Black Light Bulbs

Most black light fixtures have cords with plugs for portability and ease of use.
Most black light fixtures have cords with plugs for portability and ease of use.

Black lights are fun and useful. They are great for parties and creating a glowing effect. Black lights are also good for finding leaks, searching for bodily fluids, and tons of other uses.

Many people don't realize how easy it is to find quality black lights that are relatively inexpensive.

Here you will find information on where to buy black lights and a review of what types of bulbs are the best and which are the worst. There are also tips on what to look for in a black light bulb.

Where to Buy Black Lights

Black lights are actually easier to find than most people would think. Here are some places that typically sell black lights:

  • During certain times of the year, like around Halloween from August till November, black lights can be found in just about any department store and party store in the U.S. Availability in other countries may vary.
  • Black lights can also be found during the rest of the year at your local department store or possibly even a hardware store, especially the bigger ones. Check in the lighting section of stores. Places that sell fluorescent tube bulbs and fixtures are the best bet. Many stores have black light tubes available that will fit the fixtures they sell. Or they may be able to order one for you. Typical price for a fixture and black light tube bulb will range from $10-40 depending on the quality and the length of the fixture.
  • Some stores even carry compact fluorescent black lights in the general bulb section. They will be a little more expensive than a normal bulb but should be around $5-10.
  • You can also order black lights online all year. The prices are pretty much comparable to what you would find in stores.

American Dj Black 48 Blb 4Ft Blacklight Tube And Fixture
American Dj Black 48 Blb 4Ft Blacklight Tube And Fixture

Bulb is 4 feet long. Comes with a power cord to plug in light and an on/off switch.

 

Black Light Tube Bulbs and Fixtures

American DJ 24" Black Light Fixture with bulb
American DJ 24" Black Light Fixture with bulb

Fixture has a plug and power cord so light can be used anywhere. Bulb is 24 inches long.

 
Black lights look purple when turned on.  These fluorescent tube black light bulbs are one of the best types of black light bulbs and are reasonably-priced.
Black lights look purple when turned on. These fluorescent tube black light bulbs are one of the best types of black light bulbs and are reasonably-priced.
FEIT fluorescent bulb
FEIT fluorescent bulb

Black Light Rentals

Did you know that many party rental stores have black lights available to rent? This may be an option if you need several black lights or even top of the line black light equipment.

Best and Worst Types of Black Lights

Not all black lights are the same. Some types work better than others and some are just a waste of money.

In general, look for black lights that are 13 watts or higher. The higher the wattage, the brighter the bulb will usually be. Don't expect black lights to shine as brightly as regular bulbs, though.

And most importantly if you want a glowing black light effect, make sure the bulb actually produces UV rays.

Here is a run down of the best and worst types of black lights.

Best types of black lights:

  • The best kind of black lights (short of professional versions) is fluorescent tube lights. The good part about them is that you can typically buy fixtures along with the bulbs. And most of them have power cords and plugs so they are portable and can be used just about anywhere. The fixture is a one time expense. You can buy just the black light tube bulbs when the original bulb needs to be replaced.
  • Some fluorescent spiral type of black light bulbs work okay. FEIT electric brand fluorescent black light bulbs are usually a good brand to get, but they are still not as good as the tube bulbs. If you don't need a powerful black light or if you are planning to use multiple bulbs, they should be fine. The higher the wattage, the better the effect usually is.
  • There are also professional quality black lights and black light systems available if you need a black light for a large venue or function.

Worst types of black lights:

  • Definitely don't get incandescent bulbs. Most of them are a waste of money. They aren't very bright and don't produce many actual UV rays. It takes several of them to get any black light effect at all.
  • Most black light string lights will just be a purple color. They won't be actual UV lights, which is what makes items glow in the dark. Unless the string lights actually state on the label that they produce UV output, don't expect any black light effect.
  • Some LED black light flashlights produce a bright glow and some don't. There is a broad range of quality when it comes to flashlights. If possible, check the reviews before you buy one to see if it will meet your needs.

Feit Electric BPESL15T/BLB 13-Watt Compact Fluorescent Twist Bulb (60-Watt Incandescent Equivalent), Black Light Blue
Feit Electric BPESL15T/BLB 13-Watt Compact Fluorescent Twist Bulb (60-Watt Incandescent Equivalent), Black Light Blue

This is one of the few brands of compact fluorescent black light bulbs that are decent quality.

 
LEDwholesalers 51-LED 395nm Ultra Violet Blacklight UV Flashlight 3xAA, 7202UV395
LEDwholesalers 51-LED 395nm Ultra Violet Blacklight UV Flashlight 3xAA, 7202UV395

Convenient, portable black light LED flash light with UV intensity. Perfect for checking for leaks, stains, and more.

 

An Overview of the Best Types of Black Lights

Black Light Poll

Why do you need a black light?

  • I'm throwing an awesome glow in the dark party!
  • My school/church/other venue needs it for a performance.
  • It will make a great Halloween decoration.
  • I need to search for, um, bodily fluids.
See results without voting
Eliminator Lighting EBK-400 Black Light Wash Fixture
Eliminator Lighting EBK-400 Black Light Wash Fixture

400 Watt powerful black light for use in large venues.

 

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Glowing Remarks 5 comments

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Oooh - great information, now that Halloween is coming fast! We used to love to use black light for plays and other performances when I was a kid. It's magical!

Voted up and up!


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Marcy Goodfleisch - Black lights are so much fun! I agree completely. Halloween is prime time for black light activities. Thanks!


JanMaklak profile image

JanMaklak 3 years ago from Canada

Just remember not to use the black lights found in water or air filtration, even if you get it for free. These lights emit UV-C rays and are very effective at killing microbes but WILL cause cataracts very quickly.

I don't want to put a damper on a great party just save your sight!


will 3 years ago

this stuff is great.


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

JanMaklak - That's a good tip. Check the packaging on the bulbs before buying. There are black light bulbs out there that aren't made for everyday use.

Will - Thanks! :)

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