TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

Lighting Tips

Sep 16 2009

Incandescent vs. CFL vs. LED Light Bulb

cfl_light_bulbFor anyone out there dragging their feet about switching to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs in the home, I’ve done some research and put together some data about long-term usage in comparison to incandescent bulbs. As anyone paying attention has noticed, incandescent bulbs are rapidly becoming a thing of the past in terms of price, output, and performance. In an attempt to shed some light on the issue, we’ve crunched some numbers and put together an Excel sheet that compares various facets of incandescent, CFL and LED bulbs. Read the rest of our analysis after the jump, and feel free to download our Light Bulb Comparison Spreadsheet, which you can customize for your own home bulb comparisons.

Next time you’re out looking for light bulbs for your home, consider your options and bear in mind a few factors that go into differentiating your options: individual bulb price, lifespan, lumens (brightness), and wattage/electricity cost (how much electricity it takes to light the bulb). Before you try to figure out which bulb you want to buy, consider what your goals are. Do you want to the longest-lasting bulb you can find? Do you want the most efficient bulb? Do you want to stop changing bulbs for 15 years? These days, there’s an option for each of these concerns.

The incandescent bulb is a dinosaur. About the only thing it has going for it in comparison to more efficient and longer-lasting options is that the price of an individual bulb is still comparatively low. But if you use a little foresight, you’ll realize there are better options out there that cost just a little more. If you want a bulb that’s going to last for extended periods between replacements, you’ll want to go with the LED. The bulb features a lifespan of 60,000 hours versus the CFL’s 10,000 hours and the incandescent bulb’s 1,500 hours. Considering the bulb’s low energy expenditure, the cost (over its 60,000-hour lifespan) is significantly lower than either of the other bulbs. Simply put, if using as little energy as possible is your goal, the LED bulb is for you.

Of course, the standard LED is generally less bright than a traditional bulb. We tested the Spotlight LED bulb, which is made by the same manufacturer as the bulb we compared in our analysis (but with a lower lumen count), and we found it to have only a slightly less brightness than the traditional bulb. The LED also has the major drawback of featuring a very direct field of light, which makes it most useful only when aimed directly at what you want to light. Standard floor and table lamps equipped with an LED tend to offer streams of light aimed at the ceiling, which may not help with that book you’re reading.

As a versatile bulb that burns comparably bright to a standard incandescent, but still costs less over the long term and burns more efficiently, the CFL Bulb may be your best bet. An advantage the CFL has over the LED is an upfront-cost that is considerably lower and far closer to the incandescent. In fact, if overall cost is your only concern, the cost of new LED bulbs may be more than you want to spend. Over the life of an LED, you are only going to see dramatic savings over the CFL if you are in an area that has high energy costs. For example, we compared LED and CFL bulbs at a standard $0.10 rate, and found that you would save about $11 over 60,000 hours. We also compared the two at $0.33 (what a friend pays) where the savings jumps to $120 over the life of an LED.

While the CFL is twice as expensive as the incandescent upfront, the former buries the latter in a pile of long-term cost. Each individual setting—not to mention the user’s view’s on energy conservation—is going to call for a unique bulb. We’ve tried to give you basic data and tools to figure out which bulb is right for you. Download the Excel spreadsheet and consider the best options for you.

Source : www.productdose.com

LightBulb_Comparison Spreadsheet

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  1. Craig BryantMarch 3, 2011 at 10:39 amReply

    In the long term, LED lamps purchased at current prices reflect a significant savings in energy, part replacement, and replacement labor over both incandescent and Compact Fluorescent (CFL) lighting. However, LED pricing is still a major deterrent for most consumers.

    LED technology is moving forward quite rapidly in terms of brightness and efficiency, and manufacturing costs will soon be significantly lower than CFLs. So as LED prices drop to attractive levels, expect CFLs to join incandescent lamps with their own dinosaur status in the not too distant future. This will be gratifying to see because there are some disturbing problems with CFLs. Heated mercury vapor inside CFLs creates UV which causes the phosphor coating inside the glass to fluoresce and produce light. Every year in our nation alone, we dump tons of mercury into our environment in the form of discarded fluorescent lights.

    Unlike CFLs, LED’s contain no mercury and present no environmental threat, and LED’s emit no UV. This is good news for the environment inside our homes, and for the outside environment we all share together.

  2. adminMarch 21, 2011 at 12:38 pmReplyAuthor

    Thought so too. I think what most people find is that as they will reap savings sooner than anticipated. Most of the numbers shown in the chart are fairly conservative.

  3. LouisApril 12, 2012 at 3:50 amReply

    Green CFL bulbs look nice. I have heard about such CFL bulbs but not sure whether to use them at home. Saving money and hpinleg the environment both at a same time is a brilliant idea. Thanks for posting the video also. I hope like me, many readers will also plan to change the lighting of their home to these green CFL bulbs.

  4. JoelApril 14, 2012 at 10:54 pmReply

    I bought CFLs about 5 years ago to elcrape all the incandescent bulbs in my house. Half of them burned out within a year. Now only 1 remains in service and that’s in the laundry room where the light is used only a few times on weekends. They absolutely failed for outdoor use because it gets below freezing here in the winter; they wouldn’t light up at all. So last year I bought a case of 60 and 100 watt long life light bulbs from Halco. Hopefully that will last me until there are economical alternatives to CFLs. Maybe I should have bought two cases of each

  5. Online LightingApril 16, 2012 at 3:47 amReply

    Ya I like it. Its very informative post. Thanks for share it. A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting. Introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962, early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light, but modern versions are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.

  6. energy saver storeApril 17, 2012 at 6:19 amReply

    Great post. Keep us update with your developments!

  7. LED Panel LightMay 7, 2012 at 2:26 amReply

    expect CFLs to join incandescent lamps with their own dinosaur status in the not too distant future. This will be gratifying to see because there are some disturbing problems with CFLs. Heated mercury vapor inside CFLs creates UV which causes

    • LucasNovember 17, 2012 at 5:48 amReply

      Well the CFL definitely doesn’t stay cold, but it’s much coleor than an incandescent bulb. We have a couple of different brands now the Wal-Mart ones take slightly longer to get all the way bright, but they’re not too noticeable. Another brand we have (GE) doesn’t have that problem at all. You can check out reviews on Amazon.com to see which ones do and don’t. I’m off to check out the video!

  8. 46 yr old Winston-born and raised Feyyaz Mccaughan is hooked on LED bulb, signed memorabilia, games. Last of all his motivation stems from discovering new places and countries to give an example Hamada.July 22, 2013 at 3:22 amReply

    I just now including the worthwhile info people provide on your own content articles. I’m going to search for ones site plus test out yet again listed here regularly. I’m rather selected Let me learn lots of fresh stuff in this article! Best of luck for an additional!

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