Practical Guide to LED Lights

For everyone who would like detailed support with the switch to LED and more background knowledge, we have put together on this page what you need to consider during the individual steps – from the preliminary considerations, you have to make at home to shopping in stores and the proper disposal of used lamps.

  • Financial comparison: LEDs use up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent lamps and over 70 percent less than halogen lamps Also compared to energy-saving lamps(also known as compact fluorescent lamps) LED lamps are the more efficient alternative: energy-saving lamps only achieve around 50 percent of the light output of a good LED. The specific payback period depends not only on the specific purchase price and the respective model but also on how long the corresponding lamp burns every day: the more you use it or the longer it burns, the sooner the replacement pays off financially.
  • Ecological comparison: According to the evaluation, the comprehensive ecological balance is also LED lamps are better than halogen lamps or compact fluorescent lamps – although LED lamps are more complex to manufacture. This is due to their lower power consumption during use, which makes up the main part of the ecological balance. Electricity production causes large amounts of climate-damaging emissions and toxic waste.

How can I find out which lamp is installed in my luminaire?


Basically, you can come across the following types of lamps in your household: Classic incandescent lamps, fluorescent tubes, halogen, and compact fluorescent lamps – the latter is also known as energy-saving lamps – and maybe even LEDs.

  • Classic incandescent lamp (“bulb”): You can recognize this very easily: it is pear-shaped or candle-shaped and has a metal base for screwing and a glass at the top containing the tungsten wire, which is responsible for generating light. Classic applications are, for example, stairwell lighting or lampshades and ceiling lights in living rooms.
  • Halogen lamps: on the other hand, they usually have a spot- like design and are therefore often associated with “designer lamps”. However, they are also available in a conventional pear shape in which the filament is surrounded by a protective gas – a halogen. In the case of halogen lamps, a distinction is made between high-voltage and low-voltage:
  • High-voltage halogen lamps: use the normal mains voltage that can be found in households. (approx. 230 V) and usually have the following socket types: E27, E14, GU10, G9.
  • Low-voltage halogen lamps: Their voltage is usually 12 V and is therefore so low that all components can be touched without any problems. In order to be able to reduce the house voltage to this low voltage, a transformer ( “transformer” ) or switched-mode power supply is usually required. You can also recognize low-voltage halogen lamps by their base types: GU5.3 or GU4 / G4.
  • Fluorescent lamps/tubes (colloquially “neon tubes”): are – as the name suggests – tubular, and older models need a few seconds when switched on until they change from flickering to glowing. The tube diameter of fluorescent lamps is standardized. After the letter “T” there is the diameter. For example, a T5 tube has a diameter of around 5⁄8 inch or 16 mm. CAUTION: Fluorescent lamps – just like their more compact successors, the energy-saving lamps – contain toxic mercury.
  • Compact fluorescent lamp (“energy-saving lamp “): you can recognize it by the tube in which the gas discharge takes place. This is usually bent, coiled or folded several times in order to save space, hence the prefix “compact”.
  • LED lamp: this is a lamp that uses light-emitting diodes (LED) as light sources. LED lamps, which are based on conventional incandescent and fluorescent lamps in terms of mechanical dimensions and brightness, are often called LED retrofit lamps. An LED retrofit lamp can directly replace existing lamps without any further adjustments. For more information on how to find the best quality LED lighting products for you, you can read some well-researched reviews from sites like

How do I find the equivalent LED lamp for the lamp in my luminaire?


Take a close look at your luminaire and the lamp installed in it and answer the following questions if possible:

What dimensions can the LED lamp have so that it also fits into the luminaire?

In general, a lamp in the classic pear or candle shape can easily be replaced by an LED lamp in the same shape. The same goes for compact fluorescent lamps. You should still pay attention to the exact dimensions of the LED lamp. Due to their built-in electronics, LED lamps can be slightly larger in size than conventional light bulbs. You will find the information on this on the sales packaging. With halogen spots, in particular, you should make sure that the length of the LED alternative also fits into the luminaire.

  • Replacing an incandescent lamp: A comparison value “corresponds to an incandescent lamp with XX watts” is given on the LED lamp packaging, which helps you to select the correct lamp, the corresponding lumen value, you can then choose the right LED.
  • Replacing a halogen or energy-saving lamp: Conversion tables “Halogen or energy-saving lamps to LED” are available in most hardware stores and specialist shops. On the basis of this, you can use the watt information to find the corresponding lumen value for your new LED.

Do LED lamps contain mercury just like energy-saving lamps?


No, LED lights are mercury-free. However, the following other raw materials are used for the production of LEDs: arsenic, europium, yttrium, indium, and gallium. And for the last two metals at least, exhaustion of supplies is foreseeable. Europium and yttrium also belong to the group of rare earth, of which there are only a few deposits worldwide. In order to conserve these resources, LEDs should, therefore, be as durable as possible and properly disposed of or recycled after their service life. Improper disposal of LEDs can also lead to arsenic pollution in the environment due to their arsenic content.

It is recommended that lights which are suitable for efficient light sources – LED or energy-saving lamps, fluorescent tubes. This is the case if lamps with energy efficiency classes A ++, A +, or A are specified on the EU energy label of the luminaire. Ideally, such a lamp is already built-in when you buy it. Also, make sure that the light does not consume standby.

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