WHAT IS A CANDLE LIGHTBULB?
Candle lightbulbs are designed to look like the flame from a candle (hence their name), and are often used when a more decorative type of bulb is needed. Many desk lamps, chandeliers and wall lights use these bulbs to mimic a real candle and give the lamp a vintage look.
As candle bulbs are used in a variety of fittings, there are many different styles and bases available. They are commonly fitted with either a B22d bayonet cap (sometimes abbreviated to BC), or an E27 Edison screw (ES) base. The B22d cap is the ‘push and twist’ type of fitting that is used on the majority of lamps in the UK, while the E27 is the screw-in type that is more common in Europe and the US.
Other types of base include B15 small bayonet cap (SBC) and E14 small Edison screw (SES). These are simply smaller versions of bayonet and Edison caps, used primarily on smaller lamps and fittings.
Most candle bulbs will be recognisable by their ‘flame’ shape. There is very little variation to the way the bulbs look, but some may have slightly different design features, such as pointed tips or a ‘flicker-effect’ that is supposed to resemble the flicker of a candle flame.
Traditional incandescent candle bulbs will be in use in the UK until September 2018, when an EU directive takes effect banning their sale. They will be replaced by energy-saving alternatives such as CFL and LED bulbs.
The CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) lightbulb was the early replacement for high-energy bulbs, but it often doesn’t look like its incandescent counterpart. It is instead a narrow fluorescent tube that is turned into a compact shape (hence its name). It is designed to be a direct, energy-saving replacement, so it is compatible with existing fittings, but it looks completely different.
LED candle lightbulbs, however, have been designed to look like the incandescent bulbs they supersede. They have the classic candle shape and as the technology develops, they are beginning to look more like traditional bulbs.
These will often be opaque (sometimes described as ‘pearl’ or ‘opal’) and they are made out of glass or a heat-resistant thermal plastic. Many have a white plastic base to hide the bulb’s componentry, but there are now models available that are completely transparent. Look out for the distinctive yellow ‘filaments’ of these LED lightbulbs, designed to mimic the filaments of the traditional incandescent candles.