Two chandeliers glowing against a black backdrop, with the text "LED bulbs?" transposed at top left

LED bulbs have become an increasingly popular option for lighting in recent years thanks to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs in a chandelier can significantly impact the overall aesthetic of a room and save money in the long run. 

This post will teach you the pros and cons of replacing traditional chandelier bulbs with LEDs. So, if you have been thinking about making the switch, you will want to keep reading!

Can You Install LED Bulbs in a Chandelier?

It is possible to install LED bulbs in a chandelier as long as you ensure the base type is correct. The most common size for a chandelier is E12, otherwise known as candelabra size.

Switching the bulbs in your chandelier from incandescent to LED is generally an upgrade, although they do have some drawbacks. Below we have listed the pros and cons of installing LED bulbs in a chandelier.

However, before going into the benefits of LED lighting versus incandescent, it helps to know some basics about the two.

Incandescent Lighting

Incandescent bulbs are the quintessential light bulb and have been around for hundreds of years—almost since the time light bulbs were invented. These bulbs use glowing filaments that produce heat and light when they’re turned on.

Incandescent bulbs have a noticeable warmth and distinct glow. Together, these qualities add to their visual appeal and give a sense of nostalgia. They come in various shapes and sizes, usually determined by their screw base.

A set of light bulbs hanging upside down to create a rustic ambiance

E12 is an incandescent bulb typically used for decorative purposes like elaborate ceiling and chandelier lighting fixtures. These bulbs tend to have less power and total wattage.

Fun fact: The “E” in the light bulb’s name comes from Thomas Edison, who’s often (mistakenly) cited as the inventor of incandescent lighting. He wasn’t, but he was responsible for at least a few thousand patents.

LED Lighting

Although incandescent lights have remained the standard for years, these bulbs have several issues, most of which have been addressed by LED light bulbs.

LED or light-emanating diodes use a semiconductor device to create light through electroluminescence. This process allows the bulbs to produce a potent light with little to no heat. LED bulbs also come in various sizes and shapes, so you can easily choose a style that meets your needs and preferences.

Advantages of Using LED Bulbs in Chandeliers

Now that you know what incandescent and LED bulbs are, let’s explore what makes the latter better.

me holding an E12 LED bulb with the words Interchangeable above it
This is a new LED E12 candelabra bulb I bought to replace the old incandescent candelabras, saving about 80% energy!

Energy Efficiency

LED bulbs use far less energy than incandescent bulbs, so a switch will reduce energy costs. The US Department of Energy estimates that LED bulbs can use up to 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Moreover, they achieve this while still producing the same amount of light.

Using less power isn’t just good for the environment. It also lowers your electricity consumption and utility bills. Over 20% of Americans’ fuel usage goes to lighting applications, so one of the best ways to avoid the pitfalls of high power usage is by creating a fuel-efficient home.

Longer Lifespan

LED light bulbs last longer than any other variety. The typical incandescent bulb lasts around 2,000 hours, while the average LED bulb lasts about 50,000 hours and sometimes even up to 100,000 hours.

Therefore, LED bulbs have an estimated lifespan of 25x that of incandescent bulbs. These numbers translate to approximately six to 12 years before LED bulbs need to be replaced, meaning less frequent replacements and a lower overall maintenance cost.

Closeup on a homeowner's arms who's swapping an incandescent bulb for a LED light bulb in a hanging ceiling fixture
While you can tell this isn’t a candelabra E12 base, this is an example of swapping out the old incandescent bulb to LED in an E26 regular socket fixture.

LED light bulbs are a lot more durable than traditional lighting withal. Their thicker walls and solid design help them resist bumping or shaking. It also allows you to frequently turn them on and off without worrying about damaging them too much (unlike incandescent bulbs like E12).

Cost Savings

While LED light bulbs have a higher upfront cost than incandescent bulbs, you will still realize savings through their longevity and improved energy efficiency over other domestic light bulbs. 

Lighting Quality

Traditional bulbs emit light at 360 degrees, so you can only light up specific areas using additional tools like deflectors or reflectors. On the other hand, LED lighting is directional, meaning its light is emitted at 180 degrees.

The relatively uniform amount of light reaching the target area makes LEDs superior to traditional lighting.

Various Options and Applications

Although incandescent E12 bulbs can come in different styles, they’re not even close to matching the versatility of LED lighting. LED bulbs come in a wide range of colors and brightness levels, which allows for greater flexibility in creating the desired aesthetic in a room. For chandeliers, this can mean the ability to change the ambiance of a room with a simple bulb change.

Various types of LED light bulbs transposed above a white background

LEDs also come with a wide range of technology around lighting controls and automation. For example, you can use plenty of third-party apps to change your lighting experience completely. Furthermore, these applications can allow you to set patterns and adjust brightness remotely.

Once you upgrade to LED E12 bulbs, you can use them wherever you want, even outdoors in the cold. While other types of bulbs have issues with energy consumption and durability in the cold, LED lights can perfectly handle low temperatures.

As a result, you can use E12 LED candelabra bulbs for your outdoor Christmas lights, even if it’s freezing outside. Their intensity will remain the same and will not consume more energy than usual.

Increased Safety

LED light bulbs aren’t built with mercury-based components like other bulbs. As a result, when broken, most bulbs release mercury vapor into stormwater and the atmosphere.

This characteristic is why you need to recycle your old incandescent bulbs and not simply throw them away. Since this isn’t an issue with LED light bulbs, they’re safer and more environmentally friendly withal.

Environmental Friendliness

Considering the manufacturing materials and processes, as well as the energy they consume, it’s safe to say E12 LED candelabra bulbs have a much smaller carbon footprint than their counterparts.


LED light bulbs are perfect for those who value speed and dependability. Incandescent bulbs typically require a warm-up period before completely lighting up, while LED lights can turn off and on instantly.

LED lights also retain functionality, even in low power. These lights are designed to work on as little as five percent power, making them perfect for outdoor use or in flood-prone areas.

Disadvantages of Using LED Bulbs in Chandeliers

Considering everything you’ve read above, you may have made up your mind, but you should take your time to consider some potential disadvantages of upgrading your incandescent E12 bulbs to LED.

Higher Upfront Cost

The most commonly reported disadvantage of E12 LED bulbs is that they cost more than alternatives. As mentioned, LED light bulbs are more expensive to purchase than standard incandescent bulbs. This cost differential can be a barrier for some people, especially if they need to replace multiple bulbs simultaneously.

Man installing light bulb in white room smiling against a red ladder

Most E12 LED candelabra bulbs are sold in bundles, given their nature and size. Consequently, you may spend between $14-$25 for six bulbs upfront. You may also need to change your transformer, which adds to the cost.

However, keeping in mind the durability and efficiency of these E12 LED candelabra bulbs, you will eventually save money in the long term. So overall, these bulbs are a sound investment if you’re planning on using them for a long time.

Compatibility Issues

Not all LED light bulbs are compatible with all chandeliers, so it’s essential to check for compatibility before purchasing. This switch can be challenging if the chandelier is an older model or has unique specifications.

Additionally, some users report issues with installing these LED bulbs. Sometimes they don’t fit right and may have trouble lighting up because of insufficient contact with the base. Others have problems unscrewing LEDs, as sometimes the bulb part detaches from the base completely.

According to users, some E12 bulbs can be defective in several ways. For instance, some E12 LED bulbs may flicker if you have the wrong transformer. Flickering is annoying at best and intolerable at worst when the bulbs are the sole source of light in a room.

Color Rendering

Some LED light bulbs may not produce the same color as traditional incandescent bulbs, which can affect the overall aesthetic of a room. This consideration is particularly true for warm white LED bulbs, which can appear cooler than incandescent bulbs.

Dimming Issues

If you’re only using your E12 LED lights as extra lighting in your decorations, you may not need to consider dimming them. However, they should be dimmable if they provide the primary lighting source in your room.

Unfortunately, not all E12 LED bulbs have this feature. Some LED bulbs may not be compatible with dimmer switches or may not dim as smoothly as traditional incandescent bulbs. You might find this problematic if the chandelier is used for mood lighting.

How to Choose the Right LED Bulb for Your Chandelier

Choosing the right LED bulb for your chandelier can be confusing if you have not already made the switch, but it is crucial to take the time to learn about these bulbs to ensure that you get the best performance and aesthetics from your lighting fixtures. 

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the correct LED light bulb for your chandelier:

Bulb Compatibility

First and foremost, it is essential to check for compatibility before purchasing an LED light bulb for your chandelier. Before buying, check the bulb’s base size and type, plus its voltage and wattage requirements.

Light bulbs that are incompatible with your chandelier are a potential fire hazard. On top of that, it can cause damage to the fixture or might not work at all. You should also check if the bulb is dimmable, as some LED light bulbs may not be compatible with dimmer switches designed for incandescent bulbs.

Color [Kelvin] Temperature

Another factor to consider is the color temperature of the bulb. LED light bulbs come in many color temperatures, ranging from warm white to cool white. Warm white LED bulbs are best for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere, while cool white bulbs are better for task lighting

Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin and ranges from absolute zero to infinity. The lower the number, the warmer and the more yellow the appearance of the light. The higher the number, the cooler and whiter the light will appear. To learn more about color temperature, check out our guide to Kelvin Temperature.

a modern looking graphic diagram of orange colors to white and bluish on the range, indicating different Kelvin color temperatures in lighting
For home lighting, you typically would want to stay on the warmer Kelvin temperature end of the spectrum (between 3000K and 5000K).

So, if you want to be able to create specific ambiances in different rooms or occasions, factor in the color temperature.


Brightness must also be considered when choosing LED light bulbs for your chandelier. Bulbs are available in different brightness levels, measured in lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the bulb.

For chandeliers, it is best to choose a brightness level appropriate for the size of the room and its intended use. 

A chandelier in a large room may require a higher luminosity than one in a smaller space. Also, a chandelier intended for mood lighting may require a lower brightness level than a chandelier used for task lighting.

Final Thoughts

Not only is it possible to install LED bulbs in your chandelier, but it’s highly recommended. Ultimately, changing out your incandescent, halogen, or CFL bulbs for LEDs will save you money and help to reduce your carbon footprint.

So what are you waiting for? Make the switch today!

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