Lamps, luminaires, LED - What's the difference?

Luminaires: Commonly referred to as a lamp. In other words, anything that is connected directly to the power supply with a cable or powered by a rechargeable battery. These include pendant or floor lamps, night lights or patio lamps. They contain either built-in or replaceable light sources.

Light sources: neon tubes, energy-saving lamps, (incandescent) "bulbs". All products that can be screwed into a luminaire and then light up. Light sources themselves cannot be connected to a power supply. This is only done indirectly via the lampholder of the luminaire.

Incandescent bulb: The light from incandescent bulbs is generated by a strongly heated and therefore glowing tungsten wire. The typical bulb shape of the classic Edison light bulb has led to light bulbs being referred to as incandescent bulbs in everyday language. They are no longer manufactured and have been banned in Switzerland since 2009. The reason: they consume too much electricity.

Halogen lamp: This is also an incandescent lamp. It contains halogens or another inert gas to extend the life of the tungsten wire while saving energy. Halogen lamps have been banned in Switzerland since September 2023. Reason: they consume too much electricity.

Fluorescent tube: Technical term for LF lamp, fluorescent lamp, "neon tube" or energy-saving lamp. They are available in a wide variety of forms: as tubes, ring or rod-shaped, with plug-in or screw sockets. They have been banned since August 2023. Reason: it contains mercury.

Neon tube: This is probably the best-known fluorescent tube. It was invented in 1909 by the Frenchman Georges Claude and was filled with the noble gas neon, which provided an orange-coloured light. Formerly frequently used for neon signs, this task is now mostly fulfilled by LEDs.

Energy-saving lamp: It owes its name primarily to the fact that its luminous efficacy of 60 lm/W was five times higher than that of the incandescent lamps used in the past. However, like all fluorescent tubes, energy-saving lamps contain mercury and have therefore been banned since August 2023.

LED: The Light Emitting Diode works with semiconductors. LED lamps are even more efficient than energy-saving lamps: they have a luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W and last up to 50,000 hours. They are therefore regarded as the lighting technology of the future.