Fair warning, finding the best light bulbs for a bathroom vanity requires a little bit of upfront thought. That's because the best bulb for your bathroom depends entirely on how large the room is and how many light fixtures you have to fill. So what do you need to know?
First, choose an LED light. Not only do LED light bulbs save you money on your electricity, but they're better for the environment. To top it all off, they produce a true-to-natural light that's perfect for when you're getting ready in the morning.
Next comes the math. The size of your bathroom and the total number of light bulbs you have around your vanity will be key in deciding which bulbs are right for you. Experts recommend your bathroom's task lighting have a total of 700 to 800 lumens of light for every 10 square feet of space. Since lumens are cumulative, you can add your bulbs collective lumens together to measure the light in your space.
Now, the more light bulbs in your vanity, the fewer lumens each bulb has to produce. While some vanities are set with 10 bulbs that screw in around a central mirror, others have two sconces on either side of a mirror. Keep your space in mind as you shop.
If this math seems overwhelming, believe me, I get it. Here's a guide to the best light bulbs for bathroom vanities to help you out.
For Smaller Bathrooms
For tiny bathrooms, you'll need less overall light in your space. Remember, the rule of thumb 800 total lumens per 10 square feet. Since the average bathroom is around 40 square feet, a small bathroom most likely needs less than 3,200 lumens of light.
1. If You Have A Lot Of Task Lighting
Light per bulb: 450 lumens
If you have a lot of task lighting in your small bathroom, these LED lights from Sunco are the best for you. Not only do they boast 450 lumens per bulb, but they use up to 85 percent less energy than your standard light bulb. Better yet, they come with a five-year warranty in case you run into any issues, and are beloved by Amazon reviewers. One fan raves, "These are the best bathroom vanity lightbulbs ever!! They are super bright and white and not yellow and dull like all the other glove lights we've been buying for years. And they have a nice feel to them, almost feels like plastic all the way around. So they feel sturdier than regular glass bulb lights."
2. If You Don't Have A Lot Of Task Lighting
Light per bulb: 1,500 lumens
If you have fewer bulbs in your task lighting, you'll need them to produce more light. Enter, these 1500-lumens light bulbs from Phillips. While you only get four light bulbs for $20 with this set, they'll more than make up for the price. They have a 10-year lifespan when used less than three hours a day, and use nearly 90 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb. These aren't dimmable like the set above, but fans don't seem to mind. One raves, "We bought these to replace the lights in our closet and over our bathroom vanity. So far they have been excellent. They are much brighter than the CFL's we had in previously, and the size is good."
For Larger Bathrooms
For large, spacious bathrooms (jealous!), you'll need more lighting. Do some quick math for how large your space is and don't forget how many bulbs you'll need, and then strap in.
3. If You Have A Lot Of Task Lighting
Light per bulb: 500 lumens
These dimmable bulbs offer 500 lumens of light per bulb, promise to use 90 percent less energy than a comparable incandescent light, and even have a 22-year lifespan. Those are just a few of the reasons they've earned a 4.5-star Amazon rating with hundreds of reviewers weighing in. Bonus: They're also compatible with most dimmer switches, and produce a bright, white light perfect for bathrooms.
One person with a larger bathroom gushes, "These are very bright, which is exactly what I needed in a fairly large bathroom lit by a single 6-bulb vanity fixture. Big box stores never seem to carry the LED globe bulbs in anything higher than a 40W equivalent, and rarely in a daylight form that gives a clean, white light desired in a bathroom/vanity setting."
4. If You Don't Have A Lot Of Task Lighting
Light per bulb: 2,500 lumens
This four-pack of bulbs is just about the brightest you can buy. With 2,500 lumens per bulb, these will suit even the largest bathrooms with the fewest task lights. They offer all the same benefits the other bulbs on this list do — superb energy savings, long lifespans — and are even made without lead or mercury, so they're safe for any household. If you're struggling to light up large bathrooms, these are sure to do the trick. According to one reviewer, "I have put them in the bathrooms and bedrooms. They cast an authentic light on everything that is wonderful. Finally I can see colors as they actually are. So much easier to put on makeup because the face is fully illuminated - no shadows, no false colors."
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