LED Lighting Downlights Versus Halogen Downlights

LED Lighting Downlights Versus Halogen Downlights


Whether you're building, renovating, or just giving a room a freshen up, new lighting can improve the whole ambience of a home or space. 

With a wide range of styles available, lighting choices are limitless with downlights being a firm favourite for modern lighting.  A question we are commonly asked is - are led downlights better than halogen? Let's start off by comparing the two types of downlights. 



What is a downlight?

A downlight is a light set into the ceiling that emits light in a narrow beam. Similar to a spotlight, a downlight is discreet and can create an atmosphere in a sleek and stylish setting without the need for overbearing lampshades or taking up too much space. 

The most common options for downlight bulbs are LED and halogen. But with both easily accessible and popular choices for the modern home, how do you know which one to choose? 

What's the difference between halogen and LED? 

The functional difference between halogen and LED downlights is how they're powered. Traditional halogen downlights generate light through heat, whereas LED (‘light-emitting diode') is conducted through electrons.


If you’re considering downlights, here are our considerations for which bulbs to choose:


Bulb for bulb, LED downlights are the more expensive option, and you'll pay more money for fewer watts. However, once you consider the cost to run and how long they last, the financial comparison becomes more of an even playing field. 


It might cost more to kit out a home out in LED downlights, but they will last significantly longer than their halogen counterparts. In some brands, up to 40 times longer. When you consider the lifespan of an LED downlight, it’s important to note that you’ll be buying and replacing less in the long run. 

Energy use

LED's come out on top once again in energy savings. LED downlights are up to 90% more efficient than halogen downlights producing the same amount of light. This is variable dependant on wattage and brand but is a significant long-term saving for your energy bills and therefore the running costs of a home. 

Heat emission

As heat generates light in halogen downlights, you'll notice that the downlights may feel hot to touch, and in some cases even heating up areas of the room. LED bulbs also give off heat, but it's instead drawn to the metal base of the downlight, so it's not felt in the air. Depending on the location of the downlights, this can even improve safety in the home. 


Many house fires have been attributed to halogen bulbs. As mentioned earlier, halogen lights emit plenty of heat, and this can ignite insulation batts, dust and other materials, particularly if they are not correctly installed and maintained. LED lights produce 80% less heat, not getting hot enough to become a fire hazard.


In terms of aesthetics, both LED and halogen downlights look very similar. If it's energy efficiency, longevity and value for money you're looking for though, we recommend LED downlights every time. 


If you still can't make up your mind, you can always swap your downlights in the future. For safety, we don't recommend you switch to LED yourself. Always get an electrician to check fittings and circuits to make sure they're compatible and to make the swap safely. 

To find out more about LED and halogen downlights, contact CRM today.