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The Great Debate: LED vs. CFL Bulbs

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Life is full of choices: what to eat for dinner, what to wear today, what to do this weekend...The amount of choices we have today seem infinite, and very few of them have a clear, right answer. Well, here is one choice you have that we can give you the right answer to: CFL light bulbs or LED light bulbs? Read below to find out the answer!

Lighting a house is an expensive feat! Don’t waste money on inefficient light bulbs. Use the most efficient bulbs to get the most value for your money.

Lighting your home accounts for over ¼ of your total electric bills. Therefore, it is crucial to have the most cost effective and energy efficient light bulbs on the market. But with so many different options, what should you choose?

To start, let’s define CFL and LED.

  • CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lamps: These are the curly light bulbs. CFL bulbs send an electric current flow between electrodes at each end of a gas-filled tube. The following reaction creates UV light and heat, which is then changed to solely light. This process can take up to 30 seconds, which explains why it sometimes takes a CFL bulb a little while to fully brighten.
  • LED – Light Emitting Diodes: These are the long, more traditional looking light bulbs. LED bulbs are much more simple than CFL bulbs. They produce light when an electric current passes through the bulb, and that’s it.


Next, let’s define lumens.

  • Lumen – a measurement of light

Unlike traditional light bulbs, energy efficient light bulbs are measured in lumens rather than watts. Lumens measure the brightness of the bulb. Both CFL and LED bulbs are measured by lumens, not watts.

Now that you understand the basic differences between each bulb we can compare the two, and pick a winner.


Lifespan Winner: LEDs

LED light bulbs have an astounding lifespan – they will last up to 50,000 hours! This means that a string of LED holiday lights from today will still work 40 holiday seasons from now. CFL bulbs have a mere lifespan of 8,000 hours maximum, next to nothing when compared to the lifespan of LED bulbs. Not only do the LED bulbs last almost forever, they are durable. An LED bulb can bounce on the floor and will not break. CFL bulbs are the opposite – they are quite fragile and likely to break. And when they break, the mercury that is inside the bulb will cause a problem. In order to properly dispose of a CFL bulb, you must contact your local water management to guarantee proper disposal. The clear choice here are the LED bulbs when it comes to lifespan and durability.


Cost Winner: LEDs (in the long run)

Initially LED bulbs are slightly more expensive than the CFL bulbs. A six-pack of CFL bulbs typically costs around $22-25, while a six-pack of LED bulbs costs around $28-30. Although LED’s have a higher initial cost, they will save you money in the long run. A six pack of those same LED bulbs will last nearly eight times longer than that same six pack of CFL’s. Replacing the CFL bulbs eight times will add up to $184, compared to the single purchase of $28-30 for the six-pack of LED bulbs. The LED bulbs last longer and therefore will save you time and money in the long run.


Energy Efficiency Winner: LEDs

CFL’s use 25-35% less energy than traditional light bulbs, or incandescent bulbs, use. This is good, but not great. LED’s, on the other hand, use 75% less of the energy than incandescent bulbs use. This means that LED bulbs are incredibly energy efficient. Additionally, CFL bulbs release almost 80% of their energy as heat, while LED bulbs emit very little to no energy as heat, which increases their efficiency even more.


Clearly LED bulbs win in all three categories: lifespan, cost, and efficiency. So what are you waiting for?! Go make the switch and reap the benefits.

Will you make the switch to LED light bulbs? Share with us on Facebook!

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