If you're replacing a traditional light bulb in a floor lamp or hanging lighting fixture, the A19 shape will be a better fit for you. The shape disperses light across a wider area than the more directional BR30, and the smaller size fits into more sockets.
For ceiling lights, can lights, and outdoor floodlights, the BR30 is an ideal shape that casts light more directly than the A19. Designed to serve almost as a downlight, the BR30 can still easily light up an entire room with a single bulb.
LIFX has some of the best smart light bulbs to choose from that don't need a hub, but if it's your first time buying, you might be confused by the A19 and BR30 labels on various LIFX listings. Don't let that scare you away. You don't have to worry about any compatibility issues or buying the "wrong" bulb. These are simply two different shapes for the same model. Generally speaking, the A19 is a more universally applicable bulb that easily replaces the standard bulb shape, but the BR30 can be more ideal if you're shopping for a floodlight.
LIFX A19 vs. BR30 bulbs: What's the difference?
If you're not well-versed in light bulb standardizations (and let's be honest, not many of us are), you'd be forgiven for mistaking A19 and BR30 as the names of different LIFX products — but in reality, they're just two of the most popular standardized shapes for light bulbs, regardless of the manufacturer.
Most of LIFX's smart lights come in either form factor, including the LIFX+ and LIFX Color, and your choice won't affect the specs or features. Instead, when choosing the shape of your bulb, you'll want to consider how that shape affects the directionality of the light the bulb emits.
Though LIFX's A19 and BR30 bulbs feature flat ends, the A19 is narrower and fits more easily into small lighting fixtures. A19 bulbs are omnidirectional, meaning they'll disperse light evenly across their surrounding environment. This makes them great for floor lamps and hanging ceiling fixtures, where you're more concerned with lighting the entire room rather than focusing the light on a particular area.
If you're after more directional lighting, on the other hand, the BR30 is a better choice as one of the brightest LED smart bulbs. BR stands for "bulge reflector," which the bulb uses to point light straight ahead from its flat end. This makes BR30 bulbs ideal for floodlights where you'd want more light in a concentrated area, as well as ceiling lights where the bulb can face directly downward and illuminate the room.
LIFX A19 vs. BR30 bulbs: Should I consider the LIFX+ bulbs?
While shopping around, you might have noticed that in addition to the regular LIFX bulbs, there are also Plus variants of both the A19 and BR30 bulbs — but what exactly is the difference? In the smartphone realm, adding Plus to the end of a product name tends to mean it's bigger, better, more expensive, or some combination of all three.
With LIFX bulbs, all the Plus suffix denotes is that these bulbs can emit infrared light. This is invisible to the naked eye, but it acts as a spotlight for cameras with night vision, expanding the range of visibility and lighting up potential blind spots. This makes LIFX+ bulbs a perfect addition to outdoor security cameras, but if you're just looking to add some light to your home, there's not much benefit to buying the (oftentimes more expensive) LIFX+ bulbs over the standard cheap smart LED light bulb models.
Buy this for your floor lamp or hanging fixture.
While it isn't great as a floodlight, the A19 shape disperses light more evenly than the BR30. This is the bulb to buy for lamps or ceiling fans, especially if you need more than one.
Perfect for outdoor and ceiling lights.
Due to the flatter, wider shape, the BR30 is a floodlight with more directional output, making it ideal for areas where you want a lot of concentrated light.
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Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.