Wattage on Halogen & LED Bulbs

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I know that LED bulbs use way less wattage than older Halogen bulbs, but I have always wondered, when a light fixture it says it supports max 40w (and the LED equivalent) if I were to put a LED bulb that IS 40w would it still work or would there be too much power as its max 40w for a bulb?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The light fixture wattage rating is there for two reasons. One is to identify how much electricity the wires can carry without being a fire hazard. The other is to identify how much heat the fixture can dissipate.

If the socket is wired to allow it to supply 40W of electricity, you can use bulbs that consume up to 40W, regardless of whether the bulb is incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, or LED.

If the fixture is designed to safely dissipate the heat from a 40W incandescent or halogen bulb, it can also safely dissipate the heat from a 40W LED bulb, because LED bulbs generate less heat per Watt than incandescent or halogen bulbs.

So, yes, it’s usually safe to put a LED bulb rated at 40W or less into a fixture designed for 40W incandescent or halogen bulbs. The thing is, 40W would be a very high rating for an LED bulb, and bulbs that large and bright typically have unusually large heat sinks. They’re unlikely to physically fit into a 40W halogen fixture. You’ll need to find a bulb that is small enough to fit and allow adequate airflow for heat to dissipate properly.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The max rating on the socket is the maximum power consumption of the bulb, defined by how heat resistant the fixture is and what size wiring it has. So yes, a fixture that says “40w maximum” could use a 40w LED bulb that is equivalent in brightness to a ~200w incandescent bulb and it will be 5x brighter.