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Types of bulb holders being used in your home lamps

For all those that have an existing lamp base and are looking at buying a lampshade for it, this will be a very useful information. Before buying a shade for your existing lamp base, it is important to understand if the lampshade that you are buying will work with the lamp holder that you currently have. In almost all cases in India, a lampshade is fixed onto a lampbase by seating the shade holder ring onto the bulb / lamp holder and tightening it in place with a threaded screw that comes with the holder. Buying the wrong kind of shade would mean that your shade holder ring is too small that it does not fit into the holder or it is too big that it does not tightly fit into the holder. Before getting into the details, let us also look at some frequently asked questions about holders.

Some frequently asked questions
1. Why do we need a bulb holder

It is important to understand that the bulb holders are a critical element to any lamps and lighting. Without a bulb or lamp holder, one will have to connect the bulb directly to the exposed wire from the electrical point. Using a holder is an efficient way of connecting the glowing light to the electrical supply. The holder protects the live wire from being exposed and thereby completely reduces the danger of getting any electric shock.

2. Are all lamp sockets same ?

Not all bulb sockets are same. In India, predominantly there are two type of sockets. One is the screw type socket or the Edison holder and the other is the pin type socket. Within the screw type sockets, there are variants too, two of which we will see in detail below. Pin type socket holders are the most common type of sockets used. You can identify them using the two pins in the socket.

3. What is the standard light bulb socket ?

In our experience in selling lamps and lampshades across the length and breadth of India, we notice that the most common type of bulb holders being used is the screw type socket holders. However, given that some of the customers are still holding on to their old lamps, we also notice that almost all the old / exisiting lamps use the brass pin type socket holders. Either way, it is important to know that bulbs for either type of sockets are easily available in the market.

4. How much does a bulb holder cost ?

Depending on what type of holder that you are buying and from where you are buying, bulb holders can cost anywhere between Rs.5 to Rs.180 here in India. Naturally, the ones priced lower are cheaper in quality and do not offer long lasting durability. It is always better to buy your holders from your lamp or lampshade supplier or from a local electrical shop that you know would not compromise on quality.

That said, let us look at the popular lamp sockets that are in use here in India. This information is needed for you to understand what you need to look for in your lamp shade if you are specifically looking to buy one for an already exisiting lamp with a holder pre-installed.. This is also imporant information to be aware of when you need to buy a replacement or a new bulb for your lamps.

Edison screw type holder (E27)

The E27 is the biggest of the holders that is in use and from what we have experienced, is being used prominently in all parts of India except south (where the traditional pin type holders are in use “most of the time”. As the name suggests, the holder comes with the threaded socket and the bulb comes with threads. The bulb is fit into the lamp holder socket by screwing the bulb into the socket through the threads. 

For your lampshade to work with the holder, the lampshade holder inner ring should be atleast 41mm in diameter. 

If you buy a lampshade that has a holder ring smaller in diameter than 41mm, it will not fit the holder.
Solution in case you do not want to return the lampshade : Change the bulb holder from E27 to E14 or B22 depending on what is the diameter of the holder ring. What are these E14 and B22 holders ? Continue reading to know more.

Small Edison screw type holder (E14)

This is very similar to the E27 holder, with the only difference that it is smaller in diameter. The E14 holder sockets are small in diameter and the bulbs themselves will have smaller threads that enable screwing in to the socket. 

In the case of E14, the lampshade holder inner ring should be 27-28mm in diameter. 
What if you have bought a lampshade with holder ring that supports E27 holder ? Fret not.
Solution : E27 to E14 adapters or converters are available in nylon and plastic. It is only a question of fixing the adapter into the 41mm holder ring to make it smaller to support E14 holders. Without hesitating, request your lampshade vendor to provide the adapter so that your lampshade can be used with your existing lamp base and holder. The Other option, is to change the bulb holder to E27.

B22 Pin type holder (B22)

If you notice, this is the most common type of holder that has been in use in India. The bulb comes with two pins and is inserted into the holder by pressing it in and turning it to lock it in place with the pins. These holders that are used on table lamps and floor lamps with me 100% of the time made of brass which makes it easier for you to identify.

Also, If you notice, the not so fancy white plastic holders that we use on our walls are mostly the B22 type holders. We would bet our bottom dollar on the fact that these types of holders would be used in almost every household in India. Just walk around your  home, and am sure at least one of your wall fitting comes with B22 holders. 

Now the important point. Your lampshade holder inner ring should be 25mm in diameter for the shade to snugly fit into the holder. 

If in case your shade ring is meant for B22 and you have E14 or E27 holder, there is no two ways about it – You either have to change the holder to B22 or request your lampshade vendor for a replacement.
So before you buy your lampshade for an existing lamp, check the lamp for the holder in use and check with your vendor to ensure he is sending you a lampshade that will fit into your lampshade. E27, E14 and B22 – Just these and they can be easily identified. 

Just remember  – Wide thread is E27, Narrow thread is E17 and No thread is B22.

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