CFL – Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
A CFL bulb works by driving electrical current through a tube containing mercury vapour and argon. This produces invisible ultraviolet light, which excites the phosphor coating of the lamp. Phosphor is a synthetic material that emits visible light when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
Advantages Of CFL Light Bulbs
- CFL light bulbs on average use 70% less electricity and last at least eight times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- CFL bulbs have been widely available in many stores throughout South Africa and are reasonably priced.
- While CFL bulbs are slightly more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they are often considered cheaper than LED bulbs.
Disadvantages Of CFL Light Bulbs
- These bulbs contain mercury which is a toxic metal that can be harmful to both humans and the environment if the proper waste management techniques are not employed during disposal.
- Because of their design, they usually take a certain amount of time to warm-up to full brightness. This length of time depends on the manufacture; it can range from as little as 30 seconds to as much as three minutes.
LEDs – Light Emitting Diodes Bulbs
Light emitting diodes are considered by futurist to be the light source of the 21stcentury and beyond. This is because unlike incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, they don’t rely on filaments or toxic vapours to produce light. Instead they utilize semiconductor technology, which is very similar to the technology found in computers, smart phones and other electronic devices we use today.
Advantages of LED Light Bulbs
- Unlike CFL bulbs LEDs reach full brightness instantaneously as opposed to having to go through a warm-up period.
- LEDs are much more environmentally friendly, not only due to efficiency, but also because they don’t contain any potentially hazardous material such as mercury.
- Because light emitting diodes are based on some of the same fundamental technology that is found in computer chips, they are highly controllable. Depending on the manufacture, the colour and brightness for each bulb can be changed at will.
Disadvantages of LED Light Bulbs
- Perhaps the main disadvantage of LEDs is their cost. Because the technology is fairly new the initial cost to transition from conventional lighting to LEDs is much more than switching to CFLs. As manufactures develop new methods to make LED bulbs the cost is sure to drop considerably.
- Another disadvantage is that LEDs are directional. For example, this means if you placed one in a table lamp you’d likely get a single beam of light instead of light that radiates throughout the entire room. However, LED manufactures are aware of this and are currently developing ways to defuse the light properly so that it acts more like conventional light bulbs.
And the winner is: LED technology
In conclusion, LED technology is advancing all the time and their benefits justify the higher upfront cost over CFL lighting in most applications.