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How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity

Best Light Bulbs for Bathroom Vanity

Good lighting around your bathroom vanity will help you put on your makeup like a pro or shave without missing a patch. So what are the best light bulbs for your bathroom vanity?

LED light bulbs are the best choice for lighting a bathroom vanity. They are usually damp rated, making them ideal for a high-humidity location. LED light bulbs are 80% more energy-efficient and last six times longer than traditional bulbs. Many LED bulbs allow you to adjust the color temperature, choosing from hundreds of options.

Now let’s take a look at everything you need to know about vanity light bulbs.

What Type of Light Bulb Is Best for a Bathroom Vanity?

lighting bulbs

The type and quality of your vanity light bulbs will significantly determine how good your vanity lighting will be. Therefore, you need to choose high-quality, long-lasting, and energy-efficient bulbs. These will produce adequate lighting for your bathroom vanity lighting needs.

You can choose light bulbs that provide crystal-clear light, mimic the natural hue of sunlight, or produce warm light that is perfect for applying makeup.

LED light bulbs are the best light bulbs for a bathroom vanity. They’re energy-efficient and come in various color temperatures. Additionally, they’re durable and have various designs to suit your taste, budget, and style preferences.

7 Reasons to Use LED Bulbs in Bathroom Vanity Lighting

Here are the reasons why LEDs (Light Emitting Diode lights) are the most preferred light bulbs for bathroom vanities:


LED light bulbs are better for the environment since they utilize less wattage than traditional bulbs. Further, these bulbs don’t contain lead, mercury, or other toxic elements that could harm the users or the environment upon disposal.


LED light bulbs are approximately 80% more energy-efficient than conventional bulbs. They use 95% of their energy for lighting and only 5% for heating, but it is vice versa with traditional bulbs. You’ll also use fewer LED bulbs to light up space since LED light is brighter and better quality than other lights.


Since bathrooms usually contain high humidity, it’s crucial to have light bulbs that are damp or wet-rated. LED bulbs meet these criteria, so most are safe for use in your bathroom vanity. Look for bulbs with an IP rating of 65 or higher for the bathroom.


Although the upfront cost of installing LED light bulbs is high, you’ll save more on electricity in the long run. According to the Consumer Federation of America, you’ll save up to $1000 by using these lights for a decade.


You can adjust LED lights to produce many different color temperatures, to achieve your perfect bathroom ambiance. Some smart bulbs enable you to choose from thousands of lighting hues and colors.


The lifetime of an LED bulb is six times longer than a conventional light bulb. LED light bulbs are more long-lasting because they experience lumen depreciation rather than burning out.  

How to Pick the Best Bathroom Vanity Light Bulbs

Bathroom Sconces Up or Down

You’ll want to consider many factors when selecting bathroom bulbs. These include the size and design of your bathroom vanity, the type of bulb, color temperature, color rendering, and brightness.

The Size and Design of Your Bathroom Vanity

Light with Sconces in Bathroom

You’ll want enough light bulbs to produce adequate illumination to meet your grooming needs, no matter what type of bathroom vanity you have. The size and design of your bathroom vanity will determine how many light fixtures you should install. 

For instance, you might require less light if your bathroom vanity is small. So, a pair of single-bulb vanity lights could be ideal for a single sink bathroom vanity. 

On the contrary, if your bathroom vanity is large and has a wide countertop, installing a bath bar with multiple bulbs would be best. Most people go for three-light vanity lights as they fit in a vast array of bathroom vanities.

Types of Light Bulb

Bathroom Lightbulbs for Makeup

Even though many people nowadays prefer using LED light bulbs due to their efficiency, you might be curious about the pros and cons of other bulb types:

Incandescent Bulbs

They’re traditional light bulbs that produce light when an electric current heats a tungsten filament. Unlike LEDs, these bulbs utilize more energy in heating than in creating light, so they’re more costly in the long run. However, many people find their light very flattering.

Compact Fluorescent lights (CFLs)

These are low-energy light bulbs featuring a coiled design. They’re more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs but lower quality than LEDs. Their only downside is that they contain some mercury, making them a health hazard upon disposal.

Halogen Bulbs

These are advanced incandescent light bulbs that utilize halogen gas in a quartz capsule to produce more lighting. They’re more durable but less flattering than incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs are suitable for task lighting due to their crisp-clear illumination.

Color Temperature

Bathroom Mood With Pendant Lights

Color temperature refers to how warm or cool light appears. It’s measured in Kelvins and ranges from 1,000 to 10,000 degrees Kelvin (K).

When choosing the perfect light bulbs, knowing whether you prefer warmer or cooler light in your bathroom vanity space is essential. Some bulb types produce warmer light (at 1,000 to 3,000 K), while others give off cooler light (over 3500 K).

So, you can choose light bulbs with specific color temperatures based on how you want your space to appear or ‘feel.’  

Go for light bulbs that produce cooler light (around 6500 K) if you prefer a clean feel in your vanity space.  

On the other hand, if you crave a warmer feel, it’s best to go for light bulbs producing about 3000 K. However, this color temperature is best suited for spacious bathrooms, as it can make smaller ones appear stuffy.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Wavelength

round bathroom mirror above modern vanity with tub

How does a light bulb make colors appear? Well, you can only tell using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which estimates the accuracy of a bulb in showing color.

The traditional CRI score shows that incandescent and halogen bulbs have a higher CRI (100) than other bulb types. For instance, most LED bulbs have a CRI of 80-90.

The American Lighting Association recommends a CRI of 90-100 for functional vanity lighting.

Nevertheless, wavelength also determines how a light bulb shows color. Some colors might appear brighter with LEDs since they have some wavelengths absent in traditional bulbs.


mixed metals

Bathroom vanity lights should be around 1600 lumens bright. This brightness is adequate for your grooming tasks, including applying makeup and shaving. But, a bulb’s brightness depends on what type it is. 

Lumens (light output) is how much light your eye can see from the light source. Therefore, the higher the lumens, the brighter a light bulb appears.

When comparing light bulbs, LEDs emit more lumens than other bulb types. For instance, a 60-watt LED bulb can yield 1200 lumens, while an incandescent bulb of the same wattage produces only 800 lumens.

The ideal brightness for task lighting in your vanity is 700 to 800 lumens per square meter (65 to 74 lumens per square foot).

So What Are the Best Light Bulbs for Your Bathroom Vanity?

Best Light Bulbs for Bathroom Vanity

The best light bulbs for your bathroom vanity give off the color temperature that creates the ambiance you want and provides the task lighting you need to groom yourself. Bathroom light bulbs should be damp rated as well.

Are you looking for help lighting your bathroom in a way that’s both practical and pretty? Read my step-by-step guide to the best bathroom lighting.

Note: Are you about to embark on a bathroom remodel? If so, get my Save Big $$$ Cheat Sheet when you sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get designer hacks that can literally save you thousands of dollars. Just fill out the form below.

Tags: best light bulb for bathroom vanity, Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Wavelength, color temperature, how to pick best bathroom vanity for light bulb, LED lightbulbs, types of lightbulbs

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