Light bulbs come in a wide range of styles, wattages, brightness levels, and color temperatures — but no matter the type, the best light bulbs for bedrooms should be warm and gentle on the eyes.
Types Of Light Bulbs
Gone are the days of energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs. Instead, the best bulbs for your bedroom will either be energy-efficient LED or halogen incandescent light bulbs.
- Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are the longest lasting, most durable energy-efficient bulb. They are a fantastic go-to bulb for any setting. If you want to control your light bulb from across the room, consider investing in a smart LED bulb that can connect to your mobile device or voice-activated home assistant. Also, if your bedside reading lamp has one knob or pull string to adjust the lighting to different brightness levels, that means it operates with a three-way switch, and you should get a compatible three-way LED light bulb to ensure that the lamp functions correctly.
- Halogen incandescent bulbs are similar to traditional incandescent bulbs, except that they incorporate gas in the bulb to slightly increase their energy efficiency. Halogen bulbs tend to be cheaper than both LEDs, but they’re not as energy efficient and won’t last as long. They can be a good option if you’re temporarily on a very strict budget and need to save a few bucks, but, if you live in California, you won’t be able to purchase halogen bulbs due to energy efficiency regulations.
As light bulbs have become energy efficient, the number of watts they use has gone down, which means a bulb’s wattage is no longer an accurate measurement of its brightness. A light bulb’s brightness is best measured in lumens, though most manufacturers include “watt equivalents” as well. For a bedroom, look for a light bulb that has a lumen rating of around 800, which is roughly equivalent to a 60-watt traditional incandescent bulb, or lower. At this brightness level, you’ll have enough light to read by, but it won’t make you feel more alert when you’re winding down at bedtime.
Light bulbs come in a range of color temperatures ranging from 2,000 to 6,500 Kelvin. The higher the number, the cooler (aka bluer) the color temperature. For a bedroom, I’d recommend a “soft white” bulb, with a color temperature of 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin. A soft white bulb will offer a good enough amount of light to see by, but a warmth that’s gentle on the eyes and less likely to disrupt your sleep.
From super energy-efficient LEDs to a basic halogen bulb, here are the best light bulbs for bedrooms — all available on Amazon.
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1. The Best Basic LED Bulb For Bedrooms
Lifespan: Up to 15,000 hours
Brightness: 800 lumens
Color temperature: 2,200 to 2,700 Kelvin
This four-pack of Philips LED Dimmable Light Bulbs is a fantastic option for anyone with dimmers in their bedroom who's looking for a long-lasting LED bulb that doesn't break the bank.
The bulbs can be used in both fixtures with dimmer switches (without those annoying flickers or buzzing sounds) and in standard single switches. The color temperature is in the soft white range but it gets warmer as you dim the light. Plus, they have a frosted finish that helps the 60-watt equivalent light spread evenly around the room without uncomfortable glare.
Positive Amazon review: “Great for use on living rooms, sleeping rooms. [...] My bedroom can be dimmed down to about the same light level of one or two candle lights, with about the same light color, which is nice and cozy. The ‘color rendering’ looks good to my eyes: Stuff around the room look[s] natural.”
2. The Best Smart LED Light Bulb For Bedrooms
Lifespan: Up to 25,000 hours
Brightness: 800 lumens
Color temperature: 2,200 to 6,500 Kelvin
If you want to have lots of control over the brightness and warmth of the light in your bedroom, this pair of Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulbs is a great place to start. Not only does each bulb last a really long time, but it can also be adjusted within a wide range of brightnesses and color temperatures. It's the only bulb on this list that can produce light in the "cool white" and "daylight" color temperature categories, which are bluer than soft white bulbs. (If you want a smart light bulb than can change actual colors in addition to white, opt for the White and Color Ambiance version of this bulb.)
And, of course, the fact that this is a smart bulb means you can turn it on or off from the comfort of your bed, without getting up — just download the free Hue Bluetooth app or connect it to a voice assistant if you have a compatible Amazon Echo or Google Nest device. The Hue White Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty.
You can control up to 10 light bulbs at a time with the Hue Bluetooth app alone (without purchasing a hub) — but if you're interested in adding even more smart light bulbs to your home, setting automatic timers, or controlling your bulbs when you're out of the house, then you should consider upgrading to a Hue Hub Start Kit. There are a number of other sizes, styles, and quantities of this bulb available for purchase, so if this specific format isn't exactly what you want, maybe another one will suit you perfectly.
Positive Amazon review: “Why am I just now finding out about these bulbs?! [...] I can turn this light on and off and toggle the brightness so easily even from the other room. We used the extra bulbs in our bedroom and the lighting is so much nicer now. Never going back!”
3. The Best Light Bulb For Three-Way Bedside & Reading Lamps
Lifespan: 25,000+ hours
Brightness: 100, 500, or 1,500 lumens
Color temperature: 3,000 Kelvin
Bedside and reading lamps are commonly three-way lamps, which require three-way bulbs. If your lamp has one knob or pull string to both turn it on and adjust it to different preset brightness settings, opt for a pack of soft white Great Eagle 40/60/100W Equivalent 3-Way LED Light Bulbs. These bulbs give you the option of turning your lamp to three different brightness levels: 40, 60, and 100-watt equivalents. With such a wide range of brightness options, you'll be sure to find a setting that works for you and gives you plenty of light to read by. That said, if you want different color temperature options, the bulbs are also available in warm white or daylight tones.
Again, these three-way bulbs are designed for use with three-way light fixtures only and should not be used with a dimmer switch. They come with a three-year warranty.
Positive Amazon review: “I installed four pairs of these as bedside lights. Perfect for dim room lighting or bright reading lights.”
4. The Best Halogen Light Bulb For Bedrooms
Lifespan: Up to 2,000 hours
Brightness: 680 lumens
Color temperature: 2,750 Kelvin
These SYLVANIA Halogen Lamp Double Life Bulbs can be used in both dimmer and standard single switches, and are the equivalent brightness of traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs. They're by far the most budget-friendly option on this list, making them a solid, cheap option for the short-run. Just remember that halogen bulbs require more energy than LEDs so your electric bill may be higher, you'll have to replace them after 2,000 hours, and they can't be shipped to California.
In addition to the 60-watt equivalent bulbs, you can also nab these bulbs in 4-watt, 75-watt, or 100-watt equivalent formats.
Positive Amazon review: “Great lightbulbs. Provide a nice, warm light.”