There are many reasons why property owners choose to add outdoor lighting to their property. Decreased risk of theft or vandalism, an increase in safety, a well-lit space for nighttime adventures, and a way to accentuate natural elements like greenery and water features. Property owners who are invested in their outdoor landscape greatly benefit from the addition of outdoor lighting. If you are thinking about outdoor lighting, the next question is this: what type of light fixtures are best for my landscape? In most cases, this comes down to choosing between halogen light fixtures and LED light fixtures. In the past, halogen light fixtures were the only reasonable choice for high quality outdoor lighting. Now, with the impressive improvement of LED technology, it is a very different story.
Halogen: The Pros
Halogen lighting was once the premium outdoor lighting option for all landscape properties. They are much stronger than indoor, incandescent light bulbs (the option before halogen) and are much more efficient. While they aren’t necessarily as efficient as today’s LED lights, they are an inexpensive option running at only $4 - $10 a bulb. Halogen bulbs are basically incandescent bulbs that also use halogen gas to increase the lifespan of the bulb. On average, halogen lights last 2,000 to 5,000 hours total, can be set with a timer to turn on and off, and produce very bright light suited for an outdoor setting.
Halogen: The Cons
Halogen lights cost less, and it tends to show in terms of longevity. Compared to LEDs, halogen lights only last fraction of time. That means where you saved money on the cost of the bulb, you will pay back when the bulb dies prematurely. These bulbs also require a lot of heat to produce light, which can make the bulbs quite hot to the touch and should be strategically placed in the landscape. Halogen bulbs are also less suited for cold climates as the environment makes it harder for the lamp to generate the heat required to produce light. For this reason, a lot of property owners in the northeast will choose LED over halogen.
LED: The Pros
Even though LED (light-emitting diodes) lights are more expensive than halogen, they are worth the money in the long-term. There is less hassle changing the bulbs as they last 50,000 hours. The LED bulbs consume much less energy by watts than options like halogen or incandescent, making up for the initial cost. Only 20% of the energy used by LED lights is from wasted heat, whereas 80% of the wattage used by halogen is heat. In addition to being cost and energy efficient, LED lights are much safer and less likely to cause burns or fires. Due to their low temperature, these lights are also well suited for cold climates and can function with little environmental heat. In the beginning, LED produced an ugly blue tint and weren’t as high quality on brightness. Now, LED has greatly improved and is considered the premium choice for outdoor lighting.
LED: The Cons
While halogen lights can be placed just about anywhere, experts recommend that LED lights be placed higher up to avoid damage. Another barrier is the initial purchase investment, but remember it pays for itself overtime. Otherwise, there are really not many cons to choosing LED lights.
Overall, you get what you pay for. Halogen is the more affordable solution, but it also causes the need for more maintenance and long-term cost in comparison to LED. A lot of clients opt to do a moonlight effect by strategically placing LED lamps high in trees, which can be more difficult to attain with lights that go out on a regular basis. A lot of outdoor properties that haven’t been updated in the past decade still have halogen since it used to be the go-to solution. Luckily, it is a rather easy process to convert over to LEDs with the help of a professional landscape company. At Belknap Landscape, we consult individually to produce the best possible outdoor lighting for your landscape. We offer creative landscape planning, outdoor lighting installation, and conversions of your current systems.