I have a one of those two-head spotlight fixtures in my back yard. The fixture is under my deck roof and never gets wet. Each socket is rated at 120 watts max. It's designed for the PAR38 spotlight bulbs.

I want to use a 90-watt PAR38 spotlight bulb (brighter light for the yard) in one of the sockets and a 45-watt A60 standard-size bulb (dimmer light for the deck) in the other socket. Is it safe to mix and match bulbs like this?

Some Google searching seemed to indicate that it's safe to mix and match wattages, as long as you don't exceed the fixture's maximum ratings. However, I couldn't find anything on mixing bulb types.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you certainly can use bulbs of different wattages in your fixture. The fact that one socket pulls more current is not important.

Bulb size is mostly a matter of light distribution and heat management. It's not relevant here as long as you don't have them up against something flammable or enclosed too tightly.

As you said, follow max wattage restrictions (though they're largely moot with modern LED bulbs).

  • Thanks for your answer. Beside the wattages, the bulb sizes are also different (PAR38 and A60). They both have the E27 base. That's all that matters right? They will both fit in the fixture.
    – skibulk
    Jan 4, 2021 at 23:06

If even one socket had a lamp with higher rating than designed, it would pose some risk.

However, just replace ancient incandescent technology with LED spots or floods. They're inexpensive, outlast incandescent lamp, and produce far less heat, i.e. ~13 Watts LED vs. 90 Watts incandescent. Note that the referenced lamps are available in my locality, perhaps subsidized by the electric utility, for US$1. You could use two 90 or 100 Watt equivalent lamps using only 25 or 30 Watts, well within the fixture's capability.

You'll also save on electric bills and help reduce CO2 emission. And you can even find them in different color temperatures, or even fully variable color. Make it look like sunset...

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. However, as I suggested in my question, I would like to aim the smaller bulb at the dining table on the deck. I tried a 60-watt spotlight bulb but it is super bright and nowhere near equivalent to a standard house bulb (I think spotlights are rated at a further distance away). You have to shield your eyes it is too bright.
    – skibulk
    Jan 4, 2021 at 13:38
  • The answer is still correct. Just try different power/brightness LEDs. It might be a 6W instead of 13W works for you. Jan 4, 2021 at 19:32
  • I don't see an answer to the actual question here, unless there's an implied "Yes, just..." at the start.
    – isherwood
    Jan 4, 2021 at 20:56

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