What are the Differences between LED and Fluorescent Light Bulbs?

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What goes through your head when you need a light bulb? Probably not much, except dollar signs. In this blog, we compare the differences between LED and fluorescent light bulbs and discuss the cost benefits of each.

Advantages of LED Light Bulbs

If you’re concerned primarily with initial costs, LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, likely won’t be your first choice. They are initially more expensive than fluorescent light bulbs. However, they last longer. LEDs have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. As an added benefit, they maintain their brightness as they age, so they won’t ever dim.

Not only LEDs long lasting, but they are also energy efficient. Compared to traditional lighting, LEDs have an estimated energy efficiency of 80 to 90 percent. They also contain nontoxic materials, as opposed to some fluorescent bulbs, and are 100 percent recyclable, which lessens their carbon footprint.

Also unlike fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs emit very little UV emissions and infrared light. Too much exposure to UV and infrared light can be detrimental to your health and safety. LED bulbs also have a lower risk of producing fires and burnt fingers because they release a minimal amount of heat

Another advantage to LED bulbs is their ability to provide instant light, right as they are turned on. Some fluorescents, on the other hand, take a couple minutes to reach maximum brightness.

LED Light Bulb Disadvantages

As mentioned, LED bulbs are more expensive than other lighting choices. This is because they require more manufacturing technologies and sophisticated engineering since they’re a directional light (the diodes emit light in a single direction as opposed to fluorescents, which emit light 360°. LED light bulbs are also sensitive to changes in temperatures and are more prone to overheat in high temperatures.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Advantages

The biggest draw for fluorescent bulbs is their low cost. Initially, they cost less than LEDs. Many consumers would rather pay a small amount every so often than pay a large amount all at once. Consumers are also drawn to fluorescents because of their convenience.

Fluorescent bulbs are the all-in-one bulb. They can easily light up a full room because they emit light in every direction. And for this reason, they work better in lamps than LEDs. The same bulb can be used in ceiling lamps and in the garage — in other words, they’re more adaptable; specialized bulbs need not be purchased for specific applications.

Fluorescent bulbs are also popular because they can last for upwards of 10,000 hours, and many times they come with a warranty of only one or two years. While the lifespan pales in comparison to LEDs, it is nonetheless much longer than the lifespan of traditional incandescent bulbs.

Like LEDs, fluorescents are also energy efficient, though not quite to the same degree. Because fluorescent bulbs are meant to be used for long periods, they use 75 percent less energy and 90 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Disadvantages

Though fluorescents initially cost less than LEDs, they cost more over their lifetime because they consume more energy and burn our faster. They’re also easier to break than LEDs.

Another disadvantage to fluorescent bulbs is that they contain mercury. The mercury is harmless until the bulb breaks. When that happens, mercury is released as a vapor, which can be inhaled or settle into fabric. If a person comes in contact with enough mercury, it can lead to poisoning.

Fluorescent bulbs also emit UV radiation. Usually, a protective coating absorbs the UV light, but the UV can escape if a “light leak”  occurs when the protective coating is damaged or begins to peel off.

If you’re interested in LED lighting for your home or business, call Whites Electrical in Indianapolis. We specialize in LED retrofitting and can get your home or business up to an energy-efficient standard.