LED downlight | Dawson Electric

LED Downlights. How do they compare to Halogens.

Comparing LED Downlights to Fluorescent and Halogens

Downlights are one of the world’s most popular forms of lighting. They’re cheap, bright and can be fitted with a huge range of bulbs to achieve any lighting effect you want.

One of the biggest advantages of downlights is the ability to choose energy-saving options like LEDs. While most downlights are halogen or fluorescent, LED downlights can save a substantial amount of money, and they’re very affordable to install.

In this article, we’ll do a brief comparison of LED, fluoro and halogen downlights, and see how much money you can save by making the switch to LED.

What is a Downlight?

As its name suggests, a downlight is a recessed fitting that throws light downwards. 

Downlights are often installed in rows or grids to provide enough lighting for an entire room. They can also be used for feature lighting – e.g. a row of downlights over a kitchen island to illuminate the workspace.

The most common types of downlight are made up of the housing, the bulb and a transformer. The transformer converts 240V mains power into a smaller voltage that the downlight can use safely.

Types of Downlights

All downlights feature the same basic design features. They’re simple, round and come with a variety of different trim colours. This allows you to coordinate the light with your home decor.

The main difference between the types of downlights are the type of light bulb they use. Until recently, most downlights used halogen bulbs, but compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and LED bulbs are becoming more common:

  • Halogen downlights – These were the most common type of downlight. They’re cheap, easy to install and provide good illumination, but they’re less energy-efficient than CFL or LED bulbs.

  • Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) downlights – Fluorescent lighting is more energy-efficient than halogen technology, but it comes with limitations. Many CFL bulbs have a cooler colour temperature that may not be ideal for your home.

  • LED downlights – LED bulbs are a revolution in lighting. They’re extremely efficient (about five times more efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs) and long-lived, with some LED downlights lasting for decades.

Comparing Halogen vs Fluorescent vs LED Downlighting

Let’s take a closer look at the three options and see which is the best lighting option for your illumination needs:

1. Energy Usage

About one-third of your power bill is usually made up of lighting. 

Depending on the type of appliances a house uses, the type of lights used, how often they are switched on and off and how long they are on for, the lighting component can be as high as 80-90%. 

The cost of running a bulb is calculated by how many watts it takes to run it continuously for an hour. Here’s how LED, halogen and fluoro lights stack up:

  • LED bulbs – 5-15 watts

  • Fluoro bulbs – 15-30 watts

  • Halogen bulbs – 20-50 watts

LED bulbs are the clear winner, although CFL bulbs are a close second. This makes a real impact on your energy bills. To give you a rough idea, it costs about $5 per year to operate a halogen downlight, while it only costs $1.20 to run an LED bulb.

If you have dozens of downlights around your home, those savings can add up quickly!

2. Longevity

Upgrading to LED bulbs costs money upfront. While you can save a substantial amount on your power bills, you’ll also save money on replacing your bulbs.

The longevity of light bulbs is measured in operational hours. Here’s how the three types of bulbs stack up:

  • LED bulbs – 25,000 hours (30+ years)

  • Fluoro bulbs – 10,000 hours (14 years)

  • Halogen bulbs – 3,000 hours (4 years)

For reference, an LED downlight bulb costs about $15, while a halogen bulb costs about $6. That means you can save about 300% on the cost of replacement light bulbs over a 30 year period.

3. Quality

One of the main uses of downlights is the kitchen. They are a great solution for task lighting over workspaces.

Halogen bulbs create light by producing heat, and the kitchen is the last place you want more heat. The heat emitted from the halogen bulbs can also be dangerous. Numerous household fires have been linked to halogen bulbs.

On the other hand, LED bulbs stay quite cool. LED’s are tiny bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit. Unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out, which is why they don’t get hot.

You also don’t miss out on any features with LED lighting. Most LED downlights are now dimmable, which is a great feature when you want to use your downlights for both task lighting and mood lighting.

Converting Halogen Downlights to LED Downlights 

Converting from halogen downlights to energy saving LED downlights can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

The simplest solution is to switch your halogen bulbs for LED bulbs. High quality LED downlight bulbs can be purchased for about $15 each. All you need to do is remove one of your existing halogen bulbs and take it into a lighting store – they’ll be able to recommend an LED alternative.

If your lights need to be updated, or if you’re looking to upgrade the look and feel of your lighting, it’s better to switch to purpose-built LED downlights.

These types of downlights are self-contained units. They’re compact, affordable and offer better performance than ordinary LED bulbs. The best part about installed LED downlights is that your electrician can help you switch from hardwired lighting to plug-in alternatives.

Plug-in downlights are connected to mains power using conventional power points that are concealed in the ceiling. Plug-in downlights are a popular solution in new builds because it means you can change your downlights without the need for an electrician!

Convert Your Home to LED Lighting with Dawson Electric!

Making the switch to LED lighting is a fantastic way to light up your home and save money at the same time! If you’re ready to upgrade, the team at Dawson Electric can tailor a lighting solution to suit.

Dawson Electric is an electrician that works throughout Brisbane. We love the versatility of LED lighting, and we always recommend it to customers that are looking to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Switching to LED lighting couldn’t be easier! We can usually provide a direct replacement for your current lighting, or we can customise a solution to suit your home. If you want some added flexibility, we can also replace hardwired downlights with plug-in lighting that you can replace yourself in future!

Contact us to find out more, or book an appointment for a quote on LED lighting.

Scroll to Top