Are Edison Bulbs Bright Enough for the Kitchen? [A Quick Guide]

Edison bulbs featured image

Edison bulbs, also known as vintage bulbs or filament bulbs, have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their unique, nostalgic look.

These gorgeous lights are designed to mimic the look of the original filament bulbs first used in the 1800s, and they have a distinctive amber glow – an amber glow that is both warm and inviting at the same time (if you can’t tell, I’m a fan!).

However, one question that many people have about Edison bulbs is: are they bright enough to light up a kitchen? It’s all well and good that they look nice, but are they sufficiently bright to light up a kitchen?

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at Edison bulbs – what they are, how bright they are compared to traditional light bulbs, and then we’ll look at whether or not they are a good choice for lighting your kitchen.

Let’s dive in!

Vintage Edison Filament Bulbs

What are Edison Bulbs?

Edison bulbs are named after their inventor, Thomas Edison, who created the first practical incandescent light bulb way back in 1879. The original bulbs used a carbon filament that glowed when electricity passed through it, creating a warm, yellow light.

Thomas Edison light bulb 

Modern Edison bulbs are designed to mimic this look by using a prominent filament that you can see light up when the bulb is switched on. They are normally made with clear glass or glass with a slight amber tint, which gives them their distinctive warm glow that people know and love. 

Edison bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, from classic teardrop shapes to more decorative designs. We have a lot of shapes and sizes available here at Cavelights – take a look!

How Bright are Edison Bulbs Compared to Traditional Light Bulbs?

Edison bulbs are typically less bright than traditional incandescent bulbs. In fact, Edison bulbs are typically only half as bright as traditional incandescent light bulbs.

The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens, with higher lumens indicating a brighter light. For reference, a 40-watt incandescent bulb produces around 450 lumens, while a 60-watt bulb produces around 800 lumens.

In comparison, most Edison bulbs range from 40-60 watts and produce around 250-400 lumens. This means, on a watt-for-watt basis, they are generally less bright than traditional bulbs.

This being said, they are still bright enough to provide ambient lighting and create a warm, cozy atmosphere in your home.

Are Edison Bulbs Bright Enough for the Kitchen?

When it comes to lighting up a kitchen using only Edison bulbs, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider. These are the size of your kitchen, the layout of your kitchen, and the amount of natural light it receives throughout the day.

Size of your kitchen

If you have a small to medium-sized kitchen and are looking for a cozy, intimate atmosphere, then Edison bulbs may be a good choice. They can provide enough ambient light to illuminate the space, and make it feel warm and inviting to guests in the process.

However, if your kitchen is on the larger size, or you need brighter task lighting for things like cooking or food prep, then Edison bulbs may not be the best choice.

In this case, you may want to consider using brighter LED bulbs - like those found in our Nordic Coloured Glass Pendant Lights - or other types of task lighting like LED Strip Lights that can provide the necessary brightness.

Nordic Coloured Glass Pendant Light

Note: If your kitchen is on the larger size and you have a kitchen island, read our article all about whether pendant lights should be centred over an island.

Layout of your kitchen

The layout of your kitchen can also be a determining factor in whether or not Edison bulbs are suitable for lighting your space.

If your kitchen has a lot of open shelving or other decorative features that cast shadows, the lower brightness of Edison bulbs can make these areas look even darker and less welcoming than if you were to use the brighter traditional incandescent light bulbs. 

This can make your kitchen feel overall less inviting and less of a welcoming space, as you may find yourself subconsciously avoiding certain areas, and thinking your kitchen is actually smaller than it is due to the unevenness of the light.

Amount of natural light

Natural light can have a significant impact on the lighting needs of a space, including the kitchen. The amount of natural light your kitchen receives will affect how many Edison light bulbs you need to illuminate the space properly.

If your kitchen is very open plan and receives a lot of natural light through large windows, you’ll need fewer bulbs to illuminate the space during the day. 

On the other hand, if your kitchen does not receive a lot of natural light, you’re going to need more Edison bulbs to create the same level of brightness and illumination.

Adding additional Edison bulbs will help to create a brighter and more functional space, ensuring that you always have enough light to cook, to clean, and to work in your kitchen whenever you need.

I don’t know about you, but I love working on my laptop at the kitchen countertop, so ensuring there’s enough light is a must.

Vintage Edison Filament Bulbs

Final thoughts

To close, Edison bulbs can be a great choice for creating a warm, cozy atmosphere in your kitchen. And if you’re anything like me and you love inviting people over, having this cozy atmosphere is a must.

However, Edison bulbs may not be bright enough for larger kitchens or for tasks that require brighter lighting, unless you are using a few more than you would for traditional incandescent light bulbs.

As with any lighting choice, it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. But as always, we’re here to help!