(pronounced par / pa-reh-BAH-lik ah-LOO-meh-nyezd rih-FLEHK-ter)
Both the abbreviation and the term refer to an incandescent lamp (a.k.a. “light bulb” having a tungsten filament) with a built-in silvered reflector that helps focus the light, forming wide, medium, or narrow beams. As you might imagine, PAR lamps provide a more specific beam control than the typical lamp. Different lenses produce different effects: corrugated lens produce a flood of light while a speckled lens produces a more narrow beam. The lamp itself can be heavy, but they can often be used outdoors as well. PAR lamps come in a variety of sizes, which are revealed by their designation. For example: You know that a PAR 36 is 4-1/2” in diameter because the number stands for how many 1/8ths of an inch in diameter the lamp is – e.g., 36 x1/8” = 36/8” = 4-1/2”.