LED Bulbs vs. CFLs: Worth It In the Long Run?

LED Bulbs vs. CFLs: Worth It In the Long Run?

Range Govindan
Nov 19, 2010

LED lighting technology is improving by leaps and bounds. It was hard to find any 35,000-hour LED bulbs last year, but this year, you can easily find 50,000-hour bulbs. What does this mean for the green consumer? Are LEDs finally becoming the obvious choice when it comes to energy efficient lighting?

From a few different studies and results that have recently appeared in the media, it seems that the new LED bulbs that are appearing on the market are as energy efficient as older compact fluorescent bulbs. It's true that LED lamps and bulbs only use a fraction of the energy needed to light as standard incandescent bulbs. However, most people are now using highly efficient CFL bulbs.

So how do LED bulbs compare to CFL bulbs?

25,000-hour LED bulbs will last the same time as 2.5 10,000-hour CFL bulbs. We expect LED bulbs to become even more energy efficient in the future. Taking a few other factors into consideration, like manufacturing processes, it's been determined that a 25,000-hour LED bulb is about as energy efficient as a 10,000-hour CFL bulb over its lifetime. That's the standard that you need to beat with LED lighting, tempered by a need to keep initial costs low as well.

If you really want to change to LED lighting, you should look for bulbs that have a lifetime of more than 35,000 hours. At 35,000 hours, you get an energy efficiency that is 40% more efficient than standard LEDs. This translates to a 25-40% savings when compared to CFLs. The 50,000-hour LED bulbs are now twice as efficient as standard LEDs. This can lead to significant savings is the initial start up cost isn't too steep.

There are quite a few LED bulbs that can now last 50,000 hours. We've seen bulbs from EcoSmart, GE, and other manufacturers that have made things a lot more interesting. Typically, these bulbs sell starting at $15. The EcoSmart A19 is definitely a good choice if you're planning on converting your lighting needs to LEDs. The low cost ($18) and long life (50,000 hours) definitely make it an energy efficient solution to your lighting needs.

(Images: The Simple Dollar and GE Lighting)

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