LEDs vs CFLs: A Comparison

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Compact fluorescent lighting and LED lighting are both popular lighting sources, but which one is a better investment? In this article, we will investigate the pros and cons of each. LED lighting has been coming up in the world of lighting as more people are realizing the long-term benefits of switching to LEDs. CFL’s have been around awhile, and have remained a solid lighting choice as the once widely used incandescent lights are being phased out of the lighting world. However, as technology is progressing and as more customers look for green solutions, LEDs are best. 

Whether you’re buying for your home, your business, or otherwise, your lighting choice should be efficient, cost-effective, and beautiful. Green Light Innovations wants to fill your life with light that works for you and your budget.

CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lighting

Compact fluorescent lights are one of the most commonly used types of lights. They work by driving an electric current through a tube that contains mercury vapor and argon. The electric current process creates ultraviolet light that transitions into visible light, unlike incandescent lights. Incandescent lighting was a popular option before it began to be phased out of production and banned in some places due to negative environmental impacts. Incandescent lights put off more of a warm glow, while CFL’s transition quickly into clearly visible light. Besides the quick transition time, compact fluorescent lights have a few other advantages over incandescent lights. Compact fluorescent lights use 70% less energy than incandescent lights, and they last years longer while only costing a dollar more than incandescent lights.

A drawback of using compact fluorescent lights is their lighting capacity. They take a longer time to warm and reach full brightness, so they’re not very useful in places where you want lots of light immediately. CFLs also contain mercury, which means that you have to dispose of them carefully because they harm your health and the environment if they break.

LEDs- Light Emitting Diodelit stairway illuminated by LED lighting

LED lighting has been on the market for years now, and have benefits that easily outweigh traditional light sources. LED lights emit light by bringing together currents of positive and negative charge to create energy.The energy the currents created is what emits light. LED lighting has an advantage over CFLs because the light emitted is bright and instantaneous, it doesn’t take time to heat up. Another big advantage that LED’s have over both CFLs and incandescent lighting is how long they can last. They have a lifespan of 25,000 to 50,000 hours, up to five times longer than any comparable bulb currently on the market. Unfortunately, they are pricier than the more common CFLs.

LEDs are available in a variety of sizes, brightnesses, and colors. You can buy an LED light that fits your needs at Green Light or at any major retailer in the US. Today, the variety of LED solutions is endless, and companies like GLI even provide custom lighting solutions if your needs are specialized.

The Conclusions: LED Lighting V. CFLs

However, in the long run, using LED lighting saves you money even though they cost more up front. If you were to use LEDs and CFLs for 25,000 hours, the LEDs would be a better investment. One 10 watt LED light would last 25,000 hours, while you would have to replace a 14 watt CFL bulb 3 times for it to last the same amount of time. However, you’d only pay $6 for 3 CFL’s, compared to $8 for one LED bulb. One 10 watt LED is equal to 14 watts of CFLs. The total cost of electricity used over the 25,000 hour period would be $30 for LEDs, $42 for CFLs, if the electricity cost is $0.12/kWh (kilowatt hour). Overall, the total operational cost of the CFLs would be $48 ($42 for electricity, $6 for bulb replacement), and $38 for the LEDs ($30 for electricity, $8 for bulb replacement). Even with the high cost of the bulb, it lasts longer than the CFLs. In the long run, using LED lighting would stay lower in cost compared to CFLs.

LED’s are best if you’re looking for an efficient lighting investment. They last longer and are brighter than CFLs. Although LED lighting can be an investment on the front end, they will save you money in the long term. If you decide to make the switch to LED lighting, it’s worth looking into your local and state laws to see if you can get additional tax breaks to save you even more money. LED lighting is a safe bet because it doesn’t have the added risk of mercury. 

The Breakdown

LED Lighting

Pros: Cons:
Doesn’t take time to heat up Costs more than CFLs
Lights up immediately Directional light may not spread as evenly
Can last up to 5 times longer than CFLs
Doesn’t contain mercury



Pros: Cons:
Costs less than LEDs  Contains mercury
Produces light that spreads evenly Takes awhile to heat up
Uses less light than incandescent bulbs Doesn’t reach full brightness immediately