There are a number of very good dimmable GU10 or GU5.3 retrofit LED light bulbs available – By ‘retrofit’ we’re talking about light bulbs the same size and shape of conventional halogen lamps, designed to retrofit into existing light fittings – That said there’s a huge quantity of very poor quality LED light bulbs on the market. In many cases retrofit GU10’s struggle to compete with light output, colour, and quality of halogen. In all cases they struggle to complete with the smooth dimming performance of halogen. However the energy and cost savings can’t be ignored (typically an LED equivalent uses 90% less power), so here we list some tips for replacing existing lamps with LED.
Go for recognised brands and check for warrantees being offered. A good LED GU10 will last 20,000 hours. Cheap products may save you a few pound initially, but they wont last for long.
If possible test one to ensure it fits inside the light fitting. Some retrofits vary very slightly in height and depth.
If you’re using a dimmer, make sure the lamp is dimmable and compatible with your existing dimmer switches. Often dimmer switches will need replacing with dedicated LED dimmers (see point 4).
Check minimum and maximum number of lamps suitable for the dimmer switch. Many dimmers are designed for high loads from halogen lamps and struggle to dim the lower loads of LED. Many dimmers require more than 1 light bulb on the circuit and can only hand a maximum of 10.
Check the colour temperature of the LED your buying. They’re normally available in 2700k or 2800k (very warm white), 3000k (warm white) or 4000k (cool white). Lamps with a 2700K or 2800k colour temperature will closely match existing halogen lighting.
Check voltage is correct; GU10 lamps are design to run from mains 230v, whereas GU5.3 lamps are low voltage 12V and require a 12v transformer.
If using GU5.3 12V lamps check your transformer is compatible and there’s no noise when using them with LED lamps. Some can create a buzz or hum, especially when trying to dim LEDs.
If you do have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with the Lighting Design Studio.