LED, CFL & Incandescent Lights Comparison

Comparison chart between LED, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) and Incandescent lights comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each type.


Lighting Tutorial Includes:

Watts to Lumens table     LED / CFL / Incandescent lamp comparison    


There is a selection of incandescent, compact fluorescent, CFL and LED lights or lamps that are available today.

It is useful to be able to compare the performance of the LED, incandescent and CFL lights so that the optimum choice can be made.

The comparison of LED, CFL and incandescent lamps shows that LEDs normally win out over every type in terms of performance and environmental impact. The only drawback is that the cost is higher, although when taking the running costs over the lifetime, their cost comes out considerably cheaper.


Comparison of LED CFL & Incandescent Lights
Parameter LED Incandescent CFL
Average life (Hours) 50 000 1 200 8 000
Power for equivalent of 60W incandescent 6 - 8 60 13 - 15
Typical oeprating cost over a year (USD $) 32 330 75

Environmental Impact Comparison

Mercury content Zero Zero Contains toxic mercury
RoHS Compliance Yes Yes No

Operational characteristics comparison

Sensitive to low temperatures No Some May not work below -20°C
Sensitive to humidity No Some Yes
Effect of on/off cycling Very little effect Some Not very tolerant - reduces lifetime
Speed of turn on Instant Instant takes time to warm up
Durability Very durable, can withstand reasonable shock Not particularly good. filament sensitive to shock and glass envelope can break Not very robust - glass can break and emit toxic mercury


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