By Joey Papa on August 02, 2010

Whether you choose CFL or LED light bulbs, one thing is clear: These green alternatives are better than traditional bulbs.

The CFL-LED ComparisonA light bulb revolution has taken the world by storm over the last decade. Once CFLs were produced and sold for consumers, people everywhere started replacing their now old-fashioned light bulbs with new futuristic-looking twisted bulbs. People thought this was it — the way of the future — but then there rose a competitor: LED lighting.

LEDs appeared to be more efficient and last 10 times longer than CFLs. LEDs were great news for green enthusiasts, but may have confused the light bulb reformation for the general public. If you’re like me, you have always wondered the difference between the two and wondered which one is really the most efficient.

To examine the CFL-LED comparison, start with the production of each bulb. Both bulbs take very little to manufacture. The light bulb’s purpose takes up 98% of its life, leaving only 2% of the light bulb’s life in manufacturing. Studies performed found that CFLs require a little more in the manufacturing process, but not enough to conclude that LEDs have a more efficient manufacturing process.

One aspect that gives LEDs a one-up is that they do not contain mercury like CFLs do. This affects the disposal process. CFLs need to be recycled with care in order to remove the mercury. LEDs are considered less hazardous when it comes to disposal and LEDs are constantly improving their manufacturing and production processes.

LEDs on average last up to 60,000 hours, compared to CFLs, which last up to 6,000 hours. When priced out, each type of bulb is about the same, so take into consideration the amount of light one receives for the price. The same is true for energy efficiency. When tested, both bulbs use about the same amount of energy to operate. LEDs tend to give off a bluish-white light that is very bright and directed, while CFLs are better at filling a room like a traditional light bulb and give off a yellowish-white light.

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient bulb that won’t cost you too much, CFLs are the best option for you. If money is not a concern, a LED bulb would be the best investment to make. This conclusion is based on the fact that LEDs could be considered more eco-friendly because of their disposability. The life cycle of LEDs is greener than CFLs, so they make a better choice.

The bottom line is that both CFLs and LEDs are a much better choice than using traditional bulbs that use a lot more time in manufacturing, more energy and don’t last as long as either of the greener bulbs. The next time your traditional bulb burns out, consider replacing it with either a CFL or LED.

About the author

Joey Papa is a freelance writer in Tampa, FL, where he lives with his wife and son and daughter. Writing is more than a job for Joey; it's a way to express his passion and convictions through the written word.

His favorite subjects to write about are health and wellness, travel and creative writing.

Learn more about Joey Papa


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