Consumer trends change the marketplace every day. The “go green” efforts have had perhaps the biggest effect on the marketplace. Overtaking incandescent bulbs in popularity, LED lights and CFL bulbs are favorites for their excellent energy-efficiency ratings. LED stands for light emitting diode and CFL stands for compact fluorescent lights.
LED lights have long been used for lighting instrument panel lights, digital clocks, and even traffic lights, which use a cluster of LED lights. CFL bulbs have also been around for a while, most commonly as the long light bulbs in commercial settings such as office buildings. Both LED lighting and CFL bulbs can be used at home, but which one is the best overall?
Typically LED lighting provides only directional lighting, shining almost like a spotlight. CFL bulbs provide a wider spread of light. But recent improvements to LED lighting have created bulbs that have clusters of LED lights with diffuser lenses. This next generation LED lights have a broader shine and expanded uses.
Another drawback of the LED light is their price. CFL bulbs are usually cheaper to purchase than LED lights. However, when you look at total cost, considering time, lifespan, and energy efficiency, LED lighting charges ahead in comparison to CFL bulbs. Research studies show that LED lights more than make up for the higher up-front price.
Energy Efficiency/Environmental Impact
A standard LED light uses only 2-10 watts of electricity, 1/30 of the amount of energy used by a CFL bulb. In addition, CFL can cause higher temperatures in the home, especially in the summertime, increasing cooling costs. An LED light does not generate nearly as much heat as a CFL. Reducing the energy use of your home helps save money on cooling costs and also reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which can positively affect air and water pollution.
CFL bulbs are also detrimental to the environment due to the presence of mercury, a chemical toxin. The mercury content of CFLs emits ultraviolet light that excites the CFL bulb’s phosphor coating. A broken CFL bulb can release mercury, which can pose a health risk. Also, when a CFL bulb is disposed of, it must be done in a specific manner to reduce the chance of mercury leaking into the environment. LED lights do not contain any toxic materials or chemicals. LED light disposal is simple, and some can even be recycled.
Lifespan of LEDs and CFLs
LED lights also last significantly longer than CFL bulbs. According to research an LED light typically lasts between 50,000 and 60,000 hours, while the typical lifespan of a CFL bulb is approximately 10,000 hours. Additionally, newer LED light types have clusters of LEDs making up a single light, so if one or two LED goes out, the rest of the light should not be affected.
As LED lights become more popular, further improvements to the manufacturing process will be made, and you should expect to see the cost go down over time.