Get the LED out
Incandescent bulbs are so 1900s!
Even if you don’t like the CFL fluorescent bulbs, there’s hope. The LED bulbs are (finally) ready and affordable.
LED bulbs are electronic (Light-Emitting-Diodes) so there’s no filament or wire to burn out. They are now available in many different types and styles and will end up saving hundreds of dollars over time. And for hard-to-reach places like high floodlights or post lights, they’re a real saver.
Extra benefit: Since they use less electricity and create less heat, you can get more light out of your fixtures. The brigher bulbs make with less heat. This also means less heat in the house. You know how hot the old bulbs got, adding heat into the room. That's not an issue in the winter but it meant more air conditioning in the summer!Here are the key points to know:
- Light color
- Light output (new term: lumens)
- Cost comparison
How much light will you get? Although the packaging lists ‘Equivalent watts’, it can be misleading. It’s supposed to help guide you in choosing a similar bulb, but check the Lumens!
Lumens are the amount of light you get. If you’re comparing similar bulbs but one has more lumens, that’s what you want. A difference of 25 lumens is not too obvious but beyond that, it becomes more noticeable. We've seen '65-watt equivalent' bulbs with the light output ranging from 650 to 850 lumens.That's a big difference in brightness. Here's a simple comparison (it can get complicated, numbers vary):
What color is the light? The typical incandescent bulb color is rated at about 2700° K(elvin).The warm color is what you get if you heat an incandescent bulb's tungsten filament to 2700°K. That's best for household lighting. Fluorescent and some LED bulbs are often 3000° or 3500° for whiter light.Depending on the room and your preference, there is such a thing as too white. Look for the 2700° or perhaps 3000° warm white LED bulbs.
Light color name Light color (temperature) Which means
Incandescent (old style)
Soft white 2700° Normal LED Soft white 2700° Looks like incandescents
Soft/cool white 3000° A bit whiter than 'normal' Opinions vary.
Bright white 3500° Getting very white, too much?
Day light 5000° Sounds nice, but looks terrible inside
Light output (amount)
Lumens Light color Energy used (= heat)
850 2700° 60 CFL fluorescent 775 2700° - 5000° 14
800 2700° 10
Annual Operating Cost (3 hrs/day) Total Cost
(20 years of energy costs + replacements)
$7.20 $165 1,000 CFL fluorescent $1.60 $40 10,000
$1.30 $35 25,000