metal halide vs LED lights

Comparing Metal Halide Lights to LEDs

Metal halide lights are a viable lighting source, but in the big picture, they're no match for LED lights. Let's review each lighting feature and show you how they measure up.

Energy Efficiency

LEDs beat out every type of lighting hands down when it comes to energy efficiency. LED lights consume less energy while producing superior lighting. If you're concerned about utility expenses, LED fixtures are the way to go.

Life Expectancy

LED lights turn on immediately and can last for 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Halide lighting takes 15 to 20 minutes to come on fully and has a lifespan of 6,000 to 15,000 hours. When LEDs are coming to the end of their life, they begin to dim, warning you that they're about to burn out. Metal halide lights flicker and fail, which means you may need to change them out before they expire to avoid a widespread lighting outage.

Light Spread

Metal halide lights have omnidirectional light output, meaning they spread light across 360 degrees. As a result, the light spills over into areas where it's not needed. On the other hand, LED lamps have a light spread of 180 degrees, which enables you to put the illumination where needed. Foot candles, which measure the amount of light that reaches its target, fall above 50 lumens per watt for LEDs, compared to less than 30 lumens per watt for a metal halide light bulb.

Color Temperature

Metal halides can have a very high color temperature of up to 5500K. This makes a metal halide light bulb useful for high-intensity applications – vehicle headlamps, athletic facility lighting and photographic lighting. The high quality of light they give off is metal halide's biggest strength. With a color temperature of 4000K and initial lumens at 32,000 to 36,000, you may wonder why halide lighting isn't more popular. Bear in mind that while this initial light output is very high, the bulbs tend to lose these lumens quickly. LEDs maintain their lumens – and last longer – than their halide counterparts.

Presence of Ultraviolet/Infrared Radiation

LEDs contain no ultraviolet or infrared radiation. Metal halide lights contain both. While filters are in place to protect radiation from leaking into the atmosphere, anyone who uses halides must dispose of them properly to avoid contaminating the environment.

Shock Resistance

LED light bulbs can sustain physical shocks with little risk of damage, while metal halide lights can be quite fragile. This is of particular concern to the maintenance crews who are changing out the bulbs and need to take extra precautions to avoid injury.

Cost Effectiveness

Will you spend more initially on LED lights? Yes. Bear in mind, however, that you'll easily make it up over the luminaire's life because LEDs last longer and are more energy efficient. Plus, you'll spend less on maintenance because the bulbs won't need to be changed as often.

LED vs. Metal Halide Comparison Chart

When it comes to indoor basketball court lighting, the most concentrated point of illumination should fall outside of the field of play. If lighting concentrates at the wrong point in your layout, players will have a hard time seeing properly. With basketball lights, the outer cast of the light scope is enough to sufficiently light the majority of the playing area and provides the players and audience proper levels of illumination to see.

Light Source: LED Halide
Energy Efficiency: Excellent Fair
Warm-up Period: None 15-20 Minutes
Operating Hours: 50,000 to 100,000 6,000 to 15,000
Light Spread: Directional(180 degrees) Omnidirectional(360 degrees)
Correlated Color Temperature: 2K to 6K 3K to 20K
Dimmable: Yes With Modification
Ultraviolet/Infrared Radiation: No Yes
End of Life Warning: Lamp slowly dims No
Foot Candles: 50+ lumens per watt < 30 lumens per watt
Heat Emissions: Very low Significant
Initial Cost: Comparatively higher Compratively lower
Shock Resistance: Excellent Poor

Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Halide vs. LED Lights

Following are some commonly asked questions about metal halide vs. LED lights. Please reach out with any additional questions you may have.

What Are Metal Halide Lights?

Metal halides are basically compounds that are made when metals and halogen elements come together. Examples include salt (sodium chloride) and uranium hexafluoride, which is used as fuel in nuclear energy reactors. Metal halide lights use mercury and metal halide gas to produce light. They work in a similar way to other gas-discharge lamps, such as mercury vapor lamps – but the difference is in the gas used. When metal halide vapor is introduced, it actually improves the efficiency and quality of the light that's produced.

What Are LED Lights?

Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights are a highly efficient method of illuminating your space. A diode is an electrical component with two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, that allow electricity to flow in one direction – in through the anode and out through the cathode. Diodes are usually made from semi-conductive materials like silicon or selenium, which means they can conduct electricity under certain conditions like specific voltages, current levels or light intensities. When current flows through the semiconductor material, it creates visible light – that's how LEDs produce light. Its superiority over other forms of lighting has opened the door to many different LED applications.

What Is Omnidirectional Light?

Omnidirectional light refers to light that's emitted in all directions from its source. This means the light spreads out equally in all directions, covering a 360-degree angle around the source. This is in contrast to directional light, which is focused in a particular direction or cone-shaped beam, illuminating only a specific area.

Metal Halide vs. LED Lights: The Winner Is Clear & It's Here

Comparisons between metal halide vs. LED lights provide you with an obvious winner. When you consider all the features and benefits, LEDs are your best bet, which is why they power most modern commercial fixtures. But we also know there are still many spaces lit by halide lighting, and is committed to serving every customer. With that in mind, we continue to offer metal halide lamps and ballasts for those who haven't made the switch to LEDs. Whatever type of lighting illuminates your building, we're here to keep you out of the dark. Find your lighting solution today!

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