Close this search box.

LED vs. Compact Fluorescent (CFL)? Comparing these is confusing so let’s look at numbers.

Energy. LEDs use 30% less energy than CFLs. However CFLs are still 75% more efficient than incandescent lamps so wait till your CFLs burn out before replacing them. If you have a low quality CFL, one that flickers, takes a long time to come on or is the wrong color, consider replacing the lamp sooner so you lose the aggravation.

Life. Some lamps (light bulbs) may be a bit cheaper, but read the labels. LED lamps should last 25,000 hours and have a 5-10 year warranty. It’s true and big box stores absolutely honor these guarantees, so save your receipts.

Hazardous Waste. Yes, all fluorescents are filled with mercury vapor. LEDs contain none. They also don’t produce any UV light.

Color. Light color made by CFLs and LEDs is measured in Kelvin (K). When tungsten filaments, like flames, get hot they glow red (2700K) then when hotter, they get bluer (5000K). Warm light reminds us of candlelight while 5000K is often called daylight, though most of us don’t think of sunlight as being blue. Determine what color of light you like and stay consistent with what you buy. Big Box stores have changed the language to Soft for warm colored light and Bright for cool colored light so don’t let them confuse you. Or look at the color temperature on the label.

Volume of light. Wattage equivalents are confusing so instead look at the lumen output. With my old eyes, I like to read using 1,600 lumens which is the same as a 100w incandescent, an 18w LED and a 23w CFL. Often big box stores sell 75w or 69w incandescent, 13w CFLs, or 9w LEDs. It is harder to find the higher wattage lamps.

Color Rendering Index (CRI). Fabrics and paints look different under various types (colors) of light. CRI describes what percentage of colors that lamp renders. A light showing 80% of all colors is better than something that shows 70%, but it’s not as good as showing 90% of colors. CRI may not be listed on every package but spend extra money to get an 80 CRI or higher lamp when possible.

There is no Ameren Rebate for Residential projects and we can’t offer the big box prices without the rebate/ incentive.