Is it safe to use a soft 3 way 30/50/150 Watt incandescent bulb in a lamp that requires 23 CFL max light to prevent fire. It is the only bulb that I could find but only the 150W setting works with this bulb in the lamp. I want the bright light so am hoping this light will be safe to use. The volts are 120 for this light.

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    When you say “requires,” is that based on what was in it, or is there a label that says that is what the fixture/lamp is rated for? If it is rated for 23w CFL, then you’re exceeding that with a 150W incandescent.
    – Tim B
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 22:16
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    Why do you want to put an incandescent in the fixture to begin with? Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 0:02

2 Answers 2


No, that is not safe. The 23W CFL limit means that you should not use a bulb that uses more than 23W of power. A 30/50/150W 3-way will use more than that on its lowest setting.

If you don't want to use a CFL, and I don't blame you, please consider an LED bulb. These generate even less heat than a CFL. Use the ACTUAL power rating, which is likely to be in the 5-10W range rather than the "equivalent" power rating.

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    Actually, a 150-watt-equivalent bulb will probably be higher than 10 watts. Far example, at 17 watts: homedepot.com/p/…
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 0:10

First, this is dangerous as discussed by everyone else. "convenience" is not an exception to

Second, a 50/100/150 incandescent will NOT give you 150W in that fixture. It will only give 100W, because of the way the bulbs are internally wired.

However, there are "50/100/150" LED bulbs that are actually in the 23W neighborhood. And even better, they do an internal trick so you get the maximum brightness "150" in a simpler fixture like yours. That's what you actually want.

That said, these LED bulbs do cost some money, but you only have to buy them once.

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