What type of lighting ... halogen, xenon, something else

flicka001March 4, 2012

I've been looking at lighting for the bathroom and have no idea what type of bulb is best. All I know is that I don't want florescent.

Because of the way my bathroom is laid out, my lighting will have to be mounted above the vanity mirror. There is no room for sconces.

What type of lighting do you have and what do you think of it?

Thanks again!

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We have recessed lighting and still use incandescent flood bulbs; 3 cans on a single dimmer switch, each bulb 65w. We had no room for sconces, and we were glad. One less thing to pick out! LOL

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I had a dreadful experience with halogen. A bulb burst and shattered itself and the glass "bulb guard" over it -- glass everywhere. Not good for a barefoot room.

I personally like incandescent.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:41PM
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I have above the mirror halogen vanity lighting and I really like it. I like the light halogens cast and it lights up the room very well. It's important to never touch halogen bulbs with your bare hands. (Always use gloves, tissue, cloth, something.) The oils can cause the bulbs to randomly explode. My only complaint with halogens is that they are hot. I don't notice it with my vanity lighting, but I do notice the heat in the recessed halogens in my laundry room. I've never had xenon lights before, but my reading suggests they run even hotter, though the bulbs last longer. I personally dislike the light cast by florescent lights (have tried several varieties of bulbs), but some people seem to like them.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:23PM
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flicka001: "I've been looking at lighting for the bathroom and have no idea what type of bulb is best."

You can get it now, or you can get it later, but in the long run, certainly you will end up with LED lighting.

LEDs are still in their infancy, and until recently, they have been plagued with two limitations: (1) there were not many LEDs that were sufficiently bright, and (2) LEDs are inherently directional. The former has been largely overcome, the latter less so.

You can currently purchase a Par20 LED flood light bulb that is fully equivalent in lumen output (brightness) to incandescent or halogen Par20 light bulbs, using a fifth or less the electricity in operation, and generating a fifth or less extraneous heat -- and they will last many times as long as incandescents or halogens or even compact fluorescents. See the link below. And the color spectrum of the LEDs is more complimentary to skin tones than halogen light sources or most incandescent light sources.

The directionality issue is a work in progress. You can get LED floodlights and spotlights that blow incandescent and halogen and compact flourescent floods and spots out of the water, but there are fewer satisfactory omnidirectional LED bulbs.

So when we remodeled our powder room 18 months ago, lighted by over-the-mirror mounted fixtures, we included in our planning from the outset the reflectivity and color of the surfaces that the LED floods we planned to use would be pointing at. The powder room is fully illuminated by the light reflected off the sidewalls from sideways-pointing floodlights above the mirror over the sink, and the diffused, therefore soft, light minimizes hard shadows and makes us look good in the mirror.

Here is a link that might be useful: One example of a modern LED bulb

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:56PM
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The exploding halogen bulb was put in by the electrician who installed the fixture; I'm pretty sure he was aware of the oil issue. So perhaps it was a flaw in the bulb. Nonetheless, the fact that the bulb guard, which is supposed to contain exploding bulbs, also shattered makes me wary of them.

We have halogen lights in our closet too and I find they do not show colors accurately. This would be a drawback over a vanity.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:12AM
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Agree with Herring Maven regarding LEDs. I'm moving to them where and when I can.

If you have can lights, HD carries LED's by Cree. The Cree bulbs are excellent in recessed cans, and they put out plenty of light. I bought several boxes of them with the intent of using them if they were good enough or returning them if they were lacking. I kept them.

They are $20 each. Still pricey for "just a bulb", but a great price since most LEDs are still two to four times that price. I felt it was time to move forward.

I put them in my kitchen and they light it up as well as the Halogens I used to have, better than the CFLs that I had, and I've since installed them in several other rooms too.

I'm still waiting for a good and affordable "general illumination LED" to come along. Well, they are here, I'm waiting for them to be affordable and available.

Plus I'm waiting for a higher lumen mr16 or mr20 bulb.

To address your main question...we still have incandescent bulbs in the sconces in the kid's bathroom, but the sconces we have in the master bath are halogen bulbs. No issues with the color rendition of any of them.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Wow! Great information. Thank you everyone!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:33PM
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mongoct - I think they may be $20 where you are because they are being subsidized by your local power company. My brother can get them for $25 near him, outside of Boston, because of the subsidy. Where I am in NC, those same bulbs are $40. Makes a big difference.

And yesterday at Lowe's, the local power company was having some kind of special deal, but it was on CFL's. I told him they should consider doing the deal with LEDs and he said they are working on it. Doesn't help me a lot as I am currently building, so I need all new bulbs now.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 6:35PM
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Wall washing led strips are also a possibility to consider.

I drew inspiration from existing perimeter lighting systems. Alternatively, either the cr6 or cr4 eco4-575 would work.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marks lighting

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:33PM
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