GE Microwave Lightbulb Replacement Guide

So your GE microwave light is on the fritz?

More than 90% of Americans own a microwave oven, with most of us using our microwaves for up to 30 minutes daily. For most, this appliance forms part of our daily lives, so you probably haven’t given much thought to your microwave’s lightbulb.

Don’t worry…not many of us do!

But once that light’s gone – messy spills, food boiling over, and soup-related explosions become all the more common – yuck! 

But, fear not. If your microwave’s light bulb needs a replacement, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to obtain a suitable replacement, what to look for in a microwave bulb, our product recommendations, and, finally, answer some FAQS.

Hopefully, by the time we’re finished, you’ll have all the info you need to bring your microwave back into the light. Let’s dive in…

What to Look For in a GE Microwave Bulb

As with any lightbulb replacement, several factors are worth considering when choosing the perfect bulb. The most important of which we’ll cover below. But, first and foremost, you need to know what type of bulb is compatible with your microwave. 

For the uninitiated, typically, there are two microwave bulb types:

One that goes below and outside the microwave, called the vent or night light, is generally for built-in or mounted microwaves. There’s also a bulb that goes inside the microwave. An inner light that’s triggered every time the microwave door is opened and remains on while the microwave’s operating. 

Therefore, the type of bulb you’ll require depends on whether you need an internal or external light. You’ll also need to factor in your microwave’s specific model. That said, below we’re covering the bulbs most commonly used for GE microwaves and what to consider when making your choice:

Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs pass an electric current through a filament wire. As the electricity passes through this wire, it meets resistance causing it to heat and thus glow (otherwise known as incandescence). 

Incandescent bulbs were one of the first types of microwave bulbs available but have begun to be phased out due to their inefficiency. Incandescent bulbs convert about 10% of electrical energy they receive into visible light; the rest of that energy dissipates into heat. 

Incandescent bulbs can be used inside and outside the microwave.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen Bulbs for the Microwave

Halogen bulbs are more advanced than the original incandescent bulb. Like incandescent bulbs, they’re filled with gas and come with a tungsten filament that glows when electricity is produced. The gas inside these bulbs is halogen, hence the name. 

However, halogen bulbs can get dangerously hot during light generation and are far from the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market. While they’ve been phased out in many countries, they’re still commonly used in the USA for commercial purposes.

Due to their heating properties, they work best inside the microwave, as the microwave’s metal casing should protect you from radiation and potential overheating.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs produce light by passing electricity through a semi-conductive material called a diode. The diode produces photons(light) as a result. 

Unlike the bulbs above, LEDs don’t emit much heat at all. For this reason, they generally have longer lifespans and are more energy-efficient. LED lights can be used inside microwaves, provided they’re not used in the central cavity but sit behind the metal mesh. Otherwise, the plastic coating on the bulb may melt. 

As such, LED lights are best used as exterior microwave lights. That said, you may find that microwave manufacturers don’t use LEDs because the high heat levels in microwaves can deform the bulb. In addition, LEDs can only operate at a maximum of 100 degrees celsius and become inefficient at above 50 degrees celsius. 

As a result, interior bulbs for microwaves are usually incandescent or halogen. 

Incandescent vs Halogen vs LEDs: Efficiency

Power – the higher the bulb’s wattage, the more energy needed

  • Incandescent: 40 watts
  • Halogen: 20-30 watts
  • LED: 5 watts

Lifespan – i.e., the average time span your bulb will last

  • Incandescent: 1,000 hours
  • Halogen: 3,000 hours
  • LED: 25,000 hours

As you can see, LEDs are by far the most energy-efficient bulbs. Not only do they last longer, but they also require less power to run.

Incandescent vs Halogen vs LEDs: Price

microwave Bulbs

The average market price for a bulb:

  • Incandescent: $2.70
  • Halogen: $2.50
  • LED: $5.25

The estimated cost over ten years:

NB: This cost is calculated by dividing the average longevity and cost of running a 60-watt bulb over ten years (for GE bulbs in the relevant categories).

  • Incandescent: $78.80
  • Halogen: $76.80
  • LED: $17.25

Although the initial cost of incandescent and halogen bulbs is lower, their efficiency means they’re not as cost-effective in the long run compared to LED bulbs.

Incandescent vs Halogen vs LEDs: Brightness

With bulb brightness, the higher the Kelvin, the brighter the bulb. Therefore, a higher Kelvin temperature means higher lumens (lightness in bulbs is measured in lumens). As such, bulbs with the highest lumens per watt emit the brightest light relative to the amount of power used. 

Therefore, the higher the lumens per watts, the more energy-efficient the bulb.

Brightness (lumens per watt):

  • Incandescent: 15
  • Halogen: 25
  • LED: 72

Bulb Shape and Size

Bulb Shape and Size

The term ‘bulb series’ refers to the bulb shape and size. A letter describes the shape, and the series number refers to the bulb size. The bulb series is determined regardless of the type of bulb used. 

In other words, ‘bulb series’ is the national and international standard for bulb shape. Accordingly, incandescent, halogen, and LED bulbs can all have the same bulb series and, as such, can be used with the same appliances.

Generally, GE microwaves are compatible with the following:

A-Series

The A (arbitrary)-series bulb shape is the classic bulb shape that most people are familiar with. Unsurprisingly, this is the most common bulb shape. A-series bulbs range from 48mm to 73mm in diameter. However, most microwaves generally use an A15 bulb (48mm). 

T-Series

GE microwaves also use another bulb shape known as the T (tubular)-series. The T series ranges from 9.5mm to 31 mm in diameter. The standard T-series size for a microwave is T4, approximately 24mm in diameter.

Pygmy

Pygmy bulbs are pear-shaped lights and are usually used for decoration. However, thanks to their small size, they’re sometimes also used in appliances. Pygmy bulbs don’t come in a standardized bulb size but typically sit between 21mm to 28mm in diameter. 

Base

The base of the bulb must match the microwave’s light fixture. 

Commonly used bulb bases include:

  • The screw-base (referred to as E)
  • The pin-base (referred to as G)
  • The plugin-base (referred to as GX or G24)
  • The twist and lock (referred to as GU)
  • The specialty bases (These have no set names). 

Traditionally, base types matched certain bulb types and sizes. However, fast forward to today, and manufacturers have started making bulbs compatible with any kind of bulb. So, regardless of the fixture your microwave uses, you should be able to find a range of bulb options. 

In microwaves, the most common bulb bases are:

Pin Base (G)

A G base is typically used for microwaves. G’s are bi-pin bases (meaning two-pin) traditionally used for incandescent and halogen light bulbs. However, as previously hinted at, LED bi-pin options are now available on the market.

Screw Base (E)

microwave bulb

E is the most common bulb base in the US and, unsurprisingly, works with many appliances, including the bulbs we’ve included in our product recommendations. 

NB: Always check your microwave manual to double-check the correct screw base for your microwave.

Light Color

Color temperature is measured on a scale from cool to warm. For example, color temperatures over 5,000 Kelvin are “cool” colors – these are bluer. In contrast, temperatures ranging from 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin are referred to as “warm colors” and more closely resemble the color of the sun (yellow, orange, red). 

Color temperature is an essential consideration. Namely, because studies have shown that warmer colors are better for health. So, if you’re using your microwave regularly, you’ll likely be exposed to the light emitted by your microwave bulb. As such, it’s worth considering the best bulb color for your health.

According to these studies, warmer colors can have positive effects on:

“Promoting the secreting of melatonin and glutamate, protecting human’s eyes, accelerating wound healing and hair regeneration.” 

That said, when it comes to color, this is what you can expect from the following bulbs:

  • Incandescent bulb colors – 2,400 to 2,550K: Incandescent lights produce one of the warmest light colors.
  • Halogen bulb colors – 3000K: Halogen bulbs produce light close to the color of the sun, which, as explained above, is preferable for our health. However, halogen bulbs also increase your exposure to UV radiation – so be sure to factor that into your considerations. 
  • LED bulb colors – 2700 to 6000K: LED bulbs have the coolest colors. For this reason, they’re often used in commercial settings and are the brightest option for your microwave. They emit little UV rays. However, the lower color options may be better for health – primarily if you use your GE microwave regularly.

Product Recommendations

Now we’ve covered the bulb types most commonly used, let’s turn our attention to our top product recommendations for replacing your GE microwave bulb:

Bulbs for Inside the Microwave: Incandescent

GE by Universal Bargain Lamps

GE by Universal Bargain Lamps

Specs:

    • Base: E14 (screw-base – 14 mm in diameter).
    • Wattage: 15W
    • Shape: Pygmy (21.9mm)
    • Features: This bulb is dimmable.
    • Energy rating: E

DGE Incandescent Bulb

DGE Incandescent Bulb

Specs:

    • Base: E14 (screw-base – 14 mm in diameter).
    • Wattage: 15W
    • Shape: T25 (24.9mm)
    • Features: This bulb is dimmable.
    • Energy rating: Not specified. However, this bulb has a lower wattage than the average incandescent bulb.

Halogen

GYM Lamp for Oven and Microwave Bulb

GYM Lamp for Oven and Microwave Bulb

Specs:

    • Base: G9 (pin-base – 14 mm in diameter).
    • Wattage: 40W
    • Shape: T(40mm)
    • Features: This bulb is dimmable.
    • Energy rating: D

SILKIT Halogen Light Bulbs

SILKIT Halogen Light Bulbs

Specs:

    • Base: G9 (pin-base – 14 mm in diameter).
    • Wattage: 28W
    • Shape: T4 (12 mm)
    • Features: This bulb is dimmable.
    • Energy rating: Not specified

Bulbs for Outside the Microwave: Incandescent

Techgomade Incandescent Bulb

Techgomade Incandescent Bulb

Specs:

    • Base: E14 (screw-base – 14 mm in diameter).
    • Wattage: 25W
    • Shape: T5 (24.9mm)
    • Features: This bulb is dimmable.
    • Energy rating: Not specified.

Halogen

Comyan Halogen Light Bulbs

Comyan Halogen Light Bulbs

Specs

    • Base: G4
    • Wattage: 20W
    • Shape: T(size not specified)
    • Features: Dimmable
    • Energy rating: C

LED

Bonlux LED Pygmy Bulb

Bonlux LED Pygmy Bulb

Specs:

    • Base: E14
    • Wattage: 2W
    • Shape: Pygmy bulb
    • Features: Not dimmable
    • Energy rating: A++

Our Top Bulb Pick

Below are our top picks for both interior and exterior microwave bulbs:

Interior Microwave Bulb

We’re choosing between halogen and incandescent bulbs for interior microwave lights because LED lights risk melting under the heat. 

As such, we’ve based our top pick based on energy efficiency, longevity, and brightness. With these points in mind, we’ve chosen the SILKIT halogen bulb.

  • Price: This is the cheapest set on our list. At $9.11 for a pack of ten bulbs, that works out to be less than $1 per bulb ($0.911). 
  • Lifespan: Though it’s not the lowest wattage on our list, we see it has an average 2,000-hour lifespan.
  • Features: Not only is the bulb dimmable, but it can be used for temperatures up to 300 degrees celsius, making them a good choice for microwave interiors.

Exterior Microwave Bulb

Given that you can use any bulb type for the microwave’s exterior, an LED bulb is the obvious choice. As highlighted above, LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient, have the longest lifespan, and are generally brighter than their halogen and incandescent counterparts. 

The Bonlux Light Bulb is one of the most highly rated light bulbs; given the number of reviews (over 4000), it scored an incredibly impressive 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.

  • Price: At $11.25 for a two-pack, that comes in at $5.625 per bulb.
  • Lifespan: The average life of this bulb is ‎35,000 hours.
  • Features: As mentioned, LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market. You can see this from the A++ EU energy efficiency rating and that the bulb operates on only two watts. 

How Do You Replace the Bulb?

Microwave Light

With these options in mind, let’s move on to how to replace a microwave light bulb. There are hundreds of different GE models on the market. In light of that, the advice below isn’t based on any specific model. Instead, we’re providing more of a general guide on how microwave bulbs are usually changed. To find a tutorial for your particular GE model, please look at the manual that comes with your microwave.

Interior Microwave Light Replacement

The Tools You Need

  • Your chosen bulb
  • A screwdriver
  • Optional – Thermal gloves

Instructions

  1. Unplug the microwave and wait a few minutes (halogen and incandescent bulbs, as mentioned, can get hot, so it’s worth waiting until they cool).
  2. Unscrew the back of the microwave.
  3. Lift the vent panel to find the box or base containing the halogen/ incandescent bulb.
  4. Unscrew the box or base from the microwave.
  5. Open the box and unscrew the lightbulb. Alternatively, remove the base screws holding the bulb in place.
  6. Replace with the new lightbulb.
  7. Replace the box and screws on the back of the microwave.
  8. Turn the microwave back and test the bulb.

Exterior Microwave Light Replacement

Microwave Light

The Tools You Need

  • Your chosen bulb
  • A screwdriver

Instructions

  1. Unplug the microwave.
  2. The bulb is usually below the microwave. However, some built-in GE microwaves require removing the microwave from the wall frame first. This can be achieved by unscrewing the microwave from the wall frame and lifting it out.
  3. Remove the screw and bulb cover.
  4. Replace bulb.
  5. Replace screws and cover.
  6. Test the light.

NB: If you’re uncertain about replacing the bulb, please consult a professional electrician.

FAQs

Question: Why’s My Bulb not Working?

Answer: Your bulb may stop working for several reasons:
• Bulb burn out: Bulbs only produce energy for so long – eventually, they need changing.
• Main control board issue: If a bulb stops working, it may signify that the main control board isn’t sending enough voltage to the light bulb. 
• Light socket issue: The wrong base or a faulty socket can cause the light bulb not to work.

Question: Why Does My Microwave Light Keep Burning Out?

Answer: Suppose there’s a recurring burnout problem with your light bulb. In that case, it may indicate that there’s a loose connection. It may also suggest a problem with sending electricity to the bulb. This typically happens if resistance is met along the circuit board or wire. 
There could also be a problem with the grounding. Electrical grounding is an alternative pathway provided to the circuit if there’s a fault in the wiring system. Both these issues are easily tested with a multimeter. Alternatively, if you’re unsure about how to proceed, ask your electrician to take a look.

Question: When Shouldn’t You Try and Change the Bulb Yourself?

Answer: While there’s generally no reason you can’t change a microwave light bulb yourself (given the proper precautions), with a GE microwave, the warranty may be void under the following circumstances:
Misuse or lack of proper maintenance: What this means is if you make any mistakes while changing the bulb, the microwave’s repair will not be covered.
Alterations to the product: Any changes that negatively affect the product’s performance won’t be covered by the warranty.

Question: How Can You Make Your Bulbs Last Longer?

Answer: To get the most out of your bulbs, we recommend the following:
Choose the correct bulb for the job: The wrong bulb will burn out quicker.
Get your microwave regularly serviced: Problems with lightbulbs burning out too quickly may be related to the microwave rather than the bulb.
Clean your microwave regularly and avoid humidity: Wet and dirty conditions will affect the bulb’s longevity.

GE Microwave Lightbulb Replacement Guide: Are You Ready to Replace Your GE Microwave Lightbulb?

Our top takeaways for GE lightbulb replacement are as follows:

  • Figure out which type of bulb you need.
  • Choose an LED bulb for the exterior light.
  • Go with an energy-efficient halogen for the interior.
  • Consult the microwave manual or visit the GE manual online to find which type of bulb and base is the right fit for your microwave.
  • Factor in the long-term efficiency of the bulb when considering which bulb is the best value for money.
  • If you’re worried about voiding your warranty, consult a technician. Generally, though, it’s safe to change the bulb yourself.
  • Practice good microwave maintenance to get the most out of your bulbs.

With all that said, we hope you have found this guide useful!

Scroll to Top