Even a couple of years ago, manufacturers could not produce LED lighting in an affordable range for most consumers. Commercial customers were able to swing the high cost of entry with products like LED recessed ceiling fixtures, but consumers were by and large left out. Recent months government regulations affecting standards of energy efficiency have started to have an impact on what type of light bulbs can continue to be manufactured. While there’s always the option of buying "rough service" incandescent bulbs (currently exempt from the light bulb ban) some of you may also be thinking about making the switch to an alternative, more efficient light bulb. If you are, you have three options: halogen, compact fluorescent, and LED (light emitting diode). Now that there are more options for replacing the bulbs in your table lamps and household light fixtures than ever before, the task can be a little daunting. In an effort to make your decision easier, this guide to your three replacement options weighs the pros and cons of each light source so you don’t have to.


Halogen

Pros:
- Halogen lamps are slightly more efficient than incandescent bulbs
- Available in the same classic shape as standard incandescents
- Fully dimmable and compatible with most incandescent dimmers
- Instant-on – no delays in reaching full brightness
- Perfect Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 100
- Produces a slightly brighter, whiter light than incandescents

Cons:
- Halogen bulbs and lamps burn hotter than incandescent bulbs
- Least efficient out of other replacements
- Its filament and glass tube are sensitive to rough handling and vibration
- Oil from hands left on the glass of the bulb can cause damage
- Although they’re still available, halogen PAR lamps have been banned due to the inability to meet government efficiency requirements


Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

Pros:
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use significantly less energy than incandescent lamps (50 to 80 percent)
- Versatile shapes and base types that can fit into almost any incandescent household application
- Available in all of the same color temperatures as incandescent bulbs
- Can be purchased in dimmable options (CCFLs)
- Has an average life expectancy of up to 10,000 hours
- Produces less heat than incandescent and halogen bulbs

Cons:
- CFLs contain small amounts of mercury. Though it’s not dangerous while in the bulb, if the bulb is broken, it needs to be disposed of carefully and correctly.
- Most have warm-up times anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds
- Are not able to dim as well as halogens, incandescents, or LEDs (has the worst dimming capabilities of all)
- Frequent on and off cycling and cold temperatures can significantly reduce their lifespan


Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Pros:
- LED light bulbs are 90 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs
- Available in a variety of color temperatures
- Not sensitive to cold environments
- Produce next to no heat or UV emissions
- Available in dimmable options
- Able to withstand heavy vibrations and rough handling due to the lack of a sensitive filament
- Can be cycled on and off frequently without shortening the lifespan
- Longest average life expectancy of all incandescent replacements, lasting up to 25 to 50 times longer

Cons:
- Highest initial cost of all incandescent replacements
- Can’t be used in completely enclosed fixtures
- May shift color over time due to age and environmental factors
- May require the installation of LED drivers if not already built into the bulb

Do you have any more burning questions about halogens, CFLs, or LEDs that you need answered, just contact us and let us know how we can help.

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