When it comes to choosing replacement light bulbs, everyone knows the newer LED bulbs offer a more efficient, longer lasting lighting option. But given the choice between the two, fluorescent light vs LED, which one comes out on top?
The best bulb really depends on your intended use.
LED Bulbs are more efficient and use about 50 percent less energy than fluorescents. They are long lasting, with a lifespan 25-times longer than an incandescent. LEDs do not give off heat as a byproduct. LED bulbs are hardy, and don’t break as easily as CFLs. Further, LEDs are available in a wide temperature range, unlike CFLs.
LED bulbs are now available in a broad range of color tones, from blue-white to warm, orange hues and even specialty shades, allowing customers to achieve the perfect lighting look from task lighting to art display.
LED bulbs can be dimmed more easily than CFL bulbs. Unlike CFLs, LED bulbs work well in colder temperatures, and are commonly used in commercial refrigerators/freezers.
LED smart bulbs can be programmed, change color, sense motion, and even play music via built-in speakers.
However, they are more expensive, though their longer lifespan offsets the higher initial up-front cost. LEDs contain heavy metals, which offsets the ‘green’ aspect of the bulbs. Because of this, they can worsen symptoms of light sensitivity/photophobia, especially when light bulbs in the blue-white color spectrum are chosen.
Ideal Applications for LEDs:
Light fixtures that are used for an extended period of time, and those that see repeated use, such as fixtures in kitchens, baths, living/family rooms, outdoor/porch lighting.
Hard-to-access bulbs, such as those in fixtures on cathedral ceilings and in bug-ridden outdoor light fixtures.
Holiday lighting, allowing you to attach multiple strings of lights together without any breaker tripping consequences.
CFL Bulbs are less expensive than LEDs. CFLs use 40 percent less energy than incandescents (about 10 percent more than LEDs). Their lifespan is still 10-times longer than an incandescent bulb.
These can be better for those with light sensitivity/photophobia, as the temperature of CFL bulbs is warmer than white-blue toned LEDs.
However, the color tone of CFLs can wash out the surrounding environment, and cause eye strain. CFLs also take several minutes to ‘warm up,’ and perform poorly in cold temperatures, taking an extended time to reach full brightness.
CFLs emit ultraviolet radiation as part of operation. CFLs break more easily than LED, and pose a risk of mercury exposure. These bulbs must be carefully and properly disposed of due to mercury content.
Unfortunately, they are also not dimmable.
Ideal Applications for CFLs:
Because of the unique look of CFLs, they are ideally used in canned or recessed lighting, encased within concealed fixtures.
Institutions/scenarios where cool lighting tones are needed, such as hospitals and airport terminals, tend to use CFLs and fluorescents.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that widespread adoption of LED lighting by 2025 will reduce electricity demands on the grid for lighting by 62 percent, eliminating 258-million metric tons of carbon emissions, and reduce the need for adding another 133 power plants, saving the U.S. over $280-billion. Will you contribute to cementing this future with your next bulb purchase?
Stop battling with incandescents in your home. The next time you need to switch, upgrade to more efficient LED or CFL lighting.