The switch from incandescent light bulbs to the energy-saving compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is something that many households are still making decisions on, and the LED vs CFL debate is one that many of us are familiar with! There are a few things to think about, and many people look to maintain the same (or higher) levels of efficiency when choosing to switch to a different type of bulb, as well as light bulb running costs. Identifying your light bulb running costs can seem confusing, so we have created a guide which outlines the running costs of each type of bulb.
First, it is important to understand the difference between the two types of bulbs to understand how they work and the benefits of each to get a true understanding of each light bulb’s running costs.
The key difference between LED and CFL bulbs is the way in which they create light. LED light bulbs produce light caused by an electrical current, whereas CFL bulbs generate ultraviolet light and heat which, in turn, generates light when it hits the bulb’s phosphor interior. This process can generally take up to three minutes to complete, which is why it takes longer for energy saving bulbs to become fully lit. The other main differences between LED and CFL lighting include:
The average lifespan of an LED bulk is significantly longer than that of a CFL lamp, providing up to 50,000 hours of light in comparison to an average CFL's 8,000 hours.
LED light bulbs give off very little heat in comparison to CFL bulbs which release about 80% of their energy as heat.
CFL lights contain a small amount of mercury within the lightbulbs. No mercury is released whilst the bulb is in-tact, but care must be taken in the event of a breakage. There isn’t enough mercury within a bulb to cause harm, but it does mean that your CFL bulbs need to be disposed of correctly - your compact fluorescent bulbs shouldn’t go into a domestic bin and it is recommended that you take them to a local recycling specialist or centre for disposal.
LED and CFL bulbs can be useful to serve different purposes, depending on the type of light that is needed for an environment. LED Lights can emit light in a specific direction, ideal for use as downlights in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways or for task-based lighting (e.g. reading). However there are also directional and wide beam angle LED lights available, providing more control of light angle and spread. In comparison, CFL lights provide widespread light, and so tend to be used in offices, schools or shops, but would not be suited for more specific lighting tasks such as downlights or reading lights.
LED lights are generally more efficient, using less electricity and running for longer, requiring fewer replacement bulbs. This tends to make LED bulbs more cost-effective in the long run.
As LED bulbs have become ever popular as their benefits, including light bulb running costs, are noticed by consumers, brands pushed forwards with the development of new ranges. Leading brands include Aurora, BG Luceco and Integral LED. We currently supply nearly 20 brands of LED light bulbs.