Boasting an antique look and feel, Edison bulbs are becoming increasingly popular. Now available in string light varieties, these bulbs can be a great way to set the stage for events, or the perfect lighting and decorative accoutrement for settings in and around the home. However, these bulbs come at quite the mark up. Do they stand up to the hype? Learn more from Mr. Electric.
What’s the Big Deal About Edison Bulbs?
Edison bulbs are nothing less than illuminated art, with filaments and bulbs curved into unique and fascinating shapes. Working like an incandescent, the wire inside creates a fiery glow, emitting a warm, golden light. Turn them on fully, showing off their bright side, or install them with a dimmer, turning down light output and inviting a closer look into their distinctive beauty.
The Not So Bright Side of Edison Bulb String Lights
Edison bulbs are literally not so bright. If you opt for vintage-style Edison bulbs over standard incandescents (or LEDs), you’ll lose quite a bit of luminosity. Many don’t fully understand the difference between wattage and lumens, the new standard for rating bulb brightness – and this can bite buyers when it comes to buying Edison bulbs. A 60-watt Edison bulb emits roughly half the lumens as an A19 incandescent. Edison bulbs also have a lower/warmer color temperature than today’s incandescents, producing an orangey-glow further emphasized by their antique amber glass casing. Look to these bulbs for task lighting, and you’ll be disappointed. Use them as accent lighting and you’ll be (literally) golden. Other facets of the Edison to consider: As a form of incandescent bulb, they are far less efficient than today’s LEDs and CFLs. Giving off the majority of light as heat, they may not be ideal for those aiming to keep the home cooler. The glass housing and filaments of Edison bulbs are also extraordinarily easy to break, so they may not be a good match for homes kids, pets – or clumsy adults.
Are Edison Bulbs Worth the Added Investment? Things to Consider…
If you’re looking to provide the perfect ambiance, Edison bulbs may be worth the extra cost, instantly providing a unique, vintage ambiance at a relatively low cost. Edison bulbs aren’t right for every fixture or every room, however. Those stringing up Edison lights in particular should consider the length of time they’ll be on display, as bulbs and filaments can be easily broken with movement. Put quite simply, Edison bulbs are best used for a long-term, off-the-beaten path addition. Love the look of Edison bulbs but prefer a longer lasting bulb? You may want to consider LED filament bulbs, which bear a similar look, but host LED light emitters within the bulb. LED filament bulbs offer 15,000 life hours – a large step-up from the 1,000 lumen hours of incandescent Edison’s – but a far cry from the 50,000 hour life of the typical LED, making them a friendly compromise.
Tips for Adding Edison Bulbs to Your Décor
- String outdoor rated lights from your pergola or patio fence, or along walkways, creating a beautiful, warm ambiance.
- Look for Edison string lights with hanging hooks for easy installation via hook or zip-tie.
- Consider LED Edison string lights for added durability, energy efficiency, and lifespan.
- Mix Edison bulbs with other light fixtures at higher positions for a versatile lighting mix that meets the needs of various activities.
- Install Edison bulbs in the living room, dining room, bedroom, or patio with a dimmer switch, dialing-in the perfect amount of illumination to set the mood.
- Enhance the ambiance of a turn-of-the-century home with Edison-style lights, or add visual appeal to clean, modern designs with the stunning shapes of Edison filaments.