You swear there’s something about halogen bulbs that always draw you to them.
Hold that thought. After reading this comparison guide, you will change your mind by finding out how LEDs are a superior product in terms of brightness, color, and power consumption.
Halogen bulbs consume more power, heat up quickly compared to LEDs, and offer a fixed color temperature. LEDs produce more lumen per watts and last longer.
How Do Halogen Bulbs Work Compared To LED?
Let’s look at the fundamental differences between a halogen and an LED bulb.
Arguably, a halogen bulb is a more efficient replacement for the old incandescents. These bulbs have a tungsten filament that heats up when current is passed through it and becomes white-hot, emitting heat and light.
Specifically, a halogen bulb has compressed halogen gas in a capsule within the bulb’s body. This gas helps to improve efficiency in a series of ways.
In an incandescent, the filament heated up so much that the metal disintegrated throughout the bulb’s lifespan.
In the process, a carbon buildup was deposited on the bulb’s casing. This significantly reduced the lifespan of the bulb.
Introducing the halogen gas in proximity to the tungsten filament, recycled some tungsten back to the filament, and prevented this carbon buildup.
This has dramatically increased the bulb’s lifespan, giving up to 2000 – 4000 more hours.
On the other hand, an LED works electronically. An LED functions as a computer, whereby it has a binary on and off state.
The technology is more advanced and uses electronic chips installed at the base of the bulb.
If you’ve ever wondered how exactly an LED gives light, read on for a short, sweet, and technical overview.
The LED, or light-emitting diode, is a semiconductor that controls the amount of electricity that flows through it. At the heart of the diode is a p-n junction, of which electrons jump across and, in the process, change their state.
The extra energy released as electrons changes their state causes photons to be emitted.
These photons then interact with the other materials used in the LED and the current running through it to give off visible light! And that’s LED tech in a nutshell.
LED vs Halogen: Which Is Brighter?
How bright a bulb will shine is a simple matter of knowing its lumen output. Wattage is no longer a relevant measure of brightness. It is lumens that accurately and objectively indicates how bright a bulb will be.
The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the bulb will be.
Now, if you want to compare the brightness of a halogen versus an LED bulb, you need to keep the power supplied to it constant.
In this way, you can see if both bulbs are provided the same power or wattage, which bulb shines brighter. Any guesses?
Conversion charts have your answer. An 18 W halogen bulb outputs around 220 lumens, while an 18 W LED bulb outputs more than 1300 lumens. It’s safe to say there’s a clear winner!
For the halogen to output 1300 lumens, it needs 70 watts, which is a big jump in power consumption to make up for lost brightness.
Before going deeper into a halogen bulb’s functionality, you should know that the color temperature (CCT) of a bulb tells you the warmth or coolness of white light.
When it comes to color temperature, halogens are fixed at around 3000 degrees Kelvins, a warm yellowish tone similar to that of a 2700K incandescent bulb.
LEDs, on the other hand, have a world of possibilities. You can choose many different color temperatures to suit the mood and function of a room.
They come in 2000K as soft warm white, in 4000K as neutral pure white light and up to 6000K as cool bluish white.
Comparison of LED vs Halogen Power Consumption
For halogen and LED bulbs alike, you are now looking out for the specification that states “equivalent wattage.” This is a comparative number that uses an incandescent bulb’s power usage as a baseline standard to indicate how bright an LED or halogen bulb will be.
So if a bulb specifies “60 equivalent watts”, it is not a measure of power usage at all. Instead, it indicates that this bulb will be as bright as a 60 Watt incandescent bulb.
The actual power consumption will be mentioned separately. For example, LEDs may use 8.5 watts, and halogens may use 30 watts of energy to shine as bright as a 60-watt traditional bulb.
With energy-hungry usage like that, it’s no wonder incandescents are no longer very welcome in our homes and offices.
But how about comparing the power consumption in watts between a halogen and an LED, for the same light output in lumens.
An 80-watt halogen and a 17-watt halogen emit the same amount of lumens in an experiment on the video. This halogen bulb used more than 4 times the power used by the LED to produce the same light output.
So what does it mean for you? To personalize this information, check out my neat calculator to put things in perspective for you.
Here, you can plug in the cost of electricity per kWh, the number of bulbs you’ve installed, and how long you use the bulbs during the day.
The calculator will instantly tell you how much money you’re saving if you replace bulbs with different wattages.
Let’s say I am a contractor seeking to bring down my client’s energy usage on his office floor.
If the electricity in my city costs 13 cents per kWh, and the office uses 30 bulbs for 9 hours every day. The calculator tells me my client would save 810 USD per year if I replaced an 80-watt halogen bulb with a 17 watt LED one!
Not a small number at all. Easily, the higher initial price of a quality LED pays itself within a month, adding more running savings throughout the year. For a cherry on the top, an LED doesn’t need to be replaced for years.
It’s savings all around!
Which is Better LED or Halogen Light?
Despite its upgrades and improved efficiency, a red-hot halogen bulb still consumes a lot more power to illuminate than the heating-less technology involved in an LED bulb.
Don’t forget that in addition to increased running costs of halogen bulbs, the heat from the ceiling or fixture with enough halogen bulbs can increase the ambient temperature of the space.
Given enough bulbs in a confined area, such as a small retail store, space will quickly become hot, and you would end up with increased cooling costs to maintain a comfortable temperature.
To add to that, halogen bulbs just don’t have a very long lifespan, as mentioned. You will be replacing them every few years, adding to your troubles and costs.
When it comes to dimming, however, until upgraded and LED compatible dimmers proliferate the market, halogens function better.
They can be easily dimmed by varying the voltage provided across the circuit. LEDs do dim, but not without a few hiccups.
Still, the majority of bulbs sold in the market are halogen bulbs, which are naturally being upended by LEDs as the technology exponentially becomes cheaper, durable, and versatile.
By more than one count, it is LEDs that lead the race in the first choice of lighting. The numbers are in front of you, and the decision is yours to make.
What appeals to you most about an LED bulb’s functions?
Does your home or office have halogen bulbs that can be easily replaced with LEDs?
Use the calculator to find out how much you can save by investing in LEDs.