Bulbs come in various types–fittings, lamp caps, and voltage–which makes shopping for a suitable option challenging. Selecting the wrong lamp cap means settling for a bulb that won’t fit. The case is even worse with tiny screw caps with only a few millimeters difference between their sizes.

This article will show some ways to differentiate between E12 and E14 bulbs. We’ll also enlighten you on the common socket base types available in the market. So read on to learn more!

Are E12 And E14 The Same Bulb? (Plus Socket Base Types)

E12 and E14 represent bulb base types, but they’re different. The E12 bulb screw measures 12 millimeters in diameter, while an E14 measures 14 millimeters. Therefore, the European E14 is larger than the American E12 by 2 millimeters.

That tiny size difference (2mm) between E12 and E14 bulbs makes most buyers assume the two are the same.

However, the assumption is invalid as every bulb is unique and different, depending on its cap or screw size.

Despite the considerable similarity between the E12 and E14 bulbs, you can tell the difference, and here’s how.

E12 Bulbs

We’ll start with E12 bulbs, primarily found in the US and popularly used in old and imported candelabra fittings.

Since they are one of the least popular screw sizes, most local supermarkets rarely stock these bulbs.

Fortunately, you can find these bulbs anytime you need them online.

an LED candelabra bulb sitting on a table with a black background
This is what an E12 bulb looks like.

Also known as the Candelabra Edison screw (120V), E12 bulbs may also be used in Christmas decorations and boats.

These Candelabra Edison screws (CES) come with a 12-mm diameter fitting and are commonly used in C7 lamps.

E14 Bulbs

E14 bulbs, on the other hand, are commonly used across Asia, New Zealand, Africa, most parts of South America, Australia, and Europe. They’re also called SES bulbs, a synonym for Small Edison Screw.

These bulbs come with a 14-mm diameter screw, just as the name suggests, making the bulb about the same width as your little finger.

The pygmy versions are ideal for use in inflatable Santa decorations for the holidays.

You can easily find E14 bulbs (230V) in most small light fittings at home, including chandeliers, table lamps, recessed light fixtures, and wall lights.

Most shaped bulbs are also designed with E14 caps, ranging from golf balls to candles, small decorative filament bulbs, and small reflector spotlights.

For this reason, you should ensure you get the best-fitting shape for your needs.

E12 vs E14: Key Differences

Common in the US, although they are used in old lighting fittings.Not common in the US. Most prevalent in Europe, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
Have a 12-mm diameter screw.Feature a 14-mm diameter screw.
Commonly used in C7 lamps and Christmas decorations.Common in a variety of small light fittings such as in table lamps, wall lights and chandeliers.

Shopping for E12 and E14 Bulbs Online

Shopping online means you don’t have physical access to the bulb you want. For this reason, you should pay attention to the product’s specs or description, especially the bulb cap code.

As for the screw fittings, they will always start with the letter E, which stands for Edison Screw.

The second part after the letter E should correspond with the lamp holder of the bulb screw you’d like to buy.

For instance, use a 14-mm diameter holder for an E14 screw and a 12-mm diameter holder for an E12 screw.

Common Socket Base Types

Modern-day bulbs are designed with various bases whose compatibility varies from one socket and lighting fixture to another.

Each lighting fixture also has a unique bulb base shape whose compatibility with the socket allows the bulb to work effectively.

You must always be keen when buying a new bulb. That way, you can select the right bulb base size and shape for your needs.

Here are the most common base types available on the market today.

Edison Screw Base

These bases are primarily used in LED bulbs, making them the most popular. Therefore, LED bulbs are a great alternative to traditional (high energy use) incandescent bulbs.

The bases and sockets are defined in a letter-number-letter format, although the last letter is optional.

The first letter represents the form or shape of the base, while the number, usually in millimeters, means either the distance between the pins or the base width. The second letter represents the number of contacts or pins on the lamp.

LED bulb bases and sockets are designed to similar standards as traditional lights, such as incandescent and halogen bulbs.

Bayonet Base

The name bayonet base originates from the push-and-twist action applied by soldiers while mounting bayonets on their rifles.

Most bayonet bulbs are designed with a pin on either side of the base, which locks into the socket upon twisting.

A close-up shot of a light bulb against a dark background
Pay attention to light bulb bases when shopping around, as they have significant differences!

These bases are either single-contact (SC) or double-contact (DC), creating one or two contact points for electrical connection.

Bi-Pin Base

The bi-pin base is another common type traditionally used in LED and fluorescent bulbs.

As the name suggests, the bulb comes with two pins sticking out of the base, connecting the bulb to the voltage source to allow the current to flow through the pins, thereby allowing light emission by the bulb.

Each bi-pin base is designated with the letter G followed by a number. The letter dates back to the original light bulb made of glass (so G for glass), while the number represents the distance between the two pins (in millimeters).

two t8 bi pin led tube lamps with the words "bi pin" pointing to the two end pins on them.

The numbers may sometimes be followed by letters such as S, D, T, or Q, representing the bulb’s number of pins from single to double, triple, and quadruple.

The bases are commonly used in G4 and G9 bulbs.

Twist and Lock Base

You’ve probably seen twist and lock bases if you’ve used GU10 and GU24 bases.

Similar to the bi-pin base, the bulbs are designed with two pins protruding from the base, which you insert into the socket holes. Then you twist and lock it in place during installation.

In LED and CFL light bulbs, twist and lock bases have a number that comes after the letter representing the distance between the two pins.

Final Thoughts

With the tiny difference in sizes–a few millimeters, in many cases–most buyers can confuse E12 and E14 bulbs.

Fortunately, with the information provided and armed with a tape measure or a ruler, you can easily differentiate between the bulbs. Good luck!

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