the end, determining which bulb is right for you comes down to how much light you need and the size of your fixtures.

And of course, your personal style preferences matter too – after all, lighting helps set the mood in your home! Choose what creates the perfect ambiance for you.

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E12 bulb specifications: key details

The E12 bulb, also known as a candelabra base bulb, is a popular choice for small decorative fixtures like chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, and string lights.

Let’s take a closer look at the specs of this miniature bulb.

The E is short for Edison, Thomas Edison. The founder and developer of the standard Edison screw base.

With a glass body and a smaller base than the standard A19 bulb, the E12 bulb measures just 12 millimeters (0.472 in) in diameter of the glass body, allowing it to fit into tighter spaces.

It’s available in a range of wattage, from around 3 to 60 watts, producing a soft, ambient glow perfect for accent lighting.

The E12 bulb can be found in different styles of bulbs, including torpedo, flame shape, globe, and teardrop bulb shapes. The most common and versatile styles are the torpedo and flame tip.

The torpedo bulb shape of the glass body casts light in all directions, while the flame tip aims light upwards, highlighting architectural details.

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When choosing an E12 bulb, consider the color temperature. Warmer 2700K bulbs give off an inviting yellowish light, while cooler 5000K bulbs produce a bright white light.

Finally, for the most efficient and eco-friendly option, look for LED E12s. LEDs last up to 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use up to 90% less energy.

Although LEDs tend to cost a bit more upfront, the energy savings and long lifespan make them worth the investment in the long run.

With the perfect combination of size, light bulb shape, brightness, and color, the versatile E12 bulb is an ideal choice for setting the mood in your living space.

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B11 bulb specifications: the basics

The specifications of a B11 bulb are fairly straightforward but important to understand. This bulb type, also known as a “candelabra” bulb, is on the smaller side and often in decorative bulbs used in decorative lighting fixtures.

  • Size

B11 bulbs have a candle shape of glass body and a maximum diameter of 1.25 inches or about 32 millimeters.

  • Base

B11 bulbs have an E12 base, which means it has a 12-millimeter (0.472 in) diameter screw base. This smaller base corresponds to the more petite size of the B11 bulb. Make sure any lighting fixture you buy is compatible with E12.

  • Brightness

B11 bulbs typically have a lower wattage, around 10 to 60 watts, due to their small size. They emit a softer glow, perfect for ambient lighting.

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  • Uses

B11 bulbs are ideal for decorative purposes like chandeliers, sconces, pendant lights, and candle corner fixtures.

  • Lifespan

The average B11 bulb will last between 3 and 5 years with regular use. The actual lifespan depends on the specific wattage and brand of bulb.

  • Cost

B11 bulbs are very affordable, often priced between $2 to $10 per bulb depending on the wattage.

In summary, B11 or candelabra bulbs offer an attractive and ambient lighting option for the home. Their petite size candle shape and decorative appearance allow them to subtly enhance the decor of any space.

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Comparing B11 vs. E12 bulbs

The two most common types of screw-base light bulbs are B11 vs. E12. While they look similar and serve the same purpose, B11, and E12 have a few key differences to be aware of when choosing which one to buy.

E12 has a glass body diameter of 12 millimeters (0.472 in) and a threaded socket. They typically range from 25 to 75 watts, emitting a soft, warm glow perfect as decorative bulbs in chandeliers, sconces, and table and floor lamps.

B11 bulbs, or candle-shaped bulbs, have a base with two pins that twist into a threaded socket. They are usually 40 to 150 watts, providing more light than E12. B11s are commonly used in track lighting, spotlights, and some desk and floor lamps.


The E12 bulb has a larger base, measuring 12 millimeters (0.472 in) in diameter, while the B11 bulb has the same round-shaped bulb base that is 12 millimeters wide.

The E12 size is the most common and will fit in standard bedside table lamps and floor lamps, as well as many ceiling fixtures.

The B11 bulb or candle-shaped bulbs may require special fixtures.

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In general, the E12 bulb’s base can produce more light since it has a larger surface area. The B11 bulb has a narrower bulb shape, so it typically emits less light, making it better for task lighting or accent lighting purposes.


Most standard household light fixtures are designed for E12 bulbs. B11 and E12 bulbs are interchangeable but sometimes require special fixtures depending on whether the narrow base is securely in place.

Some floor and table lamps may be compatible with either size, but always check the specifications to ensure the right light bulb size is used.

Using an incorrect bulb size could result in the light bulb not staying lit or becoming stuck in the fixture.

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E12 and B11 bulbs are available in various wattage, light bulb shapes (A19, torpedo), and types (incandescent, LED, CFL) at different price points.

In general, you may pay slightly more for the E12 bulb due to its larger size and higher wattage.

In summary:

While the B11 and E12 bulbs appear quite similar, understanding the differences in their size, brightness, compatibility, and cost will ensure you choose the right bulb for your lighting needs.

Check your light fixture specifications and think about how much illumination you want before purchasing replacement bulbs.

E12 bulbs (candelabra) or chandelier bulbs are smaller (12 mm aka 0.472 inches bulb base), have lower wattage (25-75w), are more decorative, and are energy efficient.

B11 bulbs (bayonet bulb base) are larger, higher wattage (40-150w), brighter, and less energy efficient.

Choose E12 bulbs for ambient lighting and B11 bulbs for task lighting where more brightness is required.

In the end, selecting between B11 and E12 bulbs comes down to the level of light output and efficiency you require for your intended purpose.

Both types provide an easy-to-use screw base for a variety of string lights and other bulb shapes of light fixture, so you really can’t go wrong with either option.

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Now you know the key differences between E12 and B11 light bulbs.

While they may look similar and serve the same purpose of illuminating your space, the specific light bulb shape and bulb type matters for safety and compatibility reasons.

Next time you need to replace a bulb, double-check your fixture to determine which size it requires, instead of just grabbing whatever’s on the shelf that seems about right. The guide “E12 vs B11 bulbs: key differences explained” will help you to make an informed decision.

With the right knowledge and bulb in hand, you’ll shine your home bright in no time.


The two most common types of screw-in bulb are the E12 and B11 bulb shapes. While they may look similar, there are a few key differences to be aware of before purchasing.

What is B11 vs. B12 light?

B11 and B12 represent the globe’s size and not base sizes. The number refers to the diameter in increments of 1/8″. A B11 lamp has a smaller diameter than a B12 bulb. You can have the two in the same bulb.

What is an E12 bulb equivalent to?

The E12 bulb base light uses a minimum of 4 watts, equal to a 40-watt bulb halogen bulb.

Is an E12 bulb the same as a candelabra base?

Yes, an E12 bulb is commonly referred to as a candelabra bulb. Both terms are used interchangeably to describe the same type of bulb base. Candelabra bases are sometimes called E12 bases. Most light bulb types are found in chandeliers, nightlights, smaller decorative lamps, and string lights too.

Does E11 fit E12?

No, E11 does not fit E12. E11 and E12 are different types of bulb bases and are incompatible with each other.