LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

Category: Lighting, Products

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Not too long ago when we needed a new light bulb it was a very simple process—just pick the incandescent bulb in the style and wattage that you desired. Today it is not that simple. There are many more choices than the good old incandescent bulb. Several years ago the CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs appeared producing similar light but using much less electricity. But now in the past few years LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs have appeared promising even more light and using even less electricity. There are five important factors to consider when selecting the correct light bulb:

  1. Heat: Incandescent bulbs produce substantially more heat than either CFL or LED bulbs. As a matter of fact most of the energy used by an incandescent bulb generates heat instead of light. A CFL bulb produces less heat but still more than an LED. Tests have shown that a 100W incandescent bulb reaches a temperature over 325° F, a comparable CFL reaches over 175° F, and a comparable LED reaches only slightly over 85° F. So depending on the application if heat, fire hazard or safety is an issue a bulb that produces less heat could be desirable.
  2. Brightness and Efficacy: Brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens (lm). A traditional 75W incandescent bulb outputs between 900 and 1000 lumens, a 13W CFL outputs approximately 800 lumens and a 10W LED outputs approximately 850 lumens. This translates into efficiencies of approximately 14lm/W for incandescent, 65lm/W for CFL and 85lm/W for LED. The higher this efficiency the less energy is used to produce the same amount of light.

The next 3 important factors are coming in a couple days, stay tuned for more info.

~the Brennans

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