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LED vs Fluorescent Lighting

LED vs Fluorescent Lighting

Lighting in someone’s home or workspace is important. It of course helps us to see, but it also sets the atmosphere and ambiance of our most beloved spaces. In some career fields, lighting also plays a major role. For example, soft and low lighting is best for therapist’s office because it creates a calming effect, whish is of great benefit for the client. Often, lighting is a personal preference – bright white or soft yellow; each has a different effect on a room. There’s also cost and energy efficiency to consider when choosing a lightbulb.

So, of the two most popular types of lightbulbs – LED and fluorescent – which is best for you and your needs? Here’s our quick guide to the two to help you make your decision.

LED Lighting

The LED light (which stands for “light emitting diode”) is among the more popular lighting choices these days, but why? What are the pros, and are there any cons?

LED pros include:

  • Longer Lasting. On average, each LED lightbulb has an average lifespan of 25,000 hours.
  • Environmentally Friendly and Energy Efficient. The LED bulb is not made with any hazardous materials, unlike the fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury. These bulbs are also an estimated 80% cheaper than other bulbs, using the majority of their power to put off light rather than heat.

LED cons include:

  • Higher Initial Cost. The initial cost of an LED lightbulb is significantly more than a fluorescent light, but due to the long life of a bulb, you do end up saving over time.
  • Not Always Dimmable. Unlike fluorescents, dimming doesn’t always work with LEDs, and if a dimmer switch is already in place, it may not work if an LED is used in place of a former fluorescent bulb.

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lighting (also referred to as a CFL, or “compact fluorescent light”) is another popular choice of lighting, and

Fluorescent pros include:

  • Familiar. Whether white or yellow, CFLs typically put out a softer light that most people are already used to and comfortable with (as a result of the formerly popular but no longer available incandescent lightbulbs), as opposed to the sometimes harsh or “too bright” lighting of an LED. This makes it a preferred choice for many bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Less Expensive Up Front. The initial cost of a fluorescent lightbulb is much less than that of an LED. So even though the long-term cost may end up being more than an LED, it’s a good choice for someone who may need a new lightbulb immediately but is on a strict budget.

Fluorescent cons include:

  • Shorter Lifespan. On average, a fluorescent light lasts up to 8,000 hours – significantly less than the LED’s 25,000 hour lifespan.
  • Mercury. These bulbs do contain small amounts of mercury, and if broken, can pose a health risk. They need to be disposed of properly; in fact, the EPA has specific instructions for how to do this, which include things like airing out the room for 5-10 minutes, shutting off the heat or air conditioning, not using a vacuum, and even checking with your local government on disposal requirements! 

This is not an exhaustive list of pros and cons for either of these products. Different individuals, families, and businesses have their preferences, and each lightbulb has their place, so to speak. In fact, try mixing the two bulbs throughout your home to decide which you prefer, or even if you like each bulb for different rooms. Of course, the choice is ultimately up to you, and hopefully this quick guide has helped to make your decision just a bit easier.