In the Spotlight #3: Reflector BulbsThis article is the third article in my ‘In the Spotlight’ series of articles, which aims to address common concerns to many of our customers. Upon reflecting upon reflector bulbs, I realize that they can be confusing as there are a number of them, and not all of them are clearly differentiated. With that preamble out of the way, let’s get started with reflector bulbs. If you are familiar with light bulbs you have may seen the designations, ‘R’, ‘BR’,’PAR', or ’ER’. As you may have guessed, the ‘R’ in all of these designations stands for reflector. An ‘R’ bulb, take an R30 for example, features a reflector that concentrates and directs the beam of light, making it excellent for flood or narrow flood lighting, retail lighting, outdoor lighting, and other applications. Bulge reflector (BR) reflector bulbs are not very different. What makes a BR bulb different from an R bulb is its bulge. The bulge houses an additional bulbous reflector surface which is supposed to collect more light and feature improved luminous efficacy. Parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR) lamps are another reflector lamp that produces an ovular (hence parabolic) soft-edged light. PAR light is typically less diffuse than R and BR lamps and for this reason it is popular in theatrical lighting applications and flood lighting. Elliptical reflectors (ER) feature a half-ellipse shaped lens which has the unique property of forming the beam up to 2.5 inches from the front of the lens due to the lens’ two focal points. ER bulbs are ideal for recessed lighting.
When thinking about reflector, one must keep in mind that often when speaking of reflector bulbs we are talking about bulbs with built in reflectors, like a PAR bulb, which features a seamlessly constructed bulb-beam-lens combination. This is not always the case. You should remember that this is not always the case. DYS lamps for example, are often used with reflectors however they do not typically come with them built in. Certain fixtures, like Ellipsoidals for example, feature a reflector that surrounds the lamp inside the fixture and concentrates the beam. This is really a caveat and beyond the intention of this article, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the other ways reflectors are used.
Hopefully this article has been of some use to you and has given you a sense of order in the chaotic universe of reflector bulbs. As always, post any questions or call us at 1-877-622-0897 for help. Don’t forget to check out all of the Rs, BRs, PARs, and other reflector bulbs we offer. They are great and your lighting deserves to be too!