Buying LED Light Bulbs (When You’re Used To Halogen)

LED Picture LightWith LEDs, you have so many possibilities. Earlier this week, we published a post about replacing old incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. But, LED light bulbs are much more versatile than that. Their innovative construction makes them great replacements for almost any kind of light bulb.

In this post, we’ll cover how LEDs can replace halogen light bulbs. 

A halogen light bulb is an incandescent light bulb filled with a halogen gas. This gas within the light bulb’s envelope helps the light last longer and use less energy to produce light. There are certainly good reasons to use halogen light bulbs, but these lights also have their shortcomings.

Before we get into how to replace halogen light bulbs with LEDs, we need to understand the pros and cons of using halogen lights:

Halogen Pros:

  • Color Temperature: Halogen lamps emit crisp, flattering light, only slightly cooler than a regular incandescent’s color temperature. The added blue and green tones make a halogen light bulb appear whiter and brighter than the average incandescent.
  • Rated Life: These lights last longer than incandescent light bulbs. A halogen light’s rated life can range from 8,000-20,000 hours, while an incandescent usually lasts around 1,000-2,000 hours.
  • Efficiency: They’re more efficient than regular incandescent light bulbs, generating about 10-35 lumens per watt, compared to about 8-24 lumens per watt.
  • Color Rendering: Halogen lights have a CRI of 100, which means they render colors perfectly. This makes them great for display lighting, accent lighting, and more.
  • Dimming: These lamps still generate light with a filament, so you can use them with standard dimmer switches.

Halogen Cons:

  • Heat: Halogen lamps produce a lot of heat when lit. This could damage sensitive objects close to the lights, and even cause your air conditioning to work overtime.
  • Sensitivity: These lights are delicate. Sometimes even touching them with your bare hands can make them fail prematurely. The oil on your hands will disrupt the halogen’s equilibrium.
  • Rated Life: While a halogen lamp’s rated life might beat the incandescent, it doesn’t measure up to newer light sources. An LED light bulb can last up to 50,000 hours, which is over double the hardiest halogen’s rated life.
  • Efficiency: Same as rated life, halogen’s efficiency can’t compare with newer lights like – you guessed it – LEDs. Some LED manufacturers are coming out with lamps that can produce over 200 lumens per watt.
  • Versatility: The way a halogen lamp produces light (using a filament) limits the shape and size of halogen light fixtures, which in turn limits the ways you can use them in your home or business. LED lights, made up of many small light emitting diodes can be arranged in almost any configuration, making the installation possibilities much more diverse.

I’d say today, LED technology has found a way to mimic the great things about halogen light bulbs while doing away with their faults. They can produce a similar color temperature, have a comparable CRI, and even have dimming capabilities. But, they are much more efficient and last longer. They produce less heat than almost any other light source, and they are much more durable.

So, when buying an LED light to replace a halogen, make sure it has the following features:

  • A color temperature of about 3,000 degrees K.
  • A good CRI.
  • A comparable lumen output (brightness level).
  • Dimming capabilities.

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.