Lamp or not to Lamp – that is the Question

Lamp or not to Lamp – that is the Question

Increasingly we are posed with a question when we refurbish a scheme – whether it is better to specify dedicated LED light fittings or choose retro-fit lamps for existing fixtures? It’s a choice that can be tricky – so I thought it would be useful to share my criteria with you all. The truth is – LED lamps are improving constantly and I would recommend the current generation of lamps to anyone simply looking for a replacement. However – when it comes to professional lighting schemes – many of which must fulfill a function – some other considerations must be taken into account.


This is my selection criteria when choosing between a retro-fit lamp and a dedicated fitting.lamp 1


  • cheaper than most dedicated fixtures
  • lower cost could offer opportunities to use budget surplus elsewhere compared to dedicated fittings
  • offer a great saving compared to older technology
  • colour temperatures are much better now – good extra warm whites
  • better choices of colour temperature available now
  • high output GU10 versions of 600 + lumens out there on the market – 35W low voltage equivalents
  • manufacturers are offering genuine guarantees


  • Generally higher junction temperatures within the LED, so the chip is working harder lamp 2lowering it’s lifespan and making it more prone to colour shifting as it ages
  • Most lamps on the market are around 400 lumens output – with many lamps still struggling with good outputs.
  • Choices of colour temperature will affect the lumen output of the lamp – specifications on the box can get a little misleading and confusing.
  • Misleading labeling and widespread exaggerated claims of ‘50W halogen equivalents’ have undermined confidence in using lamps.
  • Lumen outputs are from the lamp only – once in a fixture there is undoubtedly a degree of loss that is difficult to measure.

lamp 3Remember for both dedicated LED fixtures and retro-fit lamps

  • both lamps and dedicated LED fittings require (whatever is dimming the circuit) to have a huge amount of extra capacity in the system to allow for a start-up spike of current.
  • dimming compatibility still critical between fixture / lamp and dimmer.

If you need advice on the new generation of lamps available that we recommend call us. We also have a full selection of dedicated fitting and luminaires to meet every purpose in your next project.

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