BR30 and BR40 are the two main types of floodlights that use recessed fixtures. When in the market for these bulbs, choosing the correct bulb is only half the battle—equally important is selecting the right fixture. 

As such, you’ll be at crossroads with the question, “What fixtures can a BR30 and BR40 bulb fit into?”

This article will spill the beans on the fixtures into which you can secure BR30 and BR40 bulbs. We’ll also touch on BR bulbs and where you can use them. 

So let’s get going!

What Fixtures Can Fit a BR30 or BR40 Bulb?

BR30 and BR40 bulbs can fit into a five-inch fixture can. However, while a BR40 bulb fits snugly into a five-inch fixture can without leaving a space around, a BR30 bulb has some play. A six-inch fixture can is not suitable for a BR30 bulb as it leaves a bigger space that may be unsightly.  

a BR30 and BR40 light bulb next to each other on a light wood table with their boxes that they came in. The BR40 is slightly larger
I bought these BR lamps to show the difference in size. They both use the E26 edison socket base, but the BR40 on the right is significantly bigger than the BR30 on the left.

What Does BR Mean in Flood Lights?

BR in flood lights is an acronym for “bulged reflector.” These bulbs have a wider beam angle exceeding 45 degrees to flood more expansive areas with light. Traditionally, BR bulbs had a bulged reflector to increase their light.

BR bulbs have a dome-shaped lens that plays a crucial role in diffusing light. These lenses allow the light to diffuse into a broad beam, which is more efficient than the narrow beam of standard bulbs.

The wider flood beam angle makes BR bulbs the best option for covering a larger area with a single bulb.

Unlike traditional BR floodlights, modern LED BR bulbs don’t have reflective material (bulged reflectors). The reason is that LED BR bulbs naturally generate larger beams of light, eliminating the need for a reflector.

Here is an image to help you visualize the sizes of BR30 and BR40 bulbs:

Types of BR Floodlights

There are different types of BR flood lights, designated by their diameters in eighths of an inch

The most common ones include the following:

  • BR20
  • BR30
  • BR40

The number after “BR” indicates the bulb’s diameter in eighths of an inch. Therefore, a BR30 bulb has a diameter of 30/8 or 3.75 inches. The same rule applies to the other types of BR bulbs. Thus, these are the sizes to consider when buying BR bulbs.

The table below shows the main types of BR floodlights, their dimensions, and suitable fixtures:

Diameter2.5 inches (6.35cm)3.75 inches (9.53cm)5 inches (12.7cm)
Fixtures3-inch4 and 5-inch5 and 6-inch
Beam angle110°110°110°

Table 1: BR floodlight bulbs

Recessed Fixture Cans Used With BR Lamps

Before deciding on a BR30 or BR40 bulb, you must know the compatible fixtures for these lamps.

For general lighting, BR light bulbs use the following recessed lighting can fixtures:

  • 4-inch
  • 5-inch
  • 6-inch

Choosing between these fixtures narrows down to the bulb’s diameter. As a rule of thumb, the larger the diameter, the larger the can fixture size. So, for instance, while a BR30 bulb fits nicely into a 4-inch fixture, its BR40 brethren won’t fit into this can as it will be too small.

If you want to buy lighting fixtures, check out this article for the top energy-efficient options on the market today.

Will a BR30 or BR40 Fit in a Six-Inch Can?

While a BR40 light bulb fits in a six-inch recessed can fixture, the BR30 bulb will leave too much space, creating an unpleasant finish. In the worst scenario, a BR30 bulb will fail to fit entirely into a six-inch can, making it risky to use in such a fixture.

Side-by-side images of homeowners screwing BR30 and BR40 bulbs into a recessed fixture in the ceiling

To help you understand why it’s not suitable to use a BR30 bulb in a six-inch can fixture, let’s consider the bulb’s diameter. A BR30 flood light has a diameter of 30/8 or 3.75 inches (9.53 cm). This size is too small for a six-inch can.

On the other hand, the diameter of a BR40 bulb (40/8 or five inches) is large enough to fit perfectly into a six-inch fixture.

Installing your BR30 bulb into this size fixture can be difficult. Moreover, you risk having an unpleasant outcome once the installation is complete due to the gap between the bulb’s diameter and the fixture.

Will a BR30 or BR40 Fit in a Four-Inch Can?

While a BR30 light bulb fits comfortably into a four-inch can, a BR40 bulb won’t fit due to its larger size. However, the diameter of a BR30 bulb is 30/8 or 3.75 inches (9.53 cm), which is the suitable size for this can fixture.

On the contrary, a BR40 has a diameter of 40/8 or five inches (12.7 cm), which, intuitively, is too large for the four-inch can. Trying to fit your BR40 bulb into a four-inch fixture is like squeezing a square peg into a round hole—it just won’t work. If you persist, you risk spoiling the bulb or damaging the can fixture.

What Is the Best Fixture for Both BR30 and BR40 Bulbs?

The best recessed fixture for BR30 and BR40 bulbs is a five-inch can. The difference in diameter size between BR40 and BR30 bulbs is 1.25 inches (5-3.75). This spacing is a negligible difference allowed for a five-inch can. Therefore, while a BR30 bulb will fit into this can, leaving a little play, a BR40 bulb will fit snugly without leaving much of a gap.

Consequently, if you have BR40 and BR30 bulbs and looking for a fixture in which you can use the bulbs interchangeably, go for the five-inch option.

BR30 and BR40 for Outdoor Floodlighting

In the past, there were countless activities you couldn’t do outside after sundown. Standard indoor bulbs like the A19 couldn’t supply sufficient light for outdoor illumination. Luckily, outdoor floodlighting has recently emerged with bulbs that generate tremendous streams of light enough for outdoor lighting.

As mentioned in the beginning, BR30 and BR40 bulbs standardly flood the floodlight the market today. But why are they considered floodlights?

The main feature of floodlight lamps is that they have wide beam angles that make it possible to flood an area with tremendous streams of illumination. Usually, these bulbs have beam angles that exceed 45 degrees. 

BR30 and BR40 bulbs have wider beam angles (refer to the table above). Thus, the wide beam angle means using one bulb to light a larger area instead of emitting light in one direction.

You can also use BR30 and BR40 bulbs in the standard flood light fixture because they are suitable for outdoor floodlighting. These are fixtures without additional features and accessories besides a lightbulb, housing, and electrical wiring.

LED BR30 and BR40 light bulbs are the best options if you’re looking for energy-efficient and long-lasting options. These bulbs have a long life expectancy of up to 100,000 hours before replacement. Their energy-saving capability is because they produce light using a semiconductor instead of heating a tungsten filament. 

Where Can I Use a BR30 Bulb?

You can use a BR30 bulb in recessed fixtures and can lights that need directional lighting. These bulbs are ideal for use in galleries, lobbies, and even homes. In addition to recessed fixtures, you can use BR30 bulbs in track lighting and other directional applications.

The bulged shape and reflective coating characteristic of BR30 bulbs also make them ideal for task lighting purposes like:

  • Reading
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bathroom vanity mirrors
  • Living room lamps

Where Can I Use a BR40 Bulb?

Just like BR30 bulbs, you can use a BR40 in recessed fixtures, can lights, track lighting, and other directional lights.

However, due to their size, BR40 bulbs are best suited for larger spaces with higher ceilings, like basements and commercial stores. These bulbs also make an excellent choice for illuminating large outdoor surfaces such as billboards or flags.

Besides recessed fixtures, you can also use BR40 bulbs in outdoor hanging lights and wall sconces to create a beautiful outdoor ambiance.

Overall, BR30 and BR40 are floodlight bulbs suitable for commercial and residential purposes. 

As floodlights, they are excellent for outdoor lighting purposes such as:

  • Outdoor signs
  • Landscaping lights
  • Porch lighting
  • Security lighting
  • Pathway lighting
  • Flagpole and wall-mounted fixtures

What Is the Difference Between BR and Standard Bulbs?

The main difference between BR and standard lamps is the beam angle. While BR bulbs have wider flood beam angles to cover larger areas, standard bulbs have a narrow spot beam angle to focus light in one direction. 

Me holding a white BR40 LED bulb
You can see this BR40 that I bought here has a bulb shape that pretty much shoots light out in one “flood” type of direction.

Moreover, BR bulbs are suitable for outdoor lighting that need high-intensity light.

Although you can use regular light bulbs like A19 in place of BR bulbs, you’ll need several A19s to cover an area where only one BR bulb can work. Therefore, it’s not worth spending more money buying several regular bulbs when you can get the job done with just one BR bulb.

Another difference is that due to their bulged shape, BR bulbs are directional, meaning they will emit light in a particular direction. On the other hand, standard bulbs are omnidirectional, casting light in all directions.

Final Thoughts

You can use BR30 and BR40 bulbs interchangeably in five-inch can fixtures. However, the best fixture for a BR30 bulb is the four-inch can, while a five-inch can is the perfect fit for a BR40 bulb.

When selecting a recessed fixture can for either of these bulbs, ensure you keep the diameter in mind. Choosing a wider fixture for your bulb will leave a more prominent space that will appear unpleasant when using the bulb.

Now that you know the best fixtures for BR30 and BR40 bulbs, check out this article for ways to save up to 30% on your energy bill. 

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