Are Drop-In Bulbs a Thing of the Past?

Like many of you, Sterling Lighting co-founder, Patrick Harders, used to install fixtures with drop-in (or retro-fit) bulbs. After all, drop-in bulbs were inexpensive and easy to replace! But then, in 2010, he discovered something that changed the way he viewed drop-in bulbs.

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A few months ago, I attended the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professional’s (AOLP) meeting and one of the speakers spoke about something we discovered in 2010: drop-in bulbs are unable to properly dissipate heat.

Proper heat dissipation is something that we’re always looking into. After all, heat is the number one enemy when it comes to landscape lighting.

The problem is, the fixtures you use with drop-in bulbs were designed for halogen light sources. When you use a drop-in bulb, there’s a gap of air between the fixture and the LED. Air does not dissipate the heat well, which means heat is trapped inside the fixture.

This heat is what causes premature failures in drop-in bulbs.

While drop-in bulbs are the most prominent kind of light source out there at the moment, I strongly recommend looking at other options.

Drop-in bulbs do not have the lifespan your customers are expecting. They think LEDs will last forever. However, back when I was using drop-ins, after the second or third year, I started noticing more and more failures. And more failures means more time spent on service calls and less time generating profitable business for your company.

I believe the lighting industry has advanced past drop-in bulbs. However, if drop-ins are a thing of the past, the question then is: what are the other options out there?

A few months ago, I attended the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professional’s (AOLP) meeting and one of the speakers spoke about something we discovered in 2010: drop-in bulbs are unable to properly dissipate heat.

Proper heat dissipation is something that we’re always looking into. After all, heat is the number one enemy when it comes to landscape lighting.

The problem is, the fixtures you use with drop-in bulbs were designed for halogen light sources. When you use a drop-in bulb, there’s a gap of air between the fixture and the LED. Air does not dissipate the heat well, which means heat is trapped inside the fixture.

This heat is what causes premature failures in drop-in bulbs.

While drop-in bulbs are the most prominent kind of light source out there at the moment, I strongly recommend looking at other options.

Drop-in bulbs do not have the lifespan your customers are expecting. They think LEDs will last forever. However, back when I was using drop-ins, after the second or third year, I started noticing more and more failures. And more failures means more time spent on service calls and less time generating profitable business for your company.

I believe the lighting industry has advanced past drop-in bulbs. However, if drop-ins are a thing of the past, the question then is: what are the other options out there?