When it comes to choosing lighting for your home, choosing the right light bulb can be a little confusing. The important part is seeing the big picture; otherwise you could end up kicking yourself later for spending a lot more money in the long run.
To start, there are three main types of light bulbs: incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light-emitting diode (LED).
Incandescent bulbs have been around for a very long time. They’re constructed with a filament that enables electrical current to illuminate within the bulb. While this technology makes them easy and inexpensive to produce (and buy), they don’t last very long because they’re so inefficient.* Typically, the lifespan of an incandescent bulb ranges anywhere from 750 to 1,000 hours, meaning each lasts for about a year depending on how much you use it.
In recent years, engineers have developed the CFL, an alternative that’s more efficient and longer-lasting than the incandescent bulb. Even though they cost more up front, they use less energy and last much longer then the incandescent, making them an excellent investment. A CFL can last as many as 10,000 hours.
LED lights were first created in the 1960s, and since then, have slowly become a serious competitor on the lighting market. LEDs are made without a filament like the incandescent, or a gas-filled tube like the compact fluorescent bulb. They are extremely durable, long lasting, and don’t release harmful wastes when they’re disposed. And they’re the most efficient bulb out there: LEDs use only a minute portion of the energy other bulbs use. For example, it only takes an LED 1.5 watts of power to create the same amount of light that a 40-watt incandescent bulb produces. This means they last much, much longer than other bulbs—upwards of 100,000 hours.
Need more help deciding on a bulb? Find the right energy-efficient light bulbs with the Right Light guide.
*The heat coming off of that incandescent? That’s wasted energy.
Rob Lobitz writes for ledlightsgallery.com and plays an active role in promoting renewable energy.