Lamp-based LED Light Fixtures vs. Integrated LED Luminaires


Staff member
Lamp-based light fixtures (or luminaires) use self-contained light sources (e.g. A19, GU10, BR30, PAR30 bulbs, and T8 tubes) which are known as lamps. The optical performance characteristics of these fixtures are built into the light source itself. The light fixture itself is essentially a holder, although in many lighting applications it also serves to control the distribution of emitted light and to aesthetically modify the appearance of light sources. Lamp-based LED light fixtures are basically light fixtures designed with a conventional concept. These products are generally transitional, as lamps are a superfluous element in the majority of LED lighting systems.

The performance of an LED system is the cumulative performance of its LEDs and other sub-systems which include the thermal path, driver and optics. No LED lighting solution today is without compromise. This is especially true to LED lamps which are developed as replacements for incandescent, fluorescent, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Lamps which are designed and constructed according to universal standards provide limited spaces for accommodating high-performing driver circuitry and thermal management systems. As market prices are dropping to commodity levels, achievable light quality, efficacies and lifetimes are further compromised. It's a sad fact that the absolute majority of LED lamps available on the market are crappy products. Not only their lifetimes and efficacies significantly shorter fall short of what people had expected from LED technology, the key qualities of light—flicker control and color rendering—are nowhere comparable to the obsolete incandescent technology.

Many people are not aware that their stylish name-brand light fixtures may be equipped with high flicker, low CRI, and short-lived LED lamps. This seems kind of ridiculous. You can afford expensive light fixtures, but you do not get what you invested because the light sources are so crappy!

An integrated LED luminaire is an integrated assembly of light sources, LED driver, and other optical, thermal, mechanical and electrical components. The light sources are not LED bulbs or tubes, but rather they take in the form of LED packages (components), LED arrays (modules), or LED light engines. Although the good and bad may also be intermingled as for the performance and reliability of integrated LED luminaires, these light fixtures are usually designed and engineered to unleash the full potential of LEDs or to optimize the most important qualities of lighting when some trade-offs have to be made. The performance of the luminaires is derived from the LEDs in conjunction with the luminaire's thermal, electrical, and optical system.

Integrated LED luminaires typically use their housings to maximize heat dissipation. Efficient thermal management reduces the onset of failure mechanisms that can be accelerated by high operating temperatures. Direct integration of LEDs allows effective delivery of the light using tailor-made optics while reducing the size of the lighting system. Integrated systems provide adequate space to accommodate high-performing, full-featured driver and control assemblies that are usually large in volume. A main inconvenience with integrated LED luminaires is field replacement and upgrade of the light source. In order to address this complexity, light sources for integrated systems are increasingly be designed as modular assemblies that can be easily replaced.