My house had downlights in the ceiling that use R20 bulbs. I’m making the move to LED bulbs as the boxes of incandescents I had purchased years ago have finally run out.
So, what are the best BR20 LED bulbs for your home (and mine)?
What Is A BR20 Bulb?
A BR20 is a small downlight that is most commonly used in recessed lighting (aka “cans” placed in the ceiling of a home or office. A BR20 is a directional bulb as opposed to one the shines light in all directions.
A BR20 is almost always an LED bulb, as opposed to an incandescent or CFL.
What Is An R20 Bulb?
An R20 is a small downlight that is most commonly used in recessed lighting, just like a BR20. An R20 is also a directional bulb.
An R20 is an incandescent (old fashioned) light.
R20 vs. BR20: What’s The Difference?
Trying to figure out the difference between an R20 and a BR20 bulb? Don’t worry about it because the two are interchangeable!
R20 is the name for the incandescent bulb while BR20 is the name used for LED bulbs.
In case you were curious, “BR” is short for “bulged reflector” which means the back of the bulb is a reflector and the front of it is bulged out. These bulbs are quite closely related to PAR20 bulbs, which are generally used outside where R and BR bulbs are used in interior downlights.
Sometimes you will see R20 LED bulbs, but that’s normally from online sellers who are trying to sell bulbs to people who are specifically searching for R20 bulbs because that’s what they already own, but are open to buying (more expensive) LED bulbs.
BR20 vs BR30 Bulbs
The 20 in the name refers the a bulb’s size. A BR20 is a small diameter bulb and will fit in a smaller width recess than a BR30.
The difference of a BR20 to BR30 to BR40 concerns all dimensions of the bulb, but the most important difference is the diameter at the widest point.
- BR20: 2.60 inches
- BR30: 3.75 inches
- BR40: 4.75 inches
The same goes with PAR bulbs:
- PAR16: 2.0 inches
- PAR20: 2.6 inches
- PAR30: 3.75 inches
- PAR40: 4.75 inches
Incandescent R20 or LED R20?
An old fashioned incandescent bulb will cost about $1 each and be sold in large multi-packs, say 12 bulbs for $21. The bulbs will be named something like “Philips 223115 Soft White 45-watt R20 Indoor Flood Light Bulb, 12 Pack” and they will have a warm, welcoming tone. They will work great with any dimmer. Sounds great?
On the downside, the bulbs will only last about 1000 hours and they will use a lot of power. A 45W bulb will consume about 45W of power. That’s quite inefficient.
Best R20 or BR20 Bulbs
There are so many bulbs sold in these two lines that it’s really hard to say one is the best or better than all the rest, but one that I really like (and use in many places) is the GE Relax.
The GE Relax is sold in a 2-pack in a 45W-equivalent brightness. The bulbs are dimmable and they normally operate at 2700K at full power. So that’s a nice, warm light that isn’t too blue to too orange. As you dim them down (lower the power with your dimmer) they produce less light and they get much warmer, down to around 2000K, so you feel like your room is lit by candlelight or a warm fire.
It’s a nice experience from some affordable, dependable bulbs. And they consume just 7W of power, so it’s a good alternative to 45W incandescents that will actually use close to 45 watts of power.