Safety First


What IS the safest wattage of a bulb to use in my chandelier?

After our last blog, I received this question from several readers. Usually, the answer for this is easy enough as it should be on a sticker right on the socket.


For a candelabra socket (the skinny one) we recommend staying at 40 watts or below, even though the socket itself may be rated to 60 watt. But, make sure to pay attention, because some imports recommend 15 watt or 25 watt bulbs, particularly if it is a very small acrylic chandelier or a light fixture (lamp or chandelier) that has a small shade. Even a 25 watt bulb can burn a fabric shade if it is close to the bulb.

If you don’t have a rating on your candelabra socket (or socket cover), stick with 25 watt or 15 watt bulbs.


Edison base sockets, also called Medium base sockets or Type A bulbs, will also have a maximum wattage. These may range from 15 watt up to 150 watt. Again, if the lamp uses a small fabric shade or is in close proximity to plastic, the wattage should be low: 15 or 25 watt.

Some 3 way sockets are listed as safe to 150 watt, but some are only safe to 100 watt. The maximum may be determined by the size of the shade or the type of socket. We always recommending erring on the side of safety and not exceeding 100 watts in a 3 way socket.

If you are using energy efficient light bulbs, continue to pay attention to the actual wattage of that bulb.  And, the physical size should be considered when the bulb is close to fabric or plastic. Even if a bulb is low wattage, it can still over heat anything that is touching it.

Happy lamping.


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  • Nancy Daniel
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