As more and more households make the switch from incandescent or energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to LED, one question that always comes up is the light bulb running costs of these different light bulb options. And why shouldn’t it? Some light bulbs might cost more upfront, but if they’re cheaper in the long term, then you’re on for a winner.
What is the difference between LED and Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs?
The biggest difference between LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs is how they generate light. LED light bulbs rely on an electrical current to produce light, whereas CFL bulbs generate ultraviolet light and heat, that becomes visible light once it connects with the phosphor interior of the bulb. This process in energy-saving CFL bulbs can take a few minutes – which is why energy saving CFL bulbs have a “warming up period”.
Aside from technology, LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs differ in a number of other ways. To begin with, the average lifespan of an LED bulb is significantly longer than that of a CFL equivalent, with LED bulbs providing as much as 50,000 hours of light in comparison to the maximum of 8,000 hours that is provided by an energy-saving CFL alternative. In addition, LED lamps also give off very little heat when compared to CFL bulbs, which can emit up to 80% of their energy usage as heat.
Today, there are a huge variety of different types of LED light bulb available from a wide range of manufacturers. The Electrical Counter offers a huge selection of LED light bulbs from market-leading manufacturers such as Aurora, BG Luceco and Integral LED.
LED and energy-saving compact fluorescent lights can be used for different purposes. CFL light bulbs usually provide a widespread light that is ideal for use in offices, schools and shops, but would not be as suitable for directional light, such as downlighting or reading lights. LED light bulbs, however, are available in a wide range of types, sizes and beam angles meaning there is an LED lamp for just about any situation. Common LED light bulbs include narrow beam spotlights, wide beam classic style bulbs or more decorative candle light bulbs.
Are LED lights cheaper to run than energy saving CFL bulbs?
Long story short – yes.
When shopping for any light bulb or working out whether or not to upgrade to a newer technology, it is worth considering that the upfront purchase price of a light bulb isn’t the final cost, and that the cheapest upfront light bulb isn’t necessarily going to be the cheapest to run long-term.
It is worth considering the lifespan, efficiency, and energy usage of each light bulb option when working out which bulb is the best option for you. As an example, an LED light bulb might cost more upfront, but because the lifespan is so much longer, you are likely to buy fewer over time.
Light Bulb Types
As a comparison, here are some average figures for different types of light bulbs, based on the average household using lights for 2 hours a day, and an average of 45 bulbs per house.
LED light bulbs use an average of 15W of power, costing around £0.002 per hour to run. These light bulbs have an average lifespan of 50,000 hours and cost around £5.00 to purchase, giving an average cost per year of £58.40.
Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) use around 20W of power, costing around £0.03 per hour to run. This type of light bulb has an average purchase price of £2.00, but only has an 8,000-hour lifespan. This gives a CFL bulb an average annual cost of £80.30.
Halogen light bulbs are another common option, however, these have an average energy usage of 70W, costing around £0.008 per hour to run. These bulbs cost around £1 to buy, however, they only have a lifespan of 2,000 hours on average, giving them an annual cost of £277.40.
Like halogen, incandescent bulbs have an average estimated lifespan of 2,000 hours. These bulbs use 100W of power and an average hourly cost of £0.012. Halogen bulbs cost an average of £1 each, however, the lifespan and wattage give them an estimated annual running cost of £394.20.
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