The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Glass Envelope

LED Reflector Lamp
If you’re deciding which light source to use for your next project, look no further! In this blog series, we’re going in-depth to explore the differences between LEDs and CFLs, so you can make the best decision. In this post, we’re talking about structure…

LEDs and CFLs are built very differently.

LED light bulbs use glass or plastic envelopes of almost any thickness. They’re built to last, even in the most demanding circumstances. CFLs, on the other hand, have a daintier construction. If you drop one, the thinner glass envelope could easily break. This can be a problem, especially because CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury that will be released when the light bulb shatters.

To prevent CFLs from cracking so easily, some manufacturers have begun encasing CFLs in silicone coatings, so even if the glass breaks the shards and mercury will stay within the silicone, not allowed to get into your environment. The CFL’s traditional spiral is covered by a more conventionally shaped envelope like this: (more…)

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The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Infrared and UV Radiation

dark sunglasses
We won’t rest until we’ve explored every way LEDs and CFLs differ! This post is part of a series doing just that. So far we’ve covered everything from the basics, like rated-life and energy-efficiency to more complex topics, like how each source performs in cold temperatures. Click here to explore the entire series.

Radiation. We’re talking about lights here, so the topic was bound to come up sooner or later.

Infrared Radiation (IR)

First of all, it’s a myth that LEDs don’t generate heat. All light sources generate some heat, and LEDs are no exception. Excessive heat can damage an LED or lessen its rated life – so it’s essential that LEDs have well designed “heat sinks” to dissipate the heat generated in the rear of the LED.

This myth may have originated from the very true fact that LEDs don’t emit infrared radiation in the same direction as the emitted light, unlike other light sources.

A CFL, on the other hand, does emit IR and can get very hot to the touch. (more…)

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The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Directionality

Directional LED Display Light
This post is part of a series exploring how LEDs and CFLs differ. Click here to browse the entire series.

LEDs and CFLs aren’t always suited for the same applications, because they emit light differently. LEDs are made to emit light in one general direction, while CFLs are omnidirectional, emitting light in all directions, just like incandescent light bulbs.

The LED’s directional light beam is very convenient for many applications because there’s little to no wasted light emitted away from the area you want to illuminate. However, this can get problematic when you replace an omnidirectional light source with a directional LED.

Directional LEDs are perfect for task lighting, display lighting, focused accent lighting, and even for use in recessed cans. Omnidirectional CFLs will work better for decorative lights, like table lamps, chandeliers, and ceiling fans, when you need even light coming from all sides of the light bulb.  (more…)

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Energy Savings Of Solid-State Lighting (An Infographic)

How much energy can LEDs save?

If you often ponder the future of solid-state lighting, or you’re just a conscientious home or business owner, you’ll want to take a look at this report from the US Department of Energy on the energy-saving potential of the LED.

LEDs are one of the most efficient light sources around, producing the same amount of light as their incandescent counterparts using only a fraction of the power. The DOE expects great things for the future.

This infographic offers a rundown of just how much LEDs will affect our energy use in the years to come:

(more…)

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The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Dimmability

Stock-Photo-Dimmer
LEDs
and CFLs. To the untrained eye, they might just seem like comparable alternatives to the incandescent light bulb. But when you dive a little deeper, you’ll find that they’re very different. That’s just what we’re doing in this blog series – you can view the whole series here.

Dimming. In a world where customization is king and energy-saving is of ever-increasing importance, dimming lets you have both. Putting your lights on dimmers saves electricity, using 10% less power when you dim the lights just 10%. (And more if you dim them lower.) Dimmers also let you tailor the lighting scheme to whatever you’re doing.

But, are LEDs and CFLs any good at dimming? Turns out there’s a bit of a discrepancy… (more…)

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The Difference Between LEDs and CFLs: Instant On

LED
LEDs and CFLs are both popular energy-saving light bulbs. But, we consider CFLs the light source of the present and LEDs the light source of the future. In fact, we’ve devoted an entire blog series to explaining that concept, comparing everything from rated-lives, to how each light holds up in cold weather…

They say the good things in life are worth waiting for. But, that’s not the case when it comes to your light bulbs’ start time. When you flip a light switch, you want immediate results. If you’ve been using incandescent lights all these years, you’re probably used to that luxury.

So, you might not expect a CFL  (a light bulb more technologically advanced than an incandescent) to take longer to reach its complete light output. CFLs, even the best CFLs, can take anywhere from 1 to 60 seconds to reach their full brightness.

Why do CFLs have this delayed start?

Well, an incandescent light bulb produces light when an electrical current flows through its filament. The filament heats up and glows. CFLs, on the other hand, use a more complex system to produce light. Cathodes within the lamp heat up to about 900 degrees Fahrenheit and pass electrodes from one end of the lamp to another. This excites the mercury vapor inside the lamp, creating UV light. The UV light must then pass through the white coating on the inside of the glass envelope to produce visible light.

So, what about LEDs? Do they have a delayed start? (more…)

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