CFL Fluorescent and LED Light Bulb isolated on white background

CFL vs LED Lights

You may have noticed on your trips to the grocery store that the traditional incandescent light bulb has been phased out and is now a thing of the past. Unless you stockpiled a bunch, you now have to make a choice of what kind of lightbulbs you want to use.

The good news is that the two main choices—CFL and LED—are much more energy-efficient than the old bulbs and generally last much longer. Lighting the home takes up about a quarter of the typical home electric bill, so right off the bat these new bulbs should have an immediate impact.

At the same time, however, they are more expensive than the old bulbs and provide a slightly different type of light.

A CFL bulb is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp. Some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.

Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer (via

An LED lamp is a light-emitting diode product that is assembled into a lamp (or light bulb) for use in lighting fixtures. LED lamps have a lifespan and electrical efficiency that is several times better than incandescent lamps, and significantly better than most fluorescent lamps (via

The technology is a little more complicated since LED lights do not shine light in all directions like incandescent and CFL bulbs, but they are being engineered into bulbs for regular light sources.

Of course, the first test any homeowner might make is cost. CFL bulbs are generally less expensive than LED lights at the checkout counter, but there are other factors to consider such as energy use and how long the bulb will last. Buying a more expensive bulb that lasts for decades could ultimately save you a lot of money in the long run.

Here’s a comparison of the two types of bulbs compiled by

LED Advantages and Disadvantages

While you will end up paying more for an LED light bulb, they last significantly longer than the old incandescent bulbs. Typically, an LED light will last about 50,000 hours, which is 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb. And with more and more manufacturers making LED lights, cost is slowly decreasing. No adaptor is needed for LED lights.

CFL Advantages and Disadvantages

CFL, or compact fluorescent, is just that… a smaller version of the standard fluorescent light bulb. Much like the LED lights, they don’t need an adaptor to fit in a light socket and the light shining from them looks pretty much like that we’re used to.

The downside to CFL bulbs is that they contain mercury. This element is considered dangerous, so if a bulb breaks, a speedy and thorough clean-up is a must. You can’t just throw the bulb away in the trash either. If you have a broken bulb, you’ll need to call either your local garbage service or your municipal government to find a way to safely get rid of it.


What you decide to use to light up your home and business it up to you.  Are you thinking about a new lighting project and not sure where to start? Give us a call at 856.769.3932.

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