Are LEDs Finally Less Expensive than CFLs?

If you’re a business owner, the cost of lighting an office suite, warehouse, or another facility definitely can cut into profits. Energy-saving light bulbs and fixtures, of course, provide a ready solution. But which lighting choice is the most wallet-friendly?

In the cost-efficiency contest between CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and LEDs, the former once was deemed the cheaper choice. After all, CFLs carried a much lower purchase price (about 50% of the LED cost). Since then, however, LEDs have made significant progress. In the long run, they’re now much easier on your wallet than CFLs.

Why LEDs are the most cost-efficient energy saving light bulbs:

Yes, CFLs still retail for about a half of the LED purchase price – approximately $2.50 vs. $5. Now let’s consider other important factors.

LEDs typically have a lifespan of 50,000 hours. This is 8-10 times longer than the average CFL. If illuminated for 3 hours per day, an LED bulb will last well beyond 25 years. Because LEDs outlast CFLs, the latter must be replaced far more often than LED bulbs. The more bulbs your business uses, of course, the higher your replacement costs will climb. Thus, given their considerably longer lifespan, LEDs actually have a lower total upfront cost in the long run – despite their higher initial purchase price. The more bulbs your business requires, the greater the savings.

LEDs also trump CFLs when it comes to energy savings. The average LED uses about 10 watts; CFLs 15 watts. Now let’s look at this in terms of long-term costs. Say the average CFL bulb that’s on for twelve hours a day will consume around 65.7 (kW/h) per year, compared to 43.8 (kW/h) for an LED bulb. Let’s assume you own a law firm requiring 30 light bulbs. With a $0.13 cost per (kW/h), the LEDs will cost your business $170.00 per year, while the CFLs will set you back $256.00. That’s a difference of $86.00 per year. Over five years, the LED bulbs will save your law firm $430.00.

LED costs drop even further when you factor in rebates and tax incentives. ENERGY STAR® partners across the nation frequently sponsor special offers, credits, or rebates on designated products. For example, Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative offers customers 50% off the purchase price of ENERGY STAR® – certified lighting products (maximum $10 per bulb). In California, PG&E and other utility companies are creating rebate programs for pre-qualified LED lamps and fixtures. Similar incentives are available throughout the United States. Interested owners should investigate the applicable programs available in their region.

Business owners may also get a price break from Uncle Sam. The 179D Federal Energy Tax Deduction applies to energy-efficient design and construction of commercial buildings. To qualify, a building must reduce total annual energy costs through various means, including energy-efficient lighting options such as LEDs.
So to answer the question, “Are LEDs finally less expensive than CFLs?” Given the long-term savings and generous incentives, the answer is a clear ‘yes’ – particularly if you’re a business owner. Every LED bulb is money in your pocket.

LEDs are not all Created Equal

A lot of businesses tell us they feel LED technology isn’t there yet or they don’t want to risk the investment because they’ve been burned by bad LEDs in the past. Luckily, there are options to directly compare LEDs through the comparison site Not only do they provide free, impartial comparisons, they work with an independent laboratory to verify, test and review LED lamps, which ensures they only carry quality LED lights.

You can’t hide behind the excuse that the research is too much work either because they make finding the right bulbs so easy.

The only reason not to switch to LEDs is if you just don’t like saving money.

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