In a world that's quickly embracing the energy efficiency of LED lighting, sometimes the only reason not to move to LED bulbs seems to be due to initial costs. LEDs do cost more up front, but their energy savings quickly make up for this cost and then start putting money in your pocket with every energy bill.
But are there other reasons why you might not want to move to LED lamps? The surprising answer may be "yes," depending on your specific needs.
For instance, one reason we're generally moving away from incandescent bulbs is because so much of their energy is wasted producing heat, when the purpose of a light bulb is to produce light. But in some cases, that heat can help. Consider outdoor lamps or traffic lights; the heat from incandescent lamps can melt snow, keeping it from accumulating and covering the lights. LED lights aren't likely to melt much snow.
This kind of benefit, while rare -- and expensive in terms of energy -- explains why we can't completely dismiss incandescent bulbs and halogens, which are a type of incandescent bulb.
MR16 Halogen Bulbs vs MR16 LEDs
So now let's look at the specific instance of MR16 halogen vs MR16 LED options. When might you want to still use an MR16 halogen? As usual the LED will save you a lot of money in terms of energy and lamp replacements over time.
But there's another financial benefit to LEDs over halogen MR16. Halogen lamps run so hot that they tend to reduce the life of the sockets behind them, leading to even more repairs and replacements behind the scenes.
In addition, MR16 lights are usually used as highlighters to feature artwork or shelves in the home, or food or jewelry or other products in retail settings. Some of these things are affected by heat -- especially perishable foods, but also (for instance) painted artwork. So they are negatively impacted by halogen lights and benefit from an upgrade to LED.
Still, MR16 halogen lights provide a different spectrum of wavelengths, which means they render colors differently than LEDs. This is not objectively better, but different. On the historical CRI scale of measuring light quality, an MR16 halogen scores nearly a perfect 100 while most MR16 LEDs score only in the 80s. (Some LEDs offer a higher CRI, usually at an added cost.)
Yet as we've shown before, this isn't a complete measurement and is being reconsidered with the rise of LED lights. We feel the "better" light is subjective, and depends in part on the manufacturing of any specific LED lamp. Which is why the best MR16 for giving something its best look comes down in part to trial and error and what subjectively appeals to you the most.
Again, this assumes that energy usage, lamp longevity, and heat are not important factors in your decision. If so, the LED upgrade should be an important option to consider.
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