What can I use instead of halogen bulbs? Alternatives explained, and which energy saving LED bulbs are best

Sales of halogen and fluorescent light bulbs will be banned under the government’s climate change plans

The sale of halogen light bulbs will be banned from September this year, under new climate plans from the Government with high-energy fluorescent lights also set to follow suit.

But why are halogen and fluorescent lights being banned and what are the alternatives?

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Sales of halogen and fluorescent light bulbs will be banned under the government’s climate change plans (Photo: Shutterstock)

Why is the Government banning the sale of halogen and fluorescent light bulbs?

The Business Department said the move is being made to cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which is equivalent to removing more than half a million cars from the UK’s roads.

The UK first began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen light bulbs in 2018 under EU-wide rules. Retailers will now no longer be able to sell most remaining halogen bulbs, such as kitchen spotlights, from September 2021.

Legislation will also include moves to phase out high-energy fluorescent light bulbs, including strip lights commonly found in offices. These lightbulbs are set to stop being sold from September 2023.

The move comes as part of a package of measures which will save consumers money and include the right to get goods repaired, new energy labels and higher efficiency standards for white goods, TVs and other appliances.

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “We’re phasing out old inefficient halogen bulbs for good, so we can move more quickly to longer-lasting LED bulbs, meaning less waste and a brighter and cleaner future for the UK.

“By helping ensure electrical appliances use less energy but perform just as well, we’re saving households money on their bills and helping tackle climate change.”

Stephen Rouatt, chief executive of Signify UK, which owns Philips lighting, said: “Using energy-efficient LED equivalents for halogen and fluorescent lighting on an even broader scale will significantly help the UK on its journey to decarbonisation, as well as lowering the annual electricity bills for consumers.”

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What are the alternatives?

The shift to low energy LED light bulbs is set to continue, with these already accounting for around two thirds of lights sold in the UK.

LED lights last five times longer than traditional halogen bulbs and produce the same amount of light, but use up to 80 per cent less power.

Officials said LEDs are expected to account for 85 per cent of all bulbs sold by 2030 and LED bulbs could also be incorporated into the fluorescent light fittings as a more energy efficient alternative.

LED bulbs exist as replacements for most caps, shapes and sizes so there should always be an LED option to choose from.

LEDs come in a wide range of types including standard GLS, candles, golf balls, reflectors, spotlights and tubes.

However, if you use dimmer switches then LEDs will not work properly with your existing switches and may lead to a shortened bulb life, a lower light output and a buzzing sound.

Instead, you must use trailing edge dimmers which are designed to be used with LED bulbs.

Surface Mounted Devices - also known as SMDs - are the new generation of LED lighting, and the majority of bulbs contain SMD chips.

This allows bulbs to be much brighter than older generations of LED, so it’s worth looking out for this when you go to buy new bulbs.

To help people to choose the most efficient light bulbs, changes are also being made to the energy labels that consumers see on bulb packaging.

The A+, A++ and A+++ ratings will be abandoned and instead will be efficiency graded between A-G, with only the most efficient bulbs given an A rating.