Halogen incandescent bulbs function, in principle, exactly like conventional incandescent light bulbs but are more energy efficient and longer lasting. There are many different designs for specific uses in residential and commercial environments. The most important main categories of halogen lights are low voltage and high voltage lights. Among the advantages of halogen lamps is that they can operate with standard dimmers, and they have the best possible colour rendering index of Ra 100.
Compared to traditional light bulbs, halogen lights save approximately one-third of the costs. In addition, they run on average three to four thousand hours; traditional incandescent bulbs only run approximately one thousand hours. Warning: Halogen lights get really hot! Never handle the halogen lamp glass because this can cause burns. Halogen lights are available in many different versions. Most of the halogen lights have a pin base, which are especially common with G9, G4 and GU10 halogens. The number refers to the distance between the two pins of the socket in millimetres, while the U stands for an additional mechanical support.
High voltage lights do not require extra support gear. For high voltage models that work with normal mains voltage, for example in the E27 and E14 halogen lights, there is a common base for the bulb. G9 halogen lamps are operated at 230 volts, and GU10 halogens are high voltage reflector light bulbs. High voltage halogen lights are compatible with all standard light bulb dimmers.
Low-voltage lights are ideal for catering and hotel lighting and as well as in the private sector G4 halogen lights for example, are well suited for use in the bathroom, the kitchen and as a decorative display case lighting. Thanks to the low operating voltage of 12V low-voltage halogen lamps, they can be installed more safely in the bathroom. If the voltage is converted with a dimmable electronic transformer, the dimming function is done through the trailing edge dimmer. In the case of conventional dimmable transformers, it is done through a phase control dimmer.
The most significant improvement in the halogen lamps is that the halogens create a chemical reaction which redeposits the atoms of tungsten back onto the filament of the bulb. In addition, the improved light source allows more compact construction methods. However, now there are some alternatives that use even less energy and are even more durable now. Compact Fluorescent light bulbs, offered mostly as energy-saving light bulbs consume even less power than halogen lamps. Also LED lights have been proven superior over halogen light bulbs in many respects, including a much lower power consumption. Halogen lights still boast their excellent colour rendition which provides a very natural looking light: Pendant lights, halogen spotlights, kitchen lights, and more varieties used in residential and commercial environments continue to use halogen lights specifically.