- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 01 Dec 2021
Types of lamp
The term ‘lamp’ refers specifically to a light source, typically comprising a light-emitting element contained within an outer bulb or tube, which generally emits radiation within the visible spectrum.
The term is also used more widely to describe products such as table lamps and floor lamps, although these should more correctly be referred to as light fittings. Light fittings (or sometimes light fixtures) can comprise lamps, lampholders, control gear, housings, and so on.
Lamps may include a reflector and a lens to control the beam angle (or beam spread), they may be dimmable, they can have a range of brightness, beam angle and colour, and can be used to provide direct or indirect light.
Lamp intensity (or power density) is the overall power output of a lamp across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, generally expressed in Watts (W). This is not a measure of the brightness of the lamp, as some of a lamp’s output may be in non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Lamp beam angle or beam spread is the angle of the cone of light emitted by reflectorised lamps, measured from the centre of the beam to the line where the intensity of the beam is 50% of the maximum.
 Types of lamp
There are a wide variety of different types of lamp available:
In September 2018, the use of halogen lamps was banned across Europe. While remaining stocks are allowed to be sold, and low voltage incandescents used in oven lights will be exempt, the ban is intended to bring about a switch to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which consume five times less energy than halogen lamps.
Extra-low voltage lamps are small halogen lamps producing two or three times the light output of conventional filament lamps. They are typically powered from a separate 12 V source and have increased efficiency and lamp life. As the heating effect is lower, they can be preferable for display lighting
Discharge lamps, sometimes referred to as arc discharge lamps, discharge an electric current through a gas or gas/metal vapour mix. Discharge lamps may be fluorescent lamps or High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps.
Fluorescent lamps discharge an electric current through an inert gas and low pressure mercury vapour to produce ultraviolet (UV) energy. This generates ultraviolet radiation, which is converted into visible light by a phosphor coating on the inner face of the glass. The type of coating determines the spectrum of light emitted.
 High intensity discharge lamps (HID)
High intensity discharge lamps are formed by compact arc tubes which enclose gas and metal salts. When the arc has formed, the metal salts evaporate, forming plasma which increases the intensity and reduces the power consumption of the arc. HIDs are typically mercury, metal halide (MH), ceramic metal halide (CMH) or high-pressure sodium (HPS).
 Light-emitting diodes LED
LEDs contain solid semi-conductor materials that convert electrical impulses into light. They may include fluorescent materials that alter the colour of the light. They have a similar efficiency to CFLs but are longer lasting.
- Architectural LED market.
- Artificial lighting.
- Ballast or control gear.
- Colour appearance.
- Colour Rendering Index CRI.
- Dichroic reflector.
- Discharge lamp.
- Electromagnetic spectrum.
- Extra-low voltage lamps.
- General lighting v task lighting.
- Health and wellbeing impacts of natural and artificial lighting.
- Lamp efficacy.
- Lava lamp.
- LED lights.
- Light fitting.
- Lighting and energy efficiency.
- Lighting and health infographic.
- Lighting energy numeric indicator LENI.
- Lighting of construction sites.
- Light Pollution - Human Health Impacts from LEDs.
- Luminaire efficacy.
- Luminous flux.
- Power factor.
- Seeley Library.
- Space classifications for lighting controls.
- Specialist process lighting.
- The essential guide to retail lighting.
- The impact of lighting in retail design.
- Types of lighting.
Featured articles and news
How Islamic architecture shaped Europe. Book review.
The campaign to preserve a rare blacksmith bridge.
Transitional options for the next generation of heating technologies.
Additional support being offered to job seekers with autism.
Six ways to help our children learn.
BSRIA adds to its series of illustrated guides.
ECA calls for energy levy reform.
ICE considers creation of new professional designation.
Principles of conservation for bronze objects. Book review.
The untapped potential of charities, community organisations and social enterprises.