CFLs vs. LEDs: How Are They Different?

Mar 17, 14 CFLs vs. LEDs: How Are They Different?

Now that household incandescent bulbs are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past due to government efficiency standards, many people are being pointed in the direction of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs as replacements. But you may not know what makes these two incandescent alternatives different from one another, beyond their appearance and pricing. When it comes to CFLs and LEDs, there have a lot more differences than what meets the eye.

Energy Efficiency: While both CFLs and LEDs fall well within the government guidelines of light bulb efficiency, they are not on a level playing field in terms of energy consumption. While a 60-watt equal CFL typically consumes about 13 watts of energy, a 60-watt equal LED will only consume about 8.5 watts. LEDs also produce more lumens per watt than CFLs. Even though they both conserve a considerable amount of energy compared to incandescents, this discrepancy in energy savings, among many other things, is why LEDs are being praised as the ultimate in efficient lighting.

Mercury: As you may already know, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury whereas LEDs do not. This mercury doesn’t necessarily make CFLs more dangerous, considering you’d be able to find more of it in a tuna sandwich, but it does mean you should exercise caution if one breaks. Here’s what to do if you break a CFL bulb.

Life Hours: If you’re trying to make the choice between CFLs and LEDs, you should know the typical life expectancy of each. Bulbs with long rated lives are less likely to need frequent replacement and will drastically reduce maintenance costs. Incandescent bulbs are known to have a short life expectancy of around 1,000 hours. Even though CFLs can last anywhere between 6,000 and 20,000 hours, LEDs are capable of lasting up to 50,000 hours.

ledtracklighting1000bulbsLight Directionality: LEDs and CFLs are made to emit light in very different ways. While CFLs are omnidirectional, meaning they emit light in all directions, LEDs emit light in one general direction. The directional beam of an LED can be ideal for applications where focused lighting is needed, such as track or display lighting. However, LEDs can be made omnidirectional using lenses like on standard A19 LEDs.

Durability: We all know that incandescent bulbs have a very fragile filament that is prone to breakage if the bulb isn’t handled with care. CFLs and LEDs don’t use a standard filament, but still vary in their ability to withstand certain conditions, like areas that experience frequent vibrations or jolting. CFLs are considered to be more fragile than LED lighting because very strong vibrations can weaken the electrodes that the lamp uses to produce light. Also, CFLs are mostly constructed of glass and are much more likely to be easily damaged. LEDs are a lot tougher and can withstand rough handling.

Temperature Compatibility: Before making the choice between CFL and LED, you should also think about the temperature of the area in which you are planning to use them. If you’re looking for a light that will do well in cold temperatures, LEDs are the way to go. Conversely, CFLs don’t operate well in freezing temps but do much better in moderate to hot conditions.

On/Off Frequency: CFLs and LEDs also have different reactions to being frequently turned on and off. If you constantly turn a CFL on and off, its rated life is very likely to decrease. However, the rated lives of LEDs aren’t affected by frequent on and off cycling.

Heat Emission: All light sources emit some kind of heat – even LEDs. But the amount of heat CFLs and LEDs produce is drastically different.  In LEDs heat is generated in the rear of the lamp where heat sinks minimize its production. Whereas LEDs don’t produce Infrared (IR) or Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, CFLs produce both and can become very hot to the touch if left on for an extended period of time.

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer

Dimming Capabilities: If you like having the ability to customize your lighting scheme, you’ll want to think about the dimming capabilities of your lights. CFLs and LEDs are more difficult to dim than incandescent bulbs due to the lack of a filament that generates light. Even though dimmable CFLs and LEDs do exist, they both need specialized dimmer switches in order for them to dim properly. In terms of which lights are easier to control on dimmers, LEDs beat out CFLs by a nose.

Start Times: As we’ve already discussed, LEDs and CFLs create light in very different ways. Their difference in technology is why one takes longer to produce visible light than the other. Even though CFLs are technically instant-on, they have to go through a few steps before the light it produces can become visible, usually taking around 60 seconds to reach full brightness. Some LEDs have a minuscule delay of about 1 second, but there is no delay in reaching full brightness and may be a better choice if you’ve gotten used to the instant-on of incandescent bulbs.

Did we miss anything? Do you have any more questions about energy-efficient lighting options? Let us know in the comments or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

read more Honored by Dallas 100 Award from SMU Cox School of Business

Visit for your lighting needs!


For the seventh consecutive year, internet lighting retailer has been honored by the Dallas 100™ Awards, placing 44th amongst 100 of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the Dallas area for the year 2013. Co-founded in 1990 by the SMU Cox School of Business and the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Dallas 100 Awards are now in their twenty-third year of recognizing the growth of independent companies and the entrepreneurs behind them.

In order to qualify for the Dallas 100, a company must meet criteria based on a number of factors such as legal status, location, sales history, credit report, and character. The guidelines for this year’s awards are as follows:

  •     Are independent, privately held corporations, proprietorships or partnerships (not subsidiaries or divisions of a parent company) as of May 1, 2013. Must have at least 3 years history and not be a non-profit organization,
  •     Be headquartered in the Dallas Metroplex area,
  •     Have sales of more than $500,000, but less than $75 million in fiscal year 2010,
  •     Have a three-year sales history which reflects growth during the three-year sales period, and
  •     Have a credit report and character satisfactory to the Dallas 100, determined at the sole discretion of the Dallas 100.

Founded in 1995 as Service Lighting and Electrical Supplies by CEO Kim Pedersen, now has one of the largest selections of lighting products in the country. Having recently expanded to include home décor lighting, designer furniture, antique model replicas, automotive lighting, and hydroponic supplies, now has over 30,000 products on its website. “We’ve come a long ways, but have much further to go,” says Pedersen. “We’re consistently striving for the best experience for our customers and not resting on just being a good retailer.”

Since first being recognized by the Dallas 100 Awards in 2007, has increased its annual sales by 83 percent, continuing to establish itself as an influential force in the retail lighting industry. Now employing over 200 workers, occupies more than 220,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Garland, Texas.


1000Bulbs offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

Paul Coppage
972-288-2277 Ext: 277

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Do Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Save Money?

Oct 18, 13 Do Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Save Money?

Let’s face it. As lighting efficacy standards continue to change, traditional incandescent bulbs are struggling to keep up. While incandescent bulbs themselves are not being outlawed, they are being made to abide by the guidelines of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. This congressional mandate states that light bulbs now need to use 25 percent less energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. households could save nearly $6 billion on energy costs in the year 2015 by following these standards alone. In this post, we’ll show you why making the switch to energy-efficient lighting is worth considering and how it can save you money!

LEDs and CFLs

For over a century, incandescent light bulbs have been the go-to lighting source for household fixtures. Their inexpensive price tag and classic shape have made many people hesitant to give unfamiliar bulbs like LEDs (light emitting diodes) and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) a try. However, these bulb types not only meet EISA requirements, but will produce the same amount of lumens (brightness) for less wattage and, therefore, consume less electricity.

70029_82f0a5df4033ee08c7e03b44e1a2ddfcf13f76e7_original_x_323_1343290679CFLs are simply smaller versions of the fluorescent tubes you see in businesses and warehouses. Typically, a CFL uses about one-fourth of the wattage of a comparable incandescent and uses 85 percent less energy to illuminate itself. CFLs can also last up to ten times longer than a standard incandescent with a 1,000 hour lifespan. Some of you may be put off by using this twisty light in fixtures with an exposed bulb, but don’t worry! CFLs now come in a variety of shapes, including the classic A-shape of an incandescent.

71684_f983c86562f4a7f46d6fbc109c58920dce0443c1_original_x_323_1344124206LED bulbs are becoming increasingly popular for their low energy use in everything from residential lighting applications to street lighting.  These lamps not only use up to 85 percent less energy, but can last anywhere from 25 to 30 years because they have no filament to burn out. Although current LEDs on the market tend to be on the pricey side, they will eventually make up for their initial cost in annual energy savings.

“How Much Money Will I Save?”

So, how much money can you save by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs? It all depends on how much your utility company charges you per Kilowatt hour (kWh) and the wattage of your bulbs. By following a simple formula, you can compare what your current bulbs and energy-saving alternatives would cost you annually.

Let’s say you have 40 light bulb sockets in your home all using 60-watt incandescent light bulbs. Let’s also assume that you use 2,000 hours of electricity from these fixtures annually and that your utility company charges you $0.11 per Kilowatt hour.

40 (Number of Bulbs) x 60 (Wattage of Bulbs) = 2400 Watts (Total Wattage)

2400 (Total Wattage) / 1000 = 2.4 Kilowatts

2.4 (Kilowatts) x 2000 (Hours of Usage Annually) = 4800 Kilowatt/Hr

4800 (Kilowatt/Hr) x $0.11 (Cost of Energy per kWh) = $528.00 per year

Now, let’s say you are planning to switch your original bulbs out with 14-watt CFL bulbs that are 60-watt incandescent equivalents. Using the same information, such as the hours of usage and the amount you are charged per Kilowatt hour, it would look something like this:

40 (Number of Bulbs) x 14 (Wattage of Bulbs) = 560 Watts

560 (Total Wattage) / 1000 = 0.56 Kilowatts

0.56 (Kilowatts) x 2000 (Hours of Usage Annually) = 1120 Kilowatt/Hr

1120 (Kilowatt/Hr) x $0.11 (Cost of Energy per kWh) = $123.20 per year

As you can see, the annual cost of running incandescent bulbs ($528) compared to an energy-efficient alternative ($123.20) can be substantial. Also, because incandescent bulbs have a much shorter life than CFLs and LEDs, replacing them will only add to your annual energy costs. While replacing all of your incandescent bulbs with these energy-savers might cost you more initially, the amount of money you save on your energy bills over time will more than make up the difference!


If you have any questions about our selection of energy-efficient lighting, leave us a comment or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

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Lighting Law: Chrome Yellow Paint vs. LED Bulbs

Portrait of Gauguin

Portrait of Gauguin

The plaintiff, 125-year old chrome yellow paint, claims the defendant, 90-year old LED lighting, is darkening its bright, beautiful color. The discovery was first announced in November of 2012 when a team of scientists ran some tests using LED lighting against chrome yellow paint, specifically from Van Gogh’s work, Portrait of Gauguin. As Post-Impressionist works are featured in museums today, they need to be featured in a light that enhances their best attributes. Essentially, LEDs are best way to enhance the color and the focal points of the pieces; they do not contain infrared or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, could it be possible they are damaging works of art from some of the great masters?

The Plaintiff: Chrome Yellow Paint

To Post-Impressionist artists, like Vincent Van Gogh, color was an important feature in their art. They believed in contrast, making bright colors pop while enhancing the subtlety of dark colors. The chrome pigment, at that time, was popular as it created bold, bright colors. Discovered in 1797, chrome yellow pigment came from the mineral crocoite, lead chromate. It was used in the 1800s, but on a strict basis; the pigment would oxidize and darken over a period of time after being exposed to air. Naturally, the fact that the paint contained lead did not allow for a great reception either, leading to its early demise.

The Defendant: LED Bulbs

We praise LED bulbs; they are efficient, economical, and most of all, safe. They are frequently used in art museums, as the crisp, white light allows colors to pop. LEDs do not emit harmful UV rays, eliminating the risk of color degradation, nor do they emit heat from infrared radiation, removing the possibility of damage; nevertheless, it appears the bulbs seem to be slowly dulling the chrome yellow in these works.

The Surprise Confession: Xenon Bulbs

Breaking news in the courtroom! Upon further investigation, it has come to light that xenon bulbs were the culprit of this heinous crime; xenon bulbs do create heat as well as emit UV rays. While they make for bright, white light, these characteristics of xenon bulbs are not a pleasant companion for the chrome yellow paint featured in Post-Impressionist paintings. These traits do, in fact, speed up the oxidation process of the paint, thus causing the discoloration of the paintings. While some xenon bulbs have UV protection, a small amount of UV rays will still pass through.

Case Dismissed

While LED bulbs caught a bad rap for a short time, they escaped the guillotine of the lighting world. These green, energy efficient bulbs will continue to light the way for our world and our museums. Unfortunately, chrome yellow paint is destined to continue to oxidize, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the beauty of in these masterpieces. Imagine how beautiful and bright it was when it was first used.

Comments or questions about LED lighting in a gallery? Let us know! Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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