LED Light Engine vs. LED Light Module

LEDs, or light emitting diodes, act as a semiconductor which produces light once voltage is applied. LED light engines and modules use the same LED technology as traditional LED light bulbs, but they offer a unique twist on the classic design.

What are LED light engines and modules?

LED light engines and modules function as traditional light bulb substitutes. However, unlike the traditional light bulb design, LED light engines and modules consist of diodes arranged on a board.

What is the difference between LED light engines and LED modules?

While both LED light engines and modules consist of diodes on a circuit board, a few differences exist between them.

LED Module

LED Module

LED modules, also called LED arrays, are simple LED assemblies. They use one or more diodes arranged on a circuit board.

Because they do not contain operational and control components like a driver or protective circuits, LED modules require those active components to operate.

LED Light Engine

LED light engines often include LED modules. LED light engines function as an integrated assembly of one or more LED diodes, modules, or arrays. They contain optical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal components, including an appropriate heat sink to protect the light engine from overheating. Because LED light engines come equipped with these additional components, they typically only need input voltage to operate.

LED light engines often come equipped with an integrated driver. If no driver is included, they require an external driver to power them. MaxLite offers some LED linear light engines, like this 5.5-in 10W LED Light Engine Linear Kit, with linkable connections.

Fun fact: LEDs generate a small amount of heat. With an appropriate heat sink to dissipate the heat, LEDs produce brighter light and last longer.

Where do you use them?

Originally used in channel letters, LED light modules can now see use in outdoor lighting, undercabinet lighting, accent lighting, and other decorative lighting applications. LED modules and arrays can also come in integrated LED fixtures.

LED light engines can come as a component in an integrated fixture or retrofit old fixtures. They can see use in round or linear light sources depending on the shape of the light engine.


Shop HomElectrical to find both LED light engines and LED modules from brands like MaxLite and Satco Lighting.

Recommended Reading

LED light modules consist of one or more light emitting diode. See how LED modules work and what their uses can be!

LED drivers provide the light bulb with the electricity needed to function. If your LED bulb stops working unexpectedly, you might need to replace your external driver.

The LED chip makes up the most important component of an LED light bulb. LED chips determine the voltage, brightness, and wavelength.

Avery Dietzen
Avery Dietzen

Originally from Wisconsin, Avery earned her degree in English before making the trip down to the Atlanta, GA area. Writer by day, reader by night, she prides herself on having a creative outlook and tries to instill that in everything she writes. As a content writer for HomElectrical, she uses her skills to share tips and tricks about lighting, HVAC, and going green. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, painting, hanging out with her dog, or spending time with family and friends.

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