In this post I would like to share with you my opinion on some types of light sources you can buy at stores. There are divided opinions about the LED supremacy (or not) over CFLs (energy saving bulbs). I did some calculations and reading what could be better for average Joe and I have to say this so called supremacy is a little fuzzy for me right now. Regardless, let’s start from the beginning.
Some time ago there were practically no options. You wanted a good source of light you bought 100W bulb, you wanted to have light for kitchen or bedroom you took 60W bulb. Lower wattage ones were good in corridors or something else. You wanted some strong light for a driveway or construction area you could buy halogen lamps. Everything was simple for home lights. Then there was this pressure for class A devices (fridges, dishwashers, etc.) to save energy and environment. That is when CFLs hit jackpot. I don’t know about countries outside EU, but here thanks to EU directives (2005/32/WE and 2009/125/WE) all 100W and 75W bulbs were now allowed to be sold. Good lobbing job J I also do not know about other countries but in Poland we loop holed this by selling these bulbs as shock proofed and with the sign that they cannot be used at homes. Like some cashier will check where do you want to put them. But that is another topic.
Back to the subject … Let’s say that we want to save some money on electric bills by buying energy saving bulbs. Checking what I can buy on Internet I got this data (warm write bulbs, E27 screw-in type, 230V mains):
PHILIPS – 12W – 10k switches – 10k h work – 745 lm – $3
OSRAM – 12W – 10k switches – 10k h work – 660 lm – $3
PHILIPS – 12W – 100k switches – 20k h work – 803 lm – $17
OSRAM – 12W – 100k switches – 25k h work – 810 lm – $20
HALOGEN (just for comparison):
PHILIPS – 42W – 2k h work – 630 lm – $2
Hmm … wait a second. For the same 12W power and only about 100 lm light power more we have to pay $17 instead of $3? Right, but you get twice more h of work and ten times more switch on/offs. OK, but for $17 LED we can buy 6 or 7 (bulk price) CFLs and we get 60-70 h of work. There has to be something more to convince me for buying LED bulbs, don’t you agree?
And there are. First of all, CFLs include the mercury element. Even if you do not care about environment, mercury is dangerous for you and your family when the bulb breaks. Also, I use CFLs and their disadvantage is start time and time that they need reach the 100% light level. Usually, it is much more than a minute. For me it is just annoying. Third thing is that you cannot dim them – I mean that cheap ones. You can buy dimmable CFLs but the price is higher; around $20. Of course not all LED bulbs are dimmable, but that is also another topic. Why dimming is so important in my opinion? Regardless bulb price, with dimming you can save some money on electricity bills. However, I believe the real beauty of dimming is that you can adjust lights levels to current needs and create lights scenarios which is great for your eyes, mood and look nice and cool.
Another thing – maybe not for everyone, buy at least for DIY people – you can buy some high quality diodes (i.e. CREE) and create your own lamps, even with design – that is priceless J It is much harder to create a CFL at home.
Despite the mentioned CFLs disadvantages, I have to give them that their light angle is something that is hard to compete with when you would like to use only one hi-power LED in bulb.
To sum up, I would like to use LED light sources in my project, because I see bigger potential and better possibilities for LED lights at home. I would love to check your opinions and read about your experiences in comments below about LED and CFL bulbs.