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SES Light Bulbs

If you need to replace a light bulb in a desk lamp, wall light or chandelier, you might find that a SES bulb is required. SES bulbs are some of the most popular types of bulbs found in UK homes today, but what does ‘SES’ mean, and how can you choose the right one?

Warm White SES Light Bulbs Cool White SES Light Bulbs Daylight SES Light Bulbs

When it comes to selecting the right SES bulb, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Here are some important aspects to think about to ensure you’re selecting the right bulb, and are illuminating your space in the best possible way:

  • Features: What can a SES bulb do?

Consider whether you need any additional features other than standard lighting. For example, dimmable SES light bulbs can make it easy to adapt the brightness of the light easily. An E14 dimmable bulb can be used to create a brighter, clearer environment during the day, and a more atmospheric, inviting glow in the evening. Another feature to consider is smart compatibility. There are a number of LED SES bulbs on the market today that connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Home so you can control lighting remotely. 

  • Appearance & aesthetic: What do SES bulbs look like?

Other than the telltale 14mm screw base, there’s nothing unique in the appearance of a SES bulb. SES E14 bulbs can come in many different formats, including candle bulbs, pygmy bulbs, reflectors, spotlights, and more. They can also have a wide range of different finishes, from antique-style brass and bronze to silver, amber, and of course, clear. If the design of your light or lamp means that the bulb will be seen, it’s well worth thinking about selecting a SES with attractive features that complement the style.

  • Colour: What colours do SES bulbs come in?

SES E14 bulbs on the market today are available in colour temperatures ranging from 2700K-6500K on the Kelvin scale. The 2700K version corresponds to quite a warming, orange hue that’s suitable for many applications and is pretty much standard for use in UK homes. However, that’s not your only choice. SES bulbs can reach as high as 6500K on the scale, which is a very close to natural daylight. This colour is best for creating enhancing colours and giving a bright crisp feel.

  • Brightness: What’s the best brightness for a SES bulb?

That really depends on what you’re going to be using the light for. As you may know, now that LED SES bulbs have become standard, brightness is best discussed in terms of Lumens rather than Watts. LED E14 bulbs emit a broad spectrum of Lumens, with the most common range being from 50 lm to 180 lm. The lower the number, the dimmer the light. Low Lumens are best suited to desk lights and lamps where you want just a gentle glow, while the higher output SES bulbs are best for when you need a brighter space. 

What does SES mean on a light bulb?

There are two main types of light bulbs that are used in UK homes today: Bayonet Cap (BC) and Edison Screw (ES). While a bayonet is a push-and-twist bulb, the Edison Screw needs to be screwed into the light fixture. The Edison Screw is named after inventor Thomas Edison, who is credited with developing this type of bulb back in the 1880s.

Before the Edison Screw became standardized, light bulb manufacturers would typically create their own types of bases, such as spring clips or threaded studs. The introduction of this screw-type standard transformed the 20th century lighting industry.

The standard ES is known as the E27. The ‘E’ refers to the Edison Screw fitting, while the 27 refers to the diameter of the light bulb in millimeters. ‘SES’ on a light bulb indicates a smaller version of the standard ES, known as the Small Edison Screw bulb. A SES bulb measures 14mm in diameter, making it suitable for smaller light fixtures including desk lamps, wall lights etc.

A simple way to tell the difference between standard ES and a SES apart is a 27mm ES base will have roughly the same width as an adult thumb, while the 14mm SES base will be narrower, with a width about the size of an adult’s little finger. 

Is SES the same as E12?

Edison Screw bulbs come in a range of different sizes, from E5 all the way up to E40. However, only the E14 light bulb, or E14 Small Edison Screw, is considered to be a SES.

There is often some confusion, as the E12 is very similar. After all, there’s only a very minor - and hardly noticeable - 2mm difference. However, this is known as a candelabra bulb, and is not the same as a SES E14 bulb. E12 bulbs are most commonly used for chandelier-style fittings, and for small decorative lamps and illuminated decor.

The larger Edison Screw bulbs are used for applications flood lights and metal halide fittings in industrial settings, while the smaller bulbs - referred to as Miniature Edison Screws or MES’, are used for applications such as torches and bicycles lights.

Therefore, it’s important to remember that while all ES bulbs have the Edison Screw base, only the E14 bulb is a SES. If your lamp requires a SES bulb, you need an E14 light bulb. Do not use an E12 bulb when a SES is needed, even if it looks to be the right size. 

What is the difference between SES and ES bulbs?

E5: Lilliput Edison Screw (LES) - 5mm diameter bulb used for small lights and indicators

E10: Miniature Edison Screw (MES) - 10mm diameter bulb used for small applications

E12: Candelabra Edison Screw (CES) - 12mm diameter bulb used for candle lamps

E14: Small Edison Screw (SES) - 14mm diameter bulb used for small wall lights and lamps

E27: Edison Screw (ES) - 27mm diameter bulb used for most domestic lights

E40: Giant Edison Screw (GES) - 40mm diameter bulb used for industrial purposes

How do SES light bulbs work?

SES light bulbs work in exactly the same way as any other type of bulb with an Edison Screw base. When screwed into the light socket, the base of the screw forms one side of the electrical connection with the light fitting, while the centre contact forms the other side. This ensures a reliable connection and, therefore, reliable lighting.

Are SES bulbs LED?

Most SES bulbs today are powered by LED technology. While some incandescent and halogen bulbs may still be available, they are gradually becoming phased out as LED lighting becomes the preference. SES LED bulbs consume less energy to produce a brighter light than their incandescent counterparts, and while they may have a slightly higher initial cost, they are much more cost effective to run in the long term. Together, these factors make the E14 LED light bulb a very popular choice for buyers across the country.

How to install a SES E14 bulb

While the Edison Screw may not be quite as quick and easy to install as a push-and-twist Bayonet, it’s still very simple to replace SES bulbs, and you should be able to do this yourself without the need for any special skills or any specific pieces of equipment.

  1. Turn off the light at the switch and ensure the existing bulb is cool to the touch
  2. Firmly grip the existing bulb as close to the base as possible
  3. Gently begin to turn the bulb anti-clockwise
  4. Keep unscrewing the bulb until it becomes loose
  5. Take the new SES bulb, and place the tip of the screw into the space
  6. Begin turning in a clockwise motion
  7. You should feel the thread on the bulb fit into the thread of the socket
  8. Continue until tight
  9. Turn on the switch

What size is a SES bulb?

As we’ve already discussed, the size of a SES bulb is 14mm in diameter, giving it the E14 name. However, this refers to the diameter of the screw only. The length and the diameter of the bulb part itself can vary. For example, a golfball-style SES will have a shorter length and wider diameter, giving it a rounded, ball-like appearance. In contrast, a tubular SES will have a longer length and narrower diameter, making it more of a tube shape. Always select the size of bulb that best matches your lamp or light.