Halogen vs LED: Here’s The 6 Differences

Photo of a orange halogen bulb

Halogen bulbs were once the go-to choice for home lighting, but that’s no longer the case. Today homeowners will often compare halogen vs. LED bulbs and weigh their options before making a decision. It has become an important part of the process as technology advance, and light bulbs become more efficient often, creating more of a selection.

When you're looking to replace any of the bulbs in your house, there are several things that you want to consider.

How long the bulb lasts and how much it costs are likely the two factors at the top of your list. However, you may also want to learn how each bulb will affect your electric bill each month or what impact they have on the environment.

What Are Halogen Light Bulbs?

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An improvement on incandescent bulbs, halogen light bulbs use a tungsten filament or wiring. A transparent gas-filled casing holds the components. Since they build up more pressure than traditional bulbs, halogen bulbs need to be made of durable materials.

These include fused quartz, high-silica glass, or aluminosilicate as they are strong enough to withstand the added pressure.

Offering a unique light and color quality, many homeowners choose to use halogen bulbs for decor purposes as well as lighting.

They are a popular choice among retailers as well as they're ideal for track lighting and illuminating display cases. Understand the history of halogen bulbs, how they work, as well as the advantages they bring to the table to see if they might suit your needs.

The history of halogen bulbs

After the creation of incandescent bulbs, it wasn't long before there was a need for a more efficient bulb. In 1959, the halogen bulb was introduced as a brighter, longer-lasting option.

Since then, engineers have improved upon the original design to make them more energy-efficient and brighter.

While the halogen bulb wasn't technically developed until the late '50s, the technology was created back in the 1800s.

To prevent the bulb from blackening, manufacturers use chlorine, which is one of the gases that fill the inner casing. Technology using chlorine to keep bulbs bright was patented back in 1882.

How halogen bulbs work

Like with any light bulb, a halogen bulb works by using electricity to heat up the tungsten filament or internal wiring. It can reach temperatures of upwards of 4,500 degrees, which is why the interior casing needs to be made of a specific material such as quartz.

As the filament heats up, tungsten slowly evaporates from the wire.

The tungsten then reacts with the halogen chemicals inside the internal casing to prevent blackening of the light bulb and ensure it shines brightly. Some of the evaporated tungsten will return to the filament, which adds to the life of the bulb.

Advantages of using halogen bulbs

One of the most significant benefits of using halogen bulbs is their ability to be incredibly small and compact without affecting the quality of light given off.

Their small size makes them the optimal choice for projectors, display cases, and small fixtures. Many homeowners prefer the crisp, white light halogen bulbs produce, as they're ideal for rooms with dimmers.

Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs are a greener option. They can produce the same amount of light while using less energy, keeping more money in your pocket each month when the electric bill is due.

While they may cost a bit more upfront, halogen bulbs tend to last much longer than traditional light bulbs used in homes.

What Are LED Light Bulbs?

While LED bulbs have been around for a while, it wasn't until were recently updated to emit a white light that they become popular for homeowners. Before this, LED bulbs emitted a light that was a blueish hue.

Unlike halogen bulbs, LED bulbs use semiconductors and electroluminescence to create light. The semiconductor is a small crystal with reflectors designed to both produce a brighter light and focus it on a single spot.

Now that LED bulbs can be produced without giving off blue light, they've become more commonly used in lamps and lighting fixtures at home. They're ideal for lighting up small areas and giving your home decor a boost.

The history of LED bulbs

The technology used in LED bulbs was first discovered in the early 1900s however, the development towards its application as a light source took several decades to put in motion.

Throughout the '70s, red, yellow, and blue LED bulbs were created by engineers, but they were so expensive that they were only used in laboratory settings. It wasn't until 1994 that the blue LED bulb was priced low enough for commercial use.

LED bulbs are available in a variety of color options, including blue, red, and even purple. They've grown in popularity significantly in recent years as white LED bulbs became available and more homeowners are looking to go green.

How LED bulbs work

LED bulbs use electroluminescence technology to produce light. Electroluminescence describes what occurs when an electric current passes through a material, filling electron holes and ultimately creating light.

To promote the combination of electrons and electron holes manufactures use the material aluminum-gallium-arsenide.

The bulb uses a cone to control the angle of the light. This allows the bulb to produce a spotlight effect. Engineers also figured out a way to get the light to bounce off the crystals in a way that the bulb produces a brighter light without using more energy.

Advantages of using LED bulbs

When looking at halogen vs. LED bulbs, LEDs are more pricey but offer more environmental benefits. They last longer than most bulb options on the market today and use far less energy.

Free of harmful chemicals or gases, LED bulbs tend to be the first choice for homeowners looking to leave less of a carbon footprint on the Earth.

LED bulbs pose numerous advantages for those who have young children as well. Not only are they shatterproof, but they produce less heat than others after being on for an extended period of time. A cooler bulb leads to fewer injuries in homes with young kids or animals.

Halogen vs LED Bulbs

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When comparing halogen vs. LED bulbs, it's essential to consider more than just how the lights will look in your home. You may want to know how your choice will affect your monthly electric bill and how much the upfront cost is.

Additionally, you may want to know how long you can expect each bulb to last, as well as how they impact the environment.

1. Environmental effect

When comparing halogen vs. LED light bulbs, LED bulbs are far more environmentally friendly. In addition to releasing little to no UV emissions, LED bulbs last far longer than any other option.

Homeowners using these light bulbs produce less waste as the bulbs need to be changed less often. When they do eventually burn out, LED bu​​lbs can be recycled.

Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, aren't as environmentally friendly. However, they do continue to improve over time. Halogen bulbs have been redesigned recently to include an infrared coating.

The coating redirects infrared light inwards back towards the tungsten filament. This upgrade not only reduces waste by giving bulbs a longer lifespan, but it makes the bulbs more energy efficient as well.

2. Power consumption

While halogen bulbs require an average of 90 watts, LED bulbs only require an average of eight watts to produce the same amount of light.

If you're comparing halogen vs. LED bulbs in search of the most energy-efficient, then LED bulbs are your best option.

Both bulbs allow you to rest easy knowing you're reducing your impact on the environment, but you'll be more grateful when your electricity bill arrives if you switch to LED bulbs.

3. Lifespan

While halogen bulbs last longer than traditional iridescent bulbs, they are only expected to last between 800 and 1,200 hours.

LED bulbs have a significantly longer lifespan, averaging between 50,000 and 60,000 hours.

4. Heat emissions

When a light bulb has a high percentage of heat emissions, the result is a hot bulb that can lead to injuries and even fires.

Halogen bulbs produce heat emissions equivalent of 80 to 90 percent of the total energy produced. They are hot to the touch, especially after they've been in use for a few minutes.

LED bulbs produce heat emissions equivalent of 10 to 20 percent of the total energy produced. They are safer to touch after the light has been on for a while, leading to fewer injuries.

5. UV emissions

LED bulbs create zero UV emissions unless specifically designed to generate ultraviolet light. Without the release of UV, LED bulbs are the best environmentally friendly option for lighting.

Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, release a minimal amount of UV emissions. Even though halogen bulbs rank below LED bulbs, they are still a green option.

6. Average cost

While light bulbs are generally an inexpensive item, the price can add up when you're looking to light an entire home. When comparing halogen vs. LED, it's important to understand that both of these options are more expensive than the traditional iridescent bulb.

However, they each offer a number of benefits that conventional bulbs don't. On average, LED bulbs will cost twice as much as halogen bulbs, yet they will last 40 times longer.

Time to Go Shopping

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Now that you've compared halogen vs. LED bulbs and understand the benefits of each, you can decide which works best for you.

Whether the price per bulb is more important to you or the savings on your electric bill, you'll be able to make an educated decision. Find comfort in knowing that both halogen and LED bulbs offer environmental benefits and will reduce your carbon footprint.

Have you compared halogen vs. LED bulbs to use in your home? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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