How LED Boat Lights Stack Up Against Halogen Boat Lights


The big news in boat lights these days is the introduction of high performance solid state lighting, otherwise known as LEDs. Although they are proving quite effective in real world examples and the number of boaters making the switch to LEDs grows every day, there remains a large group skeptical of their value and effectiveness.

Halogen Boat Lights

Halogen boat lights have been the dominating form of boat lighting for many years. Fairly cheap to purchase and to produce a good amount of light for the money, they have been an effective addition to most boats. Halogen lamps, however, have had several drawbacks that simply cannot be overcome by any improvements, largely because of the constraints produced by their basic design. Halogen lights produce a lot of heat. These bulbs are designed to produce more light than their standard incandescent counterparts, and one of the side effects of producing more light is higher heat production. While a halogen bulb may have the same wattage rating as its incandescent counterpart, it produces more heat because of the filament and bulb design as well as the materials used to construct it. It’s brighter because it causes the filament to run hotter than a standard incandescent. This high heat has led to problems with overheating, fire hazards, and accidental burns.

Halogen boat lights tend to have a rather short operating life. Most halogen lamps tend to have shorter lifespans the higher the wattage is, and averages around 500 to 1,000 hours are common. Depending on how often you use them, you can expect to replace them fairly often, sometimes within as little as a season of use. The durability of halogen bulbs leaves a lot to be desired. Because they are at the basic level a simple incandescent bulb, they too have a thin wire filament and fragile glass bulb used in their construction. This means that the bulb is sensitive to rough handling, and a halogen bulb exposed to frequent vibration can experience premature failure due to the wire filament becoming fatigued and breaking.

LED Boat Lights

LED boat lights although not perfect have at this time pretty well solved the majority of issues associated with standard incandescent boat lighting. Costing more than halogen lamps, the initial cost of LEDs continues to drive some potential buyers away, but a look at the benefits reveals how this initial cost is, in reality, deceptive, and how LEDs can be more cost effective in the long run.

LEDs are a solid state form of lighting that does not rely on a wire filament or glass bulb to produce light. Rather than heating a filament to cause it to glow and emit light, and LED passes current through a piece of semi-conducting material, which in turn causes the material to radiate photons, or as they are more commonly known, visible light. This process does produce some heat, but very little, and since it is so efficient little energy is wasted as heat and is instead radiated as light energy. In other words, and LED fixture will not present a burn or fire hazard due to its operating heat, making it an ideal candidate for installation into cabins as overhead lighting.


There are still more benefits associated with LEDs when comparing them to standard types of boat lights such as halogen. To cover them all would be a lengthy process. Suffice it to say, as the price of LEDs continues to drop and the performance of LEDs continues to be improved, the chances are very good that shortly, when we talk about standard boat lights, we will, in fact, be referring to LEDs and not the old halogen standby. Click here for more information:

LED Boat Lights for Gigging Fish at Night

There are many ways to catch fish. Some anglers prefer to use a traditional rod and feel, while others may prefer to use a net for wide casting in open waters. For a hands-on approach to fishing, many enthusiasts turn to gigging. This practice involves using a sharp spear to capture bottom-feeding fish, as well as flatfish (flounder). Interestingly, gigging is often done at night, which requires powerful LED boat lights.

LED Gigging Lights

LED gigging lights come in many different forms. One of the most common types available is a compact LED spotlight mounted on a telescoping pole. This allows the angler to submerge the light at various depths, for active scanning.

The reason a telescoping feature is essential is due to the location of bottom-feeding fish. Individuals must illuminate the bottom of the water and keep an eye out for a pair of glowing fish eyes. Legally, size limits for catching flounder is determined by the distance between each eye. For best results, gigging should be done in calm waters and in locations protected by strong winds.

LED flood light variants are ideal for gigging in shallow water or murky environments. To prevent failure, LED units used for gigging should be waterproof and sealed. It would also be useful to utilize a version that is battery-powered (wireless) and capable of strobing effects for emergency purposes.

Hands-free Illumination

Other LED boat light options for gigging includes submersible or underwater lamps. These variants can be deployed directly in the water without a pole, with minimal setup requirements.

LED headlamps may also be used for hands-free illumination. This solution is designed to replace heavy and inefficient gas lanterns, allowing individuals to conserve their energy for spearing. Furthermore, people who like to gig directly in the water (wading) would not need to rely on another individual for illumination.

Setting up Underwater LED Lights for Ice Fishing

During the winter season, ice fishing is an extremely popular pastime for outdoor enthusiasts who can’t get enough of the water. Like fishing over a lake at night during the summer season, many anglers use green lights to attract large fish to the surface.

However, due to frigid temperatures that come with end-of-the-year weather, some techniques must be updated to better suit the icy environment.

Ice Fishing with Submersible LEDs

Methods used to attract large fish close to the boat during the summertime are mostly applicable to ice fishing during winter. First, individuals must post up near a structure that is known to attract and house large fish. In most cases, fish can be found grouping together or lingering around channels and random, underwater structures.

After selecting a place on the frozen lake to setup; and after drilling a hole in the ground for your main fishing line, it’s time to setup the lights. When deploying the submersible fixtures, do not set it too far down the hole. Ice can act as a reflector, causing the light beams to scatter underwater. Setting up the LED lamp just below the ice is ideal for luring plankton to the surface.

Some anglers cut separate holes in the ground for the lights, so that it does not get mixed up with the main line. This is highly recommended, in order to allocate more space for the fishing line.

Types of Underwater LED Lights for Ice Fishing

For ice fishing applications, submersible LED lamps should be extremely sturdy. To prevent losing the fixture underwater, a tethered or wired underwater LED fixture is suitable for such activities.

The units are typically low voltage and waterproof for safe operation and for resilience against moisture, condensation and water. Lastly, underwater LED lights that provide full, 360-degree illumination should be applied, which are more effective than two-lamp configurations with one-sided, directional beam configurations. Visit to find your perfect underwater light.