Track lighting & lightbulbs, advice needed
May 31, 2023 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Can this track lighting fixture use this IKEA LED bulb? Neither one has been ordered yet.

The track lighting description says maximum wattage per bulb is 50W, these IKEA bulbs are the equivalent of 60W (?). Also it says the recommended bulb shape is "spotlight". Trying to avoid getting those odd shapes that require a trip to Big Box store every time one blows out. In my last place, I bought a similar IKEA bulb for the existing track lighting in the kitchen and it worked perfectly although I did feel like I was on stage, it was so bright. Brightness is good. 5000K "cool daylight" is also good.
posted by TWinbrook8 to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Best answer: Definitely not; look at the "Specifications" section of the Wayfair page. You need ones with a "GU10/Bi-pin" connector, ideally in "MR16" shape to fit in the housing. The IKEA bulbs you've linked to are standard, screw-in bulbs.
posted by sagc at 7:02 AM on May 31

Best answer: The issue is that the tracklight requires GU10 bulbs with a base like this

They are typically halogen bulbs. The bulb you linked has a traditional base.
posted by scolbath at 7:03 AM on May 31

Response by poster: oh wow, thanks for quick response!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:05 AM on May 31

Best answer: FYI, the reason why lighting fixtures specify maximum wattages is because there are always design limits on how fast a fixture can safely dissipate waste heat. There's no safety issue with excessive light output.

So for a LED bulb, the figure you need to compare against your fixture's maximum wattage rating is its actual electricity consumption rate (5.9 watts for the IKEA bulbs you linked to, per the Technical Information section on that page), not that of whatever incandescent it claims to be equivalent to.

That said, fixtures rated for high wattages will generally be better ventilated than fixtures rated for low ones, which will mean that the power conversion electronics built into almost all LED bulbs will run cooler and last longer in fixtures with higher maximum wattage specs.

The same store you linked to for your light fixture offers these 6.5 watt GU10 MR16 LED lamps, which should fit.
posted by flabdablet at 7:30 AM on May 31

Response by poster: I'm actually trying to find a track that takes standard LED bulbs which is surprisingly difficult to google. All the results talk about the shape of the track. This ceiling is super high so replacing bulbs would require a handyman and I had good luck with the IKEA LED standard bulbs at my last place and I prefer LED to halogen so your link is helpful, thank you.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:46 AM on May 31

The phrases you may want to search are "high bay" and "LED tube".
posted by zadcat at 7:52 AM on May 31

I think you'll find that the reason track lighting that takes "standard" ES aka ES27 aka E27 bulbs is hard to google is that in 2023 it's genuinely rare. I can't remember the last time I saw a track light fixture that wasn't built around the little MR16 spotlights.

In your shoes I'd just buy a fixture I liked the look of, and stock up on more of whatever LED bulbs were compatible than I needed. LED bulbs have much longer expected service lives than halogen ones, so even if replacing a bulb is a major PITA you're not going to need to do it terribly often. The reason I'd stock up on bulbs ahead of time is that planned obsolescence as a design principle continues to accelerate, and I'd be annoyed to have to replace my entire track lighting setup just because the bulbs it was built around were no longer a fashionable size and shape by the time one of them died.
posted by flabdablet at 8:24 AM on May 31

FWIW there's at least one track lighting manufacturer selling spotlights with integrated LED bulbs that go onto the same track as the old school spotlights designed around halogen MR16 bulbs with GU10 pins. I know this because when I last helped my mom update the lighting in her hobby room we went to her favorite lighting store to buy a couple more old school spotlights for her existing track, and the store was selling both old school spotlights with sockets and full LED assemblies. I asked the salesman about them and he wholeheartedly recommended getting the LED assemblies instead of dealing with bulbs, especially if the system was going to be used with a dimmer (it was). The LED spotlights were more expensive than the housings with sockets, but not unreasonably so.

The real question will be how well they hold up over time, but it hasn't been long enough for any of them to fail yet.
posted by fedward at 10:08 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]

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