CFL, LED, incandescent… what’s the difference between all of these types of light bulbs? And what works best for your home? In short, the most energy-efficient options are Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. They emit the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but have lower wattage, so they use less energy.
While using less energy is the goal for many people, each type of bulb has unique characteristics. To learn more about each type, read on.
Compact Fluorescent (CFL)
CFLs can save you up to 75% on your energy costs, last up to 9 years, and are less expensive than LEDs. They do contain a small amount of mercury, but that is not a concern unless they break, in which case the mess needs to be cleaned up thoroughly and should not cause worry.
Some CFLs are for outdoor use — just check the packaging. CFLs are not recommended for workshop-type areas of the house because they might not hold up to the stress of power surges. Last but not least, if your outlet is wired for a dimmer, you must buy a CFL rated specifically for that, otherwise it can be a fire hazard.
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
LEDs can save you up to 80% on your energy costs, last up 20 year or more, and are more expensive than CFLs. They do not contain mercury.
Some LEDs are also for outdoor use. LEDs can help you save on air conditioning because they do not contribute to heat buildup.
Some companies are phasing out CFLs and planning on going to LEDs.
Standard 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out. Specialty incandescent bulbs, such as chandelier bulbs, will still be available. Incandescent bulbs only last about 1 year. They do not contain mercury.
Other types of bulbs include halogen bulbs, HID bulbs, and fluorescent bulbs.
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