What is the difference between a luminaire, lighting outlet, lampholder, and lamp in the National Electrical Code (NEC)?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A luminaire is what most people would call a light fixture, it’s the complete assembly that includes the lampholder and lamp. A portable luminaire is one equipped with a cord and plug so that it can be moved around.

A lighting outlet is an outlet intended for the direct connection of a lampholder or luminaire, such as a electrical ceiling box.

The lampholder is the device that mechanically supports and provides the electrical connections for an electric lamp. An example would be a bulb socket for an incandescant lamp, or the pull-chain lampholder at right. The NEC specifically states that “a lampholder itself is not a luminaire."

A lamp is the device that is attached to create the illumination, such as a lightbulb.


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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRICAL WIRING:

Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit?

Can a short circuit cause a high electric bill?

What is the maximum spacing requirement for securing NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable)?

Is it alright to just put wire nuts on the end of unused or abandoned NM-cable or wiring?

What causes copper wires to turn green or black in an electric panel?  

What are typical aluminum service entrance wire/cable sizes for the electrical service to a house?

Why is it unsafe to bond neutral and ground wiring at subpanels?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house?

Why is a strain relief clamp necessary for the cord connection to some electric appliances?  

Does a wire nut connection need to be wrapped with electrical tape?

What is the minimum clearance of overhead electric service drop wires above a house roof?

What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box? 

What is the color code for NM cable (Romex®) sheathing?

Why are old electrical components not always "grandfathered" as acceptable by home inspectors?

How can I find out the size of the electric service to a house?

Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall? 

What is an open electrical splice?

What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection? 

What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house? 

What is an "open junction box"? 

How dangerous is old electrical wiring? 

What is a ground wire? 

I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?  

What is "knob and tube" wiring?  

What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?

   Visit our “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN…” and ELECTRICAL pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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