Light Bulb Buyers Guide - LED vs CFL vs Halogen

by Selina Luo
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Light Bulb Buyers Guide - LED vs CFL vs Halogen

For several decades, the tried and true lighting method in homes was lit candles, chandeliers, and roaring fireplaces. Luckily, the light bulb was invented and people could bring light into their homes that didn’t require wick and wax.

When it’s time to replace the light bulbs in your home, you have a choice to make. You could choose LED, haloge or CFL.

LED bulbs have higher upfront costs, but they can save money in the long run. Halogen and CFL bulbs are cheaper but less efficient.

Let us help you make your choice.





LEDs are light sources that become illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor material.An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light. To prevent performance issues, the heat LEDs produce is absorbed into a heat sink.

LEDs have come to prominence in the market, and the potential for more is at hand.


Small in size, LEDs provide unique design opportunities. Some LED bulb solutions may physically resemble familiar light bulbs and better match the appearance of traditional light bulbs. Some LED light fixtures may have LEDs built in as a permanent light source.


LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.


Easily the most significant advantage of LEDs when compared to traditional lighting solutions is the long lifespan. The average LED lasts 50,000 operating hours to 100,000 operating hours or more. That is 2-4 times as long as most fluorescent, metal halide, and even sodium vapor lights. It is more than 40 times as long as the average incandescent bulb.






Halogen light is environmentally friendly and stands out for its brilliance. It creates rich contrasts and lights spaces with a clean, bright ambiance.A quartz envelope is used instead of glass because of its ability to handle higher temperatures.


Halogen bulbs have a tungsten filament just like incandescent bulbs, but halogen bulbs also are filled with halogen gas.


They last approximately 3,600 hours—three times longer than incandescent bulbs—but are not as efficient as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LED bulbs.

Because they operate at higher temperatures, halogen bulbs have higher color temperatures and produce brighter light than incandescent bulbs. The bulb has an outer envelope made of quartz instead of glass. The quartz handles the increased heat better.


You’ll find that halogen bulbs come in wide variety of shapes and sizes. They’re most commonly used as spotlights and floodlights.

Display lighting where users want to spotlight merchandise or outdoor applications where bright light is needed; office lamps.





CFLs contain mercury gas that produces invisible ultraviolet (UV) light when the gas is excited by electricity. When the UV light contacts the white coating inside the bulb, it becomes visible light.


This entire process typically takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete, which is why CFLs take longer than other lights to become fully lit. Some operate off of a delayed start and can take up to three minutes to reach full light output. CFLs with decorative covers like globe or reflector shapes have a unique design challenge that results in the tradeoff of a slower warm up time, which is why these CFLs take longer than bare spirals to reach full brightness.


 Over time, your CFL bulb will dim. After about 4,000 hours, you’ll lose 20-25% of the bulb’s lumens. This is about halfway through a CFL’s 10,000-hour lifespan.


Anywhere lighting is left on for extended periods of time and where full brightness is not immediately necessary, such as in offices or common areas.


LED and CFL as technologies do not have a difference in brightness intrinsically. Brightness is determined by lumens. Lumens is best described as the measurement of light. A single CFL and LED bulb might have the same lumen (brightness) output but vary greatly in the amount energy needed to generate that level of brightness.


The chart below illustrates the amount of brightness in lumens you can expect from different wattages of light bulbs. LED bulbs require much less wattage than CFL or Incandescent light bulbs, which is why LEDs are more energy-efficient and longer lasting than their competitors.

by Selina Luo


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