LED vs CFL vs Incandescent which is most energy efficient?
LED vs CFL vs Incandescent which is most energy efficient?







When you go to the store to find replacement lightbulbs, you’ll have numerous options to choose from. As you sift through the selections, what are the first questions you ask yourself? I’ll bet one of them is: Which one is the most energy-efficient and cost-effective? Today we’re going to uncover: LED vs CFL vs Incandescent. Which one is superior and worth your money?

Topics covered today:
  • What is Incandescent?
  • What is CFL?
  • What is LED?
  • Which is the Most Energy Efficient?


Going to the store can be stressful. There are many choices for one item, including brands, sizes, shapes, dimmable, non-dimmable, and more. By the end of this blog post, we hope that you’ll be a little bit more knowledgeable about the most commonly found lightbulbs in stores. Additionally, you’ll be less overwhelmed when you’re shopping too!

LED vs CFL vs Incandescent Lightbulbs: Deciding which to invest in.

Get assistance with all things electrical for lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, safety inspections, and more. We would love to assist you with your installations and repairs.

What are Incandescent Lightbulbs?

Firstly, let’s start off by uncovering what incandescent lightbulbs are. Incandescent lightbulbs are the most common types that you’ll find at an affordable price. In fact, it’s one of the earliest forms of light that humans have had for over a century. 


The way it works is fairly simple. The electric current passes through a filament in the bulb. As the filament heads up, it produces light. Filaments are made of tungsten, a conductive metal that can withstand the heat generated by electrical currents passing through.


Due to the amount of heat that it emits and the short amount of energy the filament can sustain, it is not very energy efficient.

LED vs CFL vs Incandescent Lightbulbs: introducing incandescent bulbs



What are CFL Lightbulbs?

Next up are CFL lightbulbs. It stands for Compact Fluorescent Light. It’s far more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. Since incandescent lightbulbs have been getting phased out, the next affordable option is CFL. But is the cost of the bulb worth the cost to your health?


CFL lightbulbs are powered by passing an electric current through a gas containing mercury vapour. When the gas reacts with the current, it produces ultraviolet light. The phosphorescent coating on the inside of the bulb causes the ultraviolet light to convert into light!



Similar to incandescent lightbulbs, according to CNN, CFL bulbs are also getting phased out in the near future. Here’s a blog post about the CFL ban in Canada.

You can learn more about mercury radiation here.

What are LED Lightbulbs?

And that brings us to LEDs. LED is short for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs have become increasingly popular in recent years for their energy efficiency. Though it does cost significantly more than CFL and incandescent lights, you’ll soon learn why it’s got a higher price.


LED lightbulbs illuminate by electroluminescence. In order to power up a LED bulb, “an electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light” (1).

Here’s a fantastic article that easily explains LEDs in great depth.

LED lightbulbs are far superior than the other options



Have you ever held your hand up in front of an LED light? You most likely felt little to no heat radiating from it. That sure makes a huge difference during heat waves!


Here’s a fascinating article on whether LED lights are harmful to your health.

Which is the Most Energy Efficient LED vs CFL vs Incandescent?

Which lightbulb type do you think is the most energy efficient and cost-effective?

LED vs CFL vs Incandescent

You guessed it, the winner is LED!


LEDs are newer and have more modern technology that boasts a longer lifespan and environmental footprint. Though the decision-making isn’t a difficult one, you’ll be able to go to the store and narrow down your choices quickly after this article. 


LED bulbs can last three to five times longer than a compact fluorescent bulb, and up to 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb, according to the Department of Energy. Unlike both incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, LEDs release very little heat and thus waste less energy” (2).


Though LED lightbulbs cost a few more dollars than CFL bulbs, by understanding the lifespan, you can work out the logistics of cost performance. 

Recessed LED lights are a great option for your ceiling.

To give you an idea, a pack of 6 non-dimmable LED lights (100 watts) at Home Depot costs about $22.5o CDN. A pack of 6 CFL lights (100 watts) at Home Depot costs roughly $78.00 CDN. Possibly due to less stock, prices have gone up significantly for CFL lightbulbs. 


LEDs boast up to 25,000 hours of lifespan, whereas CFLs tend to last up to 11,000 hours if you’re lucky. It also takes 75% less energy to power up a LED lightbulb. Not only that, LEDs are known to last 25 times longer than incandescent lightbulbs. 


When you look at all the pros and cons, it’s a no-brainer to choose LED lightbulbs over the other two options. Not only will you have longer-lasting light bulbs but you’ll also be lessening your carbon footprint and mercury exposure.

Call High Mark's expert technicians to schedule your appointment for your electrical repairs and installations done today at 604-945-8060.
Call High Mark's expert technicians to schedule your appointment for your electrical repairs and installations done today at 604-945-8060.
Wrap it up

Were we able to help you come to a wise decision on which lightbulb to choose next time you’re at the store? By spending your money consciously, you’ll be saving some money, frustration, and reducing your carbon footprint by choosing LED lightbulbs. LEDs may not be perfect but it’s one solution to make small changes to be a little more environmentally friendly.

What did you think of this article?

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If you found this article interesting, you may find5 Electrical Upgrades to Enhance Your Home a good read too!

LED vs CFL Lightbulbs