How LED Boat Lights Stack Up Against Halogen Boat Lights

The big news in boating lighting these days is the introduction of high performance solid state lighting, otherwise known as LEDs. Although they are proving quite effective in real world examples and the number of boaters making the switch to LEDs grows every day

there still remains a large group skeptical of their value and effectiveness. Many of the reasons for this skepticism are quite understandable as the initial introduction of LEDs was somewhat premature and the technology not quite ready for primetime when they were being aggressively marketed. The result was a lot of poorly made and low grade LED boat lights flooding the market and putting off customers when they found their performance far less than stellar. Fortunately, LED lighting technology has matured very quickly, and LED fixtures available today have pretty well dispelled any remaining reasons for continuing skepticism.

Halogen Boat Lights-

Halogen boat lights have been the dominating form of boat lighting for many years. Fairly cheap to purchase and producing a good amount of light for the money, they have been an effective addition to most boats. Halogen lamps however have had several drawbacks that simply cannot be overcome by any improvements, largely because of the constraints produced by their basic design.

Halogen lights produce a lot of heat. These bulbs are designed to produce more light than their standard incandescent counterparts, and one of the side effects of producing more light is higher heat production. While a halogen bulb may have the same wattage rating as its incandescent counterpart, it produces more heat because of the filament and bulb design as well as the materials used to construct it. It’s brighter because it causes the filament to run hotter than a standard incandescent. This high heat has led to problems with overheating, fire hazards, and accidental burns.

Halogen boat lights tend to have a rather short operating life. Most halogen lamps tend to have shorter lifespans the higher the wattage is, and averages around 500 to 1,000 hours are common. Depending on how often you use them, you can expect to replace them fairly often, sometimes within as little as a season of use.

The durability of halogen bulbs leaves a lot to be desired. Because they are at the basic level a simple incandescent bulb, they too have a thin wire filament and fragile glass bulb used in their construction. This means that the bulb is sensitive to rough handling, and a halogen bulb exposed to frequent vibration can experience premature failure due to the wire filament becoming fatigued and breaking. Filament breakage is more common when the lamp us exposed to vibration while in operation due to the heated filament being less resilient and more easily separated from its anchor contacts. Additionally, halogen bulbs are extremely sensitive to wetness, which can present a serious problem for lamps installed on boats. Should a fixture housing seal fail, or water somehow otherwise enter into the lamp and contact the bulb, the bulb will normally simply heat up and then quickly fail.


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