Choosing a Pond or Fountain Light: LED or Halogen?
Basically, there are two kinds of lights available for ponds, halogen lights (which have been around for quite a while), and LED, which are more recent developments. Here are some differences between the two. Note that here we are addressing 12volt systems only.
Some advantages of LED:
Solidly built and hard to break, durable
Last twice as long as best fluorescent bulbs and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs LEDs also are more efficient per watt, produce greater lumens per watt than incandescents or halogen bulbs. LEDs can be built in a number of colors so do not require a filter, which greatly reduces efficiency of light. Finally, LEDs run cooler and are less likely to warm the pond or for their seals to get damaged because of the cooler running temperatures.
LED lights are still quite expensive and it is taking a while for the price to drop. Also, it is difficult to find an LED system that produces high wattage. Fountain Tech produces the highest pond light wattage we know of at 8 watts per light fixture. And a total of 130 separate LEDs are used in the fixture to do this!
These are good lights, not as durable as LEDs but pretty durable all in all. The most common sizes are 10 watt, 20 watt, 35 and 50, though you can also find 75 watt lights. You can usually buy lens covers to change the color of the light, though lens filters do reduce the luminosity a great deal. In general, it is more efficient to use colored bulbs. Still, you will find less light from a colored bulb than a clear one. LED is the way to keep luminosity efficient when using colored light. You can find a good selection of both at Cheap Pumps. Some Disadvantages:
These light bulbs don’t last nearly as long as LEDs, though they still last a long time. They burn quite hot and sometimes the high temperatures burn the O-rings and the fixtures leak.
Transformers that will be used outside (as almost all will!) really need a 3-prong plug. Beware of the “for indoor use only” transformer as, in order to find an indoor plug and then run the cable to your fixture outdoors these are often more trouble than the price savings is worth. Find a UL-approved transformer that can be used in or out of doors. That’s our recommendation.
Michael Guista is president of Fountain Mountain and has published two books. You can see some of his company's products at http://www.fountainmountain.com