Buying lamps, it doesn’t seem so complicated, until you start looking around for a suitable lamp. What are the differences and what is important for your situation? Go through this checklist and you can quickly make a good choice.
Buying lamps, but which ones?
There are incandescent bulbs, halogen spotlights, fluorescent tubes, LED lamps and much more … which type of lamp is best? Every technology has its unique advantages and disadvantages, when you look at all the characteristics you cannot conclude otherwise that LED lamps are the best choice in most cases. Of course, there are differences in options and quality per brand and type, yet there are few situations in which LED lamps are not superior to the alternatives. They are economical, stay cool, last a long time and there are a lot of possibilities. The purchase price is slightly higher than some alternatives, but this is compensated by the long life span and low energy consumption.
Buying lamps: the fitting
With over a hundred types of fittings, this can be a tricky choice. Fortunately, the vast majority of lamps fit into a handful of fittings. If you already have a fitting for which you want to buy a lamp, it will probably be fitted with one of these types:
- E27: This is the well-known large fitting with a 27mm thread that you can use for 230V connections.
- E14: This is the well-known small fitting with a thread of 14mm. It also has a 230V connection.
- GU20: Also known as the bayonet closure that you often find in spotlights. It is a fitting that is suitable for 230V, the lamps can be recognized by the two pins. You plug these pins into the fitting and fasten them with a quarter turn.
- GU5.3 / MR16: The base or bi-pin has two pins at a distance of 5.3mm. You will find this fitting regularly in the bathroom, kitchen, or outside under the roof. With only 12V these lamps are suitable for humid rooms.
- G4: This lamp looks like the GU5.3, the pins are 4mm apart. They are usually used as mood lighting, in extractor hoods and desk lamps.
- G9: The two loops in this lamp are 9mm apart. You usually see them in a wall lamp or ceiling lamp.
Indoor or outdoor
With indoor lamps or outdoor lamps, we mainly mean whether the lamps are resistant to moisture, dust, and extreme temperatures. In part, the housing will offer protection; in extremely cold conditions not all lamps will perform equally well. The resistance is expressed in an IP value where IP2X is not suitable for outdoor use, IP4X is suitable for humid conditions and IP6X can still function in running water. When used outdoors or in the bathroom, pay attention to all components such as the lampshade, cabling, and switches.
In the case of incandescent lamps, the power is indicated in watts. This corresponds to a certain brightness. LED lighting also makes use of the wattage, but mainly to display the consumption. The actual light output is measured in lumens, the standard for measuring brightness. Because LED lamps function much more efficiently you can create much more light with a fraction of the power. An incandescent lamp generates 90% to 95% heat and only 5% to 10% light. With LEDs, the ratio is just the other way around.
Not all lamps are dimmable, you should certainly pay attention to this when buying LED lamps. A distinction can be made between luminaires with a transformer dimmer and lamps with a built-in dimmer. If, for example, you have a ceiling lamp that has a dimmer for old-fashioned incandescent lamps, you cannot just use LED lamps in it. Not even when the fitting fits. These transformers generate too much power to correctly dim low wattage lighting.
Old-fashioned light bulbs have a fixed color, with LED lighting you can choose between cool white, warm white, colored, or a combination of these colors. When you install smart lights you can use multicolor lamps to set standard scenarios. Think of a study scenario with bright cool light, cozy dining with warm white light, or a party with color changes.
These are the main considerations when buying new lamps. Especially with ‘smart’ lighting, many functions are built directly into the lamp, so you can continue to use ‘stupid’ fixtures. Keep dimmers and other electronics in the fixture in mind.
If you have any questions regarding light sources and light bulbs, please contact us for professional advice.