Comparison of different types of bulbs: incandescent, compact fluorescent (low consumption), halogen, led

It is obvious that incandescent and halogen bulbs are obsolete given the service life and electrical consumption of other bulbs. LEDs compete more and more with compact fluorescent bulbs, although it may be better to choose a good quality compact fluorescent, rather than a low-end LED bulb. The comparison of the technical criteria is sometimes difficult to compare 2 bulbs. Yet it is an essential step to be equipped with a light bulb consistent and not dangerous to health, especially when the lifetimes of products are counted in decades.

  • How to choose a light bulb?
  • Classic incandescent bulbs
  • Incandescent halogen bulbs
  • compact fluorescent light bulbs – low consumption
  • LEDs (or LEDs)
  • Comparative and equivalent of bulbs: incandescent, halogen, low consumption, led
  • Answers to your questions

How to choose a light bulb?

Limit lighting needs

bioclimatismTo save money on lighting, the first step is to avoid lighting. For that, it is first necessary to think well his house by optimizing the solar contributions (which also limit the consumption of heating), thanks to a bioclimatic design . A good exposure of the house and an unobstructed view can indeed bring you more brightness. Take care, for example, of the growth of trees that can create shade in the medium term. In addition, pieces with light colors and not overloaded furniture avoid unnecessary lighting.

Also be sure to choose your shades, the clearer they are, the more they will reflect the light and increase the brightness accordingly. Remember to dust them regularly, just like the bulbs themselves.

From the need for lumens

To choose the most suitable bulb, you need to know its need for Lumens (lm) and not Watt. The Lumens represent the illumination that the bulb will produce. For that, a quick calculation is necessary:

  • If you replace an incandescent bulb , multiply its electric power by  12 . For example, a bulb of 60w corresponds to 60 * 12 = 720 lumens.
  • If you replace a halogen bulb , multiply its electrical power by  20 . For example, a 35w bulb corresponds to 35 * 20 = 700 lumens.
  • If you replace a compact fluorescent bulb , multiply its electrical power by  60 . Example, a 12w bulb corresponds to 12 * 60 = 720 lumens.

lumen lightingThese values ​​of 12, 20 and 60 represent the light output (lm / W). The higher it is, the better because the bulb will produce more light for less electricity consumption. LEDs are the bulbs with the most important light output, it is usually between 80 and 95 lm / W.

With a production of lumens sufficient to illuminate the desired room, we will instead choose the bulb that consumes the least Watt. To have an idea, a difference of 1 watt, during 730h (2h / day) represents an additional cost of 10 cents of a year.

Color and IRC

The “color temperature” defines the general shade that the bulb will have. Thus, a temperature of 2700K will be slightly yellow, a 3000K a little whiter, while 6000K will be frankly white. Daylight is in the order of 6,400K.
Remember that if you want to create a “warm” atmosphere (living room, stay …), it is necessary to move towards a low temperature (2700K). Conversely for lighting that promotes precision (kitchen, office), we must get closer to natural light with high temperatures (4,000-6,400K).

diagram color temperature bulb

Color Temperature Diagram of Light Bulbs

The color yield index (CRI or RA) indicates whether the color will be more or less natural. The closer the IRC is to 1, the closer the colors will be to colors in daylight. Generally, the IRC is above 80, but without further details.


It varies from 1000h to 50 000h depending on the bulbs. Attention, however, the general life of the bulbs and especially LEDs is very dependent on their temperature. This may vary in significant (but unknown) proportions between laboratory tests and daily use. Better to leave today on a maximum of 25 000h, including when 50 000h are announced.

The service life also depends on the number of ignition / extinction that the bulb can withstand. Again, this is difficult to estimate and verify. Overall, bulbs of the same type have the same resistance to ignition and extinction.

The duration of ignition

The duration of ignition relates in particular compact fluorescent bulbs. Those of bad bill take up more than a minute to light up completely. This can be disturbing, especially in rooms where occupancy is a few minutes.

Characteristics sheet

ledl light bulb test owim 1000lm 11wThe set of different comparison criteria is normally found on the back of the packaging of the bulbs with formats approaching globally of the opposite. If information is missing, it often means that it is too unfavorable and it is better to move to another product.

Calculate the profitability of a light bulb

To calculate the profitability of one bulb compared to another, we must take into account the difference in purchase price, lifespan and power consumption. For this, we have created an excel spreadsheet that is very easy to use .

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