When picking out the best options for your track lighting, it's important to know the differences between your most common selections. Multifaceted reflector bulbs, specifically MR11 and MR16, are the two most common bulbs for track lighting, with both serving the same function ( plugging into an existing track and providing great lighting throughout the room). Here are some of the most common differences between them.
The size of each MR bulb is indicated in the name itself, with the number at the end of the bulb's name standing for how many eighths of an inch wide the bulb measures. For example, the MR11 is 11/8 inches, and the MR16 is 16/8 inches wide. While it might not seem like a huge difference, you will have a very difficult time trying to fit a MR16 bulb into a track or recessed ceiling light specifically designed for a MR11 bulb is most likely going to result in having a bad time.
Besides the size, the bases are the next important thing to consider when purchasing a MR bulb. You might think the only base is the GU5.3 bi-pin base, and while it is the most common, it certainly isn't the only one. There are also MR bulbs with a GU10 base, GU4 base, and other less common bases. The number in the name of the base indicates how many millimeters are in between the pins. The GU10 has 10 millimeters between pins, the GU4 has 4 millimeters, and so on.
This is key in picking which MR bulb is best for your application. MR bulbs usually operate at 12 volts, but a lot of applications created now are specifically designed to allow you to use a bulb designed to be used in 120 volt fixtures. This eliminates the need for the voltage to be stepped down to 12 volts through a transformer, saving you time and money.
Dimmable or Non-Dimmable
One last thing to consider when picking out your MR bulb, is whether or not you want the bulb to be dimmable. While this may not seem like a big deal, being able to dim the bulbs while watching a scary movie late at night or having just enough light to be able to clean the dishes but not blind yourself is very important. Having the perfect lighting for that room can make it much more comfortable to be in that room.
That's about it for the main differences between the most common MR bulbs. You can find a great selection of MR bulbs at Lightup.com.
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