Monday, February 2, 2015

Light Bulbs: Comparing Costs

With all the light bulb choices available, it can be mind-boggling to sort out the true costs of various products. What makes it even more complicated is figuring out the long-term vs. short-term costs when you factor in electrical usage.

Let’s see how three bulbs with similar performance stack up over 30,000 hours, which is the average lifespan of an LED bulb:
  •         A 60-watt incandescent bulb
  •         A 13-watt CFL bulb
  •         A 10--watt LED bulb


Keep in mind that incandescent bulbs are no longer being manufactured, but you may find some in stock at larger stores.

Bulb Cost
First, take a look at the cost of the bulbs themselves, regardless of electrical usage. This takes into account the cost of the bulb and its lifespan.

Bulb type
Lifespan per bulb
Cost per bulb
Bulb cost over 30,000 hours
Incandescent
1,000 hours
$1.00
$30.00 (30 bulbs)
CFL
8,000 hours
$4.23
$15.86 (3.75 bulbs)
LED
30,000 hours
$14.65
$14.65 (1 bulb)

Usage Cost
Next, we’ll examine the cost of the electricity required to light the bulb for 30,000 hours. This is dependent on the wattage used by each bulb type.

Bulb type
Watts used (power)
Power used over
30,000 hours
Power cost @ $0.10 per kilowatt hour
Incandescent
60 watts
1,800 kilowatt hours
$180.00
CFL
13 watts
390 kilowatt hours
$39.00
LED
10 watts
300 kilowatt hours
$30.00

The Bottom Line
Finally, let’s add up both the cost of the bulb and the cost of the electricity needed to run it for 30,000 hours. This represents the total cost of the bulb.

Bulb type
Cost of bulb(s)
Cost of electricity
Total cost
Incandescent
$30.00 (30 bulbs)
$180.00
$210.00
CFL
$15.86 (3.75 bulbs)
$39.00
$54.86
LED
$14.65 (1 bulb)
$30.00
$44.65

As you can see, LED bulbs turn out to be the least expensive choice over time. They also use less electricity than any other bulb type.

Even better, LEDs are coming down in price more and more. Although switching to LEDs can be expensive up front, keep an eye on LED prices to determine when it might be a good time to make the change – or to use a few LEDs in places that are lighted continuously.

Want to know more about how CFL and incandescent bulbs stack up? Check out this calculator, which also lets you to see how your home appliances and electronics are performing.



Bulb Direct specializes in all types of bulb for your everyday and specialty needs. Give us a call today!

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