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LED vs Fluorescent vs Halogen Lights - Which is the Best for My House?

By Edited Mar 20, 2016 0 4

It is very important for every homeowner to know the right equipment and appliances to use in their house. One of these important appliances are light bulbs. As of 2014, the best three light bulbs were globally agreed on: halogen incandescent, florescent and of course LED lamps.

However, their classification may not be as clear. Which is the best for your home? To answer this question, in this article, we'll be going through the deepest, most interesting details that can precursor the quality and authority of these three magnificent forms of lights.

Incandescent Lamps

Incandescent Light Bulb
Credit: Lan, via Flickr

We start off with history's first type of electrical lighting solution ever created. Popularized by Thomas Edison in the beginning of the 19th century, they are still being made, sold and used till this very day.

As we have all probably guessed as children, the lamp creates light by heating a filament wire inside itself until it glows by the electric current passing through it. Due to its cheap production cost, its compatibility with both direct and alternating current and ease of integration, the incandescent lamp is the most widely used category of light in the world.

 Most incandescent light bulbs are filled with inert gas during the production process in order to decrease the filament wire's evaporation caused by the extreme temperature. Another strategy to improve the life span is used by halogen incandescent lamps. They use internal halogen elements creating the halogen cycle which leads to the chemical recycling of the evaporated material.

Although these techniques are proved to be very efficient, there are some negative characteristics of the incandescent lamp that are not to be forgotten. Since the light over heats a metal filament wire until it reaches a glowing status, most of the electricity lighting up the lamp is converted to waste heat instead of light. We're talking about huge waste of energy.

 Furthermore, the lamp turned out to have a very short life span. With about only 750-1000 hours of life, users will have to replace their lamps on a very frequent basis, specially if they're used according to a 24/7 system.

While these incandescent lamps might be clearly inefficient, they are very simple and cheap to produce. However, many governments around the world have officially banned the manufacturing, importation and sale of this form of light, calling for the utilization of more suitable types: fluorescent and LED lights.

Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent Light Bulb
Credit: Bob Boyer, via Flickr

Next in the list are fluorescent lamps. These folks are known to be low pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamps. They use the electric current to stimulate the internal mercury vapor which generates ultraviolet light leading to the glowing of the phosphor material coating on the inside of the lamp. No way we could have guessed that as kids.

When it comes to converting electricity into visible light, incandescent lights becomes incomparable to fluorescent lamps. The last are more efficient, more reliable and more trustworthy, lasting up to 10,000 hours and capable of exceeding 100 lumens per watt of power.

Fluorescent lamps allow the choice of color. This fact is directly linked to the possibility of the adjustment of the amount and combination of internal phosphor material according to the desired color temperature.

 However, these amazingly shaped lamps also have their own downsides. They are generally more expensive in terms of production thanks to the outer crucial components and material. Moreover, since the lights use poisonous mercury vapor, they require to be thrown away separately when no more useful.

These lamps also produce relatively dangerous ultraviolet radiation, potentially harmful for certain sensitive individuals. Due to the complexity of their design, they are limited to the shape and size of the application.

LED Lamps

LED lamp
Credit: Ledxpert

LED stands for light-emitting diode. This type of lamps works by passing the electric current through a semi-conductor. LED lamps are the best option for applications requiring constant reliable light source capable of being operated in undesirable condition such as extremely cold weather.

LED lights can also be controlled very precisely so they can be used for a wide variety of applications that have specific needs; color and output can be easily manipulated during production by simply changing the semiconductor material to change the color and using drivers to increase the output.

LED light bulbs have a high efficacy rate of over 90 lumes per watt of power consumed for the average quality LED bulb therefore are known to be efficient at converting energy into light . Their small, compact nature of theirs allows them to be used in a wide variety of locations without any kind of modification.

Unlike the incandescent and fluorescent lamps, LED lights literally do not care about frequent operation: you can the children switch them on and off as much as they like, there will be no consequences. Moreover, these amazing lights have a great life span of 50,000 hours and more, some of them still working for the seventies.

On the other side, the disadvantages include the high initial price that will eventually be returned over time in the form of money saved in energy costs to operate, more of a temporary disadvantage. Their voltage input is unfortunatly very temperamental as well since LED lights have a very sensitive threshold to minimum and maximum electrical input which may require a regulated constant power supply. Other disadvantages may include the need for a heat sink to dissipate the excessive heat created by the electrical components and the direct light LEDs produce may not be ideal for applications that require a wide coverage of light around the entire light bulb.


Since each lamp presents distinct characteristics, each can be considered the best choice according to the utilization conditions. However, for normal home use, I personally recommend LED lamps for a number of reasons of which saving money through time may be the most important. That does not mean that other types of lamps, even other than the ones mentioned in this article, can be more suitable for your home. It all depends on your personal preferences.



Feb 25, 2014 8:45am
Nice article. I agree with LED lights being the best choice. There are many studies on the harmful effects of fluorescent lamps. It's unbelievable that they are still pushing consumers to buy.
Feb 26, 2014 3:41am
You're right. But every type has its pros and cons even LED lamps, although they might seem the best. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the comment.
Feb 26, 2014 2:51pm
It concerns me that we have fluorenscent lamps that contain mercury. The disposal of these lamp is up to the consumer who may not be aware or care about the dangers? Just another thing to worry about.
Feb 27, 2014 6:13am
The danger they present should only concern people with high sensitivity towards a certain kind of radiation the fluorenscent lamps emit. Those kind people are very rare, so the dangers are probably very minimal. Keep in mind that I'm not a specialist, this is just a personal opinion. If you're not sure about their security, change them. That's the best thing you can do.
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