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Most Energy Efficient Light Bulbs with Lowest Lifetime Costs - LED Lights are Best

Updated on November 20, 2016
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Dr. John applies his scientific (PhD) research skills & 30 years experience as an inventor & futurist to review technology, apps, software.

Although priced at around 20-30 times more than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, standard fitting bulb replacements, based on Light Emitting Diodes (LED's), last more than 10 years and use far less electricity.

Prices for LED bulbs are falling rapidly as manufacturers lower production costs and improve the technology. Due to the lower price and improved performance LEDs have outpaced other alternative light technologies such as compact fluorescent tubes and quartz- halogen, for power costs, durability, waste disposal and versatility.

LEDs come in a wide variety of colors, and they can be dimmed and controlled by smartphones and various electronic devices.

This article explains while LEDs are the best choice for economic and efficient home lighting, for all applications, particularly as the price is dropping.


LEDs are electronic devices related to the transistor that emit light when a direct current voltage is applied. There is no gas, element or anything else involved in producing the light, except for a tiny diode junction. So there is no mercury or any other major contaminant involved with their disposal. The light producing area of LEDs are very small and the have a narrow beam. These limitations have been overcome by using banks or LEDS similar to those you see in torches. Banks of many LEDs are also widely used in Traffic Signals and Car tail lights. The narrow beam angle has been overcome by using reflectors, multiple LEDs set at various angles and various other methods.

Why are LEDs the Best Buy?

The table below provides a comparison of LEDs, Compact Fluorescent Lights and Quartz-halogen lights for unit cost, life-expectancy, power consumption and environmental issues. The data is compared with similar data for a standard 75W incandescent globe.

The key points are:

  • LEDs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs they replace and last up to 40 times longer.
  • LEDs are environmentally friendly as they don’t include mercury or other contaminants.
  • LEDS are very long lasting, with some bulbs lasting up to 50,000 hours, which is more than 10 years. A standard 10W LED bulb lasts 50 times longer than a 60W standard incandescent bulb with the same light output.
  • LEDs are very expensive ($30 each compared with $1 for a standard incandescent bulb). Changing all the bulbs in a house can be a very expensive initial outlay, but they will not have to be replaced for up to 10 years
  • The maximum potential saving over a 10 years is $500 per bulb with and average usage of 10 hours. per day. The estimated average lifetime savings of the popular brands is about $400 per bulb.
  • LED bulbs can reduce your power bill for lighting by 80%.
  • LED bulbs also greatly reduces C02 emission output as well as power bills.
  • LED lights are a great replacement for virtually any light fixture in your house, office or retail environment. Although the individual LEDs are highly directional, the light beam has been broadened using various innovations. They are very easy to install because they have the same fittings as standard light bulbs.
  • Because the light generated by LED bulbs is produced by tiny electronic chip devices they can be easily built into various control circuits. Various software applications have been developed to easily and simply control the bulbs in many different ways. LEDs are easily and reliably dimmable. Users can even change the color of the light, it’s intensity and program on and off times with smartphones and tablets and various Wifi controller devices.
  • It is projected that due to better designs and lower costs, LEDs will outsell incandescents in North America in 2014. LEDs will completely dominate the lighting market 2016, with American shipments increasing 12 fold to about 370 million.

Choosing LED Light Bulbs for Your Home

There are many different models and styles of LED bulbs available with the range growing rapidly. Use the following criteria for choosing suitable LEDs

  • Estimate desired brightness - The wattage is much lower for the same light output. Read the label carefully to see what size incandescent light the LED replaces.For example a 13W LED replaces a 75W incandescent and an 8W LED has an equivalent light output to that of a 45 W incandescent. Also get used to 'Lumens' which is the new standard light output measure of perceived brightness.
  • Choose between cool and warm light styles - New LED bulbs are now available in 'cool' white light versions.
  • Base or pin base - LEDs are available in several types of sockets including bayonet mounts (UK style) and the standard "screw' (Edison) base. There are replacements for virtually every light and fitting currently available.
  • Choose between dimmable and standard bulbs - Some LED bulbs are available as dimmable bulbs using existing controllers, though the standard ones are not dimmable. New dimmer controls are available for new installations.
  • Choose high quality bulbs to ensure you get the extended lifetime that justifies their high cost. Cheap bulbs may fail quicker.

Choose the style to suit the lighting application. Some of the types available are:

  • Diffused bulbs
  • Dimmable Globe LED bulbs
  • Track Lighting, pin base
  • Flood Reflector LEDs for Recessed Cans and Track lights, screw-in base
  • Flame Tip, Candelabra Base LEDs
  • LED Tube Lights - designed to replace fluorescent tube bulbs

Comparisons of Purchase Price, Lifetime and Power of Alternative Lights Compared with a Standard 75W Incandescent Globe

1x 13 W
1 x 15 W
1 x 75 W
5 x 11 W
4 x 35 W
4 x 50 W
LED (bulb shape)
IRC halogen
Lifetime hours
5 ,000
2 ,500
Purchase cost
Replacement cost over 10 years
Relative power consumption
Greenhouse gas emissions
190 kg
219 kg
1,095 kg
8 03 kg
2 ,336 kg
3 ,796 kg

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson


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