The Difference Between LED, Incandescent and CFL Light Bulbs

Posted by Drew Kalinski on

LED Lighting


An incandescent light bulb works by heating a wire filament heated to a high temperature by passing an electric current through it, until the filament glows with visible light. This means that the bulb is primarily powered by heat, rather than actually creating light. In fact, as the bulb continues to operate, the filament slowly evaporates due to the heat, until it eventually breaks down completely and the bulb needs to be replaced. 


A compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) is a standard fluorescent light bulb that has been compressed into the size of a standard-issue incandescent light bulb. A CFL Light Bulb uses a low pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge that uses fluorescence to produce visible light: an electric current in the gas excites mercury vapor which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow. As a result, most CFL bulbs shine with a more white light than other bulb types.


Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) produce light when voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors, causing electrons to combine and create a unit of light. This effect is called electroluminescence, which unlike incandescent bulbs create light directly without too much heat. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster power time.

Interesting Facts about LED

  • LEDs use about 75% less energy than a typical incandescent bulb
  • LEDs contain no mercury, and have a much smaller environmental impact compared to CFL bulbs
  • LED Light lasts up to 50 times longer than the conventional halogen light bulb and 10 times longer than a CFL light bulb
  • LED Lights are instant on so they do not require any warm up time compared to other light bulbs
  • LEDs don’t give off heat making it cooler to operate and may even lower your A/C Bill.
  • Switching to LEDs can reduce electrical and maintenance costs of a commercial building by up to 30%
  • An incandescent lamp converts about 10% of the energy fed to it into light, whereas LEDs convert nearly 100of the energy they consume as light. LED lights are way more cost effective than the traditional incandescent.
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