Retrofit vs Replacing a Light Fixture: Infographic

There has always seemingly been a debate on whether to retrofit existing light fixtures or to just replace the existing fixtures all together. More specifically in this post, we are talking about when someone is wanting to make the switch over to LED lights, typically away from older and less efficient lighting sources (like metal halide bulbs).

Now, the reason why this debate or controversy has long lived is really for one reason. This reason is that companies that sell retrofit kits specifically, advocate that they are the only way to go. While on the contrary, companies that focus on selling all new LED fixtures, advocate that replacing existing fixtures entirely is the way to go.

Retrofitting vs Replacing: Infographic

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So instead of continuing this debate from sources that are bias and one-sided on the topic, we are going to go over the reasons in which it makes most sense to retrofit and then the reasons when it would make most sense to just fully replace your existing fixtures.

Reasons to Retrofit

For anyone who doesn't already know what retrofitting is, retrofitting in simplest terms is the addition of new technology or features to older systems. In the world of lighting this simply means we are taking out the lighting source from a fixture and replacing it with a newer one. Where-as replacing means to replace the entire fixture, not just the lighting source within the fixture. So, what exactly are some reasons you should retrofit your existing fixtures? Well, here they are:
  • Retrofitting existing fixtures is cheaper in all aspects
Think about it, which would be cheaper: to replace something entirely, or just partially? Of course partially! When you retrofit an existing fixture, you aren't getting rid of everything. Thus, you aren't going to be paying as much due to the reuse of some old materials. Also, it is typically cheaper to ship out retrofit kits over entirely new fixtures due to them being smaller and lighter.
  • Save the old, partially
If you already have a large investment in your lighting fixtures and just don't want to fully get rid of them, retrofitting will give you the flexibility to move over to newer technology while keeping your existing fixtures.
  • They perform and last the same as new fixtures
Common myths say that retrofitting an existing fixture isn't the same performance wise compared to an all new fixture. But in fact, they operate at the same efficiencies as new fixtures. Better yet, they even have the same life span as long as they are installed properly. 

Reasons to Replace

Wondering what exactly are the reasons why it makes sense to just fully replace your existing lighting fixtures? Well, here are the reasons:
  • Old and deteriorating fixtures
Not only if the light is on it's way out, but if the fixture is as well, then it is probably a safe bet to fully update your lighting fixtures entirely. If your personal circumstances require waterproof fixtures, sometimes you will have to fully replace your fixtures when they die out. This is because retrofit kits aren't waterproof in all instances. 

Keep In Mind

  While the above reasons are some specific reasons in which you may want to retrofit or fully replace your existing fixtures, here are some extra things to keep in mind while deciding on which route to take:  
  • It takes slightly longer to retrofit a fixture than it does to fully replace it
  • Never purchase based on watts - pay attention to the lumens it produces and ensure you understand what that mean
  • Rebates are available for both retrofits and full fixture replacements


Hopefully by now this post has helped end the debate on retrofitting vs replacing of your existing light fixtures. Always remember that there are benefits and negatives to both options and it all depends on an individual basis and should never be decided upon from limited information and opinions. Be sure to inform yourself about LED technology to get a better understanding of how it all works, and even more knowledge that will help you make the right decision when it comes time to either retrofit or replace your lighting fixtures.

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