What Is The Difference Between Incandescent And LED?

Lighting is a crucial part of any home. You need light anywhere around the house day in and out. But what is the best light bulb for your home?

You may ask: “What is the difference between incandescent and LED?” Continue reading to learn about the fundamental distinctions between the two.

What are incandescent lights?

incandescent light bulb vs led

Incandescent bulbs are the typical light most of us were born with and raised. They have been the only light source for ages. But they are still used today.

“Incandescence” refers to a brilliant light produced by a heated substance. An incandescent light contains a narrow strand known as filament. The filament is typically composed of tungsten.

The filament heats up and glows when electricity passes through it. It is heated to approximately 2,200°C to produce light only humans can see.

The lamp fails once the tungsten in the filament is depleted or shocked. It dims easily.

Two common uses for incandescent lighting are interior and residential and interior lighting. They are often not employed in outdoor setups or large businesses.

Advantages of Incandescent Lights


Affordable Upfront Cost

They’re inexpensive to produce, so they’re also very cheap to buy. They typically cost a dollar or two.

An incandescent bulb is more affordable than an LED bulb upfront. You may go for an incandescent light bulb if you’re in a pinch right now. It is the most affordable lamp available.

Wide Accessibility

Incandescent bulbs are readily accessible. You can use them in different voltages, current, and light outputs. They function well with both alternating and direct currents.

Excellent Color Rendering

Incandescent lights are well-known for their excellent ability to create color. Their color temperature is 2700k, which is extra warm white.

Incandescent bulbs also score 100 in the color rendering index. This is because they emit an entire range of colors.

Incandescent bulbs have a rich tradition of being utilized as spotlights. They are commonly used for lighting effects in fashion shows. Many audiences find this appealing.

Disadvantages of Incandescent Lights

incandescent light vs led

Poor Energy-Efficiency

Incandescent bulbs are the worst among lighting options in terms of energy efficiency. Their efficiency is roughly 10 lumens per watt.

Unfortunately, about 90% of their energy is used to produce heat. These traditional bulbs consume a lot of electricity to create that vintage glow.

Worse, only 2% of their energy is converted into light. The remaining 98% of the heat goes wasted.

Worst Lifespan

Incandescent bulbs have a lifespan of roughly 1,200 hours. Even if they are inexpensive to buy, you’ll need about 50 to 100 of them to get the same lifespan as one single LED. You have to pay a lot of money to keep your house in good lighting.


Incandescent bulbs are omnidirectional. They shine in all directions. At least 50% of their light must be redirected and reflected in the target area. This is a significant system inefficiency.

Because of the necessity for light redirection, omnidirectional lights have a substantially lower output efficiency due to losses than directional lights.

Costly Maintenance

One of the biggest downsides of incandescent lights is that they are expensive to maintain. There are no quality benefits to warrant the extra cost compared to other bulbs.

Keeping the lights on in a typical home with 20 to 30 bulbs may cost tons of dollars every year. Making the switch to energy-efficient lights, such as LEDs, can save you a lot of money in the long run.


Incandescent bulbs are more brittle than LED bulbs. Although this may not seem like a big thing, it adds an added layer of concern. It’s easy to make a mess with just a soft knock or a hefty hand.

The glass they use is much thinner than the glass used in LED lights. So, they are much more delicate. In addition, removing a broken light bulb while still in the fixture can be both difficult and dangerous.

Heating Risks

The heat produced by incandescent bulbs is high. This causes the room to heat up, which is unfavorable in hot weather.

Heating also increases the risk of the bulb burning out. You’ll have to wait a little while to change an incandescent bulb if it burns out. It can cause your fingers to burn.

It’s also possible that the light bulb will explode if the outside temperature drops much. This can be incredibly dangerous.

What are LED lights?

led incandescent

LED bulbs aren’t bulbs. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), as the name implies, are small semiconductors (diodes) coated in plastic to keep the elements and direct the light. They don’t have wire filaments, unlike incandescent bulbs.

A diode is a device that causes electricity to flow through two electrodes. These are cathode and anode. Similar to how a battery works, the current goes in via the anode and passes out via the cathode.

The electrons in LEDs produce photons, which are visible light. Photons produce very little heat.

LED bulbs are a fantastic option for schools, warehouses, gymnasiums, and commercial buildings. They can also be used in parking lots, big public spaces, and road lighting.

In general, LED lighting is more energy-efficient and lasts longer than any other light source. It is used in more and various applications.

You can choose from different LED products, including bulbs, tape lights, under-cabinet lights, outdoor and decorative, landscape lights, and more.

Advantages of LED Lights

led vs incandescent bulbs

Long Lifespan

LEDs have a very extended life period compared to all other lighting technologies. New LEDs can endure for up to 50,000 hours or more. You might not ever replace a lamp again because of its incredible endurance.

How long is 50,000 hours? It equates to a 50-year lifespan compared to a standard incandescent bulb.

An LED would survive approximately 23 years if used six hours daily. That’s enough time to renovate your home and a generation’s worth of time.

Energy Efficient

LEDs are incredibly energy efficient compared to any other lighting technology. This is because they only waste little energy.

Diode light is far more efficient in terms of power than filament lighting. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy.

They produce light in a certain direction, which means fewer losses without redirecting or reflecting light.


Nowadays, more and more businesses go green. Customers are also more interested in ecologically responsible options.

LED lighting’s environmental advantages also apply to the manufacturing process. Many light bulbs use mercury in their production.

You’ll use fewer bulbs and won’t have to worry over their mercury level if you use LED lights. Mercury and other harmful chemicals are not used in LED lighting. This is a win-win situation for the planet.

Weather Adaptability

Cold weather isn’t good for traditional bulbs like incandescent. They need higher voltages to ignite. So, their brilliance decreases as the temperature falls.

In contrast, LEDs perform better by roughly 5% in frigid conditions. As a result, LED lights are a superior option for illumination in meat lockers, freezers, and other chilly storage areas.

Also, because of their capacity to work efficiently in low-temperature conditions, they are ideal for parking lots, building perimeters, and outdoor signposts.

Flexible Designs

LEDs are very tiny. Thus, they can be used in a wide range of situations. Keep in mind that they were originally intended as a circuit board’s indicator light.

Consider the lighting options you’ll have as a result of this. You can use LEDs to illuminate any space from a shop to a large football stadium.

Instant Lighting

Choose LED lighting if you require a light that is quick to turn on. Instant-on/off of LED lights is possible.

For incandescent bulbs, you should wait for a warm-up period. They flicker for a few seconds before they fully illuminate. These are a few of the problems you can avoid with LED lights.

In addition, if you constantly switch on/off incandescent lamps, their lifespan shortens. Frequent switching does not affect LED lights.

Dimming Capacities

Some bulbs like incandescent cannot function well when dimmed. You may not even be able to dim them at times.

For LED lights, the opposite is true. An LED bulb runs more efficiently when powered at a lower level than it should be. But, remember not to use typical dimmers to decrease the lights. They require switches tailored to their particular technology.


Light is emitted in a 360-degree circle around the bulb in all traditional lighting. So, you should buy accessories to divert the light in your intended direction.

Contrarily, LEDs only illuminate a 180-degree region. It’s ideal for recessed lighting in a corridor or bathroom. It’s also great for lighting artwork.

Disadvantages of LED Lights

difference between led and incandescent

High Cost

The sole drawback of LED lights is that they’re expensive to install.

LED bulbs used to cost nearly twice as much as an incandescent light. However, the prices have dropped. They save money in the long run because they are so much more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Check the table below:


Incandescent Lights

LED Lights

Average lifespan

 1,200 hours

 50,000 hours


 60 watts

 6-8 watts

Yearly operating cost





You have many options when it comes to light bulbs. “What is the difference between incandescent and LED?” is a common inquiry. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. LEDs have been taking the place of incandescent bulbs. They are now more inexpensive, efficient, and cost-effective than they used to be.

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