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Comparing LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

By NOPEC on April 11, 2019

Not too long ago, there wasn’t much of a choice for buying light bulbs, other than wattage. However, as technology has made advances in recent years to offer more energy efficient lighting, LED and fluorescent (CFL) bulbs outshine the traditional incandescent bulb in more ways than just brightness. Here’s how these three types of light bulbs compare in terms of energy efficiency, brightness, cost, and lifespan.

LED Bulb

LEDs are the most energy efficient light bulb, but there are many other benefits, including longevity, brightness, and electricity costs.

Most LEDs can last an average of 25,000 hours. If you were to keep your LED bulb on 24/7, then you would only have to replace your light bulb every 15 years. While keeping the light on nonstop does waste energy, with LEDs, you won’t eat up your electricity bill nearly as much as with other light bulbs. It typically costs just $30 to light an LED for 25,000 hours, which is much less than CFL and incandescent bulbs. The reason is because LEDs require fewer watts to produce a high level of brightness.

The only real downside to LEDs is the upfront cost. LEDs are typically more expensive than other light bulbs, running at about $4 or less per bulb. However, when you factor in the lifespan and the cost of lighting an LED, these bulbs can save big money in the long run.

CFL Bulb

Fluorescent, or CFL bulbs, are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but not as efficient as LEDs. The average lifespan of CFLs is about 8,000 hours, compared to the 25,000-hour lifetime of LEDs. That comes out to about three CFL bulbs for every one LED purchase.

CLF bulbs also require more energy, and consequently, cost more money. About double the watts are required to achieve the same level of brightness as an LED, and running one for 25,000 hours would cost about $50. However, the upfront cost of CFLs sits at about $2 per bulb—about half the price of an LED.

Incandescent Bulb

This traditional light bulb is one of the worsts in terms of energy efficiency. Incandescent bulbs typically only last a mere 750 hours, compared to the longer-lasting LED and CFL bulbs.

These light bulbs also require a lot more watts and electricity. If you were to light an incandescent bulb for 25,000 hours, it would cost $169, compared to the $30 cost to light an LED. For this reason, incandescent bulbs typically don’t shine as bright as CFL and LED bulbs.

While many choose to purchase incandescent bulbs because of the cheap price tag (about $1 per bulb), you’ll end up paying more money on your electricity bill and buying more bulbs in the long term.

When choosing lighting for your home or business, LEDs are the superior bulb for saving energy and money. Want more energy efficiency tips? Sign up for NOPEC’s Energy Connection newsletter to receive energy saving tips and chances to win smart home technology.

Tags: NOPEC, Lighting, Energy Efficiency
Categories: Energy Efficiency

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