Here at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbus, people ask us over and over, “Which is best? Halogen or LED?” If you are considering adding an outdoor lighting system to your home, you’ve probably realized that there is significant debate regarding whether a halogen or LED system is best for outdoor lighting. Trudging through reviews and feedback from neighbors and friends, you’ve probably come up with mixed results and maybe even conflicting information. This puts you no closer to deciding what’s best. You also know that the energy efficient bulbs you use in many of your interior lights are LED, and LED seems to be the way of the future. But what is really right for the exterior of your home? Truthfully, the best outdoor lighting system is the one that suits your property’s needs. In order to determine which system is best for you, consider the following.
Halogen technology has been used in outdoor lighting for many years. With a clear, slightly warm color, it works very well for outdoor lighting purposes. It is reliable, safe, and beautiful. Bulbs last about 5,000 hours, which is roughly equivalent to one and a half years of regular use. A halogen lighting system is less expensive to install. The most expensive component of this system is the transformer, and at times, two transformers or more may be needed. The color temperature of halogen light measures around 3,000K on the Kelvin color temperature scale. With this type of lighting it is important to determine where it will be used. That is because these lights are susceptible to voltage drop, a light at the end of a long line being dimmer and more yellow. It is the result of voltage being siphoned off of the line by the preceding fixtures. So if you have such long lines, halogen lights will be affected.
LED lighting technology is much newer to outdoor lighting, though it has been around for a number of years now. Outdoor lighting was not a good use for the first LEDs. These lights emitted a bluish tint that was not very attractive. However, in recent years, technology developments have produced high quality LED bulbs that are indistinguishable from their halogen counter parts. They measure around 3,000K on the Kelvin color temperature scale as well. LED systems are more expensive, even though they require less wiring, because the bulbs are more costly than halogen. However, you won’t have as much wattage on your transformer so a smaller one could be used. Though not bulbs in the traditional sense, LEDs consume far less energy than halogen bulbs (75% less) and last ten times longer. This is possible because the bulbs are actually light emitting diodes, so they don’t have filaments or gas to burn out.
Now, in head to head rounds, how would halogen and LED stand up to one another?
|Energy Consumption||LED||Hands down an LED system consumes less energy, meaning savings on energy costs over the life of the system.|
|Life of Components||LED||Again, this one goes to LED for its components that can last up to 20 years.|
|Cost of System||Halogen||Halogen takes this round. If you are on a tight budget, it is less expensive initially.|
|Naturalness of Light||Tie||High quality LED and halogen bulbs are now indistinguishable from one another.|
|Voltage Drop||LED||Because LEDs use less wattage for equivalent illumination, they are not susceptible to voltage drop.|
If you are discussing a halogen versus an LED system with a professional, like Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbus, we will probably recommend LED based on the above measures. Mathematically, LED is the winner. That said, halogen is still a viable option. It is time tested. If you are hesitant to install LED now, be sure the system you choose has the ability to upgrade easily to LED should you decide to do so in the future. The halogen systems we install use fixtures that can burn either LEDs or halogen (with the exception of the BB-02 fixture). That way if you decide to upgrade to LED later on, the cost is much less than if you had to replace the entire system.
So Columbus residents, whether you have made your decision or are still weighing your options, call Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbus. We’ll be happy to discuss the pros and cons of these systems with you in greater detail. That way, you can better judge who wins the halogen vs. LED fight.
J.K. Smith, Owner
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbus