The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Efficiency

LED Better
This is the first post in a brand new series about the key differences between compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the light source of the present, and light emitting diodes (LEDs), the light source of the future. We’ll touch on things like structure, function, and quality, so you can keep up with all the innovations currently happening in the lighting world…

One of the most obvious differences between LED light bulbs and CFLs is energy-efficiency. Yes, we consider both sources to be energy-saving, and both fall well within new government efficiency standards, but it’s a simple fact that LEDs use less power to generate more light.

We measure the efficiency of a light source (sometimes called efficacy) in lumens per watt (lm/W). If you’re unfamiliar with this measurement, we’re just talking about the amount of light produced by one unit of electrical power – similar to miles per gallon for a car.

In general, a good LED on the market today can produce 60-100+ lm/W, which is about twice as many as a CFL, which only produces about 30-50 lm/W. Read More

CFLs and UV Rays: Is There Really A Problem?

Compact Fluorescent
In August’s Lighting Roundup, we mentioned a study on the UV rays emitted from CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) possibly causing skin damage. But, with this popular spiral-shaped energy-saving light bulb now in over 70% of U.S. homes, we think it’s important to investigate further into this issue.

According to this article from, NEMA (The National Electrical Manufacturers Association) has clarified the confusion surrounding CFLs and possibly dangerous UV radiation.

Like all fluorescent lights, CFLs do give off trace amounts of UV and infrared radiation, but those levels are well within the acceptable range predetermined by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

Unless the person exposed to UV rays has a predetermined sensitivity to them, or if that person uses a CFL at an unnaturally close distance (less than 1 foot), there shouldn’t be a problem.

Plus, the plastic, glass, and fabrics of many household light fixtures also serve to reduce the already low levels of UV radiation. Some CFLs even have covers that reduce emissions even further than standard exposed-spiral lamps alone.

So, unless your CFL is severely malfunctioning (which is rare indeed) you needn’t worry.

For more information about how to properly care for and use CFLs, check out this blog post, or visit the US Food and Drug Administration’s website.

How To Cope When Your Favorite Light Bulb Gets The Shaft: Fluorescent Light Bulbs

This is the third installment of a three-part series on replacing EISA phased-out light bulbs – what’s leaving and why. You can read the first post on household A lamps here, and the second on reflector lamps here.  

Discontinued Fluorescents

T12 fluorescent light bulbs have been around since the ’30s, and in light bulb years, that’s just too plain old. Technology’s potential for efficiency, for saving you time and money, has moved light-years since then. That’s why the T12 phase-out began in July this year. This phase-out affected nearly all T12s, with the exception of the cold temperature lamps and a few others. Most T12s now have gone the way of typewriters and VCRs, cassette tapes and rotary phones – delightful relics, but come on people, we’re better than this.

We’ve also listed one T8 lamp with the group. While T8s are much newer, and most are much more efficient than T12s, the lamps listed are the oldest and most basic of their kind. They have the least lumens and the shortest lives of all the T8s, so while they’re cheap, they’re simply not a good value.

Here’s how to update:


Date Discontinued

Good Replacements

Great Replacements

Slimline F96T12 60W

July 14, 2012

800 Series Slimline F96T8 59W

Coming Soon

High Output F96T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series High Output F96T8 86W

Coming Soon

Rapid Start F34T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series T8 32W

800 Series Energy Saving T8 25W and 28W

U-Bend FB34T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series U-Bend T8

800 Series Energy Savings U-Bend T8 25W

700 Series T8 32W


800 Series T8 32W

800 Series Energy Saving T8 25W and 28W

Read More

The Colorful History of Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent Light BulbWhen you think of fluorescent light, what first comes to mind? Some might think of hideous, headache-provoking office lights. Others might conjure up images of neon signs à la Vegas. For Galileo in 1612, upon witnessing fluorescence in nature, it was motherhood. He wrote:

“It must be explained how it happens that the light is conceived into the stone, and is given back after some time, as in childbirth.”

Whatever impressions you might have about fluorescent lighting, we think it’s time to set the record straight. Fluorescents have had a colorful, quirky, and sometimes uncomfortable past, but they certainly have a bright future.

Conception: 1850s

Heinrich Geissler, a German glassblower and physicist, created his famous Geissler Tubes during this time. Geissler filled the tubes with different gases to be excited by metal electrodes at each end. They came in many intricate shapes and bright colors and were used as art for their very brief lives. Today they are considered the early ancestors of both fluorescent and neon lights. Read More

Your Infographic For Deciding On A Light Source

We’ve been in business since 1993, so we’ve heard just about every question in the book when it comes to light sources. “How much longer does an LED light last than a fluorescent, on average?” “Which light sources are dimmable?” “What exactly is xenon lighting?”

We created this infographic to address those questions and more – all of the FAQ’s that we hear related to choosing a light source. You’ll find an overview of how each one works, a color temperature comparison scale, pros & cons, estimated lifetime, and a few more general tips. Let us know what you think!

Comparing light sources, an infographic

Want to embed this infographic on your own site or blog? We’d love that! Copy & paste the embed code below:

<img src=”” width=”788″ height=”2072″>
Choosing A Light Source</strong> created by <a href=””>Pegasus Lighting</a>.

New Life-Cycle Comparisons of LED, CFL, Incandescent

Click to enlarge

The Department of Energy just published a new report comparing the life-cycle of LED, compact fluorescent, and incandescent lamps.

According to the report, CFLs and LED lamps are very comparable in terms of average energy consumption. They both use about one-fourth of the energy that incandescent lamps do.

However, the energy used to manufacture an LED lamp is expected to fall significantly in the next several years (see the purple pie charts).

What do you think … Is this what you would’ve expected to see? I was surprised to find that LED and CFL were neck and neck; I would’ve expected LED to win out in low energy consumption.