Over the years PAR and R type LED bulbs have become the go-to option because of their long lasting durability and energy efficiency.
But with many PAR and R LED manufacturers in the market it can be challenging choosing the right bulb for your application. Whether your looking to upgrade indoor or outdoor lighting, knowing the differences between PAR and R types can help you choose bulbs that will enhance visual appeal and meet your lighting needs.
What does “PAR” and “R” Mean in LED bulbs?
“R” stands for Reflector which means light bulbs that contain a built-in reflecting surface that maximizes the direction of the light the lamp emits. Reflector light bulbs are used mainly in recessed cans for hotels, restaurants, retail and residential lighting.
“PAR” stands for Parabolic Aluminized Reflector light bulbs. PAR is made using an aluminized reflector which is in a parabola shape. These bulbs have a wide coverage and hard glass covering that helps them withstand harsh environmental conditions.
R Type LED Light Bulbs
Traditionally, the inside of R type was covered in a reflector material that used to gather light and cast it away from the bulb. Nowadays, R type bulbs have an evenly frosted coating that works to diffuse light and prevents glare. Unlike the PAR bulb, the entire bulb envelope of R type excluding the base is constructed using blown glass. Also, the exterior part of the bulb is very smooth. The few components of this bulb which includes a brass base, a thin glass and filament make it lightweight.
R20 are the most common R type LED floods you can find in many homes as they are used as recessed can lightning or track lighting. The R30 is rare because it’s an old design that is getting phased out since it is less energy efficient. Instead, it’s replaced with BR30 LED bulb which is interchangeable.
Other R bulbs available include:
R Type LED Bulb Shapes
R type LED bulbs are longer, have a rounded lens and produce fewer shadows than PAR. R types are measured according to the diameter of the bulb.
For example, for 1 ¾ inch diameter, you will require an R14, 2 ½ inches for R20 and 5 inches for R40. The most common base type for these bulbs is E26 or E27 medium screw base.
Lighting Applications for R Type Bulbs
R bulbs have a protruding design which makes them ideal for display lights as well as for providing soft ambient and directional light. The right place to use R bulbs is in hallways and common areas where the family spends most of the time like in a kitchen, living room, media rooms or pool area. You can also use these LED bulbs in fixtures such as pendants, recessed and track lights.
PAR LED Light Bulbs
Unlike R type bulbs, PAR bulbs have aluminum reflector uniquely designed to concentrate and amplify light in one single direction. These bulbs have two covers: one made of shiny aluminum and the other is a glass envelope. This thick coating makes it heavier than R bulbs. The texture is also rough as compared to R bulbs which are smooth. The thick cover makes them useful for outdoor lighting, however, they can also work indoors mainly in track lights.
Available PAR bulbs include:
- PAR16 LED Bulbs
- PAR20 LED Bulbs
- PAR30 LED Bulbs
- PAR30SN Short Neck LED Bulbs
- PAR36 LED Bulbs (also known as AR111)
- PAR38 LED Bulbs
PAR LED Bulb Shapes
PAR LED bulbs have a shorter body than R type bulbs. The aluminum reflector and shape of this bulb helps it deliver hard-edged lighting. You can purchase a PAR types based on the number of the bulb’s diameter. For instance, if the diameter is 2 inches then you need a PAR16 bulb, 2 ½ inches for PAR20 and 4 ½ inches for the PAR36 bulb. Knowing the diameter and sizes of these light bulbs is important because in some unique cases the R and PAR are interchangeable as LED bulb replacements.
The most available base types for PAR bulbs is E26 and E27 medium screw base, but you can also get a G53 screw pin and GX16D mogul. PAR bulbs are also available as 10 degrees spread which is easier to handle or 60 degrees beam which illuminates a large area.
PAR LED Light Bulb Applications
PAR16 LED Bulbs are prefect for various enclosed fixtures such as indoor/outdoor recessed lighting, track lighting, or other landscape lighting.
PAR30 LED bulbs are great in soft light fixtures while PAR38 works for garage security light and in kitchen lights. These bulbs function on low voltage and will suit landscape and most outdoor lighting like:
- Gazebo lights
- Driveway lights
- Architectural lights
- Paver lights with a waterproof covering
- Path lights
LED PAR and R bulb types have come a long way. Understanding their differences will help you pick a bulb that provides the kind of light you need. If you’re not sure what size bulb you need, the right wattage, or have any other questions pick up the phone and call (800) 482-0303 to speak to one of the lighting experts at Energy Avenue. Not matter how big or small your project is, we’re standing by to answer any of your questions.