Landscape Lighting Bulb Primer

What type of replacement bulbs should you buy for your landscape lighting?

There are many specifications to consider when buying replacement bulbs for your landscape lights. Regardless of whether you need MR-16, MR-11, Bi-pin or wedge bulbs the information below should help you make an informed decision.

First of all, most of the bulbs are available at your neighborhood big-box stores as well as Amazon. Most of the bulbs you remove from your lights should have some information about their specifications. It may be written in some sort of abbreviated code but with a little thought you can normally narrow-down what kind of bulb you have.

If you use LED bulbs you’ll find the that most all bulbs (with the exception of PAR-36 bulbs) will top at at 6-watts. So if you’re replacing halogen bulbs you power consumption should drop to about 25% of what your previous consumptions was.  Not only will this save you money but you’ll not have to deal with the very hot (500-degree) bulbs anymore.


Lumen is the amount of light the bulb emits. You will need to decide how many lumen you need to illuminate your area. Typical landscape light bulbs have output ranging from 150 to 550 lumen.  Most path lights (bi-pin) lights use 200 to 250 lumen, MR-11’s typically output 250 to 350 lumen and MR-16 output anywhere from 150 to 500 lumen.


Kelvin is the color of the light. Most every landscape light installation use warm-white lights. That means kelvin of 3000 or less. You may find lights labeled as ‘daylight’ in color but that is normally around 5000 kelvin and that will have a bluish color which is not considered attractive for landscape lights. For a detailed explanation of light color see our page dedicated to light color.


Most all landscape light bulbs are 12-volt. Some bulbs such as MR-16 are available in both 12-volt and 120-volt. They are virtually identical except for the pins the in the base (the part that plugs into the socket). The photo in this article shows the difference between 12 and 120-volt bases.

MR-16 light bulbs.

Two MR-16 bulbs shown. At left is a 12-volt bulb and at right is a 120-volt bulb. Click image to enlarge.

Voltage Type

Because the power for low voltage landscape lighting comes from step-down transformers connected to 120-volt house current, the power us is AC (alternating current). Be sure your bulbs are AC compatible and not DC (direct current) only.

Beam Angle

Most ‘spot’ or ‘up’ landscape light fixtures work well with beam angles between 35-degrees and 45-degrees. Wash lights may call for wider beam angles up to 180-degrees. Path lights use bi-pin bulbs and they are omni-directional so beam angle is not a consideration.

Other considerations

If you pay attention to the above specifications you should be happy with your choice of bulbs. But if you want to dig down to the minutia you can delve into the CRI (color rendering index) of the bulbs.

How to change the bulb

If you have our popular Abulous up-lights you may need help understanding how to open the fixture. You can view this quick video to see how to get your fixtures open.

Need more information?

Phone: 770-521-2805
Email: [email protected]

LANDSCAPE LIGHTING BULB PRIMER  – Atlanta, Johns Creek, Milton, Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, Dunwoody, Buckhead, Sandy Springs Outdoor Landscape Lighting.


Abulous Solid Brass Wash Light – Atlanta, Johns Creek, Milton, Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, Dunwoody, Buckhead, Sandy Springs Outdoor Landscape Lighting.