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Why Upgrade to LED Lighting?

Before we get into the how, we first want to address the why.

So, why should you be upgrading to LED lighting? Well, truthfully there are a myriad of reasons why LED lighting is an improvement over metal halide fixtures.

Not only were LEDs specifically designed to be more durable and energy-efficient, but they are also powerful money saving appliances that improve the environment around them and improve worker efficiency.

You can read, in detail, about all of the benefits of LED lighting here, but we’ll highlight some of the biggest benefits LEDs have over all types of lighting, not just metal halides, below. 

Cri Berries


The general theme of LEDs is that they do more with less.

They consume fewer watts and produce better, brighter light.

And, in addition to this, LEDs are much more durable and have a longer lifespan than other bulbs.

Because of these two things, LEDs save you a significant amount of money on both energy bills and maintenance costs.


Safety lighting is much more than just ensuring that all areas are well-lit in an effort to combat accidents.

And, although that is a benefit of good lighting, that can be achieved with any bulb.

When we discuss LEDs and safety, we’re referring to the fixture’s ability to keep an environment safe.

LED lights do not contain harmful chemicals or vapors and are much more resistant to breaking than other bulbs.

Light Quality

CRI, or Color Rendering Index, is a measure of the quality of light that is emitted from a fixture.

LEDs naturally have a higher CRI than other bulbs and offer a higher CRI range, so if you need high-quality lighting, LEDs are absolutely the way to go.

And, in facilities like factories, where precision tasks are performed, or sports stadiums, where events are televised, having lights with a high CRI is absolutely imperative. 

What Are Metal Halide Retrofit Kits?

Now that we’ve covered the why we can move onto the how. Metal Halide fixtures are by far one of the most common lights for commercial and industrial locations. 

They are most often used for parking lot lights, floodlights, wall packs, high masts, and street lights, although you can find them pretty much anywhere.

And, though they may have once been the top choice for lighting, today they are well-known for being inefficient and ineffective.

Because of this, many people are upgrading to LED lighting. And, that’s where retrofit kits come in.  

An LED retrofit kit is a set of LED components that allows you to replace the metal halide components with LED components using the existing fixture.

They help cut the initial costs of converting to LED lighting and offer a more accessible way for facilities to modernize. 

commercial LED lighting

Why Retrofit a Fixture Instead of Replacing It?

There are a couple of reasons to retrofit a fixture as opposed to replacing the entire thing, but most often people decide to retrofit in order to save money.

Replacement is often not the best or the most economical option to upgrade your lights.

Aside from wants to save money, facility managers sometimes find that their original fixtures are expensive, and replacing them would be a costly proposition.

And, if the fixtures have any historic value, it would require significant permitting to replace them.

In addition to this, some lighting installations require expensive engineering drawings to replace the light fixtures.

Retrofitting allows facility managers to upgrade their lighting without dealing with any of these hassles.

It offers significant savings, because you don’t have to pay for new fixtures, and has much simpler installation needs.

But, now everyone is a candidate for retrofitting. If your fixtures are in bad condition or extremely old, retrofitting is likely not your best option.

We always recommend touching base with a specialist to determine whether or not your facility’s lights are a good candidate for retrofitting. 

Parking Lot Lighting

Why are Metal Halide lights referred to as HID Lights?

HID, or High-Intensity Discharge, is a family of lights that include metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and mercury vapor bulbs.

These types of lights are essentially a bulb and ballast combination of extremely bright lights, which is why they are popular for commercial and industrial applications.

So although all metal halide lights are HIDs, not all HIDs are metal halides.

However, when we discuss metal halide bulbs, know that the same information applies to both high-pressure sodium and mercury vapor as well.

What Metal Halide Bulbs Can You Replace with LED Retrofit Kits?

The retrofit kits we offer can replace everything from 150 Watts Metal Halide to well over 1000 Watts.

For the most common bulbs, here are the most common replacement kits for the most common metal halide wattages.

1. Replace 150 Watt Metal Halide: 30 Watt LED Retrofit Kit

2. Replace 250 Watt Metal Halide: 75 Watt LED Retrofit Kit

3. Replace 400 Watt Metal Halide: 100 Watt LED Retrofit Kit

4. Replace 1000 Watt Metal Halide: 280 Watt LED Retrofit Kit

Retrofitting Metal Halide Fixtures 101

Replacement Parts

Typically, we are replacing the bulb, ballast, and socket with LED Heads, LED Drivers, and mounting hardware.

We can also remove the reflector inside the fixture.

It is not needed (LED is directional and there is no light to reflect) and it opens the fixture space up for more cooling air space, which helps save you money on cooling costs. 

Are Retrofit Kits Water Proof? 

Our LED HID Retrofit Kits easily install inside an IP rated indoor or outdoor fixture, but they are not water proof.

However, if you keep them dry, they will perform without issue for years. For outdoor use, your fixture must be rated IP65 or higher.

The retrofit kits are not IP65 rated, so they should never be installed in a space where they are exposed to the outdoor elements or heavy amounts of moisture.

LED Retrofit Kits and Lighting Controls


Although they do work with dimmers, an LED retrofit kid will need a special 0-10V dimmable LED driver.

These are typically 2 extra wires found on the driver, one grey and one purple.

They can be attached to 0-10V dimmer switches or controls that allow dimming, like motion sensors.

Motion Sensors & Photocells

Unlike metal halide lights, which take a while to warm up, LED lights instantly turn on and off.

Because of this, they are an excellent lighting choice to use in conjunction with lighting controls.

And, offers another way for you to save money while upgrading your lighting through mitigated energy costs.

10 Steps on How to Install a LED Retrofit Kit

How easy is it to install a retrofit kit inside an existing fixture? It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3.

    1. Turn off the Power to the existing fixture, and open the fixture up to expose the bulb and ballast.
    2. Remove the bulb, ballast and socket from the fixture.
    3. Remove the reflector – only if the reflector is not part of the fixture’s watertight seal.
    4. Install the LED driver in the location of the old HID Ballast. Wire the driver to the same wires that powered the ballast.
    5. Configure the mounting arm for your fixture. Install the arm to the fixture and then install the LED Head to the mounting arm.
    6. Connect the wires of the LED Head to the wires of the LED Driver.
    7. Position and aim the LED Head to optimize light distribution.
    8. Remove the protective plastic cover from the LED head.
    9. Clean the glass of the fixture (if required) and close the fixture.
    10. Turn the power back on.

LED Efficiency

LED Lighting Supply has some of the most efficient commercials LED HID Retrofit Kits available.

Looking for a 400-watt Metal Halide bulb upgrade? Our 100 Watt LED conversion retrofit produces 15,550 lumens.

That’s 155 lumens per watt, which is astronomically better than the HID bulb.

Why Does It Matter?

Consider some of the other competitive retrofit kit options available.

One of these is a 340 W retrofit unit producing 39000 lumens @ 114.7 lumens per watt. In comparison, our 350 Watt retrofit kit produces 50,750 lumens @ 145 lumens per watt.

Even our 280 Watt unit produces more lumens (43,120) than their 340 Watt unit. We produce more light and consume 60 Watts less energy.

Converting to LED saves money by using less electricity. Why would you choose old and outdated LED technology?

Retrofit Kits & UL and/or ETL Certification

One of the many, many reasons facilities convert to LED lighting is to earn rebates from their power company.

In order to do so, however, the lights usually need to be UL or ETL certified. Luckily, the retrofit kits we sell are all tested to the UL1598C retrofit kit specification.

This means UL and ETL test the retrofit kits installed inside and the existing HID fixtures to make sure it performs safely.

The UL1598C is a retrofit kit certification, which ensures that the fixture is safe when you follow the installation instructions and can earn rebates. 

High Voltage LED Retrofit Kits

We have solutions that cover these higher voltage installations.

Constant current drivers can handle everything from 100V to 277V. Higher voltage drivers can handle 277V to 480V.

We can handle single or 3-phase power as well. Talk to our sales engineers and we can get your lighting situation taken care of.

480V High Voltage

The standard driver with our HID Retrofit Kits are 100V to 277V. Tell our sales engineer that you need a high voltage solution so we can ship you our high voltage drivers.

led lighting in an industrial building

Mogul Socket Adapters & LED Retrofit Kits

Many old fixtures have an E39 socket or mogul base. The engineers designed then to hold a 400W and 1000W HID bulb, not retrofit kits that weigh 5X more.

Imagine a shoebox fixture in an outdoor application, 20 ft in the air on a windy day.

The fixture will sway, stress the mogul socket, and eventually fail. The retrofit kit will fall to the glass of the fixture.

LED Lighting Supply Kits include mounting adapters to replace the mogul socket.

This provides a secure, fail safe mount for the LED Head. Our installation procedure includes the removal of the mogul socket.

DesignLights Consortium DLC Premium Qualifications only apply to direct mount kits.

So if you want a safer mounting option and a higher rebate, avoid using a mogul base adapter.

Lumens vs Watts

You want to reduce your lighting bill (or grab hold of the other benefits LED has to offer).

It’s all about producing the right amount of light and doing it using the least amount of energy.

If you have outdoor area lights and are looking to retrofit them, you can choose our product at 100 Watt / 15,550 lumens.

Or you can choose their product at 135 Watt / 13,164 lumens. They both have 10-year warranties.

Their product is DLC Standard. Our kits are DLC Premium Qualified.

For every light you replace with our Kit instead of theirs, you will burn 35 fewer watts and produce 2,386 more lumens.

Converting HID bulbs to energy-efficient Commercial Lighting Retrofits will save you money.

So before you buy, you need to shop and determine which DLC Qualified LED Retrofit kit will save you the most.

“Never buy a retrofit bulb, lamp or solution based on watts. Determine the lumens you need and get the most efficient retrofit that uses the least amount of energy.”

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