Posted by Doug Root on 6th Nov 2020

All About Halogen Bulbs

LED lights get a lot of attention from lighting specialists, electricians, contractors, and homeowners because they offer a huge range of seemingly unbeatable benefits. However, despite their many advantages, there are a number of other specialty bulbs that we sell here at Atlanta Light Bulbs in addition to these, some of which are not easily replaced or that offer specific, unique advantages.

Despite some of their shortcomings, and despite the fact that halogen bulbs are hardly specialty bulbs, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Read on to learn more about these interesting bulbs, how they work, and why people love them.

How They Work

Halogen light bulbs work via a process that is not entirely dissimilar from how a traditional incandescent bulb produces light, which is via a process known as electroluminescence. When you screw in an incandescent bulb and switch on the light, electricity passes through the wiring of the lamp into the base of the bulb and through the filament - typically incandescent bulbs have tungsten filaments - and back down through the base of the bulb.

That is the process, and these are the effects. The filament, which has been excited by the flow of electricity across it, will heat up until it glows. The gases in the light bulb prevent the tungsten filament from oxidizing, allowing it to glow for much longer than it would in the open atmosphere.

Halogen bulbs are like incandescent bulbs, in that they use a filament, against, typically tungsten, to produce light. However, halogen bulbs tend to consist of two bulbs. Inside the outer bulb of a halogen lamp, there is an inner bulb of quartz, within which are housed not only the filament but also iodine and bromine gases.

These types of bulbs are not entirely distinct from incandescent lamps, and so technically, a halogen light bulb is a special type of incandescent bulb. Only this time, when electricity flows up the filament and the lamp glows, there is another step in the process.

Halogen lamps glow via the same process as incandescent bulbs, but the halogen gas we mentioned before (iodine and bromine) enhance the process. These gases enable the so-called ‘halogen cycle,’ which goes like this.

As the tungsten filament glows, it releases evaporated tungsten. This would normally result in a burned-out lamp, but in a halogen lamp, the halogen gas redeposits the evaporated tungsten right back onto the filament. This accomplishes two goals: it gives the lamp better light output, and it also makes it more energy efficient. For that reason, halogen lamps will last around two times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.

Where to Use Them

Sure, LED bulbs are enormously energy efficient and will last way, way longer than halogen lamps, but if you’re looking for quality lighting and color temperature, it’s just hard to beat the quality output of halogen lamps. Capable of producing pure, clear bright white light, halogen lamps are highly valued by jewelers, interior designers, and as track lighting and stage lighting. If you’re looking for a light that has a lot of sparkle and glitter, halogen lamps may be the way to go. They may not last as long as LEDs, but they last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and the quality of the light is nearly unmatched.

Ups and Downs

Over the years, halogen lamps have become more economical, so they are a relatively cost-effective alternative to some other forms of lighting, and their high-quality output has already been praised. With these benefits of halogen lamps out of the way, we can get onto some of the reasons that people look for different types of replacement bulbs besides halogen lamps.

So you know that halogen lamps provide great quality light output and color temperature, but remember this as well. Though they last longer than traditional incandescent lamps, they still have a very short lifespan compared to fluorescent lamps and LEDs, among others. And though more fluorescent lamps can’t approach their quality of light, some LEDs can.

In addition, halogen lamps are sensitive to being handled, which can compromise their lifespan. The same is not true for LEDs, so be aware of this - if you implement a halogen lamp in a place where it can be touched, don’t touch it - not to mention the fact that they can produce a lot of heat and you don’t want to be burned.

Want to Learn More?

This is only to serve as a brief introduction to halogen lamps and lighting. If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of halogen lamps, get in touch with a member of our team today.

We’ll give you the breakdown of how they work, why and where they are desired, and much more. And if you were looking for a specific model, we can help you out with that, too, but the first step is getting in touch with us at 1-888-988-2852.