The Difference Between CFL and LED Bulbs

LED BulbsOver time, the technology of light bulbs has improved such that there are now varying types of light bulbs available on the market. Today, light bulbs can last longer than ever before and are more environmentally-friendly. There are two types of light bulbs that can provide these benefits — CFL and LED bulbs. This article explains the difference between CFL and LED lighting.

CFL Lighting
CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Light. Several years ago, advances in technology began to offer new alternatives to incandescent light bulbs.. One of these alternatives, the CFL bulb is recognized typicaly by its circular coil shape. CFLs are made in similar brightness scales to incandescent bulbs, are believed to be 25% more energy-efficient and last up to ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

There has been some controversy over CFL usage as they do contain small amounts of mercury. If one of these bulbs breaks, they require special handling to dispose of the contents. The EPA website offers great advice on cleanup if a CFL is broken.

LED Lighting
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Currently, LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient of commercial light bulbs on the market. LED bulbs are completely mercury-free. This means there are no special clean up procedures in the event of a broken bulb. Another advantage of LED lighting is the coolness. LED bulbs stay cool which is beneficial, especially in the summer, or when young children can reach them.

LED lighting is great for dimmers, motion sensors, and outdoor lighting. Although LED lighting may initially be more expensive, over time it can actually provide a more financially sound option. LEDs are long-lasting products. Several LEDs have a life of up to 50,000 hours, which is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 hour bulb can last more than 11 years. Used 8 hours a day, it is estimated to last for 17 years.

Switching From Incandescent Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs are not as efficient and only convert 5% of the energy used into light, with the rest of the energy given off as heat. Typically, incandescent light bulbs only emit 16 lumens per watt, compared to 60 lumens per watt with a compact fluorescent light bulb. Switching from incandescent light bulbs to either CFL or LED lighting can be a great choice — they use less electricity and last longer, which can save you money over the life of the bulb.

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