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Complete or standard downlights?

What you need to know about downlights?

Down-lights are very popular these days in both homes and offices across the UK, and with the popularity of energy saving LED downlights growing quickly we thought we would do a guide on what to look out for when choosing for your home or office.

Quality or Price?

Firstly this is the decision you need to make as price can vary depending on the specification you choose, complete LED units offer a better level of light, come with a longer warranty period and make the electricians installation much easier, but they tend to cost up to 1/3 more than tradition downlight enclosures and standard GU10 halogen lamps.

Complete LED downlights

Quite recent to the marketplace we are seeing more and more complete LED downlight units, we currently stock a range from Ansell named titan, we also stock Aurora both of which have a quality build, up to 7 year warranty and come in a range of finishes.

The benefits to these complete units are: Easier to install, push connections mean its not as tedious or time consuming for the electrician as with standard enclosures. The lumen output and beam angle are far superior to a standard downlight they are dimmable, fire rated and have an integral driver. The titan version also has a removable bevel that allows you to change the finish to either chrome, white, black nickel, brushed steel etc. The biggest positive is the running costs can be 80% less than GU10 halogen and create a big saving across your yearly utility bills.

The negatives in our opinion are: unfortunately cost, if you are on a tight budget then kitting your house or office out with these units could add up. You can not change the bulb once the light is out then you have to replace the whole unit however you should get at least 7 years of light. Meaning no maintenance costs as opposed to replacing halogen lamps and transformers.

Standard Downlights

We have a range of fire rated and shower rated down-lights and stock good quantities, these are still the most popular sellers they are cost effective, quality and can look superb in any environment, we especially like the black nickel downlights that go superb with our range of black nickel light switches and sockets. These are available in 30,60 and 90 minute fire rated meeting building regulations. They have an option of GU10 and MR16 lamp holders and can be wired to mains or low voltage transformers.

The positives have to be the cost, they can start at less than £5.00 per unit and halogen lamps can be added at £1.00 per lamp, they provide an expensive look and quality feel to any ceiling and are value for money.

The negatives include installation, wiring these units takes longer for the electrician and can involve transformers on a low voltage loop. The cost to run 50w halogen bulbs is 80% more costly than the complete units and halogen bulbs tend to have a limited life span, meaning replacement and maintenance costs can start to add up over time.

What we recommend

We believe there is a good compromise to be had, GU10 LED lamps are becoming better value for money and can be added to the standard downlights at reasonable cost. This gives you the energy saving capabilities of the complete units without the outlay at the beginning, the lighting output is much improved from that of the 50w halogen gu10 and reliability should be increased also.

However if you can afford it go for the complete units.

Professional Finishing - The Art of Concealment

With the housing market so sluggish, many people are opting to improve or extend their existing property rather than move to something bigger or better. This can be a great way to not only enhance your living space but also increase the value of your home. However, the key to successful modifications is to make them look professional. Exposed piping and messy electrical work can look cluttered and amateurish, so for a truly expert finish you need to learn the cunning art of concealment.

Keep It Covered
If you have made changes to your water supply in the kitchen, moved a sink or repositioned a toilet, then you may have ended up with extra pipes. Where old-fashioned storage heaters are replaced with central heating, there may even be vertical exposed piping travelling from the ground floor to the upper levels of your home. Painting these pipes the same colour as the wall will help to disguise them, but a better option is to box them in. Covering them with wooden or plastic casings is a simple, hygienic solution that banishes unsightly pipes and ductwork.

Box Clever
If you're making home improvements you're almost certainly guaranteed to be adding in extra power sockets, requiring additional switches, sockets and back boxes. Wall-mounted back boxes are ideal for those areas that are functional rather than decorative. Alternatively, for a really professional finish, hollow out a cavity in the wall or plasterboard. This way your back boxes will sit snugly in the hollow, allowing you have just the shallow exterior surface of the socket sticking out from the wall. Not only does this look much tidier, but it also minimises the risk of someone injuring themselves on the protruding socket.

Go Wireless
Trailing phone cables and excessive wiring can make even the tidiest of rooms seem messy. Use specialist cable clips to keep wires away from the floor. Simply hammer them into the wall or woodwork to ensure your wires neatly follow the line of your skirting board. If you have strands of loose electrical wiring around your television or DVD player, fold them into a tidy bunch and secure them with cable ties to keep them out of the way. If you need to run cable all around a room, perhaps from a phone socket, use lengths of plastic cord protector above your skirting board to disguise the loose wires.

Look around your home and see if there are any improvements you could make. Tidying away those ugly pipes and unsightly electricals will give your house a truly professional finish.

Unique Illuminations – Fabulous Ways to Light Up Your Home

One of the most important aspects to consider when decorating is your lighting. All too often, this can be a bit of an afterthought but the right lighting can make a real difference to the atmosphere of a room. Innovations in lighting design and manufacture have created a whole host of exciting new options that produce a range of effects. From designer switches to colour-changing LEDs, you can use some of the latest technology to give your home a unique look.

New Materials
There's an array of exciting materials to choose from to find the perfect lighting for your home. Moulded polycarbonate lends itself both to unusual contemporary shapes and the possibility of colour-changing illumination. Acid-etched glass is a popular current trend, whilst aluminium, chrome and even concrete are used to create edgy pieces with an industrial-warehouse feel. Mixing old and new materials can produce some stunning results. Wrought iron combined with glass or even fabric can be used to great dramatic effect, whilst beads and crystals can be added to create a softer, more romantically opulent look. Lighting is no longer purely functional – some of the more sculptural pieces embrace both art and functionality, making them a dazzling focal point for any room.

Different Effects
The traditional central pendant is still a popular choice but adding extra lighting gives you scope to create different atmospheres. Wall lights not only provide extra brightness but make an interesting interplay of light and shadow across the wall. Scatter small lamps across lower surfaces such as tables or dressers to add a cosy feel or use tall floor lamps for a bold and dramatic look. Use a dimmer switch to allow you to easily control the luminosity of your room. The latest designer switches not only provide a range of effects but look stylish too. Using a variety of light sources is the key to embracing the fashion for multi-dimensional illumination. This results in lighting that is functional, ambient and decorative all at once.

Add Colour
One of the hottest trends in lighting right now is the inclusion of colour. Different colours create various moods, from blue to induce tranquillity to orange for a feeling of warmth. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are not only a great energy-saving option but can be programmed to change colour, creating an enchanting rainbow effect. Alternatively, use glass shades in colours that complement or contrast with your décor for a fresh look.

The right lighting will not only enhance the atmosphere of your room, but be an attractive element in its own right.


Designer Touches

Designer Touches to Make Your Home Truly Individual

How you decorate your home speaks volumes about your personality. From the colours of your paint to the pictures that you hang, every detail is an opportunity to express your individual taste. Designer accessories can be a great way to add interest to your home and really make it stand out from the crowd.

Statement Pieces
You may not be able to splash out on an entire designer interior but a few carefully chosen pieces can have a real impact without breaking the bank. Design classics such as the Philippe Starck Ghost chair are instantly recognisable and will add a dramatic touch to your kitchen or dining room. Many respected designers have a range of products for the home, from Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's wallpaper to John Rocha's kitchenware. A designer sofa or dining table can make a stunning focal point for your room and add instant style.

Mix and Match
Generally speaking, including just a couple of designer accessories will have much more impact than furnishing your entire house with them. Not only is this more achievable for most people, but having a combination of pieces and styles results in a more eclectic, individual look. Mix plain sofas and chairs with one or two more ornate pieces, perhaps upholstered in a contrasting luxurious fabric. If you have chosen highly patterned curtains, then keeping the walls and carpet plain will really make them stand out. Wallpaper with embossed or metallic designs can be extremely attractive, but if you're worried the overall effect might be a bit overwhelming, hang it just on one feature wall and paper the rest in a more neutral design.

Details Matter
When it comes to decorating, it's easy to be so focused on the bigger pieces of furniture that you forget about the smaller ones. However, the truth is that the little details are often the ones that people notice. From designer sockets to lamps, there is a host of seemingly minor finishing touches that actually make all the difference to the final appearance of a room. When hanging curtains, choose a rod that will complement the fabric. Many rooms have plastic rails already in place but a wooden or metal pole with attractive finials will frame your curtains beautifully. And when it comes to electricals, there's no need to stick with boring white plastic. Designer sockets and switches are available in a huge range of colours and finishes, from brushed chrome and brass to black nickel.


Extractor Fan Review - Which are Best?

Extractor Fans Reviewed – Which is best?

We stock 3 of the major manufacturers in ventilation, Manrose, Xpelair and Vent-axia. A customer asked us which one was best and our honest answer was we don’t know.

So we set about finding out!

We surveyed all of our electrical contractors and got their opinions on which extractor fan they would use.

The results gave us the following feedback on each make:

Manrose extractor fans

The fact that Manrose have been manufacturing fans and ventilation products for over 25 years gives and indication that they know what they are doing, and stood the test of time which bodes well for reliability and repeat custom. Their pricing structure is thought to be one of good value across the whole range. The new QF100 4” quiet extractor fan is seemingly a fantastic introduction to their range with wall or ceiling mounting for bathrooms, shower, toilet or kitchen usage, the noise levels are reduced dramatically. Overall Manrose gets a thumbs up and there were very few negative comments.

Vent-Axia Extractor Fans

The first ever window extractor fan was invented by the founder of Vent-Axia over 75 years ago. They are leaders in innovation, their products are focussed on reducing costs and the carbon footprint. They are a clear favourite with our council contractors and are ultra reliable at excellent value, the most popular seller is the low carbon Centra 4” constant running extractor fan for installation in bathrooms and kitchens. Running costs are minimal and purchasing costs make this fan extremely attractive. This is our best selling manufacturer.

Xpelair Extractor Fans

Once again this manufacturer has over 50 years experience in the ventilation industry, they provide a fantastic range and also include air conditioning as well as heating products. Their extractor fans again got good reviews on value, reliability and all round general looks as well as quality build.

So we were still none the wiser as to which one we would choose as our clear favourite, they all scored well in all the same areas proving all their products meet the needs of our electrical contractors and that we are definitely stocking the best manufacturers.

If we were pushed we would probably go with vent-axia as we supplied 8500 to a local council and had no returns which is a great result.

Click here to view our cheap and reliable extractor fans.

Supplier Introduction

Why Crabtree?

There are some brands in some industries that have stood the test of time and are second nature to tradesmen as the first name they ask for when buying or specifying equipment and parts for a job, well Crabtree could definitely be added to this list. As part of Electrium the brand is widely recognised along side quality and value for money.

The product range offered is vast, Crabtree white plastic light switches and plug sockets are high on the list of most units sold in this category with low cost and minimal return rate, this goes hand in hand with Crabtree Grid Switches which are in our electricians opinion the best value in the industry.

There is such a diverse range of Crabtree switches and sockets that all domestic and commercial requirements are catered for, this includes a decorative range with chrome and various other finishes.

Crabtree Consumer units

The consumer unit market has some major competition but Crabtree consumer units are rated highly amongst trade professionals, with 17th Edition starbreaker and loadstar the biggest sellers. Manufactured to a high standard and because they have a long history, parts and spares are easily found even for units of age.

Crabtree wiring accessories include the Appleby brand including galvanised steel back boxes as well as dry lining and PVC socket boxes which includes moulded enclosures steel adaptable wall boxes.

Electrium also produce Wylex and Volex accessories as well as Siemens heating, room controls as well as low voltage protection.

These are just a few products from their superb range, Harbro are major Crabtree stockists and can supply all their products at the best prices nationwide with next day delivery, we work with some major contractors and can spec for all jobs large or small.

Please call free on 0800 731 7713 or email us and remember we have been trading 19 years we wont let you down!.

Titan LED now in stock!

Titan LED now in stock!

Save Save Save ! 37% off the RRP only at Harbro Electrical and Lighting.

Ansell has launched their new Titan LED fire rated downlights and we now have them in stock, these fantastic complete LED units are tested to 30,60,90 minute ceiling types meeting part B of building regulations while producing 61 lumens per circuit watt. That’s a total of 740 lumens per unit and an 80% saving against a similar 50w halogen downlight. They are available with dimming capabilities and ideal for domestic or commercial installations.

The Best Bit

These LED downlights will save you money, guaranteed for 7 years and an average life span of 50,000 hours!! This along side the 80% more efficient towards your utility bill than a standard 50w halogen unit.

They are available with a choice of different bezels so you can change the style to suit your tastes in years to come by just screwing a white bezel off and exchanging for a chrome or black nickel bezel, simple as that.

They are IP65 rated meaning they can be used in bathroom and shower room also and are very easy to install.

Ansell are a manufacturer of top quality lighting, you will not find these items in any high street bargain stores, that’s why they give a superb guarantee giving you peace of mind in your purchase.

Why Harbro?

We have been supplying quality lighting for over 19 years and have a great relationship with Ansell lighting. We will not be beaten on price.

Please call us free on 0800 731 7713 to get a quote on any lighting or electrical products you need, we have helpful and knowledgeable staff waiting to take your call.

We recommend that you use a qualified electrician to install any electrical or lighting items.

Home Improvement Ideas

Home Improvement & Modernisation

The housing market is static, the days of moving home and releasing equity to move up the property ladder have come to a grinding holt, but its not all doom and gloom as improving your current home is now cheaper than ever, consumer pricing is low and tradesmen are desperate for work which puts the customer in a strong position.

We have put together a list of products that will make your house look modern without breaking the bank.

Firstly if your residence is a house concentrate on the ground floor, this is as far as your visitors will normally get and where you can impress your friends with your new look.

Light Switches and Electrical Plug Sockets

People notice quality, white moulded switches and sockets are cheap but they will never produce the quality look and feel around a house that modern chrome light switches or Black nickel plug sockets create. Now you may be thinking chrome sockets are expensive and you would be wrong, at Harbro Electrical we have driven the price down to the lowest levels we have seen online. A single Chrome or Brushed Stainless Steel, Brass or Black Nickel light switch can be purchased for £3.65 with a double socket not much more at £6.06 this would mean for a normal household downstairs with kitchen, living room, dining room and a hallway a cost of only £85 this includes 7 x double sockets, 4 x single light switches, 1 cooker switch, 2 x fridge freezer switches, one TV socket. These will swap straight over with your current switches and sockets and wont take a great deal of time however we highly recommend you get a qualified electrician to carry out this task.


Lighting your house has become quite expensive and older light fittings are usually high-energy halogen units, which contribute a big percentage to your electricity bills. Down-lights create a modern look in any home but have also contributed heavily to your utility bills with each downlight running a 50w halogen bulb. However LED has changed lighting forever, in 10 years time the majority of houses will have changed to LED. This is down to the low running costs, improved lighting levels and a longevity of up to 50,000 hours per bulb. LED GU10 bulbs can run as low as 4 watts which saves you 46 watts per bulb that’s over 90% less energy being used, this will reduce your bills substantially and over 10 years the pay back outweighs the cost to change immensely.

LED lamps can be bought for as little as £5.50 per bulb, and fire rated Black Nickel downlights are as low as £5.65 per unit, to kit out a living room dining room and kitchen with 6 downlights per room including LED GU10 Bulbs would cost only £199 and would repay the costs in under a year.

LED Strip Lights

Led strip lights have transformed the look of kitchen cabinets and plinths using various colours you can make your kitchen look amazing and with prices reducing all the time there’s never been a better opportunity to give your kitchen a new lease of life. Easily hidden and simple to install it’s a small touch that can make a huge difference and will impress any potential buyers, you can now get it by the metre and with adhesive connector LED strips you can place it anywhere.

So for under £400 pound using electrical and lighting products you can transform your house, which will make it more saleable or even make you happy to stay!

Harbro Electrical and Lighting stock a fantastic range of products including all of the above. Call today free on 0800 731 7713 or buy direct online at

Elex Electricians Show

ELEX Electricians Show

On Friday we attended the ELEX electricians show at the Yorkshire Event Centre, the free bacon sandwich was the main attraction however there was also some fantastic displays and some great products coming over the coming months.

We visited the ESP (Elite Security Products) stand and they have developed a new product they have called EZ-WF Wire Free Video Link, in Lehman terms this allows you to install a CCTV system and transmit the visual and audio feed back to the DVR wirelessly meaning installation can be much neater, quicker and above all cheaper. It has a open field range of up to 150m which eliminates tricky wiring runs.

One of our newest suppliers Hamilton were displaying their new Mercury mood lighting system and we were keen to see a demonstration, It’s a fantastic piece of kit that allows you to choose 4 settings at the touch of a button that will create the perfect lighting atmosphere around your home. Hamilton also displayed a range of switches and sockets to suit every pocket, we were particularly impressed with the sprayed bronze effect and piano black.

LED lighting was a big part of the show some great manufacturers such as Elstead who have designed a superb range of Outdoor LED Lighting as well as some innovative LED security lights with superb build quality and still being manufactured in the UK Elstead’s product range is worth looking out for.

Commercial lighting such as LED Ceiling Panels and LED Tubes T5 single and double were a big feature from companies such as Fitzgerald and Ansell with a strong emphasis on energy saving within the work place, Initial costs seem quite high but the long-term pay back is substantial.

The click wiring accessories and Ovia lighting stand were extremely busy with a host of new products including their addition to the LED Down light range, with attention to quality and longevity a big selling point.

We were impressed with the new range of METREL electrical testing equipment with Bluetooth technology that connects to your smart phone and can be operated remotely.  Metrel have also thought about their current customers and created an upgrade kit with a Bluetooth dongle and software upgrade so older units can use the same technology.

We had a great day and are looking at stocking quite a few of the items we saw.

The bacon sandwich was decent too!

North Easts Largest Lighting Showroom

Visit the largest lighting showroom in the North East! We have invested heavily in our state of the art showroom at our premises in Peterlee, forget the poor quality fittings you see at all the big DIY stores, the reason they are cheap is because of the quality. We only stock top manufacturers such as Searchlight, DAR, Endon, Franklite and many more, our prices are the best available online and in our showroom, quote Internet in our showroom to get 20% off all lighting or fill in our email sign up online to get your discount code.

We stock so many different styles and designs from chrome wall lights, to antique brass ceiling lights, security lights, Chandeliers, Pendants along with a vast range of Floor and Table lamps so you wont be disappointed!

We have free parking and have easy access from the A19 as well as friendly and helpful staff so you find the right lighting for your home.

To far to travel? don't worry we upload all our lighting onto our website for Nationwide Delivery, We can even deliver for free on lighting orders over £150 ex vat.

Don't forget we also stock over 20,000 electrical products such as switches and sockets, downlights, extractor fans, cable clips, wiring and tools.

See you soon!


Lowest UK prices

UK's lowest UK electrical prices!

Sign up to recieve 20% discount on lighting

To launch our new website we are offering 20% off all lighting (excluding downlights, lamps, bulbs,).

We stock over 2000 designer lights, including wall lights. ceiling lights, chandeliers, spotlights, pendants and many more.

Sign up today!

Harbro Gets an Online Makeover!

Harbro Electrical based in Peterlee a family owned company established over 15 years has invested in a new website and online sales strategy to grow the company in 2013. The company currently employs 14 staff and has traded from its warehouse and sales desk on the south west ind est at peterlee for over 10 years after Phillip and Jackie Harbord started the company from their home 20 years ago. They they will deliver nationwide to the public and trade customers offering value for money and a superb range of stock at great prices.

Company No. 08328804