LED vs Halogen – Which Is Better for Landscape Lighting?
Can’t decide whether to use halogen or LED for your home landscape lighting project?
Our recommendation: If you can afford the higher upfront cost of LED lighting bulbs, go for them. They are a better option than halogen for landscape lighting by a country mile.
LED light bulbs offer the following benefits:
- Last much longer
- Require far less maintenance
- Are more energy efficient
- Are more durable and safer
Let’s now go into detail why LED bulbs make for a better choice for landscape lighting than Halogen bulbs.
LEDs vs Halogen: The Difference Between the Two
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. This type of lighting uses a microchip for emitting light in one direction. Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, use metal filaments for emitting light in all directions.
Compared to Halogen, LED is a much more advanced technology. Because of this, it has several benefits over the former. However, these perks don’t come free. LED light bulbs cost more than Halogen lights.
The installation cost largely depends on the number of light fixtures you want. Other factors that influence installation cost are:
- Types of light fixtures you install – Generally speaking, the cost of a light fixture increases with brightness.
- Fixture material – The better the fixture material, the more the cost. However, it’s always advantageous to go for quality light fixtures. For instance, light quality in LED bulbs is measured by a metric called Color Rendering Index (CRI), which varies from 0 to 100. LED light bulbs with a CRI of 90 or above (denoted by CRI90+ rating) offer much better light quality than LED lights having a CRI of 80 or less. As much as possible, opt for CRI90+ LED lights because they can faithfully reproduce the colors of object in comparison with a natural light source.
- Your Landscaping Setup – You can expect to pay more if your electrician has to work around landscaping (trees, structures, shrubs, etc.).
The cost of a typical halogen bulb is $4 - $10. In comparison, LED bulbs cost $20 - $40 on average.
However, the higher upfront cost in case of LED light is more than compensated by its better energy efficiency and long life (as we will see shortly). So while LED lights cost more upfront, they prove to be a far cheaper option in the long run.
You’ll spend far less money — and time — replacing LED light bulbs.
LED Light Bulbs:
- Last 30,000 to 50,000 hours
- Need replacement every 5 to 10 years
- Last 1,000 to 3,000 hours
- Need replacement every 8 to 12 months
Note: How often you have to replace lighting bulbs depends largely on the frequency of their use.
LED bulbs are 70 to 75% more energy efficient compared to halogen bulbs. For example, a 12W LED light bulb can give the same lumen output as a 43W halogen light bulb.
Last but not the least, LED light bulbs reduces the need to use diffusers and reflectors for trapping the light. This, in turn, makes LED lighting more suitable and efficient for lighting up your landscape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do LED landscape lights need a special transformer?
No, not really. LED lamps can create larger lighting systems, often, without requiring larger transformers.
Are LED landscape lighting worth it?
Absolutely. LED lights may cost more upfront, but they not only last much longer than other types of lights but are also more energy efficient.
Can you plug LED lights into regular lights?
No, you shouldn’t. If you mix incandescent lights and LED, performance may suffer badly. When you use both on one circuit, LED lights may flicker on account of more light drawn by incandescent bulbs. So, it would be best if you change one, you should change them all.
Do LED lights get brighter with more voltage?
The answer is no, they don’t. In fact, LED light bulbs get brighter with current.