What’s the Difference Between a Fluorescent and LED Light?

Electricians installing fluorescent light

What’s the Difference Between a Fluorescent and LED Light?

At Frye Electric, Inc., we hear this question a lot. We also hear, "Are led light bulbs fluorescent lights?" so we'd like to take the time to answer it: LED lights and fluorescent lights are not the same.

The main difference between fluorescent and LED lights is in their energy usage, longevity, and ideal place of use. Fluorescent lighting, particularly CFL bulbs, can last around 10,000 hours and is ideal for lighting up full rooms. LED lighting lasts upwards of 60,000 hours and is ideal for directional light, such as flashlights and desk lamps.

Comparing these two types of lighting requires taking a look at a few key differences. Let's now dive deeper into the difference between fluorescent and LED lighting.

Differences in Types

LED lights are light-emitting diodes and are found either as single diodes, such as in a flashlight, or as a cluster of diodes to create a light bulb.

Fluorescent lighting comes in two primary types: tube lighting and CFL (compact fluorescent lighting). Fluorescent lights can range in size from tubes multiple feet long to compact bulbs that are about the size of a standard lamp light bulb.

Lifespan Differences

LED lighting lasts upwards of 60,000 hours before needing to be replaced.

Fluorescent lighting, particularly CFL bulbs, can last around 10,000 hours before needing to be replaced. You would have to replace the average CFL bulb 6 times to equal the lifespan of one LED light bulb.

Energy Consumption Differences

LED light bulbs use about half the wattage of fluorescent lighting, about 6 watts of power versus 14 watts of power for a CFL light bulb. For an LED bulb’s lifespan, about 340-kilowatt hours of electricity is used. CFL bulbs used over 60,000 hours (6 bulbs) will use around 840 kilowatt-hours of electricity, according to the website Product Dose which compared different light bulb energy specifications. As far as energy efficiency goes, LED light bulbs are about 5 times more efficient than fluorescent lighting.

Ideal Usage for LED and Fluorescent LIghts

LED lighting is ideal for directional lighting. Directional lighting is useful in lights such as flashlights and desk lamps. The light focuses on where the bulb is pointed rather than bathing the wider area in light. LEDs are also found in vehicle headlights and electronic devices for status lights.

Fluorescent lighting is ideal for lighting up full rooms, with full-size tubes being ideal for large rooms such as warehouses where focused light is not needed. CFL bulbs are useful for home use and lighting up bedrooms and living areas.

LED Differences

Both types of lighting are energy efficient when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. However, LED technology costs more than CFL and fluorescent lighting BUT CFLs and fluorescent bulbs do contain small amounts of mercury that can be poisonous if the bulb is broken. LEDs do not contain mercury or harmful gases. LED bulbs are also more durable than fluorescent bulbs due to their compact size and replacement is minimal compared to the constant replacement with fluorescent lights. So, which do you choose, Fluorescent or LED? They both have pros and cons and you'll need to see what works best for you and your situation.


So now you know the difference between fluorescent light and an LED.  Frye Electric can assist you with the replacement of your fluorescent lighting for LED for your home or business needs. We come right to you and due to the highest quality of LED lighting we use, our visit is a lasting one. Your energy savings can be seen almost immediately on your monthly power bill. LED lighting is more costly upfront, but the long term benefits for almost no light replacements and monthly power bill savings are worth seriously considering this lighting alternative. Our team of lighting experts can help you decide, today!

Call Frye Electric today at (317) 659-6899 and let us walk you through your benefits of installing LED lights and start saving today! 

Do you currently use LED lighting? If not, why not?

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