Halogen Vs. LED Power

By Chris Stevenson

Some light bulbs must be purchased with environmental concerns in mind.
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Knowing the cost and power effectiveness of light components and sources can help businesses and homeowners save money. Whether you should use a traditional halogen, filament-type bulb, or an LED (or light emitting diode) bulb depends on the lighting need. Each type of bulb has advantages in respect to certain applications.


Due to their filament design, halogen bulbs emit as much as 90 percent of their radiant heat energy outward and away from the bulb. They can be very dangerous in proximity to combustible materials, such as picture frames, drapes, paper, cardboard and other materials. Halogen bulbs do well in standing pendant lights and other frames that contain fireproof materials. LED lights run much cooler and can be handled or touched without burns. LED lights do well in enclosed areas such as display cases, accent lighting, cabinets and other enclosed structures where the interior temperature must remain stable.

Dimmer Qualities

Halogen lights that require 120 volts can run easily on regular dimmer switches, but the lower voltage halogen lights require a special dimmer switch that must be purchased as a specialty item. Dimmer LED lights must be purchased to be used with regular dimmer switches. LED bulbs have been made available for the newest LED lights on the market.


Halogen bulbs are inexpensive but consume about 90 watts of power. Total electrical cost for such a halogen bulb over a year thus becomes expensive. A comparable LED bulb of the same voltage size can cost 10 or 20 times as much, but it will consume only 8 watts of power and cost much less to operate over the course of a year.


The typical halogen bulb has a typical lifespan of approximately 1000 hours. A comparable LED bulb with the same voltage requirements typically runs around 50,000 hours and as long as 65,000 hours.

Light Output

LED lights will have a weaker light output than comparable halogen bulbs due to inefficiencies in their heat sink qualities and depending upon how much airflow they have around them. The halogen bulb, because of its hotter burning characteristics, will burn relatively brighter in all conditions and applications.

Physical Characteristics

Both the Halogen and LED lights can be purchased in the same size and profile to fit almost all sockets and frames. Halogen bulbs have crystal construction to withstand the intense heat they emit. Halogen bulbs are susceptible to contamination by moisture and other liquids and cannot be handled without gloves due to the presence of the natural oils in the skin. LED bulbs, much cooler to the touch and constructed of glass, do not suffer similar contamination or oil effects.