Can You Put a 100-Watt Bulb in a 3-Way Lamp Without Any Issue?

Can You Put a 100 Watt Bulb in a 3-Way Lamp

You are reading a book in your bedroom or reading room. The light seems to be too bright for the scene in the book. You walk to the lamp and tone it down a little, and everything seems to match together. Now you can enjoy the book with a dimed light making it the perfect atmosphere.

This is one of the benefits of having a 3-way lamp. You can adjust the brightness of the light according to your preference anytime. 

According to your liking, you can go up 3 times than a regular light bulb and do the opposite. This can be achieved by a specialized switch and a 3-way bulb installed into your lamp. 

But sometimes your 3-way bulb is out and you don’t have any in your storage to replace it with. The only thing you have is a regular bulb. And that is 100 watts. Can you put a 100-watt bulb in a 3-way lamp now?

We are going to talk about that and remove all the confusion once and for all.

Can You Put a 100 Watt Bulb in a 3-Way Lamp?

When you are talking about a 3-way lamp and a 3-way bulb, you need to understand how it works.

A 3-way lamp has 3 levels of brightness settings which can be controlled with a switch. The light however has 2 different filaments.

One is 50W and the other one is 100W. When you turn on the lamp in the lowest setting, the 50W filament is turned on. The middle setting will turn on the 100W filament.

And for brighter and warmer than that, both the filament works together to give a 150W output. 

On the bottom of the bulb socket is where the magic hides. There are two different contacts rather than just one. 

For regular bulbs, there is only one contact on the bottom. A 3-way bulb also has one on the side. 

The thing that is to be of concern is the type of socket used in the lamp. Normally the lamp uses an E26D socket, which is used in every household.

So if somehow your lamp has a dead bulb, you can swap it with a 100-watt bulb anytime. It will give you 100W of light without fail.

The only downside is that you won’t be able to adjust the brightness of the light. It will be a normal lamp with one setting.

What Is a 3-Way Lamp? 

A 3-way lamp is a type of lamp that uses 3-way bulbs to give you 3 different levels of lighting. You can go from 50W-100W-150W in this order.

The bulbs have 2 filaments along with 2 different connectors. So when you turn on different settings, the different wattage of filament is triggered. 

Can I Use a Regular Led Bulb in a 3-Way Lamp? 

You can always use an LED bulb in a 3-way lamp. It will act as the LED bulb’s wattage without any problem. The only thing you need to take into notice is that the wattage doesn’t exceed the lamp’s capacity.

If you do so, your lamp might heat up and damage the whole thing. 

Can You Use a 3-Way Bulb in Any Lamp? 

If you are out of a bulb in your home and don’t have any regular ones in your stock, you can use a 3-way bulb in the meantime.

The bulb will illuminate in its lowest setting. But it will work for the time being. The only reason you shouldn’t use it that way for a long time is that they are costly.

And in a regular setting, the potential of the 3-way bulb is wasted. Best you replace it with a regular one as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put a standard bulb in a 3-way lamp?

Yes. If you are out of stock on a 3-way bulb, you can replace it with a standard bulb. Make sure the wattage is in range of the lamp and it will light up fine. Anything between 50W-150W will do fine with your 3-way lamp. The only downside is you will get one brightness setting than 3.

What kind of bulb do I need for a 3-way lamp?

There are many different bulbs in the market. For a 3-way lamp, obviously, you will need a 3-way bulb. An incandescent bulb is the best option. They have the best lighting than any other bulbs. But there is also an LED 3-way bulb on the market. If you are interested in LEDs, then you can try that too.

What wattage do 3-way bulbs come in?

3-way bulbs come in 3 different wattage levels in one single bulb. It normally has 50W and 100W filaments in them. Both can work separately and all together. Together they can produce 150W brightness lighting. 

Can you use a 60-watt LED bulb in a 3-way lamp?

Yes. Normally a 3-way lamp operates between 50 watts to 150 watts. So a 60-watt bulb will work fine on a 3-way lamp. It will give you a 60-watt light output. But you will need to turn the lamp on from both the main switch and the lamp’s control. And you won’t be able to control the brightness. 


It is an inconvenient situation when you are out of a 3-way bulb. They are not popular, so they cannot be found right around the corner in the electrical shop. So in the meantime, if you have a 100-watt bulb sitting around, you can use it in your lamp. But make sure to change it out as soon as possible to get the best benefits of your 3-way lamp.

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