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Which Is Better: Halogen vs Incandescent?

When it comes to purchasing light bulbs, you will find two types of light bulbs: Incandescent and Halogen light bulbs have been around for practically the longest time.

Many of us also grew up in households lit by these bulbs though you might not have realized it back then.

However, if you are now looking at purchasing one of these light bulbs, you will need to know a few things about them, starting with their differences.

Though relatively similar, halogen and incandescent bulbs’ main difference is that while incandescent bulbs are filled with argon, halogen bulbs are filled with halogen gas.

This slight difference results in significant factors that you will have to consider while choosing between them, as you will see.

This article will explore some of its pros and cons, differences and other guides to help you get the right one.

is halogen the same as incandescent


 Halogen Bulb 

Pros and Cons of Halogen Bulb

  • Halogen bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs of the same rating (Two times as longer even).
  • Halogen bulbs are suitable for reading due to their bright white light.
  • Halogen bulbs have a stronger glass making them safer to handle. However, this is when they are not hot.
  • You can use a rheostat to dim halogen bulbs whenever you feel like it.
  • Unlike incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs never darken over time.
  • At similar ratings, halogen bulbs offer you a more compact size than fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs.
  • The bulb’s glass casing quickly weakens when it comes into contact with sweat and body oils—consequently restricting handling to when you have your hands suitably covered.
  • Halogen bulbs are usually considerably more expensive than incandescent bulbs.
  • Halogen bulbs at times explode propelling hot shards of glass outwards.

How Do Halogen Bulbs Work?

A halogen bulb comprises.

  • Bulb
  • Electric circuit
  • Filament support
  • Tungsten filament
  • Contact
  • Base
  • Tungsten-halogen lamp
  • Pin

A halogen bulb utilizes a tungsten filament enclosed in a smaller envelope made of quartz to avoid the case from melting. In the envelope, a halogen gas is confined to help prolong the filament’s life, as you will shortly see.

a) Once you turn on the light, the current flowing through the circuit heats the tungsten film, which in turn glows as it undergoes heating.

Various calculations are considered while designing the bulb, such as the amount of heat it will produce, but that’s beside the point and will only complicate things.

b) Once the tungsten heats up, it starts to evaporate, releasing its particles.

c) The halogen gas in the envelope will then combine with the tungsten particles resulting in a tungsten-halogen molecule.

d) The tungsten-halogen molecule moves back to the tungsten filament, where it recombines with the filament to strengthen and increase the bulb’s life.

e) The reattachment releases the Halogen from the tungsten-halogen molecule restarting the process again.

Where to Use Halogen Bulbs?

Once you have the bulb’s working process figured out, you have to know the most appropriate ways to use the bulb.

After all, what use will the bulb be if it is underutilized or placed to a duty it is not designed for?

1. General lighting purposes

Whether indoor or outdoor, halogen bulbs with multifaceted reflectors are popular for use in lighting as they will give you a large amount of high-quality light from a relatively small source.

Moreover, tubular lamps incorporating electrical contacts at the ends can be used in household fixtures and standalone lamps.

2. Stage lighting purposes

If you are looking for appropriate lighting for your stage, you will find halogen bulbs your best solution. You can use them in PAR Cans, Fresnels, and Ellipsoidal reflector spotlights.

However, there are no halogen stage bulbs on Amazon. If you are going to make your stage shining and colorful, try this Usteller LED RGB light.

3. Heating purposes

Be it in ceramic cooktops or a halogen oven. Halogen bulbs will do the trick for you.

If you require a source of warmth for your reptile friends, these are still the bulbs of choice. Hook up two or three and let the animals lay back.

No need to worry about the humidity as the thick glass casing has you covered.

4. Specialized Uses

If you want bulbs for specialized use, say in slide projectors, illumination of microscope stages, or your inspection purposes, halogen bulbs will suit you well.

However, ensure you incorporate heat filters if required, especially with projectors, to prevent burning the filament.


 Incandescent Bulb 

Pros and Cons of Incandescent Bulb   

As earlier mentioned, you will find that these bulbs are strikingly similar to halogen bulbs though slightly different, as you will see.

  • These bulbs give off a warmer color than halogen bulbs.
  • The bulbs are more affordable because of their lower initial cost.
  • Incandescent bulbs come in various sizes and shapes.
  • Incandescent bulbs can be dimmed using rheostats.
  • Incandescent bulbs have a relatively high light output.
  • Incandescent bulbs have low life spans at a typical 1000 hours.
  • Their lumen per watt output is only 5 to 20, which are low hence signifying their efficiency.

How Do Incandescent Bulbs Work? 

An incandescent bulb consists of,

  • Inert gas
  • Contact wire to the base
  • Contact wire to the foot
  • Tungsten filament
  • Glass bulb
  • Screw threads
  • Insulation

Incandescent bulbs have a tungsten wire filament in a glass bulb filled with argon.

Once you switch on the bulb, the current passing through the filament causes it to glow, producing light. The argon in the bulb prevents the filament from oxidizing when heated.

As in halogen bulbs, various calculations are also taken into consideration while designing incandescent bulbs.

Where to Use Incandescent Bulbs?

Like halogen bulbs, incandescent bulbs can be used in both outdoor and indoor conditions.

The bulbs have low manufacturing costs, do not need external regulation, and work appropriately with direct and alternating currents.

Moreover, incandescent lights are compatible with photosensors, dimmers, and timers, making them suitable for use nearly everywhere.


 Things to Consider When Buying a Halogen or Incandescent Light Bulb 

When narrowing down on either a halogen or incandescent bulb, consider the following tips to ensure you do not buy a bulb you do not need.

Such a mistake will be quite annoying, especially if the store has the “Once bought goods cannot be returned” policies.

1. Consider the type of fitting you have.

Before buying a bulb, always ensure you know the suitable fitting type you require, be it screw fitting, bayonet fitting, or any other.

The type of fitting is something you should consider when buying any bulb and not just Halogen and incandescent.

2. Consider the bulb’s price and annual operational costs.

Armed with information on your fitting design, you go to the store and, on inquiry, find that halogen bulbs cost you more than double what you will pay for incandescent bulbs.

In such a scenario, do not be downcast and pick incandescent bulbs without forethought.

Though they will set you back more cash upfront, halogen bulbs have an annual operational cost of around $10, which is nearly more than half what you will get with incandescent bulbs.

Therefore, if you have enough cash, buy a halogen bulb, but if not, buy the incandescent. There is no point putting off pressing issues.

3. Consider your desired lighting conditions.

When it comes to the brightness of bulbs, manufacturers measure the bulb’s brightness in watts and lumens, which they simplify into the Kelvin scale indicating the color of light, and the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which shows the various colors emitted by the bulb.

However, to avoid complicating things, as you probably know by now, halogen bulbs give off a bright light, whereas incandescent bulbs give off a warmer glow.

Therefore, you should know which of the two will best serve your needs.

  • Suppose you want a light that will give your home a warm feel. In that case, you will favor buying the incandescent bulb.
  • But if you want something that will illuminate your work surface or give you suitable lighting for your projector or light inspection, you will opt for the halogen light bulbs.

4. Consider the most appropriate bulb shape

With the earlier factors decided, you will be surprised at how many different shapes bulbs come in.

Considering nobody ever willingly looks at a bulb, you might wonder, ” Why so many designs?”

To answer this, you need to look at the different layout rooms come in.

If you want a bulb to light a large room at a near 360-degree illumination, then consider getting a golf or globe bulb.

However, if you desire to illuminate a tiny region, then consider buying a candle-shaped bulb. Nevertheless, there are other shapes for consideration, like:

    • Spot
    • Stick
    • Downlight
    • Spiral


 Which is Better: Halogen vs Incandescent Bulb? 

If you still find it challenging to determine which between a halogen and an incandescent bulb is better, here are a few factors you should note:

Factors Favoring Halogen Bulbs

  1. Unlike incandescent bulbs, Halogen bulbs do not fade over time due to the recycling of the tungsten particles through the recycling process.
  2. Halogen bulbs have a significantly longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs.
  3. Halogen bulbs have a lower operational cost compared to incandescent bulbs.
  4. Halogen bulbs produce a brighter light than incandescent bulbs, making them suitable for reading use.
  5. Halogen bulbs have a higher efficiency than incandescent bulbs.
  6. Halogen bulbs have a small size compared to incandescent bulbs of the same wattage.
  7. Halogen bulbs are less fragile than incandescent bulbs as they have a stronger glass bulb.

Factors Favoring Incandescent Bulbs

1. Incandescent bulbs are more affordable than halogen bulbs.

2. Incandescent bulbs give off a warm light making them fantastic for use in homes.

3.  Once cooled, you do not need to cover your hands to touch them as body salts and oils do not destroy them.

Apart from the above three advantages, incandescent bulbs have over halogen bulbs; you will fare better in trying to pass a camel through the proverbial needle than finding any other benefit. If you find it will probably be subjective.

Moreover, with incandescent bulbs being faced off for more efficient models, you will probably accept that of the two, halogen bulbs are the better option.



1. Can I Use Halogen Bulb instead of Incandescent?

Halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs operate on the same principle. The only difference is that halogen bulbs incorporate halogen and incandescent bulbs use argon, resulting in the earlier listed differences.

Consequently, if you want to replace your incandescent bulb with a halogen bulb, just note the fitting type, bulb wattage and make your way down to the nearest store.

Moreover, besides saving on the electricity bill, you will do environmental justice as halogen bulbs are significantly more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

2. Do Halogen Bulbs Produce More Heat than Incandescent?

When it comes to the amount of heat produced, halogen bulbs produce more heat than incandescent bulbs.

Halogen bulbs are designed to have a smaller enveloping surface that results in the accumulation of heat when left on for long periods.

If located near a curtain, it can result in fires, which is not a new thing. However, the probability of this occurring is relatively low.



As you determine which is appropriate for you between Halogen and incandescent, ensure you follow the above tips to find the two’s most relevant. However, keep in mind incandescent bulbs are no longer sold in some regions.

Moreover, you will find that nowadays there are several bulbs in the market such as:

  • Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs
  • Compact Fluorescent light (CFL) Bulbs
  • Fluorescent Bulbs

Some of these bulbs are better than halogen and incandescent bulbs but are also quite expensive, and you may not find it feasible to use them in some scenarios.