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LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

Find out which of all the different types of light bulbs is best for you

For years people have only had one style of light bulb, the incandescent. Then CFL (Compact Flourescant Light) bulbs came onto the scene, introducing a cheaper, more efficient option. Compared to CFLs and Incandescent lights, LEDs are fairly new, and until recently they have been dim and expensive. In the past 5 years or so numerous manufacturers of LED light bulbs have struggled to make a bulb that performs just as well as the good old fashioned incandescent lights while still preserving all of the traits that make LED lights so desireable: low energy usage, low heat emission, and low impact on the environment when discarded. Sewell has now come out with an LED light bulb that uses only 10W but whose brightness matches that of a 75W traditional incandescent light, or that of a 15W CFL.

Incandescent vs CFL vs LED Infographic

Test 1: Heat

Heat is a big factor for many, especially purchasers of large amounts of bulbs for large scale installations because fire hazard is a figure that influences what an entity is willing to spend to light their facilities. Home users in a sense should also consider this factor just as seriously no matter what their scale of installation. And not just for fire hazards. Incandescent and CFL bulbs get so hot because most of their energy is being released as heat, not light, making them much more ineffeicient. Proprietary tests show 100W incandescent lights burning at 335.4 F, CFL lights burning at 179.2 F and LED bulbs burning at 87.2 F.

Test 2: Brightness and Efficacy

Obviously, the first factor that comes to mind when we think of a bulb's performance is brightness, and this can be measured in lumens (lm). A 75W traditional incandescent light will output 900-1000 lumens, a 13W CFL light will ouput roughly 800 lumens, while the Saffron 10W LED Light will output around 850 lumens. Taking a look at efficacy, which is simply found by dividing the lumen output by the wattage necessary to power the bulb, the incandescent outputs 14 lm/W while the CFL can handle roughtly 65 lm/W and the LED bulb achieved 85 lm/W. This equates to costing roughly $3.70 a year if you operate the bulb 8 hours a day for 365 days (based on $.10 per kilowatt hour).

LED light vs CFL vs incandescent
The visual comparison above shows how well LED lights
compare with other light sources

Test 3: Average Life

LEDs are well-known for their life expectancy burning for over 50,000 hours in most cases, but theoretically they burn much longer. This is compared to the 8000 hours that CFLs last and 750 hours for typical incandescent lights. This life span is the other main money saver besides a lower power bill, especially if you consider the 67 incandescent bulbs you'll have to replace before you replace an Evolux. Many larger scale commercial scenarios are switching to LED simply because of the enormous cost of changing so many bulbs every year.

Test 4: Environmental Impact

Flourescent lights present a different problem that can be costly to your wallet as well as the environment: disposal. CFLs are not to be disposed of like your typical incandescent or LED light because they contain mercury which seeps into the Earth's soil and water supply when finally dumped in a landfill. Flourescent lights also emit greenhouse gases when in use and when discarded. LED lights and incandescent lights are both safe to discard normally. Many materials in LED lights can actually be recycled, which you won't have to do very much anyway because they last so long.


While the initial cost of buying LED’s is higher than other bulbs, they are becoming very affordable. Because LED bulbs are so much more efficient, and contain no toxic materials, it won’t be long until these bulbs replace other bulbs as the standard means of lighting homes and businesses alike. The US Department of Energy has already invested with industry partners to research and promote LED lighting across America. They have stated that the efficacy of LED light sourceshas already surpassed all other forms of lighting and they continue to improve.

If you are still skeptical about LEDs, try one out for yourself and you’ll see the difference. Not only will you be helping keep our air and landfills a little bit cleaner, you will also begin to see more and more savings in the long run.

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