In order to be able to compare LED bulbs and CFL lights, you need to understand that lumens tell you how bright a bulb is, regardless of the bulb type. People mistake lumens for watts, but the more lumens, the brighter the bulb will be. Here you will find a objective and unbiased comparison between CFL vs. LED lights, a comparison that includes their benefits, power and main features.
CFL Vs. LED Lights: Main Differences
One of the biggest and most notable differences between LEDs and CFLs is in terms of lifespan: while the light emitting diodes can last for over 50,000 hours, the compact fluorescent lights have an average lifespan of about 8,000 hours. In addition to this, the average life of CFLs is reduced even more if used in applications where the light is switched on and off on a constant basis. On the other hand, the annual operating costs are also different: the average annual operating cost for compact fluorescent lights is around $80, while for LEDs is approximately $32, which means that LEDs are two times more affordable than CFLs. This is possible because CFLs use two times more kilo-watts of electricity compared to LED lights.
The number of watts and lumens is also different: LEDs use considerably less watts per unit of light generated (between 6 and 8 watts), and this helps reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from various power plants, as well as lowering the electric bills. On the other hand, compact fluorescent lights use between 13 and 15 watts of electricity, which is approximately two times more than LEDs. Moreover, CFLs also use mercury (between 1 and 5 mg of mercury per bulb) which has a serious impact on the surrounding environment, while light emitting diodes do not contain mercury traces.
There are other notable differences between these two types of bulbs: for instance, CFLs require some time to warm up, while LEDs turn on instantly. In addition to this, LED bulbs are not sensitive to low temperatures or humidity and their special, durable casing is designed to last in the long run. CFL bulbs, on the other hand, are made from glass and this makes them very vulnerable over the years, not to mention the mercury content that can pose a serious health threat. LEDs are solid due to the fact that they do not have a filament, therefore they hold up very well to bumping and even jarring.
Light emitting diodes and compact fluorescent lights also vary in terms of flexibility and versatility: Due to the very low energy requirements for LEDs, they are not only more less expensive but they are also more compact and easy to transport than CFLs – as a matter of fact, this is why using solar panels has become a lot more practical than having an electric line. Besides, they can also be used for camping and backup power in emergencies, as LED light bulbs are perfect for use with small and compact portable generators. However, CFLs are not as suitable because they are very fragile (giving the glass encasing) and they also consume more energy.
Last, but certainly not least, the amount of heat emitted is another aspect that makes the difference between these two types of bulbs: light emitting diodes emit around 3 btu per hour while compact fluorescent lights emit ten times more heat.
Perhaps one of the most important similarities between LEDs and CFLs is that both types of light bulbs have an expensive price tag, although the home owner will get positive return on investment within the next year. Both LEDs and CFLs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Both types of bulbs are safe to use indoors and outdoors, although compact fluorescent lights must be properly protected against environmental factors which can not only shorten their lifespan, but also reduce the light levels (unlike LEDs, CFLs do not function properly in temperatures lower than -10 degrees Celsius).
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, both LED lights and CFL lights have their advantages and disadvantages, but LED lights are considered superior to compact fluorescent lights due to their versatility, cost-effectiveness and the low gas emissions that have a less harmful impact on the surrounding environment, unlike CFLs which must be carefully disposed of after breaking.