Comparison of GU10 lamps, LED, Low Energy and Halogen
With new lighting technologies emerging and advancing at a rapid rate and energy costs forever rising, now is the time to review the type of lighting bulbs and lamps you are using, below is a buyer’s guide to the different types of GU10 lamps and bulbs that are available today.
The light produced by a halogen lamp is without doubt the best in terms of colour temperature and brightness, however they produce a fairly narrow beam of light, the most common types are the 50 watt and 35 watt versions and these are relatively cheap compared to the energy saving types.
The major disadvantage of halogen lamps is that because of the narrow beam of light that they produce even a small room would need several down lights to produce an adequate amount of lighting. For example take a room measuring 5 x 3 metres you would need a minimum of 10 x 50w halogen lamps, that is 500w or half a Kilowatt in total which will prove very costly to run, especially with ever increasing energy prices.
Some other disadvantages of halogen lamps are the intensity of heat that they produce, this can be dangerous especially when installed in a ceiling where there is fibreglass insulation present. Although cheap to purchase halogen lamps have a relatively short life, often quoted at 4000 to 6000 hours, the reality is only well known brands such as Osram tend to achieve this, many cheap unbranded bulbs often have a very short working life making them more expensive in the long term when compared to the branded bulbs.
It is possible to reduce energy costs by using lower power bulbs in areas that do not require bright lighting such as parts of the room that are not used often, in these areas you could use 35W bulbs, roughly a 30% saving compared to the 50w.
Low energy 7w, 9w, 11w and 14w bulbs are available and they will go a long way to reducing energy costs, they produce a similar light to halogen bulbs and can be a good alternative, but they are more expensive, however they do have a long working life, often around 15,000 hours which is about 2 years of constant use, so if used for even 6 hours a day you could expect a life of around 8 years.
Unfortunately low energy bulbs are not suited to areas where bright light is needed the instant the light is switched on, this is because they take around 30 to 60 seconds after switch on to reach maximum brightness, so would not be suitable in a hallway for example.
They are larger than the halogen type and will not be suitable for some light fittings so before purchasing a large quantity, check the dimensions and maybe try a sample to ensure it is suitable for your light fitting, also ensure that you are happy with the light produced which can be a little cold when compared to the halogen type.
LED bulbs are fast becoming the most popular choice for people looking to reduce their energy costs. The LED bulb is available in a range of incandescent light power equivalents from 35w to 50w. The majority use a 12 volt power supply and a special constant current transformer is required.
They are becoming increasingly popular because of their low energy consumption, for example a 6w LED bulb will produce the same amount of light as a 50w halogen, now if you have 10 in a room you are reducing power consumption from 500w to 60w, this is going to considerably reduce your energy bills. They cost more than the low energy and halogen types but the energy savings along with an extremely long working life make them more cost efficient in the long term and the higher initial cost will be recouped very quickly.
LED lighting is not to everybody’s liking, mainly because they can produce quite a cold blue light which is fine for bathrooms and kitchens but not ideal for a living room, however it is now possible to purchase bulbs with a warmer light so it is important that you look at the colour temperature in the bulbs specification before purchasing, and again try a sample before purchasing a large quantity. When looking for the right LED bulb, you should check the colour temperature in Kelvin (K). This indicates how warm or cold the colour will be, below are details of how the colour relates to the temperature (K).
2700K – 3300K: Soft warm white, the standard colour of incandescent lights, good for general indoor lighting.
3300K – 5300K: Neutral white, good for work, office spaces and bathrooms.
5300K – 6500K: Cool white daylight, good for reading or any area that requires a bright light that gives good contrast.