LED versus CFL and Incandescent Bulbs

Phyllis Theermann

-Big Thanks to Guest Writer Jeanne Mayell

LED light bulbs

photo thanks to energy.gov

Did you know that the most efficient, cost effective, and safest light bulb of today is the new LED bulb? It’s also down in price to under $5 for a 60-watt bulb. Compare it to the other two options: First are the old incandescent bulbs, which are the most inefficient and expensive to burn, hot to the touch, and causing the greatest greenhouse gas pollution.

Next are the CFL bulbs – thespiral shaped florescent light bulbs that, until the LED’s came along, were the most energy efficient of the bulbs. What many people don’t know is that the spiral shaped CFLs have mercury in them, one of the most toxic substances on the planet, and are poisonous when broken. (If you’re using them, be sure not to touch them if they break, and dispose of them as a hazardous waste product when they burn out.)

In contrast, the LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours versus the spiral CFL bulbs which last 30,000 hours, are non-toxic, instant on to full brightness, and use a fraction of the electricity—the eight-watt equivalent of an incandescent sixty-watt bulb.

Using a price comparison published last July on thesimpledollar.com with updated LED bulb costs, the cost of purchasing and using these bulbs over 30,000 hours of use, the average lifespan of a single LED bulb, are: $30 for LED, $45 for CFL, and a whopping $187 for the incandescent bulb. Incandescent bulbs may be cheap to buy, but they cost six times more to burn than the incandescent.

LEDs are quite simply the light bulb of today.  You can buy them in many color temperatures – warm white: a warm sunlight shade to a cool white which resembles the coolness (blueness)of fluorescent lights, to a bright white that is in between the warm and cool whites and resembles traditional quartz indoor lighting. When picking LED bulbs for home use, the key is to look for a bulb with a rating of 2700 kelvin to make sure you get the warm color light. Bulbs from different manufacturers have very different light – even if they are all 2700 kelvin. Also, LEDs are brighter than incandescent, so when replacing a 60 watt incandescent bulb, you might find that a 40 watt equivalent LED works best.

— Thanks to Bernie Torri who provided the bulk of this information to us.

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Phyllis Theermann
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