Can You Use a Regular Bulb in a 3 Way Lamp? – Answered

Can You Use a Regular Bulb in a 3 Way Lamp

3-way lamps are one of the fascinating pieces of lighting equipment. Having them in your home will not only provide you with light but also give you the flexibility of setting different warmth and smoothness to the atmosphere. 

It is not a new invention but has been in use since 1902. With time and development, incandescent or fluorescent bulbs got an LED version that can outlast them. 

But there are some inconveniences to them too. As they are 3-way lamps, they use particularly different bulbs than regular light bulbs. And when one is out, you are left in the dark. 

This raises the question can you use a regular bulb in a 3-way lamp? Because you cannot just run to the store in the middle of the night to get the bulb. 

We are going to talk about that and some interesting facts in this article. 

How Can You Use a Regular Bulb in a 3-Way Lamp

Jumping to the answer real quick, yes you can use a regular bulb in a 3-way lamp. But there are some limitations to it. 

A 3-way lamp works in 3 different wattage levels. Most of them are differentiated from 50W-100W-150W in this order. 

So when you switch the knob or key for brighter and warmer light settings, it goes up to 100W and 150W. And a lower and smoother setting goes down to 50W.

The fascinating fact about the lamp is its light itself. They come with two different filaments. One is 50W and the other one is 100W.

Even their socket is different, as they have two different filaments. One is on the bottom of the bulb and one is on the side. 

This allows the lamps to switch to trigger both of them separately and all at once giving you either a 50W light or a 150W together. 

If you put a regular light bulb of 60W, you will only get a 60W output. No more 3-stage lighting with a regular bulb. 

So if you are left with a damaged bulb and a regular one laying around, you can use it on your 3-way lamp. 

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

Most certainly you can use any light bulbs that go from 50W to 150W in your 3-way lamp. As the lamp supports up to 150W, you can easily put a 100-watt bulb in it and it will work. 

The only thing you will need to pay attention to is the socket. If the socket fits with your regular bulb, then it is good to go. 

A tight-fitted or lose fitted bulb will cause damage to the lamp and your home. 

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

Often you will find that you have left with a 3-way bulb but no regular bulb for your lamp. 

As regular bulbs can go in a 3-way lamp, a 3-way bulb can also go in any lamp. The main difference would be their output. 

With a 3 way bulb in a regular lamp, it will produce half of its power. Otherwise, it will be fine. 

And there will be no damaging effect on either of them. 

What Is a 3-Way Lamp?

A 3-way lamp is a specialized lamp that can operate at 3 different wattage levels. 

Although the socket of the lamp is the same size as regular light bulbs, the interior of the socket is different. 

While regular sockets have only connectors at the bottom, a 3-way lamp also has connectors on the side of its socket. 

This way they can light up both the filaments of the 3-way bulbs altogether or separately. 

Hence the name 3-way lamp. They can operate in 3 different wattage levels giving you smooth, warm, and warmer settings in one light bulb. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I have to put a 3-way bulb in a 3-way lamp?

Yes. A 3-way lamp can operate in 3 different wattage levels to give you 3 levels of brightness. This is why they use 3-way bulbs. But if you are stranded with a damaged 3-way bulb, you can use a regular bulb in the lamp without any problem. Remember that the bulb will only give one type of brightness and the wattage should not exceed the lamp’s limit. 

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

Yes. You can use a 60-watt  LED bulb in a 3-way lamp. As most 3-way lamps operate from 50 watts to 150 watts, anything in between would be fine. And the light type, LED, incandescent, fluorescent, CFL, everything is fine with the lamp. 

Do LED bulbs work in 3 way?

There is 3 way LED bulbs that work 3 ways in a 3-way lamp. They are designed differently than regular 3-way LEDs. Regular LED bulbs won’t work with a 3-way switch but give you one single setting in them. 

Does it matter what bulb I put in my lamp?

Yes. Different types of lamps require different types of bulbs. The wattage, size, and functions are different depending on your lamp. For example, if you put a regular bulb in a 3-way lamp, it will give you only one set of lights rather than 3.


Using a 3-way lamp can set the mood for different occasions. And it is also a great piece of lighting system that allows you to have 3 different settings in one single bulb. But if you are left with a regular bulb without any option at hand, you can definitely use it in your lamp for as long as you want. It won’t damage the bulb or the lamp in any way. 

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