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Everything You Need to Know about LED Festoon Lamps

What is a festoon lamp?
The term “festoon lamp” generally refers to a double-ended miniature lightbulb. They are not to be confused with “festoon lights,” which refers to strands of large round lightbulbs that you might see hanging across a patio. Festoon lamps are available in incandescent, halogen, xenon, and LED options. The most common place to find them, outside of Phantom Lighting products of course, is in your car.

What are the benefits of using festoon lamps in cabinet or cove lighting systems?
Early cabinet lighting fabricators used small incandescent sockets soldered on metal trims to create custom systems in antique furniture. Other manufacturers, like Phantom’s founder, were intrigued and created new products with different socket types using an assortment of miniature incandescent lamps for all types of furniture. With the advent of festoon lamps, the linear lighting market took off and branched into to cove lighting applications, as a way to replace fluorescent lighting sources. Phantom’s original fixture designs utilized individual festoon sockets riveted to custom glare shield with various custom spacing using xenon, incandescent festoon lamps. As technology evolved and LED entered the market, LED festoon lamps became the best product for a direct retrofit. Today, Phantom still offers a Classic product line using individual LED festoon lamps for furniture, cabinets and cove lighting. Phantom Classic LED cove lights are a perfect solution for irregular-shaped cove lighting, as the trims can be field cut and manipulated to follow a radius curve or other nonlinear shape.

What makes LED festoon lamps better than the other options?
The superior advantages delivered by the Phantom Classic festoon lamp replacements are primarily due to the unique engineering used to design festoon LED lamps. Each unit consists of six (6) diodes placed in close proximity to one another that generate a combined, radiant field of high-intensity, low-voltage light. These LED’s operate at minimal amperage levels and are specifically intended to ultimately replace 5-7 watt incandescent and Xenon festoons altogether. Because they do not require DC inverters, and because they replace larger transformers and dimmers with much smaller equivalents, Phantom LED bulb replacements constitute a synthesis of high-intensity lighting and low-profile design.


Replacing the bulbs in your existing system with LED festoon lamps couldn’t be easier!

Phantom’s LED festoon lamps are designed to be retrofit into any linear lighting system without the need for rewiring.

Phantom has engineered its new LED festoons lamps to be compatible with a large majority of linear fixtures already in operation. This means that you do not need to replace your entire linear lighting array to upgrade your decorative cove lighting or display lighting – you simply need to replace the LED lamps on your existing strips. The best time to do this is when one or two of your existing xenon or incandescent lamps burn out.

IF YOU ARE TEMPTED TO SEEK OUT A REPLACEMENT FOR THE ORIGINAL XENON OR INCANDESCENT BULBS, YOU WILL ENCOUNTER TWO PROBLEMS:

  1. The exact lamps you purchased may no longer be in production – technology is advancing in the direction of LED
  2. Older lamps still operating on your system are going to look slightly, but visibly dimmer, from brand new replacements

The Benefits of LED Festoon Lamps

Range of Color Temperatures – It is necessary to understand the basics of color temperature as it pertains to lighting. The term was originally used to describe the “whiteness” of incandescent light and related directly to the temperature of the tungsten filament used in bulbs. The lower the number in degrees Kelvin is, the “warmer” the color temperature of a light source is said to be. This is because higher temperatures (in terms of degrees Kelvin), tend to shift toward the blue end of the spectrum. A light source with a color temperature of 2700K-3500K is ideal for lighting vivid, “warm” colors like red, orange, and yellow that appear to advance toward the eye. The major drawback to previous generations of LED lamps was their inability to accurately render these colors. LED white lights were actually generated mixing combinations of blue and yellow, which tended to shift their color temperature higher toward the cool colors like blue and purple that have a more soothing appearance. This made it difficult to use LED light bulbs as sources in rooms where people were used to seeing the close approximation to daylight that incandescent lights were known for.

Phantom gives you the choice between three color temperatures – there is the ultra cool 5000K, the ultra warm 2700K, and the midrange 3500K.

Phantom’s 2700K LED option brings LED festoon lamps closer than ever to the warm color temperatures standard to incandescent light bulbs and to which we have all become accustomed. In fact, the color rendering index of these new festoon lamps brings lighting quality very close to that of xenon, which has historically been our most popular lamping option for cabinet lighting.

Exceptional Efficiency – Efficiency is another key feature that warrants serious consideration when choosing retrofit LED festoon lamps. Selecting a light source with the highest lumen output per watt will guarantee you the very best energy savings without compromising the quality of light. In the areas of under-cabinet lighting and adjustable shelf lighting, this means you can leave your lights on longer without creating a significant increase in power consumption.

image of phantom lighting led festoon comaprison chart

The amount of light that a festoon lamp emits is extremely important. Adequate lumen output ensures an even distribution of lighting that evenly illuminates cabinet interiors and contents. Phantom retrofit LED festoon lamps consistently outperform the American Lighting FSL-WW-24 and the W.A.C. Lighting LED-FS-60. At 45.1 lumens per lamp, Phantom lamps are more than twice as bright as competing models, both of which perform at only 19.0 lumens per lamp. At 78.3 lumens per watt, the Phantom retrofit LED 2700K festoon lamp is over 3 times as efficient as the American Lighting FSL-WW-24 23.2 lumens per watt, and it is over 2 times as efficient as the W.A.C.’s Lighting LED-FS-60, which is rated at 31.7 lumens per watt.

Return on Investment – Now is the time to invest in new LED cove lighting technology that requires only a minimal investment in lamp replacement, saves you money on a linear fixture retrofit, and generates an immediate return on investment. Phantom’s LED festoon lamps offer a return investment in the following ways:

  • Their longer lamp life means that once you invest in a replacement now, you do not have to worry about any more replacements for years to come.
  • The power saving curve on these new lights is amazing. Consistently, they use a solid 90% less than incandescent based lighting. This is because all 6 LEDs in each festoon lamp run at a combined total of only 0.6 watts.
  • LEDs create light without the byproduct of heat. At less than one BTU (British thermal unit) per lamp, you can now operate your lighting system for extended periods of time without raising the temperature of your living room, bedroom, den, or family room. The money you do not even know you are spending on additional cooling and electrical costs will immediately return to your pocket.

Increased Safety – Phantom retrofit energy saving LED festoons also feature a cool-touch technology that eliminates forward throw heat. Older halogen and incandescent models generated a lot of heat, which not only posed a risk to items on display, but could actually burn your fingers if touched. The fact that LED festoons don’t generate heat, combined with their innate energy saving capacity and superior operability, makes them the ideal cool-burning heat source for cabinet lighting, cove lighting, kitchen cabinet lighting, and replacement LED cove lighting applications. They can literally be left on day and night without overheating either their immediate environment or the contents they are intended to illuminate.


Phantom Lighting leads the LED lighting manufacturing industry in customized application of LED lamp festoon lighting and its many benefits to a diverse clientele. Most LED lighting manufacturers give you the product, but not the high-level of service that comes with a top-notch illumination company. Contact us today at 800-863-1184 or request a quote using our online form to get started!