16 Mar 2023

Given our current interest hikes, we are all looking for ways to make household savings and reduce our energy costs. 

Without having solar installed at your home your electricity bill is often one of the largest after your mortgage.  About one-third of your power bill is usually made up of lighting your household.  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%. 

Downlights have been popular for a while now and rather than diminishing in popularity like other trends that have run their course they continue to go from strength to strength. This is partly because of energy savings options like LED downlights being made more readily available and economical. 

 A question we are commonly asked is – are LED downlights better than halogen? Let’s take a look and compare the two types of downlights.


Exactly as its name suggests, a downlight throws light, yes, you guessed it, down. Meaning that any light recessed into a ceiling that throws light in a narrow beam downwards can be called a downlight. When switched on it looks like the light is shining directly out of the ceiling. A downlight is made up of the housing, the bulb, and if necessary, a transformer. The transformer converts the power voltage into one the downlight can use ensuring it is safe. 

Types of Downlights

All downlights are round and come in different trim colours, that’s the part you can see. This allows you to coordinate the downlight with your home decor. However, there are different types you can choose from. The differences are primarily in the type of light bulb you use. Up until recently the most popular type of bulb was the halogen bulb but more recently compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and LED bulbs are becoming more popular because they are more energy efficient. 


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


Let’s take a closer look at both options and see which is the best lighting option! 

Energy Usage

The cost of running a bulb is calculated by how many watts it takes to run it continuously for an hour. LED bulbs may be used anywhere from 7-20 watts per hour. Whereas Halogen Bulbs use anywhere from 35 up to a whopping 500 watts an hour to emit the same amount of light. To give you a better idea, Halogen bulbs can use up to 9 times as much electricity as an equivalent LED globe or downlight. This means if you were to change all of your downlights or bulbs over to LED you would have significant energy savings every year. 


Halogen bulbs have a lifespan of approximately between 1000-2000 hours which is quite short compared to an LED which can have a lifespan of up to 35,000 hours. In fact, most LED manufacturers warranty their lights for up to 3 years and will come and replace them in that time if they are faulty. The initial cost of LED globes is approximately 4-5 times that of Halogen. However, even taking this into consideration LED lighting is a more cost-effective choice long term. 

It might cost more to kit out a home in LED downlights, but they will last significantly longer than their halogen counterparts. In some brands, up to 40 times longer. 


One of the main places in the house where downlights are used 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 LEDs are tiny bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit but unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out which is why they don’t get very hot. They are illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. 

Not all LED downlights are dimmable whereas halogen bulbs have no issues with dimming. However, LED downlights are far more effective at consolidating light in one direction, perfect for task lighting or reading. Both light sources provide good lighting quality, but LED lighting is significantly brighter. 


LED lighting is a clear winner in the long term both for cost and quality. 

After an initial outlay by switching from halogen to (LED lighting) an average home with 28 downlights can save around $866 per year.

*Comparison based on a 50 halogen vs 5w LED @ 35c per kwh for 5.5 hours per day.

Contact a Licensed Electrician in Brisbane for Your Home Electrical Maintenance, Repairs, Installations and lighting advice!

Installation, repairs, upgrades, and lighting advice for your home and outdoor spaces. No matter what your home renovation plan calls for, you can trust Allyn White.

With over 45 years of experience in all aspects of domestic, industrial, commercial and emergency electrical work, Allyn will be able to assist with your electrical needs in Brisbane.

For a free quote by a licensed electrician call 0416 235 641 to arrange a time to discuss your electrical needs.

Our charge-out rate remains the same during the week, at weekends and after hours, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Source: crmelectrical.com.au

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