Halogen light bulbs have a broad color spectrum, like traditional filament / incandescent light bulbs. And similar to LED light bulbs, they use less energy than the incandescents. It’s this sweet spot that makes halogens such a great replacement choice when swapping out the incandescent lights in your home, especially in the kitchen, bedrooms and living areas. It’s primarily for the way that halogen lighting will make everything seem more “true” and “realistic” that halogen is chosen to replace incandescent. If the color isn’t that important to you, then you would probably be better off with LED lighting (here is our review on LED Lightbulbs for the home).
In general, the halogen bulbs we recommend below have an energy savings of about 28% over the incandescent bulbs, and the color appearance is about 98% of the incandescent. For comparison, a high quality LED light uses about 88% less energy than an incandescent, but only provides about 80% of the color spectrum.
Like an incandescent, the halogens are both “instant-on” and fully dimmable; these will work with the same dimmer switches and controllers. For LEDs, not all are dimmable and many would require replacing the dimmer light switch.
Let’s get to some data: Starting with the Color Rendering Index (CRI) which describes how well a light source reveals the colors of an object in comparison to an ideal or a natural light. For light bulbs, the incandescent has a CRI of 100 out of 100, and is what we compare all other bulbs against as the benchmark. These halogen replacements are around 98%, so they will give you a light that is nearly indistinguishable from the incandescent. This means your skin tones will look more natural, your food in the kitchen and dining room won’t take on odd yellow, red or blue shades and there should be less eye strain when reading.
Next, is the “color temperature” of the light measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Is it a harsh, bright daylight (6000K ~ 6500K) with possibly some bluish overtones? Or possibly a warm, more natural (2000K ~ 3000K) with softer yellow? Our recommendations for your indoor living spaces would be around 3000K, and these halogen bulbs are 2900K. The bulbs below come in both a fully transparent “crystal clear” glass as well as a powder coated “soft white”.
One issue with halogen lights are the minor energy savings compared with incandescent lights. With only a 28% improvement, the average electrical cost is $5 to $6 per bulb, annually. An LED costs closer to $2 to power for the same usage.
Usable life is the major drawback for halogen, as well as incandescent, light bulbs. You can expect to get about 1 year of average daily (about 3 hours / day) use before replacing. Compare this to LED bulbs, which are rated for up to 10 years, and you can see where there is a large cost difference over a decade of usage.
GE Soft White 72-watt (100-Watt Replacement) ($13.10 for 4 pack = $3.28/bulb)
GE Soft White 53-Watt (75-Watt Replacement) ($6.21 for 4 pack = $1.56/bulb)
GE Soft White 29-Watt (40-Watt Replacement) ($12.92 for 4 pack = $3.23/bulb)
GE Crystal Clear 72-Watt (100-Watt Replacement) ($29.39 for 6 x 2 packs, 12 bulbs = $4.90/bulb)
GE Crystal Clear 53-Watt (75-Watt Replacement) ($13.00 for 2 pack = $6.50/bulb)
GE Crystal Clear 43-Watt (60-Watt Replacement) ( $6.13 for 2 pack = $3.07/bulb)
See here for more information on the pricing. These prices above were accurate at the time of publishing, however there can be considerable fluctuation in light bulb pricing. It’s best to check the site when you are ready to purchase, or save to your cart / wish list to monitor the prices.
You may have noticed that we didn’t present any comparisons with compact fluorescent (CFL) lighting. Other than for tubes used in under-counter lighting or bay-lighting in garages / workshops, we greatly prefer using halogen or LED, and not CFL. Enough said …