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What is a Corn Bulb (It May Not Be What You Think!)

A light fixture with LED corn bulbs.

Here's everything you need to know about the corn bulb, pros and cons, comparisons with other bulbs and some FAQ so you can have an informed decision.

Lightbulbs have come a long way in the past 150 or so years. Starting out with entirely toxic materials and hairstyles resembling Doc from Back to the Future, we have emerged triumphant, deliciously energy efficient, and with perfectly coiffed hair. The LED corn light is the shiny new alternative to high-pressure sodium lamps that are found in most outdoor lighting vessels, and today we’re going to find out why.

But first,

Related: 56 Different Types of Light Bulbs (Illustrated Charts & Buying Guide)

A Little Look Into the LED Light

LED stands for light-emitting diode, which is basically a small energy conductor that flows in one direction, much like a river flowing down a mountain. Once power is sent to the diode, it emits photons through the principle of electroluminescence.

This is an illustration of a tennis court.

Let’s break it down: picture a tennis court. On one side of the court, there are lots of tennis balls (these are electrons), and on the other side, there are tennis ball sized voids. The voids want to have tennis balls inside them (there is no way to make this sound not dirty, and I apologize), and this can only be done when power is supplied.

The net on the court is the p-n junction. The “p” side of the junction is the positive side, where there are no electrons (since electrons are negatively charged, no electrons will have a positive charge). The “n” side of the junction is where there are electrons.

When power is applied, the tennis balls (electrons) on the “n” side of the court, get all excited and are eager to move to the “p” side of the tennis court. All of the action of flopping around to either side of the court — since all electrons will move to one side of the junction they will immediately want to be on the opposite side, where there is a positive charge — this process is what creates light.

Now, the Corn Bulb

The corn bulb is a fixed metal heat-dissipation element surrounded by lines of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) lined up like lines on a cob of corn! One individual corn bulb can have anywhere from 80-108 LEDs on it.

LED’s are measured in lumens rather than watts. Watts indicates the energy that is being released by a bulb, thereby indicating how bright the bulb will be. A lumen is a unit of luminous flux — the quantity of visible light. So if we look at the common light bulb, a 60W bulb will be equivalent to an LED with 800-850 lumens.

A close look at a corn light bulb on a dark surface.

There are three different colors of corn bulb available. 3000k is a warm white and is spectacularly suited for houses, restaurants, and wherever you are looking for flattering and romantic lighting. 4000k is a white natural light and is often applied in offices as it replicates natural daylight. 5000k is a bright white light, suited for large spaces and outdoor settings.

There is also the option of 180 degrees light, which is a flat and downward focused bulb, otherwise known as the “spotlight” bulb. These are great for hallways and kitchens. And the 360 degrees light, which is emitted in all directions and known as the “globe” light. These hang like lovely pendants over dining room tables; vintage tinted low hanging fruit.

A woman comparing the corn LED bulb with a round LED bulb.

Benefits of a Corn Bulb

  • a baffling 25-year life span
  • 75% more efficient than high-pressure sodium lamps, incandescent or metal halide bulbs
  • an energy-efficient alternative to low-pressure sodium lamps
  • low replacement costs
  • maintains lumen output throughout their lifetime (brightness will not fade with use)

FAQ

Where can I buy a corn bulb?

An increase in demand for energy-efficient lightbulbs has greatly increased, and so most home and hardware stores will carry these kinds of LED lights.

What is a corn bulb used for?

They are excellent for outdoor lighting due to their far emitting light and can replace any existing high-pressure sodium lamps that are probably already lighting your deck. But they can also be used indoors as they have a selection of available hues.

Are corn bulbs energy efficient?

Since they are LED lights, they are the most efficient kind of light bulb.

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