To Speak to a U.S. Based Lighting Pro

Light Sockets and Accessories

Types of Light Sockets

Light bulb sockets come in a variety of sizes and materials. Which one you need depends on your fixture and the light bulb. Phenolic sockets, once called Bakelite sockets, are made from a plastic mixture invented in 1907. These sockets are popular in many fixtures because it's nonconductive and resistant to heat. offers phenolic sockets with leads as well as without. Light sockets may also be porcelain, brass, or nickel.

Making a Light Bulb Socket Larger or Smaller

In addition to lamp sockets, has socket adapters which allow you to use light bulbs with a different base than the socket. Socket reducers allow you to use a bulb with a smaller base than the original socket and socket enlargers allow you to use a bulb with a larger base than the socket. These are particularly useful in older homes with antique fixtures where the light bulbs need to be updated, but you don't want to lose the vintage charm. Socket adapters do not change the maximum wattage supported by a fixture, so even though a socket enlarger allows you to use a larger base bulb, the bulb cannot exceed the maximum wattage supported by the fixture.

Similarly, socket extenders help you use light bulbs where they otherwise may not fit. You can use socket extenders for deep fixtures, or to redirect the light. Swivel socket extenders give more flexibility with light direction and some adapters allow you to use two bulbs in a single socket so long as the maximum wattage rating of the fixture is not exceeded.

Pendant Sockets

This type of socket is used in pendant lighting. You can use these in several areas of the home, including entryways, over kitchen islands, or over a stairwell landing. Pendant lights can be used to spread light over a large area, or provide a more focused beam for task lighting. Depending on the weight of the shade, many pendant lights require additional support such as chains or rods. Pendant lights may have an on-off knob for controlling the light at the socket, or it may be a keyless socket, meaning that the on/off functionality is controlled by a switch or dimmer.

Linear Fluorescent Sockets

T5, T8, and T12 tubes all require linear fluorescent sockets. Both fluorescent and LED fixtures use fluorescent sockets. These sockets are all designed for either single-pin or bi-pin base tube lights, with T5 miniature bi-pin sockets or conversion sockets available to allow you to use T5 bulbs in a T8 fixture. Fluorescent and LED tubes use either a shunted or non-shunted socket and may require a high output socket depending on the tube light used.

Finding the right socket for your custom build or fixture retrofit can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be. employs a team of trained lighting experts to assist you. For help understanding sockets or any of our other products, please give us a call at 1-800-624-4488 during our normal business hours.