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Light Globes. What’s The Difference Between LED, CFL and Halogen

led, halogen cfll lighting pros and cons

Light globes come in many configurations and sizes, from the simple incandescent bulb to modern and cost-effective Light Emitting Diodes. You probably didn’t know that there are significant variations in the lifespan and performance of different globes. Cheaper isn’t always more reliable, and understanding the differences can save you time and energy in the long term.


Incandescent lights date back to the 1800s and the legendary American creator Thomas Edison. They are the primary type of electrical lighting solution. Incandescents operate by heating a filament wire inside the lamp or light, utilising an electric current. The glow from the wire gives the light source. Regrettably, they also provide a lot of heat.

Incandescent lamps are packed with an inert gas that helps prevent the heated filament from evaporating too fast. In conventional incandescent globes, this gas usually is argon. Halogen incandescent lamps use halogen components like iodine or bromine for the gas, coupled with a filament made of tungsten.

The main obstacle with Incandescent lights, be they halogen or otherwise, is that the light originates from heating a filament wire. This suggests nearly all the energy (90-95%) is transformed to heat rather than light. The power is wasted, and in mass, can create excess heat about the home or office.

Incandescent globes might be ineffective compared to some of the other options. Still, their predominance over the past two centuries indicates they are cheap and easy to manufacture. Nevertheless, halogen and Incandescent lights are gradually being phased out in most locations. Due to their short lifespan and lost electricity, they represent a poor option for lighting around the home and should only be utilised when other options aren’t fitting.


Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) previously had a reputation of producing harsh, unflattering light with a sporadic flicker. The technology that goes into building CFL’s has improved dramatically over the modern years. They now possess a life of around 10,000 hours. Compact Fluorescents additionally use about 80% less energy than an incandescent of similar power, despite only costing around a dollar extra.
CFLs work through a mixture of argon gas, phosphor and particles of mercury.

When the light switch is switched on, electricity makes the gas combine with mercury particles. The effect is ultraviolet light. UV is hidden to the human eye, nevertheless, which is where the white phosphor comes in. Covered around the bulb, when the UV light makes a connection, the white phosphor ‘fluoresces’, emitting white light.

You may recollect that there was a propensity for fluorescent lights to flicker in the initial days of CFL lighting. The circuitry inside the bulb now blocks that flickering from occurring. CFLs also have a much greater lumen output to watt power used—some globes surpassing 100 lumens per watt than incandescents, which are about 16.

While fluorescent lights have a more abundant life than halogens and incandescent lighting, the assembling of CFLs is less than environmentally friendly. Mercury is a toxic component, making them hazardous to dispose of. Tubes of fluorescent lighting can include up to 15mg of mercury, enough to infect 30,000 litres of drinking water.

CFLs also take a short volume of time to ‘warm up’ and show their full brightness, so they’re less than ideal for spaces that need immediate and bright light (like stairwells). They also can’t be utilised with dimmer switches.


For the last few years, LED lights have vowed to revolutionise household and office lighting. LEDs work by connecting a positive and negative current within a semiconductor to produce energy discharged in the form of light. LED diodes are very compact, making them beneficial in small places. They have a comparable rating of about 90 lumens per watt-hour. It’s also simple to change their colour.
An LED’s actual worth is in its life span, with bulbs persisting between 20,000 and 50,000 hours with CFLs running for a peak of 10,000 hours, which puts LEDs up to 5 times longer-lasting than the competition. LEDs are also unchanged by frequent turning off and on, which can influence some other globes.

LEDs have a tiny heat signature, indicating they much more efficient than incandescent globes. Still, they do have their downsides, including sensitivity to voltage, thermal dependency (they need an effective cooling sink), and direct in their lighting impression.
Not too long ago, LEDs were considerably more costly than other lighting options, with as much as $50 to $100 per globe. Technology has enhanced the manufacturing process in recent years, and we now see LEDs priced at about $8.


To get the best value for money in home or business lighting installations we have come to the conclusions mentioned below.

While LED globe prices are falling fast, they’re still more costly than their CFL counterparts, so at least in the store, there’s the encouragement to buy CFLs or incandescents above the LED. Nevertheless, over the long term, LEDs come to the finishing line. Not only are they safer and more straightforward to dispose of, but they use less electricity, last longer, and throughout the long term, are simply more affordable to buy.

The Simple Dollar has a simple table that describes each light globe’s various pros and cons over a 25,000-hour lifespan. A singular LED light would last the entire lifespan (and more), while you would want to change an incandescent light around 21 times and a CFL at least three times. The full operating cost (including procurement and electricity) arrives at $38 for the LED, $48 for the CFLs, and a massive $201 for the Incandescent globes.

Given the advantages of LEDs, there isn’t much incentive to prefer other globes unless completely necessary. Understanding the limitations of LEDs will help significantly map out the lighting structure in your home or office.