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LED GU10 Bulbs: Comparing with MR16s & Halogens

GU10 v MR16

Both types of bulb are widely used in residential and commercial applications to create downlights and spotlights. MR16s are quite popular and look pretty similar to the GU10s. However, there are a few differences that you should take into consideration before making a purchase.

GU10 MR16
Size and shape Are slightly taller with ready to plug-in base. Are bulkier and have a different socket with a multi-faceted reflector.
Efficiency Ready to be used right out of the box and energy-efficient. Need a transformer to change the main 240 voltage supply to 12 volts.
Colour temperatures These bulbs are available in CCT between warm white 2700K and daylight 5000K Depending on the manufacturer and type of the lamp, the CCT can be between 2800K and 3200K
Price differences More expensive but with better energy saving. Although they’re relatively cheap, you need to consider the cost of the transformer.
Common usage Used when bright directional light with a focused beam angle is needed. Used when downlighters or a precise centre beam are needed.
  • More available choices.
  • Easier to fit.
  • Moisture and shock resistance.
  • No adjustment is needed for current lighting fixtures.
  • The shape of the socket makes it safer for use.
  • The lamps are smaller, except for the transformer.
  • They offer a whiter light
  • GU10s are quite expensive compared to other options.
  • You’ll need to buy plugs to connect them with a typical outlet
  • Less straightforward to install.
  • The temperature of the bulbs rise up to 260 degrees Celsius

LED v Halogens

Halogen GU10’s are largely now replaced by LED due to the reduction in cost of LED technology and the general ban on Halogen supply.

GU10 Halogens
Size and shape
  • Diameter – 50mm
  • Length – 50mm to 75mm
  • The diameter of a GU10 LED is generally the same, but the length can vary considerably.
  • Check existing bulb sizes to ensure the replacing LED will not protrude from the fitting/ceiling.
  • Diameter – 50mm
  • Length – 50mm to 75mm
Fire Rating GU10s bulbs do not have a fire rating. To gain fire rating with a GU10, use a downlight. Halogen bulbs do not have a fire rating on their own and require a downlight to achieve this.
Wattages Several options are available but mainly 3 to 9 Watt. Wide variety from 20 up to 75 watts.
Efficiency More energy and cost-efficient. The bulb uses about 5 watts for the light output. To get the same light output, the bulb will use about 50 watts.
Colour Temperatures A wide range from 2700K warm white to 6500K daylight white. Between 2700K and 3000K.
Price The average cost is higher, but GU10s generally last between 15,000 and 25,000 hrs for domestic use and over 40,000 hrs for commercial applications. An average halogen bulb can cost under £1 but is only expected to work for up to 1500 hours.
  • Far more energy and cost-efficient.
  • A wider variety of light output options.
  • Available in LED dimmable and non-dimmable versions.
  • Very low heat output and much reduced risk of fire.
  • Cheap.
  • Excellent color rendering.
  • Small and compact size for small fixtures.
  • Dimmable light for home and commercial use.
  • Initial cost is higher
  • Generally dimmable versions may flicker due to minimum power load of the dimmer not being met.
  • Some buzzing may be experienced due to incompatibility between bulb and dimmer.
  • May require a new trailing edge dimmer switch.
  • Not as good colour rendering unless using top end products like the Philips Master range.
  • Halogen costs more in the long run.
  • Environmentally unfriendly
  • Halogen bulbs emit a lot of heat, so they can potentially be more dangerous and increase the risk of fire.

Further Help & Advice

Choosing the best LED GU10’s by colour

Choosing the best LED GU10’s by Wattage

Selecting the best halogen GU10 spotlight replacements.

Philips Lighting – Our most popular Philips GU10 LEDs

Osram Lighting – Our most popular Osram GU10 LEDs.

Sylvania Lighting – Our most popular Sylvania GU10 LEDs.

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