LED vs. Incandescent Bulbs: Do they really make a difference?

Since their invention, incandescent bulbs have been the norm for electric lighting. However, with electricity costs increasing throughout the United States, the competition for this basic product has peaked, leading to the gradual replacement of incandescent bulbs with a new generation of energy-efficient light bulbs.

Let us explore the differences between LED vs. incandescent bulbs. Continue reading for additional information on energy-efficient lighting.

Types of energy-efficient lightbulbs

There are several options for energy-efficient lightbulbs, and choosing the appropriate one depends on your lighting requirements and budget. Remember that the cost of energy-efficient lightbulbs has significantly decreased over the past ten years due to advancements and the increase in production capacities.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps – also referred to as CFLs, compact fluorescent lamps were one of the earliest energy-efficient lightbulbs available in the market, and they consume approximately 75 percent less energy than a typical incandescent bulb while also lasting up to fifteen times longer. These bulbs consist of a tube that contains inert argon gas and a small amount of mercury vapor. When the bulb is powered, the gases become excited and generate ultraviolet light, which activates a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube, giving visible light. CFLs are available in different forms and are somewhat more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but the energy saved may help offset some of the initial difference in cost.

Light-Emitting Diode Bulbs – Similar to CFLs, LED or light-emitting diode bulbs also consume about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. However, they surpass CFLs in terms of lifespan, as an LED bulb can last over twenty-five times longer than a standard incandescent. In infrequently used settings, LED bulbs can last for more than a decade. Over the last five decades, these bulbs have developed rapidly. They produce light by exciting electrons that pass through a semiconductor material, generating photons. These bulbs are incredibly efficient and durable, but they may be more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs. Nevertheless, they compensate for the increased cost over time. In fact, if LED bulbs were more widely used, the energy savings could amount to over $30 billion in the United States within the next decade.

Halogen Incandescent Lightbulbs – Halogen incandescent bulbs are an upgraded variant of incandescent bulbs. These bulbs last up to three times longer than traditional incandescents and consume roughly 25 percent less energy, hence being referred to as “energy-saving incandescents.” Halogen incandescent bulbs operate similarly to standard incandescents, with the bulb containing a filament that glows and generates light when an electric current flows through it. The term “halogen” in energy-saving incandescents denotes the presence of halogen gas inside the bulb, which extends the filament’s life span. Because of the comparable technology, halogen incandescent bulbs emit a similar light to traditional incandescent bulbs.

Choosing Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs: Some Considerations

If you’re planning to replace some of your incandescent bulbs or upgrade the lighting in your entire home, there are a few factors to consider to ensure that your lighting meets your requirements.

  • Check the lumens instead of the wattage. Energy-efficient lightbulbs are rated in lumens, not watts. For instance, an LED or CFL bulb can produce 800 lumens using far less energy than a conventional 60-watt incandescent bulb.
  • Choose the appropriate bulb for the task at hand. Lightbulbs are tailored for different purposes. Refer to the packaging for details on the intended applications for each type of bulb.
  • Don’t overlook the “smart” element. Several lightbulbs available today are compatible with home automation systems. To reduce energy waste, choose bulbs that are compatible with wireless automated timers and dimmers.
  • Consider the color. Lightbulbs are capable of generating warm or cool light. Warm light, resembling the light produced by conventional incandescent bulbs, creates a welcoming atmosphere. Cool light, on the other hand, may be better suited for task lighting, kitchens, and reading lamps.


Now that you know the differences between LED vs. incandescent bulbs and which is more energy efficient, when your next lightbulb burns out, don’t simply choose the conventional incandescent bulb you’ve always used. Explore the variety of energy-efficient alternatives available in the market to start conserving electricity and saving money.


“A Guide to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs,” GE Lighting, https://www.gelighting.com/inform/guide-energy-efficient-light-bulbs
“Lighting,” Energy Saving Trust, https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/lighting/
“LED Lighting,” U.S. Department of Energy, https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/led-lighting
“CFLs Vs. Incandescents: Facts About Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs,” Good Bulb, https://goodbulb.com/cfls-vs-incandescents-facts-about-compact-fluorescent-light-bulbs
“Types of Lighting: Incandescent Bulbs,” Pennsylvania State University, https://www.e-education.psu.edu/egee102/node/2035
“Lumens and the Lighting Facts Label,” U.S. Department of Energy, https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/lumens-and-lighting-facts-label