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Home » Par16 vs MR16 Light Bulbs: What is the Difference?

Par16 vs MR16 Light Bulbs: What is the Difference?

Par16 vs MR16 Light Bulbs

Whether you are updating your light fittings or just looking for replacement bulbs, there are plenty of light bulbs to choose from. Aside from making sure the bulbs fit, you want to choose the most cost-effective option. LED light bulbs tick the box but there is still a wide variety.

We are going to look at the Par16 and the M16 LED light bulbs. Despite the same number, representing the diameter, the two bulbs are very different. This is represented by the letters. The chart below shows the average specifications, but different brands will have alternatives.

Par16 vs MR16 Light Bulbs – Side by Side Comparison




HeightPAR16 Led Light BulbMR16 Led Bulb
Height2.6 inches1.7-2.1 inches
Width1.97 inches1.9inches
Average Brightness300-400lm560-710lm
Average Watts4W5W
Incandescent Equivalent35W40W

The difference between the letters is that a PAR bulb is a parabolic aluminized reflector. These bulbs generally have a beam angle of over 45º. The MR stands for multifaceted, and the beam angle is narrower, between 15º and 45º. If you are looking for more focused light, the MR16 is the better option.

Another significant difference is the base. The Par16 is most commonly found with an E26 screw-in base. The MR16 has a GU 2-pin base. This base is typically a GU5.3 or a GU10. The number represents the distance in millimeters between the pins. Even though they are the same size, they aren’t interchangeable unless you have an adapter.

In terms of light, the Par16 tends to be around 4W (a 35W incandescent equivalent) and provides between 300 and 400 lumens. The MR15 is slightly brighter at 5W (40W incandescent) and between 560 and 710lm.

There are different options in terms of Kelvin. A lower Kelvin, for example, 2700K, gives a warm color. A Kelvin of 5000 is a cooler light, similar to daylight. The Par16 and MR16 are both available in dimmable and non-dimmable.

Read next – PAR16 vs PAR38 Light Bulbs: What is the Difference?

Par16s and MR16s on the Market Today

We had a closer look at the Par16 and the MR16 from Sunlite to see the specific differences.

Sunlite Par16

The Par16s from Sunlite are brighter than the average. They are 7W LED bulbs with a 75W incandescent equivalent). They produce 500lm. They have an E26 base and a long neck. The beam angle is more focused than other Par16s at 35º. They are dimmable and have a lifespan of 25,000 hours. The annual cost of running this light bulb is $0.84 for an average of 3 hours per day.

Sunlite MR16

These bulbs are also 7W bulbs with 500lm. There are many other similarities such as being dimmable and the 25,000 hours lifespan. Again, running these bulbs will cost approximately $0.84 with 3 hours of use per day. They are slightly more expensive, but you have a high CRI (90), which makes colors appear more vivid.

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The Final Verdict

There isn’t really a better option here, at least not when comparing the Sunlite Par16 and the Sunlite MR16. On the one hand, you have better color with the MR16 but the PAR16 is cheaper. The cost of running the bulbs is the same. The decision will be down to your fittings and whether you require an E26 or GU bulb.

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