Short neck vs long neck bulbs: BR30 and PAR30 competition

Susan Fernandez January 01 2022

What bulbs are short-necked and long-necked?

When we talk about short neck bulbs we mean that the neck of the bulb is shorter than the rest of it. The opposite, long neck bulbs, are those in which the neck exceeds the body. 'Neck' indicates the part of the bulb between the collar and the glass.

Short neck bulbs are mainly used for recessed lights or in table lamps. Long-necked ones, on the other hand, are mostly used in track lighting systems. They have different shapes according to their function, but they can all fit into certain devices.

This is where things get a little bit complicated: there isn't an established rule that says if you have one kind of light fixture then you will use one type of bulb and not another. There are several factors involved, including shape fit, design features, and aesthetic satisfaction.

For example, let's say you have a kitchen with four ceiling lights that were built for incandescent lamp holders but now run on energy-efficient LED bulbs. The ceiling lights have an open design and the bulbs are visible, so it would be advisable to choose long neck LED bulbs because they offer a better look.

On the other hand, if you had recessed lighting with frosted glass throughout your house, short neck LED bulbs would give you a crisper light while maintaining a consistent aesthetic impression. You could also use them in table lamps or track lighting fixtures that incorporate diffusers.

However, buying the wrong kind of bulb may not only affect how your home looks, but also how much money it will cost to operate. For example, incandescent lamp holders are the most efficient light source ever made but still inefficient compared to today's technologies. If put incandescents into fixtures designed for energy-saving LED lamps, you will waste more than 50% of the electricity consumed.

If your lamp fixtures are already equipped to handle CFLs, then buy CFL light bulbs. If they were made for LEDs then choose those and if they were built to hold incandescent lamps only (as most older models) go with traditional ones.

Pros and cons of short neck bulbs:

Under the benefits column, short neck bulbs have a smaller size and less surface area exposed to the air. As a result, they generate less heat than regular ones. The downside is that they are not compatible with every lamp holder, so you need to keep this in mind when making your choice.

On the other hand, their larger cousins tend to dissipate more heat into the surrounding environment because there's more room for it. They also offer wider beam angles which makes them better suited to recessed lighting fixtures.

Since LED technology is advancing at such an incredible rate (changes in efficiency levels happen periodically), short neck LED bulbs are cheaper than long neck LEDs for now, but if you want something really efficient then look closely at long-necked ones (the next paragraph will explain why).

Pros and cons of long neck bulbs:

Long-necked LED light bulbs to have a larger shell because their circuit board is on the inside. This means that they can accommodate advanced electronic components, such as chips with integrated reflow soldering technology in which heat is spread evenly throughout the device. Thanks to this design, short-neck LEDs cannot compete when it comes to achieving high levels of efficiency in terms of lumens per watt.

Another advantage offered by long-neck LED light bulbs is longevity. The more solid-state components there are, the less likely it is that something (e.g., moisture) can get into them and damage them over time. Short neck ones get damaged much faster than long neck ones.

The only reason why you should go for short neck bulbs is that they are often cheaper. Since more advanced LED technologies are being developed, their prices will continue to drop over the coming years.

What do BR30 and PAR30 mean?

These are the most common terms used to describe the shape of LED light bulbs. BR stands for Bayonet Reflector and PAR is an acronym for Parabolic Aluminized Reflector. When you hear those names, it's easy to understand why some people think these reflectors resemble halogen spotlights (the ones that go behind movie theater screens).

Bayonet reflectors come with a plastic piece that you attach on top of your light socket like a ring. When you screw in the bulb, it sits on this ring and reflects light straight up into your room (similarly to how ceiling fans work). These types of reflectors are usually found in commercial devices such as gymnasiums or warehouses because they can distribute light in an overhead fashion.

PAR reflectors are considered to be more efficient than BRs. This is due to the fact that the latter ones create a ring-shaped beam, while PAR bulbs produce a better quality omnidirectional light (light emitted in all directions).

The number 30 means that the diameter of each PAR lamp is 30 cm. Since they are designed to fit over the top of a light bulb socket, these reflectors have a circular shape.

Do you know the difference in dimensions?

PAR30, as was already mentioned, refers to the diameter of your bulb. BR30 means that it's a Bayonet Reflector with a diameter of 30 cm. The length, regardless of the type of reflector, is always 100 mm because this number reflects how high the light can go before being blocked out by something.

So, how long can the neck be, though the diameter would be the same? The neck can be adjusted to any length, but it is the bulb's circuitry that determines the maximum height of your lamp.

This means that even if you have a PAR30 LED light bulb with a short neck, it will still contain the same height-adjustable electronic components as long-necked ones. Therefore, when choosing between BR and PAR bulbs, always pay attention to reflectors' diameters.  

For the long neck, the bulb`s length may vary from 4.2 inches to 5 inches while for the short neck the length may vary from 3.4 inches to 4.72 inches. You can recognize them by observing the neck and body of each bulb carefully and comparing them with your old bulbs (long neck for BR and short one for PAR). Thus, the dimensional difference can be recognized easily.

In the majority, both of them have a similar shape and size as traditional incandescent lamps so they can directly replace your old ones without requiring many changes in your light fixtures.

So pay attention to the neck length when you are going for LED replacement so that you don't have to face any inconvenience after installing new lights at home or office. You may also consult with manufacturers before buying this type of lighting product through the official website or other authorized dealers.

What is the difference between BR30 and PAR30 bulbs?

Function

BR30 light bulbs are used for overhead lighting, whereas PAR30 LED light bulbs are best suited for general lighting. It's recommended to use long-neck lamps on top of some fixtures or hanging lamps throughout your home or office so that you can get an even spread of light above your head.

This way you will be able to save money on electric bills and protect your eyes from lots of glare which would have otherwise been a problem with short-neck incandescent lamps. PAR30s can be used wherever BR30s are normally used – warehouses, stores, garages – because they both emit omnidirectional light (light that spreads out evenly from one point).

Price

The difference of one letter might not seem like a big difference, but the price of PAR30 bulbs is significantly more expensive than BR30. The reason for this is that they are very inexpensive to produce since they can be made using injection molding processes. Injection molding allows manufacturers to mass-produce products quickly and at low costs by using molds that have been created from a three-dimensional model.

This process results in light bulbs with perfectly symmetrical shapes on all sides, which increases product quality while minimizing costs. These lights also tend to have a longer lifespan of up to 10 years if they are used according to recommendations and treated well during their life span. Meanwhile, for manufacturing purposes, LEDs require different technologies so there is no way around it being more expensive.

Installation and Compatibility

BR30 & PAR30 LED Bulbs both can be installed in the same fixtures as traditional incandescent light bulbs, requiring no extra equipment or changes to your existing lighting. It should be noted that additional hardware may be required if you are trying to achieve certain aesthetics with your lighting installation because of the large size of these types of lamps.

For example, if there is not enough space behind a cabinet for the bulb's body, you will have to use smaller panels or custom trim kits to make that possible. If there is not enough space between two cabinets then consider using the slim versions which are almost half shorter than other BR/PAR bulbs currently on the market.

The difference of one letter might not seem like a big difference, but the price of PAR30 bulbs is significantly more expensive than BR30. The reason for this is that they are very inexpensive to produce since they can be made using injection molding processes. Injection molding allows manufacturers to mass-produce products quickly and at low costs by using molds that have been created from a three-dimensional model.

This process results in light bulbs with perfectly symmetrical shapes on all sides, which increases product quality while minimizing costs. These lights also tend to have a longer lifespan of up to 10 years if they are used according to recommendations and treated well during their life span. Meanwhile, for manufacturing purposes, LEDs require different technologies so there is no way around it being more expensive.

Energy-saving

PAR30 LED light bulbs are much better at energy saving than BR30 incandescent lamps. PAR30 LEDs have a higher lumen per watt ratio and emit more light per watt of electricity used. The difference between the two lies in their shapes, as LEDs cannot be made symmetrical, which makes them far less efficient for producing omnidirectional light distribution.

BR30s can last up to 1000 hours, but they also need to be replaced more frequently due to low energy efficiency and performance degradation over time.

On the other hand, it's possible for BR30 incandescent lamps to last 10 times longer than PAR 30 bulbs because there is no filament that can burn out or break. Although this might not sound like such a great advantage, if you are using every day many light bulbs, the difference of one year makes BR30s a more economical choice.

BR30 LED Bulbs have become much more efficient in recent years due to advancements in technology and manufacturing strategies. For example, Cree claims its new PAR 30 LED lamps will last for 20 years under normal use conditions while still saving 75% energy compared to incandescent alternatives.

It should be noted that additional hardware may be required if you are trying to achieve certain aesthetics with your lighting installation because of the large size of these types of lamps. For example, if there is not enough space behind a cabinet for the bulb's body, you will have to use smaller panels or custom trim kits to make that possible.

Bottom line

You have to decide on a long neck or short neck bulb depending on the appearance and size of space needed to be lit. They are both roughly the same price for a certain amount of lumens so it's up to you if saving some money is worth changing your lighting equipment. If you have old, outdated fixtures that you do not mind replacing then think about how much time it would take before BR30s cost less than PAR30s due to energy savings.

If appearance is important, consider the dimensions of each product when making your decision. If appearance is not an issue, choose PAR30 LEDs since they are more efficient and last longer than BR30 incandescent bulbs.