Can I use incandescent bulbs in this IKEA lamp?
January 23, 2021 8:26 AM   Subscribe

I bought the IKEA SIMRISHAMN pendant lamp, and it's great. But I haven't been able to find LED bulbs that are warm enough for it, and the instructions don't offer an incandescent equivalent — it asks for a 7W E12 LED bulb, and doesn't list an incandescent equivalent. Is that because incandescent bulbs aren't safe in enclosed fixtures like this one, or can I just buy a sufficiently low-wattage bulb?
posted by alycoop to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
There should be a label on the socket that says what it’s rated for. If the label doesn’t require LED, it should be safe to use an incandescent, but a 7W candelabra base incandescent is basically an outdoor Christmas light. Not so much “warm” as “dim”.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:47 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I think most manufacturers are trying to move away from energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs. Ikea might not recommend them for that reason, or because they would get too hot in the smallish enclosure of the fixture -- I'm not sure.

In case you haven't already checked them out, can I offer a couple of warm LED suggestions?
- Search for LED Edison bulbs - they generally give off very warm, amber-colored light
- Try smart LED bulbs, which are color-adjustable and can provide whatever light temperature you like. Ikea offers a cheapish smart bulb with nine colors to choose from; Philips Hue has "white ambiance" bulbs that can be adjusted from cool to warm, or "white and color ambiance" bulbs that can be any color or temperature you like. Be aware that some of their bulbs require a separate piece of equipment (the Hue Bridge), while some of them are directly controllable by bluetooth on a phone app.
posted by ourobouros at 8:49 AM on January 23


It would help if IKEA would tell you the wattage of their LED bulbs. Here’s an E12 with probably the right wattage and a 2700K color temperature (which is roughly incandescent-equivalent).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:00 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


To get a halogen feel, you want a warm color temp, like 2700K, and a high CRI of 80 or above for the same rich color.

example on amazon.

Incandescents of a brightness you want are going to overheat the enclosure since it is not vented.
posted by nickggully at 10:05 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Incandescents of a brightness you want are going to overheat the enclosure since it is not vented.

Yes. This would be my biggest concern. I have three IKEA lamps that are plastic - two are open and one is closed. They definitely would (and have, in one instance) warp if used with an incandescent. Melty plastic lamps aren't too fun.
--
Edited: I see that yours are glass. But check the housing type as well. If it's all metal and glass, it could be okay with a lower wattage incandescent, I would think.
posted by amanda at 10:35 AM on January 23


It would help if IKEA would tell you the wattage of their LED bulbs. Here’s an E12 with probably the right wattage and a 2700K color temperature (which is roughly incandescent-equivalent).

Given the output in Lumen of a LED bulb, divide by 10 to get the ballpark equivalent wattage of a standard filament (not halogen); divide by 75 to approximate the power consumption of that LED bulb. So for this one it's equivalent to a 40..45W filament bulb.

To get a halogen feel, you want a warm color temp, like 2700K, and a high CRI of 80 or above for the same rich color.

Halogen has a higher colour temperature, 3100..3200K, a standard filament bulb is 2700k .
posted by Stoneshop at 12:29 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Yes - LEDs can provide the same color temp as incandescent. It’s 2700K, so you just need to find a bulb noting that. My entire house is LED and can personally confirm they perform.

Also I will take this moment to say that using LED lightbulbs is one of the most significant actions an individual can take to save energy/fight climate change. Yes, really. Incandescent bulbs use a HUGE amount of energy for the same amount of light - they are essentially not allowed by current energy building codes because of this. LEDs have gotten really good, please consider finding an appropriate LED bulb rather than trying to hack the lamp just because the first LED bulb isn’t doing it for you.
posted by annie o at 5:54 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Double commenting, as I realized that if you have not spent a lot of time with light bulbs here are the criteria you are concerned with:

- Color temperature: describes how warm or cool the light is. 2700K is a typical incandescent. 3000K is a cooler color, typically used in commercial environments (retail, offices, exterior lighting, etc). Higher numbers are cooler/bluer and more similar to sunlight, you can commonly find up to 5000K. Lower numbers are warmer/more yellow (but it’s hard to find anything below 2700K). This is the main thing you are interested in here.

- CRI or color rendering index can be important. The closer to 100, the more true color will appear. A sodium lamp (the orange ones in parking lots) will have a CRI near 0 (everything appears black & orange, color is not visible). Most consumer grade lamps will be around 80ish which is totally fine. If you want to light art or clothing or something else color sensitive you will want as close to 100 as you can get.

- you cannot achieve a useful light output with a 7W incandescent bulb, for the reasons noted by a previous commenter - lamps designed for LED are not reverse compatible to incandescent due to the power draw.

Hope this helps clarify how to troubleshoot the issue!
posted by annie o at 6:00 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I would not trust putting an incandescent bulb in the same fixture. The incandescent will put out 10 times the amount of heat and I'm guessing your fixture is not designed for that amount of heat.

One thing to keep in mind is the type of E12 bulb you select. E12 just means the size of the screw mount. It doesn't say anything about the globe or color temperature.

As others have pointed out, you want a color temperature of 2700 to match incandescent.

The other thing to consider is the globe type. Don't get the candelabra style like this. These have a tiny base which has no electronics so the LEDs are driven directly from the 120V AC current. This means that they flicker on and off 120 times a second. This might not bother some people but for many it can be a perceptible annoyance.

Instead you want the globe type like this. If you scroll down this page you will see that in the white opaque base there is hidden the electronics that control the LED. This ensures that the LED does not have the same amount of flicker as the bare candelabra bulbs above.
posted by JackFlash at 8:09 PM on January 23


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