Various Edison bulbs against a brick wall.
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Edison lights are modern, reproduction bulbs that harken back to the very first lightbulb made by Thomas Edison in 1879: a glass vacuum globe that let you see through to the filament inside. Check out a few modern options below.

An Original That Never Goes Out of Style

While the Edison bulbs of today aren’t exact replicas of the original electric lamp, they’re warm, ambient lights that can enhance your home’s vintage vibe. 

Where the original incandescent bulbs used carbon filaments, there are new LED Edison bulbs that use a filament with a thin LED strip. The result is a modern take on an old classic that offers warm, yellow colors. It’s as stylish as it is energy-efficient.

For the right space and fixture, the decorative shape and retro look of an Edison light bulb is an ideal match. Its clear bulb and exposed-filament display is the perfect choice for light fixtures where the bulb is visible (no shade) and a warm, vintage atmosphere is desired. And while Edison bulbs complement schoolhouse or other antique-style fixtures best, that isn’t to say that these types of bulbs can only be used in these fixtures—modern, clean-lined fixtures can also be accented nicely with an Edison-style bulb. 

Types of Edison Bulbs

Given its recent resurgence in popularity, there are now quite a few Edison-style bulbs on the market. So, which one is right for your space? Here are some options to choose from.

The Classic 

When you think of an Edison bulb, this is probably the bulb that you’re thinking of. It’s great for a cage fixture or other exposed-bulb fixtures. These bulbs are traditionally incandescent and aren’t the most eco-friendly lighting option. And while they create a moody, ambient glow like nothing else, they put off a lot of heat and can be quite fragile. 

The Franklin

The Franklin is another Edison replica that’s a popular choice among home decorators. Larger than the classic, the Franklin has a much more detailed and visible carbon filament that works well in a variety of spaces, ranging from traditional to industrial. Again, the incandescent filaments aren’t the best for energy efficiency or the environment, but they excel when it comes to ambience. 

LED Edison Bulbs 

For all their radiant, schoolhouse-chic vibes, incandescent Edison bulbs are unfortunately not the most eco-friendly lights out there. Luckily, LED Edison light bulbs are now available in a variety of different shapes and styles. These bulbs achieve that vintage-era ambience just like the incandescent models, but they’re often brighter and much better for the environment. 

LED Edison bulbs are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. For example, the GE Vintage Warm Candle Globe Light is a 7-inch long globe-style Edison that offers a dramatic, radiant LED-powered glow that works well in both vintage and contemporary spaces. 

Another LED Edison-style bulb is Brightech’s Ambience Pro Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights. Perfect for outdoor settings like a patio or deck, these outdoor-safe string Edison lights create an outdoor mood like none other. 

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Further testament to the LED Edison’s versatility is Sunco Lighting’s Dimmable Cool White Edison Filament Bulb. With these bulbs, you can maintain that classic style without limiting yourself to low-light and that iconic yellow color temperature. Different from the warm, yellow glow offered by traditional Edison bulbs, these alternative bulbs are bright, white, and cool. What’s more? They’re both waterproof and dimmable. The result is a perfect blend of the modern and the traditional. 

Edison Bulbs: Always a Bright Idea 

Edison bulbs can shift the mood in a room, complement your space, and add interest to your fixtures. What other addition to your home wields that much power for such little investment? 

Michael Franco Michael Franco
Michael Franco is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has been writing about the serious and silly sides of science, technology, and home improvement for years. His work has appeared in Discover Magazine, CNET, Lifehacker, Islands Magazine, BobVila.com, Mindbounce, and various Discovery Channel properties.
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