Posted by Doug Root on 15th Sep 2015

LED bulbs vs CFL bulbs

Are you having a difficult time trying to figure out if it is the right time to take out those spiral shaped CFL light bulbs and replace them with LED bulbs?

Think of it as an investment!

As many American's know traditional light bulbs are being phased out and will be a thing of the past over the next few years. Did you know that lighting our homes and businesses accounts for about one-quarter of our electric bills?  It is true that new energy-efficient bulbs will save you money in the long run. So the question is how do you choose which one to buy?

LED Light Bulb Advantages

LED light bulb

LED lights last much longer than all other sources of light. LED bulbs are very durable, they are made of aluminum and or plastic materials which make many of them shatterproof! 

The hard thing for us as consumers to stomach is the cost! Please know that even though you’re paying more at the register, you buy fewer bulbs over time and saving electricity cost while doing so. LED bulbs are no different than their counterparts, the screw into a traditional light bulb socket Commercially we sell LED bulbs that screw in or plug in, plug in LED bulbs replace traditional plug in CFL bulbs.

LED bulbs do not contain mercury. This is really important for building managers who are trying to make their building a sustainable and safe environment. 

It is important to use a knowledgeable supplier when making the switch. We help commercial buyers choose the right LED bulb. For residential applications, you really just need to look for the lumen output and color temperature of the bulb which is printed on the box. The basic comparisons for a traditional 60W light bulb are below.  LED vs Incandescent Bulbs vs CFL 

Type of Bulb LED Bulb CFL Bulb Incandescent
Power Consumed 7-8.5 Watts 14 Watts 60 Watts
Lifetime 25,000+ Hours 10,000 Hours 1,500 Hours
Lumens 800 800 800
Average Cost $7 $2 $1

LED Disadvantages

LED usually cost more than CFL bulbs, but as with any emerging technology the cost is decreasing weekly on LED bulbs and LED fixtures. So if you looked at the pricing a year ago and thought it was expensive...I would check again! LED bulbs are only as good as their components, many low price LEDs have inferior components and can fail when the heat of the LED package is not managed properly. LED bulbs can directional, meaning they are excellent for in flashlights and for lighting up jewelry. However the technologies are improving rapidly. 

Another aspect is that some manufacturers are putting inaccurate data on the boxes. They are claiming extremely long lifespans and "equivalent wattage" ratings. Buy from a trusted lighting manufacturer as you want to make sure they will be around to service the warranty if you do have issues 3 years down the road.

CFL Bulb Advantages

CFL Bulbs

CFL, or compact fluorescent lamp, is basically a straight fluorescent tube that has been coiled up and integrated with a ballast. CFL bulbs are cheap. The cost on these light sources is significantly less than an LED and they are pretty efficient when it comes to LPW or Lumens Per Watt. The CFL is a great product to use in commercial offices and buildings, purchasing managers love the fact that they use less energy than an regular light bulb, cost a little bit more and have a fairly long lifespan.

CFL Bulb Disadvantages

People have been scared of the "mercury" in CFL bulbs for some time. All major facilities and commercial buildings have  these mercury containing fluorescents already installed in our 2x4 fluorescent fixtures. Care should be taken if one is broken but it is not the end of the World in my opinion. You do not need to move because you broke a CFL bulb in your house. However you do need to heed proper clean up procedures. Mercury is a heavy metal, and you should dispose of them properly and follow clean up guidelines set by the EPA.

One of the biggest disadvantages to CFL bulbs is that they do not like to be dimmed down. CFL bulbs basically like to be on or off, not in the middle. So when these lamps are dimmed and the voltage is dropped to the bulb they tend to hmmmm and can be very annoying in an office or conference room environment.

How To Decide?

Watch the video comparing LED vs CFL Bulbs!

Many people go with their gut and buy the least expensive light bulb. However the main goal in this blog is to educate you that you have to look at the TOC, the total cost of ownership. If you buy a regular 14W CFL bulb you will need to purchase 2.5 more lamps over the lifetime of a comparable 8W LED Bulb. That means you will spend $5 on replacement bulbs and spend 75% more on electricity to run the bulb. If you have a house that has 10 bulbs then that does not mean a lot to your pocket book. However if you are a 500,000 square foot facility with 1000 bulbs in the building than the purchasing agent or facility manager will want to think about making that investment. 

The savings on electricity and maintenance can be huge for a commercial building. Our team of experts are ready to help you make the switch from CFL to LED. We have all the right brands and we have great prices to meet any budget.