The UK Halogen Light Bulb Ban: Your FAQs Answered
Halogen light bulbs will soon become obsolete here in the UK, due to the EU's new lightbulb rules, which came into effect on 1 September 2018. While you might still find the odd halogen bulb on some shop shelves, retailers are no longer able to buy these products, which means their existing stock will eventually be completely replaced by LED bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs were successfully banned in 2009, and this has simply been another step in reducing the environmental impact of EU products.
Here, we'll talk you through the ins and outs of why halogen bulbs have been banned in the UK and explain why replacing yours with LEDs is the way to go.
Why have halogen bulbs been banned in the UK?
Halogen bulbs are hugely inefficient — especially when compared to their LED counterparts. The average halogen bulb will use around £11 worth of electricity each year, while an LED light bulb will typically only have an annual running cost of £2. At a time when both the EU and UK are looking to reduce the impact they're having on the environment, this energy-saving move is a step in the right direction.
While halogen bulbs are slightly cheaper to buy than LEDs, not only do they cost more to use, but they also burn out far more quickly. LED bulbs will typically last 15–20 years, while the lifespan of a halogen bulb is only around two years.
When you consider all of these factors, LED bulbs aren't just more energy efficient and environmentally friendly: they're also more cost-effective in the long run.
Do I need to remove all of the halogen bulbs from my home?
If you still have working halogen bulbs in some of your home's light fittings, you don't have to remove them until they burn out. Once they're no longer fit for the job, you can simply switch them out with an LED alternative that's guaranteed to be more energy-efficient.
However, if you would like to start saving money — as well as the environment — sooner, you might decide to swap your halogen bulbs for LEDs before they stop working on their own. It's completely up to you!
Halogen vs LED
We've already explained that LEDs are more environmentally friendly as well as most cost-effective in the long run. But there are some other differences between halogen and LED bulbs that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, while halogen bulbs can become quite hot when they've been on for a while, LED strip lights and bulbs don't really heat up at all. Not only is this one of the reasons they last much longer, but it also makes them safer. You don't have to worry about your kids touching them and can be confident that they don't pose a fire risk.
LEDs also give you a lot more freedom to create a particular look that you're going for, as there are so many variations available, including LED neon flex. You can even get customisable options, like dimmable bulbs and colour-changing LED strips, which can be tweaked at the touch of a button. If you're used to dealing with the very limited options you get with halogen bulbs, LEDs can open up a whole new world for you.
If you like the traditional look of a halogen bulb, you don't have to miss out on this either! You can get LED filament bulbs that have a similar industrial style.
Can you replace halogen bulbs with LEDs?
If you have halogen bulbs that are fitted within your ceiling, you might find that they're connected to a transformer, which may not be compatible with new LEDs. This can cause more modern bulbs to flicker. The transformer will simply need to be replaced with a compatible LED driver, but make sure you ask a professional electrician for help with this. You can also read our guide to choosing the right LED driver, which will help you pick out the perfect one for the job.
Are LED bulbs as good as halogens?
No – they’re better! Some critics claim LEDs are dimmer than halogens or that they give off an unnatural glare, but LED technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the last 10 years, so these concerns are now outdated. As pioneers in the field, we are personally designing and developing new products and bringing them to the market. From cheaper lighting bills to the many different effects you can achieve, LED lighting is now far superior to traditional lighting methods.
Not only will the halogen bulb ban result in a massive 15.2 million tonne reduction in Europe’s carbon footprint by 2025, but it will also revolutionise the way we light our homes and offices.
Is the brightness of halogen and LED bulbs measured in the same way?
The brightness of halogen bulbs is measured in watts to give you an idea of how much energy they need to work. Meanwhile, the brightness of LED bulbs is expressed in lumens, which is a unit of light output. To compare, a traditional 60w halogen bulb gives off the equivalent of approximately 700 lumens. LEDs use less power, so they require fewer watts to give you the same results.
If you've been worried about how the UK's halogen light bulb ban affects you, we hope we've been able to put some of your concerns to rest. And, if you're planning to make the switch to LEDs but aren't sure where to start, you can find plenty of helpful information in some of our other guides. We have information on how to choose the right LED strip lights and how using LED lighting can benefit you. You can also contact our team if you would like them to help you bring your vision to life.