LED Lamps vs. Integrated Lighting Fixtures

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Both LED lamps and integrated lighting fixtures have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages.

An integrated lighting fixture is a complete outdoor light fixture assembly, which includes a built in LED or halogen lamp. Though integrated lighting fixtures simplify lighting system installation, they also pose difficulties in terms of maintenance and lighting upgrades.

The primary advantage of choosing LED lamp-based products is flexibility.
Illumicare Outdoor LED Light 2X MR16

Throughout North America, there are hundreds of thousands of existing landscape lighting fixture installations that have the ability to be upgraded to a much more efficient technology by simply switching out the existing lamp.

This option is much less costly than removing and replacing integrated LED fixtures when beam spreads, color temperatures or even parts need to be changed.

When you consider LED lamp-based products, the sheer volume of choice is staggering.

Currently, there are more non-integrated lighting fixture manufacturers than integrated lighting manufacturers. Non-integrated lighting fixtures offer a wider variety of fixture colors, textures, shapes  and sizes, which can be installed in new designs with LED light bulbs in a variety of configurations, from MR16 to SCB and G4 BiPins to S8 Wedge bases.

Flexibility of design is another huge LED lamp advantage. LED based MR16 lamps are available in a variety of color temperature and beam spreads to accommodate the discerning landscape designer’s eye.  Few, if any, integrated LED fixtures offer the same flexibility of design, and many require a complete fixture change to achieve the same results.

A Quick Comparison of LED Lamps and Integrated Lighting Fixtures:
LED Lamps Integrated LED Fixtures
Pros

  • Fit into most new and existing fixtures from a variety of manufacturers
  • Flexibility of design, offering many beam spreads and color temperatures
  • Lower cost installations and retrofit
  • Fastest return on investment with energy savings

Cons

  • Currently limited lumen output to approximately
    20W halogen equivalent
Pros

  • Higher lumen output equivalent to 35 or 50W halogen

Cons

  • Greater cost to retrofit
  • Less choice of fixtures
  • Less design options
The perceived limitation of a lamp-based LED product is intensity of light.

Given such a small form factor, and considering that heat as an enemy to the life of LED chips, it is very difficult to achieve a comparable lumen output to some higher wattage integrated LED fixtures.  With that in mind, lumen output on existing LED lamps is suitable for most applications, and newer technologies are opening up possibilities for higher lumen lamps to negate this minor limitation.

As LED lighting technologies continue to evolve at a rapid pace, new LED lamps will eliminate the challenge of creating outstanding designs with less power and less light to establish more subtle and efficient lighting effects.