Halogen Light and Halogen Light Bulbs

Question: Which light source, available today, can boast the following attributes?

  • White 3,000 K color temperature with 100 color rendering index
  • 95% lumen maintenance over life
  • High lumen output in very small bulb sizes
  • Point source for precision optical assemblies
  • Inexpensive to dim
  • Easy to find, relatively low cost of replacements
  • Easy to dispose of
  • Up to 40% more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs
  • No expensive ballast required
  • Completely safe when used in properly designed luminaries(light fixtures)


Over the last year or two, the U.S. media has generated undue amounts of negative publicity against halogen bulbs, specifically double-ended types used in torchiere fixtures. While torchiere fixture manufacturers are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to redesign their fixtures, it should be stressed that a properly designed fixture is a safe application for a halogen bulb.

What is a properly designed, safe halogen fixture? The answer is simple; safe halogen fixtures must protect against halogen bulb ruptures by catching excess glass fragments before they exit the luminaire and must also prevent fires from drapes and furnishings coming in contact with the halogen bulb. Consequently, portable halogen luminaries should comply with the safety requirements of Underwriters Laboratories Standard No. UL153.

From a light quality standpoint, very few light sources, if any, can compare to halogen bulbs. The color rendering quality from halogen bulbs is unquestionably superior to that of fluorescent or high intensity discharge bulbs (Halogen CRI=100). When it comes to making people and home furnishings look their best, halogen has no equal.

From an efficiency point of view, halogen bulbs are up to 40% more efficient than ordinary incandescent bulbs. In addition, halogen bulbs maintain 95% of their initial light output at end of lamp life.

For areas where lighting is used for long burning hours in the home, office or other workplace, high efficiency Octron Fluorescent, Dulux Compact Fluorescent, and Metalarc High Intensity Discharge bulbs should be used. These types of light sources produce a pleasant white light. They offer well-balanced performance in terms of efficiency (high lumen per watt), long bulb life, and good to excellent color quality.

For the living areas, bulb efficiency is not the only criteria to determine if a lighting system is good or bad. Other factors such as quality, precision lighting distribution, fixture cost, appearance and size, ease and cost of maintenance need to be considered.

In summary, no other light source can create the ambiance, mood and effects offered by halogen bulbs. There is something subliminal about being bathed in halogen light that cannot be described or understood by raw mathematics. It reaches inside us to stir our feelings and emotions. It feels down right natural.

Joel Johnson
Commercial Engineer of the Year 1997
Osram Sylvania, Inc.