What is the absolute maximum wattage LED bulb that can be used in a fixture rated for 75 watt incandescent bulbs?

  • 3
    The simplistic answer is: any LED which doesn't produce more than 75W of heat. But it also depends on the fixture's ability to dissipate heat, since an incandescent is allowed to get pretty hot but an LED isn't... – brhans Mar 15 '16 at 20:30
  • What's the highest wattage LED bulb you can find? This sounds like a non-issue. – JPhi1618 Mar 15 '16 at 21:12
  • 2
    The really simple answer is: 75 watts. – Mazura Mar 15 '16 at 23:02

The issue is heat. The fixture is rated for a bulb using 75 watts and turning essentially all of it into heat.

You could put a 75w heating element there and be within limits of the fixture.

Seriously - you would not want to put a 75w (actual) LED there. It would be like a Boeing 747 landing light. Google some youtube videos of "100w LED flashlights" which people homebrew - they are portable suns.

In any case, the fixture may not mind the heat, but LEDs and CFLs do not like heat and need to cool. This is rather unlikely to be a problem for "75-watt-equivalent" LEDs of 7-12 watt range, or even a somewhat bigger 100w equivalent.

But for our hypothetical 75-watt-actual mega-bright LED, cooling may emerge as a serious issue. Or not. There's a lot of thermal science involved which depends totally on the design of the particular fixture and the heat sink of the particular LED. For instance a chandelier is not going to have the problems a weather-sealed fixture would. But again we are talking about an extreme case of wanting vastly more light (lumens) than the fixture manufacturer ever imagined, and extreme projects take extreme risks.


Ás others have noted, the fixture will be happy up to 75 Watts, which is to much light to be useful.

However, there is another factor, that being the bulb itself. Some LED bulbs are much more tolerant of heat than others. This difference affects how long the bulb will last in a poorly ventilated fixture. Bulbs suitable for enclosed fixtures will say so on their packaging; read the labels before buying.


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