Often times we casually throw around words thinking we know exactly what they mean when in fact they have different definitions all together. In lighting, this can be true with three similar terms that have three very different meanings. So sit back, relax and just let me explain just why lamps, lighting fixtures and luminaires are closely related but not interchangeable.
A lamp is commonly referred to as the light bulb. Essentially a lamp and a bulb are the same thing, as long as it produces light from electricity. The base of these lamps (or bulbs) usually have a component of aluminum or brass (a better conductor because aluminium can fuse to the socket itself) at the bottom which helps conduct an electrical current through the socket of a light fixture.
Speaking of light fixtures, they are what are sometimes referred to as lamps (such as floor lamps, desk lamps and table lamps). See where this can start to get a little confusing? These terms are often interchanged with each other but don’t necessarily mean the same thing because light fixtures are devices that create light when a lamp is screwed into its socket.
However, it is only a light fixture without a lamp. With a lamp and an electrical charge to create light, it becomes a luminaire. So, a lamp plus a light fixture equals a luminaire. It really just comes down to simple math!