The “MR” in MR16 stands for multifaceted reflector that is type of halogen bulb commonly used for directional lighting applications such as track lighting, desk lamps, landscape lighting and retail display lighting. Originally the MR16 was used in slide projectors. The number following the letters denote the diameter of the front face of the bulb. The MR16 has a diameter of 2 inches.
While the MR16 light bulb is typically a halogen type, LED replacements are starting to appear in the market. There are many reasons for switching over to LED light bulbs but durability and energy savings are the main ones. For an equivalent light output, the LED bulbs consumes much less electricity compared to halogen bulbs.
MR16 bulbs are typically rated at 10 to 50W and operate at 12V. Conventional MR16 halogen bulbs run very hot and can be a fire hazard. That is another reason to switch to MR16 LED bulbs. With respect to electricity usage, you can find LED bulbs that use 3W of electrical power to generate an equivalent light output of a 40W halogen bulb. In the long run, the energy savings is considerable.
The MR16 comes with two types of bases. There is a two pin format called GU5.3 for low voltage bulbs and then there is the GU10 that uses line voltage. Be sure to check which type of base you have before you make a purchase.
Now for a word of caution. Typically the advertised light output of the MR16 LED bulbs may not be comparable to the actual output you will get. It is difficult to compare unless you see the actual bulb in operation. This means going to a retail store that has one installed. If you are purchasing online, be sure to read customer reviews to see if people are satisfied with the product. Another consideration is the light color. You can purchase bulbs that emulate the color of day light if you wish.
Buyers have to be more careful with the compatibility of the MR16 LED bulb as a replacement for halogen bulbs. It is a good idea to write down the specifications you are looking to match when you are in the process of shopping. There can be potential issues with dimming and whether or not the LED bulb can be driven with the conventional lighting circuit. The alternative is to buy a lamp fixture that is already designed to work with LEDs.
In conclusion, switching over to LED bulbs can be a good idea if you take into account the long term benefits. You will pay more for the bulb but you will save money in terms of electricity usage and lessen the need to replace the bulbs.