Look up in any kitchen, hallway, or above any museum display case and the track lighting or recessed lighting above you will likely house multifaceted reflector (MR) 16 bulbs. MR16 bulbs have been around for a long time, originally intended for use in slide projectors. Though MR16s do not have the best luminous efficacy, the largest proportion of lumens over wattage, their infrared coated faceted-reflector sustains light without it being absorbed and directs it in a concentrated beam. This makes the MR16 ideal for illuminating a painting or lighting a specific work space.
Like most other types of lighting, green bulb technologies have been adapted to the MR16. CFL and LED technologies have been developed for the MR16, making the MR16 more environmentally friendly. Feit Electric’s CFL MR 16 uses only 5 watts and has a lifespan of 10,000 hours. A standard incandescent MR16 uses about 20 watts and has a lifespan between 2,000 and 10,000 hours. The MR16 LED, however, is the most environmentally friendly and efficient MR16.Platinum’s LED MR16 uses 5 watts of electricity and has a lifespan of 35,000 hours, that’s 1,458 days! The MR16 LED bulb is a particularly good choice for an MR16 because it does not generate the significant amounts of heat that traditional MR16 bulbs do. Incandescent MR16s can reach temperatures as high as 500°F (260°C), and could easily burn someone if handled while hot. In addition to the bulbs being hot, the light created by MR16 incandescent bulbs with aluminum reflector is often warm and can potentially damage a piece of art or something else delicate that the light may be illuminating. Dichroic, “cool beam” bulbs, however, have been created produce a heatless light.
Though MR16s are used often because of their ability to produce concentrated light, MR16 bulbs come in all standard beam types. MR16s are also available in numerous lamp base types including bi-pin, medium screwbase, intermediate screwbase, turn-and-lock, and bayonet. Though the MR16 does have certain limitation, CFL and LED versions of the MR16 bulb are compensating for these. Furthermore, for accent/display lighting, art galleries, retail lighting, and other applications, the MR16 cannot be beat. The MR16’s ability to be dimmed and its concentrated beam will make everything you put on display appear in a brand new light.