E ase of use and maintenance, relative cost savings, the ability to retain existing lighting, and certain traditional aesthetic design features are some of the reasons clients choose incandescent lamping.

Lamping codes: NA, ND, NA/U, ND/U

Incandescent Technology

Whether traditional incandescent filament lamps are used or LED and CFL replacement lamps, light fixtures that use this technology–that is, a screwbase, bi-pin, or twist-lock socket, and straight two-wire standard electrical wiring–are classified as incandescent fixtures (lamping codes NA, ND, NA/U, ND/U).


New Efficiency Standards

Many traditional incandescent lamps have been phased out by legislation worldwide and in the U.S. due to new energy efficiency benchmarks. However, these lamps remain the reference standard for LED and compact fluorescent replacement lamping. Additionally, a number of specialty incandescent lamps remain available, such as decorative low-wattage candle style and globe lamps, halogen lamps, reflector flood lamps, appliance lamps, and others.

Incandescent technology remains a good choice for many fixture styles.

Grace Sconce 3573-WAC, design by Barry Goralnick
Many fixture styles require incandescent lamping. Mirror Bracket Sconce, Goralnick Home Collection.

• • •


Crenshaw Restoration Crystal Chandelier 4530-PAR
Traditional chandeliers with open lampholders require decorative candle style incandescent lamping

• • •


Incandescent Lamps

Incandescent lamps have historically been available in a great variety of shapes, sizes, wattages, lumen outputs, and envelope colors.


    View Lamp Styles, Wattages, & Lumens


LED & CFL Replacement Lamps

LED & CFL replacement lamps vary widely in performance, features, and sizes. Crenshaw does not endorse any particular brand or style of replacement lamp. However, we recommend purchasing only UL listed lamps.


    View Lamp Styles, Wattages, & Lumens


The Upsides

  • beautiful light quality – near-perfect color-rendering values with incandescent and halogen
  • aesthetically pleasing for many traditional designs
  • required by some traditional designs
  • warm lighting (not including cool daylight, grow lamps, and other specialty lamps)
  • easy to replace lamps
  • lowest lamp costs (when traditional incandescent and halogen is used)
  • lowest up-front fixture costs
  • easy to maintain and repair electrical
  • easy to diagnose most system failures – visual/auditory inspection will quickly identify a burnt out lamp, eliminating the added process of replacing ballasts, drivers, and boards often required to identify the failure point with fluorescent and LED systems
  • halogen has been the benchmark standard for museum applications due to its combination of near-perfect CRI and neutral warm white color temperature
  • many specialized applications depend on the superior color-rendering-at-low-cost that halogen lamping can provide
  • halogen lamps are still exempt from U. S. efficiency standards
  • instant on to full brightness with incandescent and LED replacement lamps
  • negligible toxicity issues with incandescent lamps
  • energy efficient LED & CFL replacement options are varied and plentiful for most lamp styles
  • aesthetic features for replacement lamps are improving rapidly as the technology develops
  • UL general coverage categories apply to many types of incandescent lamping configurations (but not all). When general coverage applies, this eliminates UL/CSA listing fees, and shortens lead times.

The Downsides

  • low lumens per watt equates to higher energy costs with traditional incandescent and halogen
  • many workhorse incandescent lamps, such as the 75 & 100W A19, are no longer available, due to higher efficiency standards in the U.S. and worldwide
  • most incandescent and halogen lamps have a relatively short lamp life, which equates to higher maintenance costs for replacing lamps
  • most incandescent and halogen lamps are fragile
  • frequent issues with audible hum when dimming incandescent and self-ballasted lamps
  • mercury vapor toxicity issues with CFL replacement lamps (e.g., twister style lamps), special  clean-up procedures required for breakage, hazardous waste disposal issues. Read EPA’s guidelines.
  • higher upfront lamp costs for LED & CFL replacement lamps, particularly for certain specialty lamps such as high output LED reflector flood lamps
  • LED replacements for high output incandescent reflector floods, such as the 300W R40, are not yet available on the market
  • LED & CFL replacement lamps have yet to match the color-rendering performance of incandescent and halogen
  • many LED replacement lamps exhibit significantly more focused hotspotting and shadowing than traditional incandescents
  • many CFL replacement lamps such as twister style lamps, take time to warm up to full brightness, particularly in cold outdoor settings
  • many find the light quality from CFL replacement lamps to be unsatisfactory due to flicker, which creates a muddy light quality
  • CFL replacement lamps tend to fade and take on a noticeably dingy light quality at the end of their useful life
  • fewer LED & CFL replacement lamp options exist for outdoor fully enclosed applications
  • certain contemporary fixture styles such as those employing long flat panels or very low profile lens areas are not suited for incandescent or LED/CFL replacement lamping