The Differences Between T2 & T3 Lighting

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Aleksandra Zlatkovic/E+/GettyImages
See More Photos

Lightbulbs come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all accomplish the same thing: lighting up the dark of any home, garage or even car. We might not realize just how many lightbulbs we use regularly until that bulb is burnt out and in need of replacing. When a lightbulb needs to be replaced, you may think a simple trip to the hardware store will fix it, but you may encounter more choices than you expected.


Video of the Day

Breaking Down Different Lightbulbs

If the lightbulb you wish to replace is a little different than what you are used to, you may want to bring it with you to the hardware store. While looking at all the bulbs you will notice that each bulb is a different shape, strength and they all have different bases. If you look at the bulb you will notice that they are all classified into different letter categories based on their shape.


LED Watcher breaks down lightbulbs into 20 different shapes with each letter representing a specific lightbulb shape. The letter "T" refers to tubular-shaped lightbulbs, while the letter "A" refers to the commonly shaped arbitrary lightbulbs found in most households. So, a T2 bulb and a T3 bulb are shaped the same way; the only difference being in the numbers attached to the identifying letters.


The number that accompanies the T is used to identify the diameter of the base in increments of 1/8 inch. This means that a T2 light fits into a 2/8 (or 1/4 inch) socket, while a T3 may be more difficult to fit due to it being a 3/8 inch socket.

T2 And T3 Bulb Uses

The tubular-shaped lightbulbs are used in many different locations we may not notice. TopBulb mentions that T lightbulbs can be for your vehicles, aircraft or even emergency lighting. The T series has a high range of sizes, however, a T2 or T3 bulb remains on the miniature side and fits into smaller places.


Miniature T bulbs, such as a T3 bulb, are available in different types of lighting choices. T2 or T3 bulbs are offered as incandescent, LEDs and other types of lighting. The T2 LED tube light will last longer than the T2 incandescent light and are all around more efficient as a light option. As with any type of incandescent bulb, they will need to be changed more frequently. If you still wish to go the route of incandescent bulbs, you may wish to look at the energy-efficient incandescents that use halogen gas to make them just as bright but more effective.


Choosing the Right Bulb

The key to finding out what type of light you will need is to determine where your T2 or T3 bulbs will be going. For example, LED lights are very sensitive to heat, so if they are being placed in a recessed socket, they will burn out quicker because they will likely get heated more due to their setting. If your heart is set on LED due to their efficiency, and you have a recessed light socket, then make sure the bulb is labeled to be used specifically for enclosed spaces.

Make sure to do your research first to ensure that whatever bulb you wish to use is, in fact, appropriate for the space. While the base size is the only thing that differs between T2 and T3 lightbulbs, lighting choices such as halogen, incandescent, fluorescent or LED must be carefully considered for the best lighting results.