MR16s are among the most popular and light bulb types of any bulb. From retail spaces to restaurants, museums, and kitchens, MR16s are used nearly everywhere. Manufacturers have widened their catalogs of MR16s to accommodate their many applications, but in doing so have it made their MR16s a regular maze of specifications and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) codes. Of these specifications, no subject is more confusing or intimidating than the reflector, so in this article this vital part of the bulb will be the focus. In any light bulb the reflector collects, shapes, and focuses the light. In MR16s, reflectors come with many different types of facets, or folds or indentations, which aid in forming the bulb’s given light characteristics. Before more is said about facets, it is important to take note of the two standard materials for reflectors: dichroic coatings or aluminum. A dichroic coating is a non-metallic film laid on the inside of the bulb that allows for the passing through of heat, allowing the light created and the bulb to remain cooler. With extremely high melting points, dichroic filters are also extremely durable and ensure consistent light quality and protects against color degradation. Aluminum reflectors do not filter out heat, but rather reflect it in addition to light. Aluminum reflectors therefore get hotter and produce a warmer light than MR16s using dichroic reflectors. For heat lamp applications, or other situations where heat is desirable, MR16s with aluminum reflectors are the best choice. Some MR16s such as those used in scanners or projectors feature smooth aluminum un-faceted reflectors where light output is the most important characteristic of the bulb.
A bulb’s reflector and facet type, as well as other features including beam angle, front glass, wattage, voltage, and base, are specified by a three letter ANSI code. The BAB, EXN, and FNV are just three of many ANSI codes for MR16s that consumers may be familiar with.