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Frosted vs. Clear Bulbs: What to Know
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Frosted vs. Clear Bulbs: What to Know

If you’re debating between frosted vs. clear bulbs, you’re definitely not alone! In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I hear from clients. To help you choose the right lighting options for your commercial or residential space, keep reading!

What’s the Difference Between Frosted and Clear Bulbs?

Frosted lights emit a softer, more subtle illumination, thanks to their coating. Because they reduce glare and harsh shadows, the glow of frosted lights is great for nearly any space. You can see a distinct difference simply by looking at frosted light bulbs!

  • Softer - Great for cozy, relaxed atmospheres
  • Reduced Glare - Soft lighting is easier on the eyes
  • Aesthetic - For decorative purposes, frosted lights can add more sophistication.

What Are Clear Bulbs?

Also known as transparent lights, clear light bulbs emit bright, direct illumination. They have no coating, meaning that the full intensity shines through. This makes them good for more accurate color rendering index (CRI), but less so for areas that require all-day concentration.

  • Brighter - Best for spaces where stronger lighting is required
  • Highlights Areas - Excellent for showcasing areas or objects
  • Versatile - From workshops to living rooms, clear lights work almost anywhere.

Are Clear Bulbs Better than Frosted Bulbs?

group of moroccan style lamps hanging display

For metal shades with perforations (like oriental-style lanterns), a clear bulb will make light patterns more obvious on walls and ceilings. Frosted bulbs provide slightly weaker illumination, so you won’t be able to spot all of the intricate details.
colorful lampshades with dark black background
I think that frosted bulbs work better for chandeliers and lighting fixtures with shades. While clear bulbs throw cleaner light, their interior parts can cast strange shadows (and may even appear dirty).

When to Choose LED Tubes Over LED Bulbs

Different spaces require different lighting fixtures. That means there’s a lot to consider when comparing LED tubes vs. light bulbs.

Light Distribution

Thanks to their elongated design, LED tube lights spread illumination across larger areas. If you need consistent warehouse, classroom, office, or workshop lighting, I recommend universal 4-foot or 8-foot LED fixtures.


office space loft white walls climbing plant

LED tubes come in multiple sizes and color temperatures, so there are almost endless ways to customize a larger room or space. Many offer compatibility with existing fixtures (making retrofitting a breeze), and others can be wired without much electrical knowledge.


The lifespan of LED tubes and bulbs depends on the product in question, its use, and where it’s stored. Whatever product you choose, choosing the best LED lighting matters. Typically, you can get between 15,000 and 50,000 hours with your LED bulb. To make the most of your lighting fixture, follow this checklist:

  • Quality: Reputable manufacturers typically fashion fixtures with better-quality materials. Note: Lumen Right fixtures are proudly made in the USA.
  • Conditions: If you expose certain products to wild weather patterns, dust, humidity, or power surges, be prepared for shorter lifespans. I recommend vapor-tight fixtures for tougher locations.
  • Ventilation: Be sure that there’s enough airflow around fixtures to prevent them from overheating.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Use, clean, and maintain your LED fixtures to maximize their lifespan.

Pros & Cons: Which LED Tubes Are Right for Me?

views of garage warehouse horse stable lighting


In small spaces, clear LED tubes can produce a bright light that can be uncomfortable for extended periods of time. That said, we recommend clear LEDs for places that require incredibly high levels of precision (like laboratories). It should be noted that clear LED tubes might leave a yellow streak due to their higher level of concentrated light.

Frosted tubes typically create gentler light – and that creates a more pleasant atmosphere. This is preferable for office spaces, around the house, and even livestock lighting (which has very specific requirements).

Energy Efficiency

In terms of efficiency, there’s no significant difference between clear or frosted LED tubes. Tube coating affects diffusion and distribution, not a fixture’s energy consumption. Whichever you choose, you can expect to lower your energy consumption by up to 90% when you switch from incandescent to high-quality LED lighting.

Finishing up

If you’re debating between clear vs. frosted lights, we recommend frosted LEDs. They create a more comfortable environment, and they also come in a variety of brightness and color.

If you ever need assistance with your LED fixtures, check out our lighting layout guide: We’re here to help you design your space quickly and effectively!



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