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Should I use dedicated LED fittings or retrofit LED lamps?

A dedicated LED fitting is one in which the LED chip is an integral part of the fitting – you don’t change it like a lamp (light bulb).  A retrofit LED lamp (light bulb) is an LED lamp which looks like a traditional incandescent or halogen lamp and is inserted in to the fitting in the same way.  It’s separate to and replaceable from the fitting.

Why might you use a dedicated LED fitting?

Hurricane 50 Dedicated LED downlightMuch better thermal management allows much higher output: many of the dedicated LED downlights we use and supply achieve 900 lumens or more, which really is the same as a 12v 50w halogen lamp.  A retrofit LED lamp is doing well if it achieves 400 lumens.

The same thermal management enables a longer life; all the dedicated LED fittings we use have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours, whereas a top quality retrofit lamp might go to 25,000 hours.

There are more and better ways of dimming (eg; 0-10v, DALI, DMX), not just mains trailing edge.  This makes dedicated LED fittings more flexible as a light source and ideal as the backbone of your architectural lighting.

We strongly recommend using dedicated LEDs for the core of any architectural lighting scheme.  Dedicated LED fittings are ideal for downlighting, uplighting, floor or step lighting etc.

When might you use a retrofit LED lamp?

Philips Master LED replacement lamp

The obvious application for retrofit LED is to replace an old incandescent source when it fails but there are other applications.  We all like decorative fittings which are designed around the traditional form factors of incandescent or halogen lamps, and a retrofit LED lamp is often the best energy efficient light source for these.   Because LED lamps vary slightly in size/shape it is important to check that the lamp you would like to use actually fits in to the fitting.

Retro fit lamps can be a cheaper route; in areas where the lights aren’t used often and/or the quantity and quality of light may be a secondary concern (e.g. garages, stores, small secondary rooms)  a fitting with a retrofit lamp might be the best route to go.

Want more information?

The Lighting Buyer’s Technical Reference Guide is a mine of information on LED Fittings.  It’s regularly updated so download the latest copy here.

Want to shop for dedicated LED Fittings?

The new Brilliant Lighting store has a great selection of high quality LED light fittings here.