One of the best mini-projects Ive done this year is to replace most of the halogen light bulbs on board with LEDs. Ive always hated halogens; so much of the energy they consume is wasted as heat that they are models of inefficiency, and that same heat can actually be dangerous if something flammable is pressed up against a light fitting. The fact that I have scorched my bald spot countless times is another big factor against them.
The first time I tried LED bulbs, maybe 10 years ago, I quickly decided I couldnt live with the cold and somehow repellent quality of the light. Thats no longer a factor; many of the new bulbs on the market give off a warm cast thats easier on the eyes and psyche both. And the big attraction of LED lighting remains a satisfyingly low power draw, important to me since we often overnight with two teenage boys who like to read in bed.
Since my existing light fittings were fairly new, I saw no reason to replace them. Instead, LED bulbs were a cost-effective option. I settled on Sensibulbs, at around $39 each from Sailors Solutions (sailorssolutions.com). I installed them in the four most-used lights: the reading lights in the saloon pilot berths (which also serve as general saloon lighting) and the red and white fixtures in the galley.
Its been one of the better upgrades weve made to our project boat. Each Sensibulb draws about one-fifth the power of a halogen bulb, and LEDs dont produce any significant heat. The light quality is excellent and there have been no complaints of eye strain from supine teenagers.
Im now planning to replace the rest of the lights with LEDs, though I may try a different brand. Ive heard good reports of the new bulbs from Imtra and Dr LED.