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GU10 or Integrated LED Downlights?


Since the arrival of the technologically advanced integrated LED downlight in 2010, consumers are now faced with the choice between integrated or replaceable GU10 downlights. Each type of downlight has advantages and disadvantages over the other, but which one is better?

The main strength of an integrated downlight is also its main weakness. Integrated LED downlights have a much longer life expectancy but the LED is none replaceable. They are designed to last for 50,000 to 75,000 hours but in the event of a failure you have to replace the entire fitting.

Integrated LED Downlights are not for Pessimists

While the optimistic view will be that they will ‘last forever’. Pessimists will ask "What happens when they fail?" If they do fail they need to be disconnected from the mains and replaced with the same fitting so that they match.

Downlights.co.uk has been selling integrated LED downlights since they launched and sometimes they do fail but the failure rate is very low, much lower when compared to GU10 LEDs. Failure rates can vary but if you invest in high quality downlights such as EcoLED or Halers then the failure rate is negligible, lower than 0.5%.

Another advantage of choosing a leading brand like these is that the design rarely changes, they have perfected their products like Volkswagen have done with their Polo or Golf models of cars.

To provide consumers with more confidence on this new technology manufacturers offer longer guarantees of 5 to 7 years, compared to 3 to 5 years for GU10. Integrated downlights are generally brighter, look better but cost more. While GU10 downlights have replaceable LEDs and usually cost less but are less reliable.

Reliability

Overheating is the number one cause of LED failure; integrated LED downlights are designed to deal with heat dissipation more effectively. Because the fitting is manufactured specifically around the LED they are designed to last around twice as long and are more reliable.

They are fitted with a much more substantial, advanced heat sink that effectively transfers the excess heat away from the LED chip allowing it to run cooler for longer. This design also allows for bigger and brighter LED chips to be used.

In comparison to GU10 downlights you are often mixing together two random brands of products that were designed exclusively for use with each other. Over the years we have also found that we get a higher failure rate when GU10 LEDs are used in traditional fire can style downlights. This is because the fire can restricts airflow to the LED and allows heat to build up, this is less of an issue if they are not left on for longer periods as the heat doesn’t have time to generate.

Not all GU10 fire rated downlights have this weakness, the Ansell iCage is open rated and fire rated. This unique combination allows the GU10 Led to ventilate and we’ve also concluded that when the iCage is fitted with a Philips GU10 LED it is even more reliable than an integrated downlight.

Selection Process

Often the demands of the individual lighting project can help to determine which downlight to go for. If you've got a low ceiling void space and you need a fire rating then you can rule out most GU10 downlights as they are at least 100mm in depth. Integrated ones are much more compact in size and can be as shallow as 40mm while maintaining a superior lighting effect of over 400 lumens.

By using our new compare products feature you can quickly compare up to 3 downlights, just click on the compare products box from the product or the category. Here is an example of the Ansell Icage versus the EcoLED ZEP1:

Summary

The integrated downlight is better, although it really does depend on which types of downlight brands and models you are comparing. Your next question might be which downlight?

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