Science Club
  1. Does Black Bark Mulch Help Keep Moisture in the Soil?
  2. How Much Water does a Fountain Use?
  3. Find your Body Surface Area
  4. How Fast do French Fries Cool Down?
  5. My Year of Coincidences
  6. Which Firework is the Loudest?
  7. Cost to store a VHS tape in a NYC apartment?
  8. Guess Your Blood Alcohol Level Booth
  9. Find the Loudest Restaurant in Sacramento
  10. How Much do Clothes Weigh?
  11. Trying to Make Clear Ice
  12. Searching the Indian Ocean for a Plane Crash
  13. Electronic Cigarettes - The Fog Machine for Your Face
  14. Scott Leased an Electric Ford Focus
  15. Testing the Effectiveness of a Beer Cozy
  16. Eggshells vs. Taco Shells
  17. How Ice Rinks are Made
  18. Shaken vs. Stirred
  19. Real Appliance Energy Use Tests
  20. Christmas Lights Power Cost
  21. The Best Cold Drink Cup
  22. LED vs. Regular Bulbs & CFLs
  23. Coldest drink in town?
  24. Using Salt to Cool Down Beer
  25. Coors Light Cold Indicator
  26. The Fastest Way to Cool Down Beer
  27. Hairdryer vs. Bowl of Water
  28. Bathroom During a Movie?
  29. Video Projector on a Disco Ball
  30. Cool Trunk
  31. The weight of popcorn
  32. Sunchips bag decomposition
  33. Disscating a cockroach
  34. Sensefly Drone Camera
  35. Entrance Locked
  36. End Rubbernecking
  37. Eyeclops Night Vision
  38. Miracle Fruit Taste Test
  39. Hot Air Bubbles
  40. Helium Bubbles
  41. Neighborhood Speed Trap
  42. Pizza Race
  43. Eyeclops - Bionic Magnifier
  44. Breathalyzer Testing
  45. Fishing Line Fiberoptics
  46. The Value of CFL Bulbs
  47. Barry Marshall Fan Page
  48. Bottling the Keg Leftovers
  49. Spinning Rim Centrifuge
  50. Backwash Experiments
  51. sidewalk chalk
  52. Red Hot Vioxx Action!
  53. Balloon Delivery
  54. Tanning
  55. Making a Candle Out of Lipstick
  56. Evaporation
  57. The lift of a Helium Balloon
  58. Lard Candle
  59. The Properties of Heat Transfer
  60. Insulation Testing
  61. Eating Out
  62. Eating In
  63. Tattoo Removal
  64. Drying Laundry
  65. Viscosity Testing
  66. Magazine Advertising
  67. Collecting Data
  68. Dropping Toast
  69. Refilling an Ink Cartridge
  70. Tampons
  71. Light Bulbs

How much is Inside?
Community & Citizenship
Height Weight Chart
Science Club
Incredible Stuff
How To Guides


Comparing LED light bulbs with Regular Bulbs and CFLs

Incandescent vs. CFL vs. LED bulbs
I like Compact Fluorescent bulbs. I think I like them because they are a symbol of efficiency. They perform the exact same job as another invention, using less fuel... a lot less. They are so much more efficent than incandescent bulbs that their higher price is easily justified.

In the last few years, LED bulbs have emerged onto the marketplace, delivering still greater efficency. I was intrigued. Do LED bulbs deliver an even better value than CFLs? It wasn't an easy calculation.

Leadership at VOID LED was familiar with and was confident I would be impressed by the bulbs' performance. They sent me some of their bulbs to test, confident they could survive the rigors of the Cockeyed labs.

Here are the categories for my tests:

  1. Appearance
  2. Power Use
  3. Price
  4. Heat Output
  5. Breakage Tests


Halogens and other incandescent bulbs are fairly compact. Halogens are heavy due to the thick glass but other incandescents are lightweight. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) are larger and somewhat heavy at the base because they have an electronic transformer at the base. LED bulbs are also large, and also have an electronic transformer at the base.

It is difficult to portray the brightness and color of these bulbs in photos, because cameras like mine adjust their settings automatically to render color-balanced photographs no matter what the lighting conditions. Similarly, your eyes adjust in these lights, making it difficult to compare directly.
However I can make the following comparisons: The light from the CFL looks diffuse and the light from the LED looks columnular. The LED is more of a spotlight.

The bulbs for this test were chosen specifically for comparison because they produce almost the same number of lumens: 980, 950 and 950. You should trust the numbers on the package over the appearance of an overall quantity of light in these photos. Also, I don't have an integrating sphere, so I can't test them accurately.

Experts use an integrating sphere to best determine a bulb's light quality and quantity, such as this 50 cm RadOMA sphere from Gamma Scientific. It is also good for rock tumbling.

Superb on a Disco Ball

Speaking of spheres, check out these two disco ball photographs. In the top photo, the diffuse light from a CFL bounces off the disco ball and lights up the ceiling. The seperate squares of the reflection blend into one large bright spot with a smooth appearance across the light and dark areas.

The LED bulb was completely different.

Forget hundreds of tiny points of light. The LED itself has 12 individual bulbs, and each was hitting scores of mirrors on the disco ball. It was a spectacle times twelve. It looked amazing.

Power Use
Setting up this comparison, I could have either chosen two bulbs with similar power use or similar light output. I chose similar light output because if I had chosen an incandescent bulb which only used 12 watts, it would be a nightlight:

Instead, I chose bulbs with similar light outputs, in the range of 950 lumens. As I mentioned before, the halogen and incandescent bulbs had a much higher energy use to produce this amount of light, 65 and 75 watts compared to 19 watts (CFL) and 12 watts (LED).

Assuming you use the bulb for 10 hours a day a 75 watt halogen uses 0.75 kilowatts per day, which costs 9¢. Not awful, but in 222 days, that's $20 in electricity to power this bulb.

The Compact Fluorescent Light uses 19 watts. Assume 10 hours a day, that's .19 kilowatts per day, which costs 2¢. Pretty good! In 222 days, that's $5.06 in electricity.

This LED Light uses 12 watts. Assume 10 hours a day, that's .12 kilowatts per day, which costs 1½¢. Incredible. In 222 days, that's $3.19 in electricity.

Bulb Replacement Calculations
Q. Should you replace an incandescent with a CFL bulb?
A. Yes. Investing $5 in a replacement CFL will result in $5 of electricity savings in 71 days.

Q. Should you replace an incandescent with an LED bulb?
A. Yes. Investing $40 in a replacement LED will result in $40 of electricity savings in 529 days.

Q. Should you replacing a CFL bulb with an LED bulb?
A. Maybe. Investing $40 in a replacement LED will result in $35 of electricity savings and $5 in bulb savings in 16 years... that's a long time, so the energy savings might not justify the up-front investment. However, if you are replacing a CFL because the bulb broke or burned out, the location may be unsuitable for CFL bulbs, either too prone to accidents, vibration or voltage-fluctuations via a dimmer switch. LEDs don't suffer from these ills.


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