The 10 Best Bulb Changers
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in October of 2015. Sure, those vaulted ceilings in your new home look awesome, as does the lovely recessed lighting. That is, until one of those unreachable bulbs burns out. But worry not. One of these nifty bulb changers will help you get the dead, or even broken, light out and replace it with ease, hopefully with an energy efficient one that will last for at least a few years and save you some money. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
May 10, 2021:
This is the type of category that typically doesn’t change much from year to year, and will likely remain this way until such a time that common lightbulb designs start rapidly evolving. As such, we made minimal changes during this round of updates, although we did remove the Faraday Partners HighLight, due to availability issues.
Although its limited versatility kept the HighLight relegated to a low spot on our list, we were still sorry to see it go, as it was the only option we ranked that was specifically designed for use with candelabra bulbs, which made it a potential asset for users servicing high chandeliers.
However, we hope that other members of our audience will be aided by our new inclusion of the Bulb Grabber BG-100 — a one-piece unit with 15 inch-pounds of grip strength that can extend to a maximum length of 11 feet. While its lack of attachments may make it less functional than other models in certain circumstances, we felt that many of our users would be pleased with its simplistic, one-size-fits-most design.
December 27, 2019:
Although we liked the Wagic Giraffe, it has become hard to find at this time, so we have had to remove it. We decided, after some consideration, to remove the Bayco LBC-600C Deluxe Kit, as well. When compared to similar kits, like the Unger Universal or the Ettore 48450 Kit, it doesn't offer quite the same level of versatility, making these others perhaps the better choice. But for those who only have standard incandescents, the Bayco LBC-100 remains a great value, given its relative simplicity and price. We've opted to keep the Faraday Partners HighLight, too, although it isn't as easy to use as we'd like. However, it's one of the only choices for flame-tipped bulbs, so it may be a necessity for some. Finally, we added the Stick N Twist 10 Pack. Each piece can be reused several times, so you can get a lot of mileage from one package, and they work with just about any type and size of bulb, from indoor flood lights to the small bulbs in your oven.
Whole Foods Potatoes If you've got a broken bulb on your hands and you're not sure how to extract the jagged remnants from its socket, one old-school electrician's hack is to slice a potato in half, push one of the cut faces into the socket and use it to twist the remaining base out without exposing your delicate digits to those sharp shards of glass. If you don't have a potato lying around the house, you can pick one up from your local grocer, or order one from Whole Foods. Whatever you do, just make sure that power to the circuit in question is disconnected before you proceed. wholefoodsmarket.com
Home Depot Extension Poles Some of the options on this list are comprehensive kits that come bundled with a pole to increase your reach, but others are not. If you're hoping to use one of those tools to uninstall and replace hardware from high ceilings, then you're going to need to separately purchase an appropriately sized extension pole. Home Depot offers a wide variety of options, as do other similar retailers. homedepot.com
Ladderstore At the best of times, a bulb changer can be a handy gadget, and many users with high ceilings swear by them. However, at the worst of times they can also be an unwieldy headache, so it has to be said: though it's likely to be a bigger investment, a solid ladder is a practical, multipurpose alternative that you're unlikely to regret having in the house. This website offers just about any style you could imagine in just about any size you might want. ladderstore.com
Why It Pays to Use a Light Bulb Changer
Owning a bulb changer eliminates those risks by placing you at a remove from the light bulb, and by enlisting a flame-retardant clamp that can't be set ablaze.
Changing a light bulb is a delicate process, one that can be complicated by a variety of issues. A lot of light bulbs are hot, for example, and they can singe your hands just as easily as they can set a towel on fire. Owning a bulb changer eliminates those risks by placing you at a remove from the light bulb, and by enlisting a flame-retardant clamp that can't be set ablaze.
Shattering glass is a headache in any environment where a lot of hard-to-reach light bulbs need to be replaced. Not only do the shards require cleanup, but the bulb's base may wind up stuck inside a socket. There are select cases where a person may need to use a potato or some other non-conductor to ferret out the remaining parts. In a public setting, any broken glass can represent a liability. A broken bulb may also constitute an electrical hazard, one that could subject a company to significant OSHA fines, or worse.
If you're a business owner (or a supervisor), you'll want to discourage employees from using step ladders or office chairs to replace extinguished bulbs. The potential for injury in such a scenario is compounded by the fact that once an employee actually reaches the socket, he or she could get electrocuted or burned (either of which could result in a dangerous fall). The guiding principle, regardless of whether you are an employer, a parent, or a homeowner, is that a bulb changer can eliminate ant element of danger from this chore.
Several Little-Known Uses For a Bulb Changer
Most people are aware of how handy a bulb changer can be in the event that a light needs to be replaced, and yet a lot of people remain unaware that an average bulb changer can be used in a variety of everyday situations, as well. Consider, for example, that a long-arm bulb changer can be extended from a window to either scoop a ball out of a rain gutter, or to suction that ball out (assuming the ball is made of plastic, or something equally smooth). For stubborn items, you may need to apply petroleum jelly around the edges of the suction cup. The jelly operates like a sealant, providing the cup with more pull.
Any bulb changer with a clamp extractor can be used to grasp the handle on a push-out window, and to pull that window shut.
Any bulb changer with a clamp extractor can be used to pick fruit out of a tree, or to grapple items out of a pool. Any bulb changer with a clamp extractor can be used to pull appliances out of a cabinet, or to to pull tools down off a shelf. Any bulb changer with a clamp extractor can be used to recover a children's toy that has fallen - or rolled - underneath a parked car. Any bulb changer with a clamp extractor can be used to grasp the handle on a push-out window, and to pull that window shut.
Whenever you're housecleaning, you can wrap a damp cloth around the cylindrical front end of a bulb changer, secure that cloth with a rubber band, and then use the bulb changer to remove dust or cobwebs from remote spaces or high ceilings. The key to using a bulb changer for any of these circumstances is to clean and dry the bulb changer thoroughly before putting it away. Replacing light bulbs is a delicate business. You want your changer and its extensions to remain dry and clean and safe.
A Brief Biography of Thomas Edison (By Way of His Bulbs)
Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb so much as he re-engineered it. By the time Edison began experimenting with carbon filaments during the late 1870s, several other inventors had already developed their own light bulbs, using copper and platinum wires along with various other catalysts. Edison differentiated his bulb by introducing a cheaper and more functional way to reproduce it. This, in turn, allowed for marketing electrical lamps to the general public.
A judge ruled that Edison was guilty, forcing Edison to appeal.
Despite being received with skepticism, Edison's incandescent lamps (as he had begun to call them) eventually took off. This was largely due to several business owners who reported using the new lamps to great effect. The buzz surrounding light bulbs and incandescent lamps subsequently led to competition. First came the Electro-Dynamic Light Company, and then the U.S. Electric Lighting Company. Whereas most of these companies kept struggling to bring a cost-effective bulb to market, Thomas Edison was well on his way to developing a more efficient lamp.
In 1883, Thomas Edison was accused of stealing a manufacturing process related to the incandescent lamp by an electrical engineer named William E. Sawyer. A judge ruled that Edison was guilty, forcing Edison to appeal. Filing an appeal allowed the Edison Electric Light Company to continue doing business. Edison won the case, but it took him six years.
For the next 30 years, Edison worked out of an industrial-sized research lab (i.e., Menlo Park), which he had created in Raritan, New Jersey. When Edison passed away in 1931 at the age of 84, he had accumulated 1,093 patents. The man's legacy includes the invention of the phonograph, the telegraph, the motion picture camera, and, of course, the incandescent carbon-filament light bulb.
Raritan, New Jersey was renamed Edison Township on November 10, 1954.