Everything You Need to Know About Tanning Bed Bulbs: 2022 Ultimate Guide

So, you’re interested in getting a tanning bed but a little clueless about its tanning bed bulbs. In that case, fret no more because we’ve got you covered. We know how it feels to be someone who’s jam-packed with unanswered questions. It can be a little confusing whether you can actually use a regular bulb on a tanning bed. Does it even matter whether you prefer pink over a blue colored tanning bulb? Thus, we’ve already prepared this ultimate guide for you. It’s never too late to learn new things and be an expert tomorrow even without a certificate. A tanning bed might be the solution you’ve been looking for to achieve an all year round tan skin. Thus, learn everything you need to know below about tanning bulbs and talk about it like a pro later.

Tanning Bed Bulbs

Basically, there are tanning bed bulbs if there is a tanning bed. But what does it really mean by tanning bed bulbs especially for you as a customer? Also known as tanning lamps, tanning bed bulbs are vital part of all tanning beds. These bulbs are designed to produce a UV or ultraviolet light that causes the skin to achieve its tan colored skin. Whatever is the current season, you can have sun-kissed skin without actually putting yourself directly under the sun. 

Types of Tanning Bed Bulbs

Believe it or not, even tanning bed bulbs can be classified into 2 types. Tanning bulbs can be Low Pressure and the High Pressure:

  • High-Pressure Bulbs

Also known as “High Definition” bulbs for full body tanning, you can also use these bulbs for face tanning. These bulbs are typically 5 – 8 inches long with powdered ballast that is 250 – 2,000W. However, the most common bulbs on the market are available in 400 – 30,000W which are used in face tanning. Moreover, these are mercury vapor bulbs with a light output that is 20 – 100x more intense than the sun’s power. Thus, these bulbs require the use of a filter glass to contain the output of its UVC range.

  • Low-Pressure Bulbs

Just like HD bulbs, these bulbs also use ballast to start and control the flow of electric current inside. These bulbs use special phosphors as an inside coating and mercury atoms to produce direct UV light. Unlike HD bulbs, these bulbs are 5 or 6 feet long which uses 80 – 160W. These bulbs are also available in either RDC (Recessed Double Contact) or Bi-Pin. Low-Pressure bulbs have a UV intensity that is 2 – 5x more powerful than the sun.

How do Tanning Bulbs look Like?

Old tanning bulbs are known for their unique code while modern tanning bulbs use a numbering system that is “universal”. RDC bulbs are also designed with a cap over pins that vary in size from F72 or F73. Sometimes, these bulbs are also available in F60 and F74 which are quite hard to find. In addition, the other design of lumps that you can encounter contains 2 pins called “Bi-Pins”. These bulbs come in size F59 for 5 ft. and F71 for 6 ft. These last 2 sizes are commonly used in face tanning. This is also the reason why F71 bulbs are also used on 90% of tanning beds.


Whenever you’re buying tanning bed bulbs, always take note of the exact size your tanning bed requires. Depending on the purpose, you can also have a lot of options when it comes to tanning bulbs. Most importantly, be sure to inspect your tanning bed before using it for some cracks on the bulbs or its filter glass. Ignoring those signs can lead to accidents and skin problems.