LED Light Bulbs
LED Bulbs vs. Regular Lightbulbs
As of 2021, the debate between whether to have LED or regular bulbs has waned due to the overwhelming evidence that LED bulbs and light fixtures are the best way to go; however, retrofit applications require specific bulbs - you can't just stick any LED light into a fixture and imagine it to work effectively.
Below, we break down the difference between these types of lights, as well as dive into some of the other types of bulbs that we sell here at lightingandsupplies.com.
What are LED bulbs?
Technically, LED bulbs aren’t bulbs – LED stands for “light-emitting diode.” They’re tiny semiconductors (diodes) wrapped in plastic to protect the elements and focus the light. According to Dictionary.com, a diode is “a semiconductor device with two terminals, typically allowing the flow of current in one direction only.” The current comes into an anode (+) and flows out of a cathode (-). LEDs don’t even have wire filaments like a lightbulb does.
How is LED different from incandescent?
When we talk about a “regular lightbulb,” we mean an incandescent bulb, the type that’s been around since Thomas Edison patented his invention in 1879. These bulbs have filaments that glow, producing both heat and light when energy flows through them. LEDs, on the other hand, have electrons that flow to create photons – light we can see. Photons generate almost no heat. LEDs also require much less energy to create the same amount of brightness as incandescent lights, and last much longer.
What are my options when it comes to lightbulbs?
There are a ton of different types of here are five of the most popular:
1. Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are the typical bulbs. In an incandescent bulb, a tungsten filament glows when the current passes through it, illuminating the bulb. The tungsten filament is surrounded by a vacuum or nitrogen gas. The bulbs are available in different sizes including GLS, globe, candies, mushroom. However, the sudden flow of current causes the filament to heat and burn out. Incandescent bulbs only work for 700–1000 hours and are cause energy waste.
The incandescent bulbs have been the most common type of bulbs in the buildings since the invention of bulbs and are only recently replaced by the newer form of technology including LEDs, Fluorescent and HID bulbs.
2. Fluorescent Lamps
The fluorescent bulbs are more complex than the incandescent bulbs. In a fluorescent tube, the electric current passes between the cathodes, exciting mercury and other gasses which are filled inside, radiating energy. The phosphorous coating at the outside converts radiant energy into visible light. The fluorescent lamps use less energy to produce the same amount of light and can last longer. But, these are difficult to dispose of due to mercury filling.
3. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
The CFL are designed to replace incandescent bulbs in homes and commercial building. Working on the principle of fluorescent lamps, the CFL produces the same amount of light with less power. It consists of multiple tubular loops, filled with mercury and has a resemblance to the incandescent bulb.
As compared to incandescent bulbs, CFLs have a longer lifespan up to 10000 hours, are more energy efficient, and have higher luminous efficiency. But, the mercury in the loops makes them difficult to dispose of.
4. Halogen Lamps
Halogen lamps are an improved version of incandescent bulbs in which tungsten filament is wrapped with a compact transparent envelope. The bulb takes its name from the filling of a small amount of Halogen with an inert gas. The inert gas increases the brightness and lifespan of the bulb resulting in higher luminous efficiency. These lamps are also smaller in size as compared to the incandescent bulbs.
5. Light Emitting Diode (LED)
LED bulbs are becoming increasingly common because of their energy efficiency and a variety of light colors. LED is a semiconductor device in which the electricity is applied to the negatively charged diode, resulting in the flow of electron and release of the photon. The photons combine to emit light from the diode.
A LED bulb consists of multiple diodes producing the required amount of light. As a semiconductor, the LEDs are high energy efficient and can produce brighter light with less energy.
Do light bulbs vary in quality, as well as cost?
Originally, many people preferred CFLs over LEDs because they throw a broader beam of light, making them better in floor lamps. But LED technology is constantly improving, and LEDs now emit broader, warmer light.
What makes LEDs and CFL bulbs so much more efficient than incandescent bulbs is how much energy they use to create a certain amount of light. When we talk about wattage, no two bulbs are created equal. While a 1,000-watt bulb of any type will use the same amount of energy, it will emit a completely different level of light with that energy. That’s why it’s crucial to look at brightness, or lumens, when comparing bulbs.
A lumen is a measurement of light. If LEDs, CFLs, and incandescents all have the same lumens, they have equal brightness. You can find lumens listed on lightbulb packaging. For the most efficient light, find the lumen output you want (the bigger, the brighter) and choose the bulb with the lowest wattage. LEDs will probably win in every case.
Another advantage of LEDs is the “hassle factor.” LEDs last a lot longer than a regular bulb, which means you save the hassle of searching for the drawer you stashed the lightbulbs in – not to mention money on new bulbs. Manufacturers say an LED lasts for approximately 10 years, or 100,000 hours of continuous use.
Can I save money with LEDs?
Most people now understand that LEDs save energy, but may still hesitate to pay the higher price for LEDs. But it’s worth it.
Let’s do a simple calculation to compare the efficiency and savings from different bulbs. We’ll assume that we’ve got a 100-watt incandescent bulb, just to keep the math easy, and that a kWh of energy costs 15 cents.
- Incandescent bulb: A 100-watt incandescent bulb running for a full year would use 876 kWh of energy, which would cost $131.40 in electricity costs. Keep in mind that you’d also need to replace the bulb, probably about once a month.
- CFL bulb: A 25-watt CFL bulb would match the brightness of a 100-watt incandescent bulb, but only use 216 kWh of energy over the course of the year. That comes to $32.40 in energy costs, and you’d probably only need to replace the bulb twice.
- LED: It would only take a 16-watt bulb to emit as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb, and it would use only 140 kWh of energy over the year. The electric cost would be just $21. Oh, and one LED would last the entire year.
Top-Rated LED Light Bulb Distributor & Supplier
Lightingandsupplies.com is a lighting distributor of Indoor & Outdoor Commercial and Residential light fixtures and light bulbs. Based in the US, we carry the top LED lighting brands like EiKO, RAB Lighting, MaxLite, naturaLED, Westgate Lighting and more of the Top Lighting Manufacturers in the United States. We also carry a wide variety of Horticulture products by Hydrofarm, along with ceiling fans by RP Lighting+Fans. Lightingandsupplies.com also provides rebate programs, expert lighting design advice, and lighting audits for large projects. As a wholesaler, authorized dealer and bulk distributor of lighting products, we take pride in our customer-focused 100% satisfaction guarantee and return policy.