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LED vs. CFL: Which is the Better Bulb?

LED vs. CFL: Which is the Better Bulb?

Let’s face it. Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy, almost 95%. So using them is hardly the smartest way to light up your home. But if not incandescent bulbs, what? Should you use LEDs or does CFL offer a better bang for your buck?

Both LEDs and CFLs are a step up from incandescent bulbs. To find out which is the better option, we stacked them up against each other.

CFL vs. LED bulbs

When it comes to energy efficiency, cost and life span, LED is the winner.

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of improvement in energy-efficient light bulb technology. Even though incandescent bulbs are still available, more and more people are now looking past them and picking more energy-efficient options.

In the case of an incandescent bulb, electricity goes through a filament which gets so hot that it emits light. However, as much as 95% of energy gets wasted as heat and only 5% is used converted into light. That’s a pretty bad efficiency rate, any way you cut it.

CFLs, instead of using a filament, have two electrodes placed at the end of a tube that’s filled with gas and coated in phosphor. When you switch on a CFL bulb, the electricity hits this coating, which in turn changes into light. This reaction can take up to anywhere between 3 to 30 seconds, depending on the quality of the CFL bulb. Because of this reaction time, there’s a noticeable delay when you power on a CFL bulb.

LED bulbs have a semiconductor, and when electricity passes through it, light is produced.

Which is more energy efficient — LED or CFL?

When it comes to energy efficiency, LED beats CFL and incandescent bulbs to the punch. They are hands down the most efficient choice for your home.

CFLs promise around 25% to 35% energy savings on incandescent bulbs. LEDs, however, have raised the bar significantly. LEDs can cut energy use by as much as 75%.

Do LEDs emit as much as CFLs?

The answer is no.

CFLs waste less energy than incandescent, but not a whole lot less. CFL bulbs, according to experts, waste around 80% of electricity they consume as heat.

By contrast, LEDs waste very little amount of energy, making them a great choice for anyone who wants to reduce their monthly electricity bill.

Which one lasts longer — LED or CFL?

When it comes to longevity, CFLs can’t hold a candle to LEDs. CFLs last on average 8,000 hours. While that’s much better than incandescent bulbs, which lasts about 1,200, it’s no match to LED’s performance. LEDs, on average, last 25,000 hours or even more.

Another advantage of LEDs is that the light they emit is intrinsically direction, which makes them perfect for task lighting. Also, because LEDs don’t get hot, they are a much safer choice for tight spaces, such as closets.

All in all, LEDs are a much better deal than CFLs. If you want bulbs that last you a long time, are safe to use, and help you cut down your electricity bill, install LED lights.

That said, keep in mind that not all LED bulbs are created equal. Some emit a much more balanced light than others.

So how can one identify such bulbs?

The answer is simple. Look at the bulb’s CRI rating. LED bulbs with a CRI90+ rating offer the most balanced light.