If you have spotlights in your home, you may be wondering whether an MR16 is the right bulb to use in them. That's why we at LED Monkey have created this Guide to MR16 Spotlight Bulbs to demystify the subject.

What On Earth Is An MR16?

An MR16 a particular type of LED spotlight bulb fitting or “base”. You'll be able to identify it by its two short, spiked pins that plug directly into the light fitting itself.

Simply put, an MR16 is a 12-volt (low voltage) version of the GU10 LED spotlight bulb. The GU10 has its own driver, which means it can run directly from a 240-volt mains power supply, whereas the MR16 doesn’t and can't.

Another name for an MR16 is a “GU5.3.” However, it’s probably easier just to think of them as the spotlight bulbs with the two spiky pins! (check out the pic)

The base of an MR16 LED spotlight bulb

The “5.3” part of its “other” title actually refers to the distance between the two spiky pins. In this case it's 5.3mm. Indeed, this is the rationale that’s used for most spotlight bulb bases as the GU10’s pins are…you guessed it, TEN millimetres apart!

Energy-Saving With MR16s

Like all LED light bulbs and spotlights, MR16 LEDs are incredibly frugal where energy is concerned. But don’t let the “low voltage” tag confuse you, because it doesn’t mean they use any less electricity than other types of LED.

In any case, all LEDs consume around 90% less energy than their incandescent and halogen predecessors. This will save you a fortune when you switch lock, stock and barrel to LED lighting!

If you’re thinking of retrofitting MR16 LED Bulbs into your existing spotlight fittings, you may need to upgrade your transformers to LED drivers in order to do so.

IMPORTANT - Check with an electrician or give us a call (on the number at the bottom of this page) for advice before you commit to this course of action.

If you want to go ahead without first seeking advice, it’s worth remembering that using transformers that aren’t LED-friendly can have a seriously detrimental effect on your MR16 LEDs. This can cause the shortening of their lifespan considerably. So, it’s better safe than sorry (and in the dark!).

An Easy Fix!

An alternative to replacing all your existing non-LED-friendly transformers is to adapt your fittings to a GU10 base. This is incredibly simple to achieve by replacing the transformer with a GU10 Adaptor and a GU10 LED Bulb.

MR16 to GU10 adaptor

Remember that GU10s have their own built-in driver. So, they're able to operate on 240-volt mains power, making this a really easy fix for you or your electrician!

While there’s no huge advantage, energy-wise, to be gained by using MR16s instead of the universally popular GU10 spotlight fitting, they are a lot safer for use in shower rooms, bathrooms and kitchens where there’s a chance that they might become damp. This is because they require a lower voltage than GU10s and thus less likely to cause injury from electric shock.

Ingress Protection

image of water droplets

It’s still wise, however, to ensure that all your bathroom, shower room and kitchen light fittings are suitably IP-Rated. This will ensure that they have adequate protection against condensation and/or splashing water. For this type of application, we recommend using fittings with no lower than an IP44 rating.

Give Us A Call!

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If you’d like any more information of advice about MR16 LED Spotlight Bulbs, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our customer service team.

You can get in touch with us using the number mentioned earlier – that’s 0800 999 7797. Or, you could e-mail us at: marketing@ledmonkey.com.

You’ll also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll be able to post a comment or ask a question on any of our social media pages for a guaranteed same-day response!

And, should you require any further LED light-related information, why not take a look at our comprehensive FAQs page?

We look forward to hearing from you!