Can LED Lights Be Used in Any Fixture?

The shortest answer is yes! LED lights can be used in any fixture your current lights use. Exceptions to this are few and far between.
Can LED Lights Be Used in Any Fixture - Yes They Can
Can LED Lights Be Used in Any Fixture? The Answer is Yes!
Below is a brief explanation of some of the most common fixtures in use in the United States and some of the LED lights that will work in the these fixtures. 

LED Track Lighting Fixtures

LED MR16s in standard track fixture
Track lights are often used in homes, retail locations, art galleries and more. The fixture comes in two or more components. There is usually a long strip that is fastened to the ceiling with an open slot running down the center. This strip is electrified with 110 or 12 volts, depending on the type of light. The second piece is a fixture that can be snapped into place anywhere on the track. This allows you to easily change the location of the fixture and change the direction of the light. There are three commonly used type of bases, and there are LED lights that can be used on all three types: 

GU10 and GU5.3 Base MR16 fixtures

A GU10 base
MR16s are a type of bulb that feature two sorts of bases. The GU10 and the GU5.3. MR16s are usually a little less than two inches in diameter and two inches in length, not including the pins. LED MR16s are made to match these dimensions and are made in both base types. 
A GU5.3 base

 Medium base track fixtures

Bulbs with a standard base, called an E26 can also be used on track lights. These are usually called PAR-shape bulbs, because the halogen bulbs used a parabolic reflector to direct the light. LEDs lend themselves well to the spotlight design, and so there are LEDs for virtually every kind of track fixture. 
The most common sized bulbs for track fixtures are: 
  • PAR20: 2.5 inch diameter 
  • PAR30: 3.75 inch diameter
  • PAR38: 4.75 inch diameter
LEDs are available in all of these sizes. 

Tracks with a medium base come in a variety of designs, which most LED lights should fit. 
  • Gimbal Fixtures: These have a "halo" shaped ring that fits over the face of the bulb, and often have a cap over the socket which is attached by a cord. This then screws onto the base. The ring gives it a clean look and makes it easy to rotate the lights. LED lights use standard dimensions, so there should be no issues placing most LEDs into these fixtures.
  • "Can" fixture. These units have a socket for the base that fits a standard bulb. They may have a "can" shaped metal shield that the bulb fits into. This covers the bulb completely. LEDs will have no problem fitting into these. But make sure to check the length of the bulb vs. the length of the can, as the bulbs come in both long, and short neck variations. 
These include most "Juno"  and "Halo" type lamp fixtures, if you are familiar with those terms.

LED Recessed Ceiling Fixtures

LED PAR38s used in recessed can (or ceiling) fixtures
A Halogen Ceiling Fixture or Can Fixture
Ceiling fixtures, like the one pictured above, direct light downward and hide the light inside of the ceiling. These are very common in homes, retail locations and offices. These use the same type of bulbs as many of the track fixtures we discussed before:

  • PAR38: Can fixtures using a PAR38 have a 5" diameter. A standard LED PAR38 will easily fit into this fixture. 
  • PAR30: Can fixtures using a PAR30 have 4" diameter. A standard LED PAR30 will easily fit into  
  • PAR20: Can fixtures using a PAR30 have 3" diameter. A standard LED PAR30 will easily fit into 
  • G24 fluorescent lamp: These use a two pin or four pin locking system to lock the 2-3" fluorescent tubes into place inside of the can. It is possible to use an LED in these systems by attaching a G24 adaptor to a standard E26 base. But the G24 uses a ballast to change voltage, and this will have to be removed so that the LED can receive the standard 110 volts. 

Fluorescent Tube Light Fixtures - T8 and T12

A T8 fluorescent panel fixture
T8 and T12 fluorescent lights come in sizes between 1-8 feet in length. They use two pins on either end of the tube to lock into place in the fixture. These are the most common lighting in offices and other work environments.
LED tubes come in 1", 2", and 4" sizes. Many will require you to bypass the existing ballast in order to install the LED. 

Wall sconces and Chandeliers

Candelabra with the Dew Drop LED candelabra
Chandeliers and wall sconces typically use candelabra shaped lights. These bulbs often have a glass dome that mimics the look of a candle. Typically they use a smaller E12 screw in base, rather than the medium E26 base found on a standard light bulb. LED lights are available in the candelabra shape and with both E12 and E26 bases.

1 comment:

  1. I've been searching for info about LED's and how they interface with incandecents and this is the first I've found.... I want to make sure I buy the proper tracks that LED's fit for sure B4 I buy and somehow it's not easy to track this info down on big companies and small companies websites! Thanks!