LED vs CFL vs Traditional Bulbs

shutterstock_261981344Modern Lighting

There are now more options than ever when it comes to lighting your home.  Aside from the traditional incandescent lights, you can now get Compact Fluorescent (CFL), LED, and Halogen at a reasonable price. If you are looking for something a little more interesting, there are also ‘Smart’ bulbs and Edison style bulbs.


CFL bulbs are fairly inexpensive to buy and they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.  The main drawback, in my opinion, is the warm up time.  These lights need a few minutes to come up to full brightness.  This is more noticeable the colder the ambient temperature is.  If used outdoors or in a cold garage during winter, they will have just the faintest of light when initially turned on.


This is the trend.  They are the most energy efficient option available and will outlast any other kind of bulb.  They are durable and produce very little heat. However, they are expensive. But they already cost much less now then when they first came out, and that will only improve further.  I wouldn’t recommend replacing everything immediately, rather a slow turnover as existing bulbs burn out.


These are not as common, but are still available locally. They work on the same principle as traditional incandescent bulbs, but the addition of halogen gas makes them moderately more efficient.  Personally, I enjoy the quality of light they produce and I prefer them to CFL in situations where LED bulbs are unavailable.

Smart Bulbs

Now these are interesting.  They are usually an LED bulb with additional features built in.  Screw it in to any light socket and then connect to it with your phone through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The features range from adjustable colours, built in dimmer, built in motion sensor and I have even seen one with a Bluetooth speaker. They aren’t cheap, prices range from $20 to $40 per bulb, but maybe it is just the novelty item you never knew you couldn’t live without.

Edison Bulbs

Personally I think these look really amazing. They are available in LED or Incandescent, but neither option is cheap. But you wouldn’t be refitting your entire home with these. Like the smart bulb, these will be a novelty that will be sure to start a conversation.

A little more about LED bulbs

After installing an LED light bulb, you may notice a very dim glow when the light is turned off.  This will only happen in certain circuits.  The effect is caused by induction and happens if the wiring from the switch to the light also carries power to other circuits. Simply put, this is normal. If you are bothered by it, the best course of action is to change back to an incandescent bulb.  The process of rewiring the circuit to avoid this effect would be very costly.