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Which Is Better – LED or Halogen Light Bulbs?

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If you can’t decide which bulb to get between a LED or Halogen, this guide is for you. We understand a lot of people find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to choosing between the two bulbs. That is why we did our own comparison to answer one of the most common questions we receive on this matter: which is better – LED or Halogen Light Bulbs?

Which Is Better: LED Or Halogen Light Bulbs?

Are you looking to install or replace your lighting system with either halogen or LED  light bulbs? Knowing the difference between the two will help you make an educated choice on what is best for your particular needs and budget. 

This guide gives you a head-to-head analysis of the similarities and differences between halogen and LED lighting technology and where they are both applicable. 

How LED Light Bulbs Work

LEDs have a semiconductor electrical component known as a diode with two electrodes; a cathode (negative terminal) and anode (positive terminal). The diode only allows electric current to pass in one direction. The current enters through the cathode and exits through the anode. 

Light bulb

Through this constant and continuous flow, electrons on the diode combine with electron holes to release energy as protons, which gives visible light. 

How Halogen Light Bulbs Work

Halogen light bulbs, also called tungsten halogen, quartz-halogen, or quartz iodine lamps, work differently from LED light bulbs. They apply the same mechanism as incandescent bulbs. The only difference comes in heat emission as halogens use more electricity to produce light.

Thus, the casing on these lights is not any ordinary glass, is heat resistant quartz glass. Any other type of standard glass would crack due to heating effect.

Halogen bulbs use tungsten filaments combined with active halogen gasses such as Bromine and iodine to induce a halogen cycle of chemical reactions.  Small quantities of these gases help to suppress the filament’s evaporation.  The gas also reduces the amount of tungsten that causes black spot in the lamp’s interior wall as in incandescent bulbs.

Similarities Between LED And Halogen Light Bulbs

While these two technologies are worlds apart, they still possess some features that are very similar.

Both Come in Variety of Shapes

Both light bulbs come in different shapes and sizes, a factor that makes them versatile.  Halogen lights’ various shapes and sizes make them ideal for small PAR and AR spotlights or Large Mirror Reflector flood lights bulbs. 

LED bulbs come generally in four different shapes: A-shape, specialty,  reflector, and decorative. The A-shape model is the most common. 

Both Produce Ultraviolet Radiations

Both types of light bulbs produce some amounts of UV radiation when burning. You might have come across sources stating that LEDs do not have UV.  On the contrary, some studies show that LEDs produce Ultraviolet radiation. 

When it comes to infrared (IR), all halogen lights have it. It is not the case with LEDs, though, as only IR LEDs (Infrared light-emitting diodes) emit the IR range of electromagnetic radiation spectrum between 700 nm to 1mm. 

Such radiations can be damaging to paintings and fabrics. They also pose a danger to human skins as they cause premature wrinkles. 

Halogen light bulbs

Both Are Dimmable

All halogen lights are dimmable, and they are compatible with most dimmers.  With the right bulb and dimmer, you can always adjust the spectrum frequencies. However, this might lead to a shorter lifespan. 

LED light bulbs are also dimmable yet only if specified by the manufacturer. You can lower or raise the forward frequencies or adjust the pulse duration. They give you a range between 0.5% to 100%.

Differences Between LEDs And Halogen Light Bulbs

There is no doubt that halogen lighting technology has evolved with years to match modernity in the industry. However, there are still several notable differences between LED and halogen bulbs, as highlighted below. 

Heat Emission

Halogen Bulbs emit a larger percentage of their energy in the form of heat. This factor makes this lighting technology dangerous to use next to inflammable materials like petrol. Because of the heat, it is also next to impossible to replace immediately after burning. 

On the contrary, LEDs only put out between 10% to 20% of their energy as heat. They are easier to handle and do not expose users to risks of causing a fire. 


Halogen light bulbs burn for shorter periods than other types of bulbs. They only last for about 2000 hours or about two years, when you use them for approximately three hours a day. In comparison, LEDs last much longer and can serve you for up to 55,000 hours, which is 13 times longer than halogen light bulbs. 

Another point of difference to note between the two is their ability to absorb shocks. Modern LED light bulbs are available in solid-state lights (SSLs) thus are resistant to shock. Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, have fragile glass casing that can break with simple turbulence or pressure. 


The cost per unit for LEDs is relatively higher than that of halogen bulbs. However, the overall lifespan implies that you will replace fewer LED bulbs at the end of their burning life than you would with halogen bulbs.

Mathematically, if a single LED bulb goes for $17 and lasts for 55,000 hours, they are way more economical than halogen bulbs that cost $7.  

LEDs are also more energy-efficient, meaning that they operate at lower costs. Thus, in the long run, they become more affordable regardless of their initial price. 

Light fixtures


Efficacy, measured in lumens per watts compares the amount of light produced to the amount of energy consumed in the process. It measures how well your light source emits light, a factor that the human eye cannot determine. 

The mathematical breakdown implies that a 100-watt halogen bulb gives around 1,750 lumens resulting in an efficacy of 17.5. On the other hand, a 15 wattage LED bulb produces close to 1400 lumens, providing an efficacy of 93. Lighting solutions with higher efficacy levels give more light per given energy amount. 

Color Rendering Index Effect

The CRI (color rending index) measurement refers to a bulb’s ability to render color similar to that of the reference lamp type on a scale of 0 to 100.  CRI levels ranging anywhere between 85 to 90 are acceptable for a residential lighting system. 

Halogen lights have a CRI of 100, the same as standardized daylight, while standard LED bulbs have a CRI of only 80. However, LEDs can hit a maximum CRI of up to 98. In layman terms, this comparison means that halogen lights are brighter than LEDs. 

When To Use LED Light Bulbs

With the innovation and the technology used in making this bulb, there is no doubt that they apply to any lighting installation. Here are some of the situations where it’s best you use an LED light bulb.

If Proper Visibility Is Critical

This factor is ideally for surgeons and medical practitioners at large whose field of practice is sensitive to proper visibility. They need a lighting system that portrays something close to daylight, which measures at 5100 degrees Kelvin. 

Naturally, halogen lights produce hot infrared rays measuring around 4,000 kelvin. In comparison, LEDs have 4300 degrees Kelvin, making them better for hospitals and theatres. 

Another place that you could prefer LEDs because of color variations is in jewelry stores. Since they are more natural than halogen bulbs, they give natural color tones to the display.

If You Are Cautious Of Environmental Impact

LED light bulbs are 95% recyclable and leave only a little carbon footprints. Together with their long burning hours, this means that you could save more on waste disposal. The UV level they produce is also insignificant when compared to halogen and incandescent light bulbs. 

Halogen light bulb

If You Prefer Long-Term Economical Advantage

We recommend that you shift to a LED light bulb if you’re budget-conscious. While LEDs may have a higher initial price tag,  you will save a lot of money on power bills and replacement costs with LEDs. 

If You Want Different Colors From Your Bulb

LEDs provide a wide range of colors without using any gels or filers. They use diodes together with phosphorus coating to alter the color of the light emitted. The phenomenon goes on when you buy your bulb to the end of its burning life without fading.

The color variations make this lighting solution versatile as you can choose to customize the lighting depending on the mood and event. LED bulbs are also the preferred lighting options in modern traffic lights because of their ability to light in more than one color. 

When To Use Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen light bulbs have become controversial for not being energy efficient and producing a lot of heat than their LED counterparts. However, such disadvantages can work in their favor in certain circumstances. Here are some situations where using halogen light bulbs would be most ideal.

If You Need Extra Light Heat 

Sometimes during home renovations or when you find yourself in a building site where there is still no proper heat source installed, you can always use the heat generated for Halogen light bulbs. The bulbs produce excess heat that you can use to warm your room. 

You can also use halogen bulbs for outdoor lighting and features where you need additional heat.

If You Need Cheaper Bulbs

While you might be conscious about the long-term economical benefit of your light bulbs, sometimes your budget won’t agree. Although halogen bulbs might not last long, they are a good option if you are operating on a budget and only need them for a short time. 

Final Thoughts

Although Halogen light bulbs might be technically similar to incandescent bulbs, they are more efficient than traditional bulbs. However, from the comparison above, we can solidly recommend LED light bulbs over their halogen counterparts. They offer several advantages from efficiency, cost-effectiveness to environmental friendliness.