If you fit a lot of lighting, you’ll know the term ‘retrofit’. It refers to the new wave of bulbs that use the latest energy-saving technologies such as fluorescents and LEDs. They’re designed to look as much as possible like existing incandescent or halogen bulbs, perform as well as them (and ideally better) and most importantly fit into existing fittings, so you don’t have to replace anything in order to benefit from better bulb technology. That in itself wouldn’t be cost efficient.
Retrofit bulbs for GLS fittings are already widespread, especially in energy-saving stick, spiral and GLS pendant variants, with LED GLS bulbs catching up fast. These of course have the advantage of a great deal of space to play with, as the large existing bulb shape offers enough room for the lighting elements and the circuitry that powers them. Plus they don’t even need to be standard bulb shaped, as GLS fittings are often quite open.
It’s not been quite so easy to directly replace GU10 halogen spotlight bulbs, however. A traditional GU10 is incredibly compact, thanks to the tiny but powerful halogen bulb inside. Because of this, GU10 fittings tend to be flush, especially to ceilings, with absolutely no space to cram in any extra bulk. Manufacturers have been working hard to find a solution to this, as there is a massive market for GU10 bulbs – think of all the fashionable bars, hotels, boardrooms and shops with a ceiling littered with flush spotlights – and they’ve started finding solutions.
LED is an investment
When you take a look at the listing for one of the newer GU10 LED bulbs, the first thing that you might notice is the price, especially if you’ve got a ceiling dotted with fittings you need to fill. So if these bulbs are multiple times the price of a basic halogen GU10, what are you getting for that cash? I hear you ask. Well…
- Firstly, you’re getting a massive lifespan boost. The average GU10 LED bulb unit will last, depending on the model, between 25,000 to 40,000 hours. That’s up to twenty times longer than a halogen model!
- As well as offering a massive long-term saving through longevity, an LED unit draws a fraction of the power drawn by the equivalent halogen bulb, so you’ll see your electricity bills plummet rapidly.
- LED bulbs also give off a lot less heat than a halogen unit, so you’re less likely to see heat-damaged fittings, plus they can be used in situations where heat is an issue.</li
LED technology is improving fast
The sheer variety of LED GU10 bulbs has already eclipsed that of traditional bulbs. As well as current market-leaders in standard warm and cool white shades by Philips, Sylvania and GE, you can now get wide-angle and dimmable units for the first time. Or, if you have specific mood lighting effects in mind, you can not only get coloured bulbs but also ones that change colour according to a pre-programmed pattern. Surprisingly, these latter bulbs are far cheaper than standard LED GU10s, as they use a larger cluster of LEDs to provide the light.
LED GU10 bulbs have now even managed to achieve the same output levels as powerful halogen bulbs, with several 50-watt equivalents, and even a 65-watt equivalent on the market. This means there’s absolutely no reason not to replace power-hungry halogen bulbs with longer-lasting, cooler and cheaper-to-run LED units.
Take a look at our full range of GU10 LED bulbs.
Want to see what other LED light bulb options Lyco has to offer? Take a look at our full range of LED light bulbs.
For more advice, inspiration and news take a look at our Lighting Advice section.