So what is the light bulb ban? In September 2018, the final stage of an EU directive banning the import or manufacture of incandescent light bulbs took effect. This directive was introduced by the European Commission in 2009 to restrict the sale of ‘high-energy’ light bulbs, in favour of alternative energy-saving technologies, such as LED and CFL.

The ban has been enforced against almost all types of incandescent light bulbs, using either traditional or halogen technologies.

Here’s a short timeline of the ban so far:

September 2009

Clear incandescent light bulbs of 100W and above are phased out. Non-clear (frosted or pearl) 100W lamps must have an energy rating of A or better.

September 2010

Clear incandescent light bulbs of 75W and above are phased out. Non-clear (frosted or pearl) 75W lamps must have an energy rating of A or better.

September 2011

Clear incandescent light bulbs of 60W and above are phased out. Non-clear (frosted or pearl) 60W lamps must have an energy rating of A or better.

September 2012

Clear incandescent light bulbs of 40W and above are phased out. Non-clear (frosted or pearl) 40W lamps must have an energy rating of A or better.

February 2016

Amendments to the original directive were introduced, more clearly defining ‘rough service’ and ‘special purpose’ light bulbs. This closed a loophole that allowed retailers to continue to make incandescent light bulbs that would otherwise have been covered by the ban.

September 2016

Directional halogen lamps (such as PAR and GU10 spotlights) phased out.

September 2018

All remaining non-directional halogen lamps to be phased out.

For a detailed analysis of the Halogen ban read our article The EU Halogen Ban Debate.

How are we handling the change?

Responding to demand from our customers, we will endeavour to provide both the best range of energy-saving options and also the widest range of incandescent light bulbs for as long as possible. We will always aim to provide the most energy-efficient solutions for our customers but we recognise that there are many instances where compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED energy saving light bulbs are not the most appropriate, so we will continue to provide incandescent lamps until we are unable to do so.

We still have various incandescent light bulbs and halogen light bulbs available, and as the directive bans the manufacture and import of these light bulbs, rather than their sale, we will continue to sell them through our website until we run out of stock. If you’re looking for a product and don’t see it listed, please get in touch with our customer services team, and they will do all they can to help you find the right light bulbs.

Fluorescent Tubes

The EU regulations also cover fluorescent tubes and are designed to stop the manufacture of the least efficient, lowest performance tubes in favour of higher-performing products. The most significant effects of this are as follows:-

April 2010

The first tubes to be affected were standard halophosphate tubes, which can no longer be manufactured or imported into the EU. In the vast majority of cases, these were replaced by the equivalent tri-phosphor tube. The tri-phosphor tubes are longer life, higher efficiency and improved colour rendering compared to their halophosphate versions. LED replacements of most fluorescent tubes are also now widely available.

April 2012

The old-style T12 (38mm diameter) tubes were withdrawn in 2012. These were inefficient compared with their T8 (26mm) or T5 (16mm) counterparts. Most T12 tubes can simply be replaced by their equivalent length T8 tube.

Finding the right energy-saving light bulbs

Lighting technology has progressed so rapidly since the EU directive was first introduced that it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when trying to swap from incandescent light bulbs to energy savers. There’s no getting around it: there is a lot of choices out there.

We want to make it as easy as possible to help you make the change, and we have a bunch of guides and advice to help. Our guide to choosing LED light bulbs will help you narrow down the choice to something suitable for your needs, while our article describing the difference between lumens and watts will help untangle a tricky issue when upgrading. There’s lots more help available in our library of lighting advice, but if you’re still struggling to make the change, please give us a call.

Common light bulbs and their energy-saving equivalents

Below are the most common light bulbs that come under these ban directives and their energy-saving equivalents. All of the equivalent light bulbs we’ve chosen are LED light bulbs because they are superior to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL light bulbs) in every way. If you’re specifically looking for a CFL alternative, you can browse our range Energy Saving Compact Fluorescent CFL light bulbs.

Incandescent GLS to LED Filament Pearl GLS

Incandescent Pearl GLS 60W replaced by LED Pearl GLS 7.5W


Incandescent Candle to LED Filament Candle

Incandescent Clear Candle 40W replaced by LED Clear Candle 5W


Halogen GU10 to LED GU10

Halogen GU10 Spotlight 50W replaced by LED GU10 Spotlight 6W


Halogen G9 to LED G9

Halogen G9 Capsule 25W replaced by LED G9 Capsule 2.5W


Fluorescent Tubes to LED Tubes

Fluorescent T8 5ft 56W replaced by LED T8 Tube 5ft 24W

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