Landscape lighting can transform your yard into a magical evening setting, can enhance safety and security, and can even add tremendous property value. It doesn’t take much to demonstrate just how beneficial outdoor lighting can be. The more challenging task is to decide whether to install LED landscape lighting or go with traditional halogen bulbs.
Here are some of the pros and cons of LED lighting vs. halogen bulbs so you can better understand the differences and make smart choices for your home.
This one is no contest. There’s a tremendous difference in energy consumption between LED lights and halogen bulbs, with LEDs using only about 20% of the energy that traditional bulbs use. LED bulbs average 8 watts of power while halogens average 90.
When you consider that the average household’s electric bill is comprised of nearly 40% in lighting costs alone, you can start to do the math to see how much switching to LEDs can save.
There is also far less cost in maintaining LED landscape lighting. Bulbs can last up to 50,000 hours, or nearly 6 years of continuous use, whereas even the best halogen bulbs only have about 10,000 hours – the equivalent of just over a year – of power in them.
What that means for you as a homeowner is that you’ll be replacing bulbs far less often. And if you hire a professional service to repair fixtures or replace bulbs, you’ll appreciate the considerable savings in labor costs over time.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: LED lighting for the win. Bulbs and fixtures last longer and cost less to run than halogens.
You can’t talk about energy usage without talking about environmental impact. And this is another area where LED bulbs shine.
They require far less energy to run, as we just mentioned, but they’re good for the earth in other ways, too. By replacing bulbs less often, that reduces manufacturing, which is turn reduces carbon emissions needed to produce and ship components. That also reduces waste since you won’t be disposing of bulbs or fixtures nearly as often.
Finally, LED bulbs contain no toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable. If you’re concerned about the planet and how we’re leaving it for future generations, LED bulbs are a good option.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: If your goal is to use an environmentally-friendly product, then say goodbye to halogens and choose LED lighting instead.
Even the most environmentally-conscious among us still have to face the practical reality of budget. And the reality is that LED lighting is more expensive to install. Halogen bulbs can be as little as $3 while you may find yourself shelling out $20 or more per LED bulb.
Plus, if you’re going through the effort and expense of installing LED landscape lighting then it’s a good idea to consider hiring a professional to do it. You’ll have access to better equipment, which will last longer than what you can purchase on your own, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the installation was done properly. That boils down to additional labor costs if you were planning to do it yourself.
Do keep in mind that while LED lighting costs more in the short term, it will save you money in the long term.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: It’s a game of delayed gratification. LED lighting will cost more to install than halogens. But LEDs will cost less over time as you save substantially on both energy usage and the cost of replacement bulbs.
Halogen bulbs produce heat. Quite a bit of it, in fact. As much as 90% of the energy used by a halogen is wasted generating heat. Even if you’re not concerned about the energy use, you should be concerned about the heat.
During warm, dry months, that heat can pose a fire risk, especially when you consider that bulbs are embedded in your gardens, mulch, or even in your trees.
On the other hand, LEDs produce no heat at all. They won’t be melting your snow, so you’ll have to brush them off if you want to keep them clear during winter months. But you won’t have to worry that they’ll set your home ablaze, either.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: Choose LED bulbs to reduce fire risk during dry months.
Halogen bulbs may pose a fire risk during warm, dry months, but they don’t excel in cold, either. The nature of the bulbs and the high temperatures they produce make halogens susceptible to “popping” in the cold.
While this may not necessarily be dangerous, it will affect the functionality of your system and the cost to replace bulbs.
LEDs don’t have this problem. They’re unaffected by temperature, maintain their brightness throughout their life and are shatter-proof.
And here’s a bonus: LED bulbs attract fewer insects than halogens. If you enjoy sitting on your lit porch or patio in the evening, that might be enough to sway you to LEDs.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: Here in New Jersey, where winter temperatures can be pretty brutal, LED bulbs will last longer and resist temperature fluctuations better than halogens.
Let’s be honest: the safest, cleanest, most efficient lighting on the planet isn’t going to be that attractive to anyone if the result is just plain ugly. And LED landscape lights don’t exactly come with a shining reputation.
Many people think of the light they emit as unnatural, harsh and even “cold” compared to halogens, and in the past they would have been correct. When the technology was new, it certainly had its drawbacks. But LED lighting has come a long way in current times, and the light that they emit is just as beautiful as any halogen bulb. In fact, LED lighting is now used to create a much more natural “daylight” effect than halogens can achieve. This is great news if you’re considering switching to LEDs indoors, too.
Halogens also tend to lose brightness as they age, while LEDs maintain consistent lighting throughout their lifespan.
Better yet, LED bulbs come in myriad colors, including color-changing options that look especially stunning in pools and spas. They can be directed like a spotlight, or diffused for a softer effect. They can be put on timers and dimmers, and you can even dim individual bulbs within the same system.
But be cautious. Not all LED bulbs are created equal. There’s a huge difference between professional-grade landscape lighting and the kits you can purchase from most big box retailers.
LED vs. halogen landscape lighting verdict: LED bulbs produce light that’s comparable to halogens, and sometimes even better, but only if you choose a high quality system.
In a pro vs. con analysis, LED landscape lighting comes out on top over halogens on almost every measure. In fact, the newer technology makes LED lighting systems even better adapted to current technology than their halogen counterparts. They’re compatible with wireless technology and remote access control, which means you can manage timers, dimmers and more from the touch of an app.
Yes, they can be pricier to install, but if you’re playing the long game, you’ll enjoy the savings over time, and appreciate the gorgeous effects in the meantime.
If you’re interested in installing landscape lighting, or want to convert an old halogen system to new LEDs, get in touch with us for a free estimate. We’ll visit your home and even share ideas for creative ways to use lighting in your yard.