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Discover the Truth: LEDs vs Incandescent Light Bulbs

Updated: Jun 26

LED vs incandescent lightbulbs

When it comes to lighting your home or workspace, the type of light bulb you choose can make a significant difference in energy consumption, lifespan, and overall lighting quality. Among the myriad of options available today, LED and incandescent bulbs are two of the most discussed. But what exactly sets these two types apart, and which one is the better choice? Let’s delve into the differences and advantages of each.

Understanding Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs have been around for more than a century. They work by heating a tungsten filament until it glows, producing light. This process is highly inefficient, as a large portion of the energy (about 90%) is lost as heat rather than light. Despite this, incandescent bulbs have been popular due to their warm light and low initial cost.

However, the inefficiency of incandescent bulbs has led to a phase-out in many countries. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional incandescent bulbs use about 60 watts to produce the same amount of light that an LED bulb can produce with only 10 watts . This significant energy consumption not only affects your electricity bill but also has a broader environmental impact.

The Rise of LED Bulbs

LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology, on the other hand, represents a leap forward in lighting. LEDs generate light by passing an electrical current through a semiconductor material, which then emits light. This process is far more energy-efficient and produces very little heat compared to incandescent bulbs.

The advantages of LED bulbs are numerous:

  1. Energy Efficiency: LEDs use about 75-80% less energy than incandescent bulbs . This can translate to substantial savings on your electricity bill over time.

  2. Lifespan: LED bulbs last significantly longer. While an incandescent bulb might last around 1,000 hours, an LED can last up to 25,000 hours or more .

  3. Durability: LEDs are more robust and can withstand rough conditions, making them ideal for a variety of settings, including outdoor and industrial environments.

  4. Environmental Impact: With their lower energy consumption and longer lifespan, LEDs reduce the frequency of replacements and the associated waste.

Comparing Light Quality

One area where incandescent bulbs have traditionally held an edge is in light quality. The warm, soft light of an incandescent bulb is often seen as more pleasing and natural compared to the sometimes harsh and cool light emitted by early LED models. However, advancements in LED technology have addressed these concerns. Modern LEDs are available in a range of color temperatures, from warm white (similar to incandescent) to cool daylight, allowing consumers to choose the light quality that best suits their needs.

Cost Considerations

While LED bulbs have a higher upfront cost compared to incandescent bulbs, the long-term savings are undeniable. The reduced energy usage and longer lifespan of LEDs mean that they pay for themselves over time. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that an LED bulb can save you approximately $75 over its lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb .

Making the Choice

So, which is better: LED or incandescent? The answer depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for an affordable, short-term solution and prefer a warm light, incandescent bulbs might seem appealing. However, for those prioritizing long-term savings, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability, LED bulbs are the clear winner.


In the debate between LED and incandescent light bulbs, LEDs come out on top in almost every category. They are more energy-efficient, have a longer lifespan, and offer greater versatility in light quality. While the initial cost is higher, the long-term benefits and savings make LEDs a smarter choice for most applications.

If you’re considering upgrading your lighting, or you're in the process of building your dream home, why not consult with the professionals at Cascade Electric? Our expert lighting design services can help you create the perfect lighting plan for your home or business, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. With a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, Cascade Electric provides comprehensive solutions tailored to your needs. Visit Cascade Electric’s Lighting Design page for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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  1. U.S. Department of Energy. “Energy Saver 101: Everything You Need to Know About LED Lighting.”,

  2. “LED Lighting.”,

  3. U.S. Department of Energy. “How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents.”,

  4. U.S. Department of Energy. “The History of the Light Bulb.”,



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