Although LED lights and incandescent bulbs both give off light, the similarities end there. From the way they’re constructed to the colour and amount of light they give off these two bulb types are very different.


How LEDs And Incandescents Differ

Much of the difference between incandescent and LED lighting comes down to their construction. Incandescent bulbs rely on a filament made of wire and tungsten that is surrounded by a vacuum or an inert gas, and encased in glass. A metal fitting at the base of the bulb screws into the light socket and conducts electricity into the bulb, causing the filament to glow and give off heat. The more electricity that passes into the bulb, the brighter the light, hence why bulbs with higher wattages are brighter.

LEDs on the other hand are basically small semiconductors. Each LED or Light Emitting Diode is a solid piece that releases energy in the form of light when an electrical current passes through it. The result is less energy required to create light, less heat generated and given off as waste, and a more efficient system that burns bright and lasts longer than any other type of bulb.


Here’s a look at some critical numbers comparing incandescent and LED lighting:

  • Burn Time/Life Span:
    • Incandescent = 1,200 hours
    • LEDs = 50,000 hours
  • Watts Used:
    • Incandescent = 60 W
    • LEDs = 6-8 W
  • Carbon Dioxide Emissions:
    • Incandescent = 2,041 kilos/year
    • LEDs = 204 kilos/year
  • Heat Emitted:
    • Incandescent = 85 btu’s per hour
    • LEDs = 3.4 btu’s per hour


Cost-Savings Add Up

Although they cost more than incandescents upfront, LEDs end up costing less over the long-term because they last longer and use less energy the entire time. If one incandescent lasts only 1,200 hours compared to 50,000 for an LED, you’d need to replace an incandescent bulb nearly 42 times before you’d have to replace one LED light. As far as actual costs go:


  • A $35.00 LED lasting 50,000 hours, using 10 W per bulb uses 500 KWh of electricity during that time. At a cost of $.10 per KWh that equals $50 in electric costs over the life of the bulbs. Added to the initial cost of the bulb, the total cost of the LED is $85.00 over its lifetime.
  • A $1.25 incandescent lasting only 1,200 hours and using 60 W per bulb uses 3,000 KWh of electricity over 50,000 hours of use. This costs the homeowner $300 over 50,000 hours. You need to buy 42 bulbs to attain 50,000 hours of use, so $1.25 x 42 = $52.50 in light bulb costs. Adding up the cost of the bulbs themselves and the cost of electricity, the total cost of the incandescent is $352.50 over a 50,000-hour lifetime.


Keep in mind this is just for ONE light. Multiply those numbers by the number of light bulbs in your home to see an even more stark contrast in actual costs between LEDs and incandescents.

This is just a quick snapshot of the potential cost savings LEDS offer over incandescents. To learn how much money LED lights can save you, contact LEDified at 13LEDS today!