LEDs VS Incandescent Bulbs: 10 Hard Facts

March 23, 2017

LEDs VS Incandescent Bulbs: 10 Hard Facts

A few decades back, there is only one single option for any light bulbs. However, that is not the case nowadays, as technology has brought us options.With diverse options,however, often come the following confusions.

In the past recent decade or so, without any doubt, LED has been a major advancement in technology. Not only in the lighting industry, but also for TVs, smartphone, and more recently, wearable devices. LED is so dominating as a technology for clear reasons: it is much more efficient that its predecessors, yet also performs better.

Although it is seemingly clear that LED provides the best of both worlds, many people are still reluctant to replace their old incandescent bulbs, for one reason or the other. Today, once and for all, we will provide the facts that LED lighting is indeed more beneficial in all aspects, bar none.

Let us begin with the number one.


1. Cost of Investment


Although LED price is rapidly decreasing over the years, as much as 9% per year, it is still relatively more expensive than the good old incandescent bulb or CFLs. However, if we dig deeper, LEDs will guarantee cheaper long-term costs, due to the significantly smaller wattage requirement.

As a comparison, a 100-W incandescent bulb will produce the same brightness of a 16-Watt LED bulb, more than one-fifth of required energy.

What does that mean? If your household electricity only powers a single light bulb, you will pay 5 times less electricity bill if that bulb is an LED, instead of an incandescent bulb.

To make the proper calculation, however, we will need to first look at the number 2, which is:


2.Lifetime Expectancy


The lifetime expectancy of an LED lighting can reach more than 25,000 hours of use. Compare that to the average of only 8,000 hours from CFL bulbs, or the meager 1,200 hours of incandescent bulbs.

Therefore, you will -in average- need to replace the incandescent bulb 20 times before the LED bulb broke off. The cost of the LED bulb, however, is only 6 to 8 times that of the incandescent bulb and will be even cheaper with the each passing year.

As promised, let us do a simple calculation of your long-term investment using an LED bulb compared with the incandescent bulb.

LED Incandescent
Cost/Bulb (Assumption) $7  $1
Lifespan on Average 25,000 hours 1,200 hours
Wattage 10W 60W

Total Purchase Price of Bulbs for 25,000 Hours Usage

$7 $20.83

Total Electricity Cost ($0.15/kWh) for 25,000 hours

$37.5 $225

Grand Total

$44.5 $245.83



3.Less Attractive to Insect



Who hates bugs? We can say that most of us will definitely hate mosquitoes. If you still have an incandescent bulb, or if you still remember the old days, you might remember how insects tend to fly around the bulb, attracted to the projected UV lights.

The good news is, LEDs emit very little in the UV spectrum, which made it less attractive to insects and bugs. Besides emitting far fewer UV lights, the next point will also help with the fact:

4. LED Projects Less Heat


LEDs projects very little to no heat from their light source, which also make them far less attractive to insects. The less heat projection also allows LEDs to be more energy efficient, as only 5% of the total energy is converted to heat.

Incandescent bulbs, in comparison, convert almost 95% of their energy usage to heat, and that is why they use more wattage compared to LEDs.


5. Improves Concentration and Attention


As we have discussed in our previous article, incandescent bulbs flicker a lot, even when our eyes cannot catch the rapid light movements. Incandescents also operate using rapid gas movements, which actually made the produced light rapidly moving. Unconsciously, these flickering and movements can disturb our concentration.

LEDs, on the other hand, operate on a very different principle, producing almost static light continuously. Research have proven that using LEDs can definitely increase concentration and productivity in almost all environments.


5. Mercury Free


The incandescent bulb does not use toxic mercury in its operation, unlike CFL bulbs. However, the inefficiency of the energy coil manufacturing used on incandescent bulbs allows them to be exposed to intensive coal burning, which is the largest source of mercury pollution.

LEDs, on the other hand, is very efficient to make, which in turn makes it less exposed to mercury.


7.LEDs Can be Dimmed


Some of the newer LEDs can be dimmed using a relatively cheap dimmer system, while newer smart dimmers can dim almost all LED bulbs with a very simple wiring.

This feature increases the flexibility of LED applications, while can also improve efficiency, as dimmed lights consume significantly less energy.


8. Compatibility to Smart Home Technologies


In the past few years, smart home applications, hub, and technologies are rapidly developed and adopted. However, most of them will only support LED lighting, and not incandescent and CFL bulbs for various reasons.

Nowadays, there are even standalone smart LED bulbs, that can operate through your Wi-Fi network, have its own scheduling, and even change its color palette. LEDs are no doubt, the way to the future, at least until the significant breakthrough in lighting technology.


9.Color Choices

Traditional LEDs provide you with flexible color choices from soft white to warm white to cool white, which cannot be found on incandescent bulbs. As mentioned, you will have even more flexibility regarding colors from newer smart LED bulbs, such as this one.



One of the biggest difference of LED when compared to its predecessors, namely the fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, is that LEDs are strictly directional.

While we can argue that the omnidirectional feature of incandescents and CFLs can be more useful for certain applications -which is true-, the directional nature of LEDs is better suited for most household applications.

Besides, with the flexibility of LEDs in size, we can see that LED can operate just as well in an omnidirectional setting, such as a chandelier lamp.

Bottom Line


With all the benefits of LEDs, it is truly hard to argue that CFLs and incandescent bulbs are alternatives, instead of primitive predecessors. Almost all lighting applications nowadays are better suited with LEDs except very niche applications such as decorative lights and stage uses.

However, with the rapid technological developments of LEDs, we can also expect that those niche applications will be perfected in the near future. With all that being said, if you still have doubts about upgrading to LEDs, there is simply no reason to wait.

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