LED vs. Incandescent & Halogen
There are many different types of lighting technologies to choose from. Knowing the difference between incandescent and LED and the difference between halogen and LED can help you make an educated decision on what’s best for your application and budget.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Starting August 1st 2023, the selling of incandescent and halogen bulbs by manufacturers and retailers will be banned. This follows the Department of Energy’s push to focus on energy-efficient lighting.
What is an Incandescent Light?
Incandescent lighting is a dated and inefficient lighting solution. In an incandescent bulb, an electric current passes through a thin filament wire which heats the filament until it glows. Heat radiates outward from the bulb, and only a small portion of the energy created is converted into usable light. Over time, heat burns the tungsten filament in the bulb until it breaks.
What you should know about Incandescents:
- Incandescent bulbs use, at most, 10 percent of the energy they consume to make visible light. The other 90 percent is wasted heat.
- They produce a considerable amount of infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can be damaging to fabrics and artwork over time.
- Incandescents typically last around 1,200 hours.
- Incandescent bulbs have a fragile glass envelope and brittle filament wire.
- They are only available in a limited range of color temperatures
- Starting August 1st 2023, manufacturers and retailers will be banned from selling incandescent lights that produce less than 45 lumens per watt.
What is a Halogen Light?
Halogen bulbs are a more efficient variation of the traditional incandescent bulb. They contain a tungsten filament, but unlike in incandescent bulbs, a small amount of halogen gas mixes with tungsten vapor and deposits it back onto the filament instead of on the inside of the bulb envelope. This process extends the bulb’s lifespan and allows it to work at a much higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, which increases light output. A quartz envelope is used instead of glass because of its ability to handle higher temperatures.
What you should know about Halogens:
- Halogen bulbs come in many shapes but are commonly used as PAR, BR, AR, and MR spotlight or flood light bulbs.
- They produce a considerable amount of infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can be damaging to fabrics and artwork.
- These bulbs require an extremely hot running temperature to produce light and can cause burns if touched.
- Halogen lights last approximately 3,600 hours (three times longer than incandescent bulbs).
- Halogen bulbs have a fragile quartz envelope and brittle filament wire.
- Because they operate at higher temperatures, halogen bulbs have cooler color temperatures and produce a brighter light than incandescent bulbs.
- Starting August 1st 2023, manufacturers and retailers will be banned from selling halogen lights that produce less than 45 lumens per watt.
What is an LED?
LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are a modern lighting solution that provide many benefits including energy efficiency, compact size, and a long lifespan. The diode in an LED is a semiconductor device that allows current to flow in only one direction. When a voltage is applied to the diode, electrons and electron holes combine within the semiconductor material. This recombination process releases energy in the form of photons and produces visible light. LEDs have endless application possibilities, such as under-cabinet, landscape, vehicle, home, industrial, and commercial lighting.
What you should know about LEDs:
LEDs produce the longest-lasting, most energy-efficient lighting available today. A semiconductor rich in electrons and a semiconductor rich in holes are used to create an LED. Passing a current through the junction of these two materials combines the electrons with the holes and produces photons, which is the light that you see. LEDs have endless application possibilities, such as under-cabinet, landscape, vehicle, home, industrial, and commercial lighting.
- LEDs run much cooler than incandescent and halogen bulbs, which increases their longevity and enables them to function in extreme cold and hot environments.
- LEDs (unless specifically infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV)) produce little to no IR or UV radiation, which can be damaging to fabrics and artwork.
- LED lights can last up to 100,000 hours. This is 83 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 27 times longer than halogen bulbs.
- Power consumption of LEDs is the lowest compared to all other lighting technologies (80% less than incandescent bulbs and 75% less than halogen bulbs) as they use less power to display the same amount of light.
- LEDs are more durable than other types of lighting as they contain no brittle filaments.
- Using LEDs can lead to greater energy savings over time.
- These lights contain no mercury, harmful gases, or toxins.
- LEDs offer a variety of different white, tunable white, single color, and color-changing options. These lights are also easy to integrate into smart home systems.
- Because of their low power consumption, LEDs are great alternative lighting solutions for solar-powered and emergency backup systems.
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