B11 vs E12 Bulb: What’s The Difference?

B11 and E12 bulbs are two of the most common light bulbs out there. To add, we typically use them in decorations. Yet, B11 and E12 are two different details in bulbs. In this article, we’ll explain everything about the two bulbs, and when to use each one. Let’s dive in!

What’s The Difference Between B11 and E12 Bulbs?

The reason B11 and E12 light bulbs are often confused with each other is that we refer to both as candelabra bulbs.

The bulb’s body is what you might think of if you’re considering the shape of a candelabra. On the other hand, experts might associate candelabra bulbs with small-sized bases.

Additionally, B11 and E12 refer to different specifications for the light bulb. B11 indicates the shape, and E12 refers to the type of base. So, you can have a light bulb that’s both B11 and E12.

Most decorative light bulbs in the U.S. are both B11 / E12 bulbs. For this reason, you might find these light bulbs labeled only as B11.

Alternatively, light bulbs in Europe don’t describe the size or shape of the bulb on the packaging. Instead, the code indicates the base type, and the package will include a picture of the bulb.

So, unless you’re in Europe, it’s safe to assume that a B11 light bulb has an E12 base.

What’s a B11 Bulb?

The code B11 refers to the body and shape of the bulb.

There are two standard shapes for light bulbs, type A and type B. Type B bulbs are smaller in comparison to type A.

As for the body, type B bulbs are longer with a sharp tip at the end, which gives them a bullet or candle-flame shape. The diameter of the widest part of the B11 bulb is about 1 ⅜″, or 35 mm.

Many people confuse B bulbs for bulbs that have a bayonet mount. This isn’t the case, though.

Not only are Bayonet bulbs less common in the U.S., but they only have two standard sizes: B15 and B22.

Varieties of B11 Bulbs

Though B11 bulbs have a distinct shape, there are other details of the bulb that you should consider:


B11 bulbs commonly have an E12 candelabra base, but might have a medium E26 base. Moreover, B11 bulbs might have a bayonet mount.

Usually, you’ll be able to find another code indicating the base type, or you can simply look at the bulb! If there’s no code specifying the base type, it’s most probably an E12.


You can get either incandescent or LED B11 bulbs. Additionally, B11 bulbs’ wattage varies from 25W to 60W.


There are numerous color temperatures for B bulbs. That includes B11 too. The temperatures range from cool to warm.

Warmer B11 bulbs are best since B11 bulbs are mostly for decorative purposes. Alternatively, you can use cooler tones to give you a more modern ambiance.

The Kelvin rating is a great way to check the color temperature of your bulb. It’s a common misconception that the higher the K number, the brighter the light.

Yet, this number is indicative of how white the light is. Bulbs with lower Kelvin ranges will give you a candle-like glow. Higher ranges give off a blue-white light.

Uses of B11 Bulbs

The torpedo shape of B11 bulbs makes them perfect for decorative purposes. They’re used in the following:

  • Scones
  • Chandeliers
  • Pendant lights
  • Night lights
  • String lights

What’s an E12 Bulb?

E12 bulbs are light bulbs that have an Edison screw base, which is common in the United States. The E12 screw base is quite small, only about ½″ (12 mm).

The small E12 base isn’t as common as the larger E26. It’s limited to incandescent or decorative bulbs, which is why it’s named the candelabra bulb. On the other hand, E26 bases are suitable for everyday use.

It’s important to understand that your choice of base depends on the light fixture. Most fixtures on chandeliers and pendant lights are small Edison screw types, which calls for E12 bulbs.

For this reason, E12 usually pairs with type B bulbs. Still, you might find E12 bases with type A bulbs, though they’re not as common.

There aren’t many varieties of E12 bulbs. They’re smaller, so they have a relatively low wattage of below 40W.

Can You Use a B11 Bulb With a Bayonet Base?

B11 bulbs typically have E12 bases, unless otherwise indicated. The light bulb base should match the fixture. So, an Edison screw base won’t fit the bayonet fixture.

Not only is the type of base different, but bayonet fixtures require either B15 or B22 bases. The bases’ diameters are 0.6″ and 0.8″, respectively. Conversely, an E12 base has a diameter of 0.5″.

How to Install a B11 Bulb on a Bayonet Base

You don’t need to get new bulbs for your bayonet base, especially since B11 bulbs are ornamental and more appealing!

You can install B11 bulbs on a bayonet base by getting an adapter. This allows you to change the type of base to fit the light bulb.

While base adapters can be lifesavers, we only recommend them as a last option, or for only one or two bulbs! The adapters can be bulky, thus ruining the beautiful shape of a B11 bulb.

Furthermore, installing an adapter to all your bases can cost a cost of money, time, and effort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I tell the base of B11 bulbs?

If there’s no label or code specifying the base’s type, then the bulb has an E12 base. Otherwise, you’ll find a label indicating an E26 or bayonet base.

Do E12 bulbs fit all chandeliers?

Most U.S. chandelier fixtures use either E12 or E26 bulbs. Some decorative lights might even require E11 bulbs. Unfortunately, these bulbs aren’t interchangeable, as their sizes are substantially different.

While you can get away with using E27 bulbs instead of E26, E12 bulb bases can only fit E12 fixture bases. For this reason, you should check your fixture base before getting the bulbs!