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12 Best Tanning Bulbs of 2021

When you simply cannot or don’t want to tan in the sun, the next best alternative is a tanning bed. Maybe the sun hardly ever comes out because of the wintery weather. Or you probably want to keep away from the harmful rays of the sun damaging your skin condition and health. So how about getting tanned artificially, but with the best tanning bulbs for that golden glow! In comparison to regular light bulbs, these are certainly different. But how different? And what brands make the best ones? All about the best tanning bed bulbs below!


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    Wolff Systems
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    Wolff Systems

Last update on 2021-05-13 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Complete Buying Guide of the Best Tanning Bulbs

Firstly, the Different Types of Tanning Bed Lamps

Not every tube light employs the same technology. But the two most common ones include bi-pin bulbs and RDC bulbs. RDC stands for Recessed Double Contact, and it’s the older of the two. This bulb features an adapter, which is put in place to cover the pins.

As for the bi-pin version, these types of bulbs consist of two pins that stick out toward the end. It’s actually the standard kind of light bulb design most commonly spotted in current tanning beds.

The only difference between this and RDC is that the latter is outfitted with an adapter for covering the pin.

Factors That Matter When Choosing the Best Tanning Bed Bulbs

Knowing the actual products that are selling like hotcakes isn’t enough you know. As a consumer, you should be able to understand all the crucial features that contribute to the popularity of the light bulb. Especially in the case of tanning bulbs since the well-being of your skin is a major part of the experience.

So here are some of the most important characteristics to take into account…

1. Size

The first is the bulb length, denoted by the F-number. It’s F73, F72, or F71. The “F” here stands for fluorescent, and it refers to the tanning lamp length in inches.

So which one is the most common? That would be F71, which is also bi-pin. The beauty of F71 bi-pin bulbs is that you can easily convert them to F72 RDC or even F73 with the help of adapters.

Then comes the bulb size, that is the T-number. And it represents eights of an inch. So if you have T12, it means twelve-eights of an inch. This is actually the most common tanning bed bulb size.

And why does size matter? Because it has a direct impact on the intensity and coverage of UV radiation.

2. Power and Wattage

Nothing too strong and, at the same time, nothing too weak. Although you can get a strong tanning bulb if you want the results to look like an actual tan.

The most recommended power for tanning bed bulbs is 100 watts. This wattage is more than enough for giving you the sun-kissed glow. But you can go higher than 100 for something darker. To be more specific, 120-140 watts. Many indoor tanning enthusiasts also select 160 watts, which, just by the way, is a lot of power and that’s not really a safe option.

3. Color

You get either UVB or UVA  lights. Both have the ability to cause sunburn. In that case, avoid these kinds of tanning bulbs completely. Instead, go for ones that deliver red light therapy with zero ultraviolet effect. But then you may have to compromise on power.

However, to be honest, it all depends on your personal preferences. The color you select is based on the type of tanning results you have in mind.

4. Shelf Life

So for how many hours can you expect your tanning bulbs to run before they die out? The standard shelf life is 800 hours, which is the minimum limit. If you get something that lasts longer, good for you.

5. Brand and Cost

Avoid cheap brands because they often manufacture bulbs that end up overheating or burning out quickly. These options, more often than not, are also very low-priced. So don’t think twice before buying from a well-known brand. This way, you’re also making sure that safety is a part of your tanning process.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Often to Change Tanning Bed Bulbs?

The standard version of tanning bulbs has a service life of about 800 hours. So it’s highly advisable to change those lamps within the 600-700 range. 700 hours is around 2,100 sessions of tanning, where each session is 20 minutes long. That means you get 6 years of uninterrupted tanning if you tan once a day.

2. Is There A Standard Ratio of UVA and UVB for Tanning Bed Bulbs?

You should know that brands do indeed follow a standard ratio. Just the same as natural sunlight. This means 5-percent UVB and 95-percent UVA. Although some manufacturers, especially commercial ones, increase the UVB levels by 6-7 percent. And that is specifically done for increasing strength.

3. What Is the Mercury Content of Tanning Bulbs?

Comparatively speaking, tanning bed bulbs have a much higher mercury content than regular fluorescent bulbs. Simply because the former requires vapor for creating the light. And this is precisely why it’s so important to be extra careful when dealing with tanning lamps. Especially when they break.

4. What Is A Bronzing Lamp?

The thing about bronzing lamps is that their UVB rating is lower. So they’re the best for creating a darker tan, even though this happens slower.

5. Does A Higher Percentage Rating of Tanning Bulb Tan Faster?

For example, if the tanning light has an 8.5-percent rating, does that mean this higher rating tans you faster? Yes, that certainly does enhance the tanning results.


The End

That brings you to the end of this article. So, hopefully, now you know what the top products are. Along with how to go about buying the best tanning bulbs for your fun and safe indoor tanning sessions. Make sure those bulbs are compatible with your tanning bed. Although the majority of top-selling tanning bed bulbs are compatible with almost every tanning bed.

The ultimate goal here is to achieve a sun-kissed, natural-looking tan in the shortest time possible. So a combination of UVB and UVA radiation is a must. And even if the bulb you select has a relatively shorter service life, just ensure that it tans faster.