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Light Bulb Running Costs

Light Bulb Running Costs


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 bulb 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.

Brand choice

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.

Are LED lights cheaper to run than energy saving bulbs?

In short, yes. LED lamps are cheaper to run than energy saving bulbs.

It's worth considering that the upfront cost of your light bulb isn't the final cost, and that the cheapest initial cost doesn't guarantee long-term savings. You should take into account the lifespan, efficiency and energy usage of each type of bulb when considering total costs. For example, whilst you may pay more for an LED bulb at the time of purchase, you're likely to buy fewer over time.

Find out more about light bulb running costs in our handy guide below:

Bulb Type Power Cost per Hour  Cost per Year*  Avg. Bulb Purchase Bulb Lifespan (Hours) 
 LED 15W £0.002 £58.40 £5.00 50,000
CFL 20W £0.03 £80.30 £2.00 8,000
Halogen 70W £0.008 £277.40 £1.00 2,000
Incandescent 100W £0.012 £394.20 £1.00 2,000

 *Based on the average household - 2 hours of use per day, average of 45 bulbs per house. Data from OVO Energy and CBS News.

LED Light Bulbs Range

Here at the Electrical Counter, we offer a vast range of LED light bulbs that have been handpicked for their running costs, price and quality to suit all requirements. Click through below to shop our best selling LED bulb ranges.

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