LED vs. Incandescent Lighting

March 21, 2014

Difference in bulb: What is the difference between traditional incandescent light bulbs and LED bulbs? 

LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes, and is rapidly becoming the future of lighting for the home. With new legislation coming about banning the use of incandescent bulbs, why not try LED’s?

 

We were curious, so we did a little digging. The Lowe’s in Kalamazoo carries a few types of LED bulbs that are retrofit to be compatible with your current lamps. I picked out two UtiliTech Pro bulbs to compare to a standard incandescent bulb. The first is a “soft white” bulb, the second is a “warm white bulb”. The soft white bulb’s light appearance is 2700K, with a brightness of 450 lumens. The warm white bulb’s light appearance is 3000K, with a brightness of 460 lumens. Similarly, a typical GE 40 watt incandescent light bulb has a light appearance of 2700K, with a brightness of 490 lumens. So what’s the difference? Energy cost savings, lifetime, and maintenance are the three most obvious benefits. The soft white LED bulb will cost about $0.96 per year in energy cost, and the warm white LED bulb will cost about $.84. This can save you around $6 a year by switching to LED. Not only that, a typical LED bulb could last you up to 22 years, while a typical incandescent bulb lasts about ten months. That means LED bulbs are similar in color appearance and brightness, save money on energy costs, and need less maintenance.

 

What’s the downfall?

A pack of four incandescent light bulbs can start as cheap as $5. One warm white LED bulb like I bought is $10, and the soft white bulb is $12. The cost of making the switch from incandescent to LED can be pricy, but will be cheaper in the end. Try making the switch slowly as your incandescent bulbs burn out to help ease the transition into using a more sustainable lighting solution!

 

Photo: Left- Incandescent, Middle- Soft White LED, Right- Warm White LED

 

Difference in color rendition: Now that you know the difference, what do they look like? 

One reason some people are hesitant to switch to LED lighting is because they like they way incandescent lighting looks. Some have tried switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, but dislike the harsh white light it gives off. The Soft White LED and Warm White LED bulbs we talked about in our previous post are very similar to they way a traditional incandescent bulb looks. In the picture below, you can see the incandescent lighting on the left, the soft white LED bulb in the middle, and the warm white LED bulb on the right. The color rendition is very similar, all giving off a warm, cozy feeling. The only major difference is the shadow that is produced by the LED bulb is more defined than the soft glow of the incandescent bulb.

 

What about using your dimming switches with LED bulbs?

Not all LED bulbs can be hooked up to any dimming system like your typical incandescent bulb. Manufacturers are working on it, but you still have to pay attention to the bulbs compatibility with your personal system. An easy way to find out is to look on the LED bulb’s company website, and look for instructions on dimming. Some LED bulbs are set up to use with most dimming systems. For instance, the warm white LED bulb I bought states that it is compatible with dimming systems right on the packaging. If you are unsure, ask for assistance!

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