Fluorescent vs LED Which is Better & Why? 

The innovation of fluorescent light in the 1930s was a huge success for mankind. This light ruled the commercial industry for a very long time. LED light came into the scene much later, in 1962. But LED lights became the new standard pretty quickly. But still, many people get confused when it comes to using or purchasing fluorescent Vs LED.  

Lighting at your commercial facility is crucial for running your operations smoothly. What kind of lights do you use? Are they efficient? How much does it cost? These have been very crucial questions for many years. Fluorescent light vs. LED, which will be better for your business? We are going to find out in this article.  

    1. What are Fluorescent Lights?

Fluorescent lights are made from a mixture of gases that are heated until they glow. These gases are mercury, argon, and neon. Electricity heats up the inert gases and mercury vapor. The atoms in the plasma are so close to each other that they form an ionized gas which creates invisible ultraviolet light. There is a phosphorous powder inside the glass tube. The UV light illuminates that coating, and as a result, we get white “fluorescent” light.

They are a type of light bulb that uses a fluorescent material to create light. Fluorescent lights come in three different types: compact fluorescent, extended base fluorescent, and general service fluorescent. 

Fluorescent lights
Fluorescent lights

Compact fluorescent bulbs are the smallest and have a long life expectancy. Extended base fluorescents are the size of regular lightbulbs and have a shorter life expectancy, but they produce more light. General service fluorescents are the largest and have the shortest life expectancy, but they produce the most light.

    2. What are LED lights?

LED lights are a recent development in lighting technology that has revolutionized the way we see and use light. They are more efficient than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, last longer, and use less energy.

LEDs are unique in that they are made up of a small number of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These LEDs are arranged in a matrix, and when an electric current is applied, they emit light. This light is generated in a single direction, which is why LEDs are often used in applications such as streetlights, signs, and displays.

LED tube lights
LED tube lights

Technical Details 

LEDs are made of two parts, an n-type semiconductor, and a p-type semiconductor. Both devices have been doped with different substances to change their electrical properties.

The p-type and n-type materials are created by introducing the original material to another atom, replacing some of the original atoms. These new atoms influence the physical and chemical properties of the material. 

P-type materials are introduced to elements that have fewer valence electrons than the intrinsic material, while n-type materials are introduced to elements that have more valence electrons than the inherent material.

When the external voltage is applied, and the new materials come into contact, they form a p-n junction. This junction has interesting and useful properties for electronic applications depending on whether the external voltage is applied and in which direction the current flows – with one side connected to a positive terminal and the other to a negative terminal.

If you are interested you can learn more about this from the below video 

Fluorescent Light  vs LED pros & cons

We are discussing LED light vs fluorescent light. Though LED lights are becoming more and more popular for the advantages they come with, both lights have some pros and cons.

Fluorescent Lights Pros 

  • Price 

The combination of high lumen output and a long lifespan with a minimal initial investment makes linear fluorescents popular. Buying a linear fluorescent bulb could save you money in the long run if you’re concerned about the initial investment.

  • Trouble-free Installation 

There are different lighting types, and replacing fluorescent light with another type is an easy process.

  • Comfort 

People are more comfortable with the softer light of a fluorescent rather than the sometimes harsh or “too bright” lighting of an LED. This makes it a preferred choice for many bedrooms and living rooms.

  • Product Selection is Easy 

Selecting a good LED light manufacturer is a bit difficult task. Many bad companies produce low-quality LED lights. But selecting a fluorescent light is relatively easy. Just pick a good brand, and get a good quality fluorescent light.

Cons of Fluorescent Light 

 

  • Bad Effect on the Environment 

As consumer demands increase and resources dwindle, it is becoming more important for organizations to consider industrial development’s environmental impacts. 

Mercury is one of the most prevalent concerns with fluorescent light bulbs. Recent innovations have decreased the mercury content within most tubes, but they are still fundamentally toxic to humans  

  • Energy usage

If you want to minimize your energy expenditure, go with LED. LED lights have less inefficiency than linear fluorescent or halogen bulbs. T5 Fluorescent tubes and T8 Fluorescent tubes use 28W and 36 W, respectively, whereas LED tubes only use 18 W. 

  • Life Duration 

T8 fluorescent tubes’ life duration is 10 to 12 thousand hours, and T5 fluorescent tubes are 20 thousand hours. 

  • In-Consistent Lighting 

Fluorescent lamps often cause light levels to fluctuate, meaning that you will have dark corners in your space with inconsistent lighting.

LED vs Fluorescent light
LED vs Fluorescent light

Pros of LED lights 

  • Saves Electricity Bill 

Most importantly, LED lighting can help you save money on your electricity bill. Saving 45–65% on energy expenses is usually enough to provide a reasonable return on investment when switching from inefficient linear fluorescent light bulbs to linear LED bulbs.

  • Lasts Long 

The average lifespan of LED lights is 80 thousand hours. On the other hand, Fluorescent lights don’t last more than 20 thousand hours. 

  • Instant Light

The light-up time is very different when talking about fluorescent light vs LED. LED’s light instantly – in nanoseconds. 

  • Protect the Environment

Manufacturers are moving to more environment-friendly solutions these days. Excessive carbon emission has set the world in a very vulnerable situation. But LED lights are free from that. They don’t emit any poisonous mercury. But fluorescent lights can emit up to 15 Mg mercury.  

  • Rugged 

 LEDs are also called “Solid State Lighting (SSL) as they are made of solid material with no filament or tube or bulb to break

  • Effortless Installation and nearly zero Maintenance 

When it comes time to convert from fluorescent to LED, compatibility is a major concern. We recommend working with the existing linear fluorescent ballast. Converting to newer generations of linear fluorescent will conserve energy and reduce maintenance needs. 

  • Temperature Immune

LED lights are not affected by cold temperatures. LEDs have no problem with low temperatures and will startup even in subzero weather. 

  • Excellent Color Rendering 

LEDs do not wash out colors like other light sources such as fluorescents, making them perfect for displays and retail applications

  • Heavy Warranty 

Initially, this was the USP of LED lights. Good LED light manufacturers offer three to five years of warranty and replicate the light if any issue occurs. That is something consumers never saw in the lighting industry. The process is still going on, and people feel relieved when they purchase a LED light at a high cost because they know they will get a new light if anything happens to the light. 

Cons of LED Lights 

  • Expensive 

This is most probably the only big cons of LED lights. LED is a complicated technology, and making LED lights need sophisticated machines. Also, materials from top brands to make LED lights are not cheap. Therefore, the price of LED compared to fluorescent lights are high. But manufacturers are trying to reduce the price without compromising the quality. 

  • Voltage sensitivity

LEDs must be supplied with a voltage above the threshold and a current below the rating. This can involve series resistors or current-regulated power supplies.

  • Blue Hazard

There is a concern that blue LEDs and cool-white LEDs are now capable of exceeding safe limits of the so-called blue-light hazard as defined in eye safety specifications

  • Area Light Source

LEDs do not approximate a “point source” of light but rather a Lambertian distribution. So LEDs are difficult to use in applications requiring a spherical light field. LEDs are not capable of providing divergence below a few degrees. This is contrasted with lasers, which can produce beams with divergences of 0.2 degrees or less. 

  • Too Many Options 

There is a term called “Options blindness.” That means if you offer too many options to the customers, they can’t make the proper decision. Manufacturers make so many types of LED lights that sometimes it can be overwhelming for consumers to buy the right bulb. 

    3. Common uses Fluorescent vs LED

 

Common Applications of Fluorescent Light 

Fluorescent lights are widely used in offices and homes today. They are also commonly used in retail establishments, hospitals, and other small places. 

They tend to be more affordable than other types of light, and they provide a bright, consistent light that is easy on the eyes.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using fluorescent lights. First, make sure they are placed where they will be used most often. They don’t work as well in dark areas, and they are not as effective in medium to large areas.

Fluorescent lights are used in commercial spaces
Fluorescent lights are used in commercial spaces

Another thing to keep in mind is the color of the light. Fluorescent lights come in a variety of colors, and each color has a different effect on the body. Blue light is the most beneficial, and it is usually the type of light that is used in offices and homes.

Common Applications of LED Light 

LED lights were initially used in the computer’s circuit board. But over time, the technology developed, and more and more applications inherited this technology. Now you will see LED lights everywhere – from household applications to sports grounds. 

LED tube lights are replacing fluorescent lights
LED tube lights are replacing fluorescent lights

Over time LED lights have replaced 50% of the backdated lighting solution. They are excellent for warehouses, large commercial spaces, and events. LED lights have replaced the sodium lights which were used to illuminate the streets for a long time. All-in-one LED sunlights are reducing energy consumption by using solar energy to illuminate the streets.  

And there are LED strip lights which are an excellent choice for modern kitchen areas and restaurants. The LED light industry is growing so rapidly that it is launching new lights to fulfill the requirements of modern-day consumers. 

    4. Fluorescent vs LED cost

The price difference between fluorescent and LED lights is often significant. For example, a 60-watt fluorescent bulb typically costs around $7, while a 60-watt LED bulb costs around $30. That’s a significant price difference!

There are some reasons why LED lights’ upfront cost is higher. LED lights are more sophisticated technology than fluorescent lights. You will find cheap LED lights also, but those don’t last long, and the produced light is very low. The main reason behind this difference is the raw materials. 

Good chips and drivers play an important role in longevity. Good companies use materials from top brands such as Cree, Bridgelux, Osram, Philips, and Lumileds for chips. They buy drivers from  Osram, Philips, hedonic, Moso, and Inventronics.   

Another important factor is housing. Aluminum is used to house the LED lights. Some of the top-quality aluminum alloys used to use top-quality LED lights are 6063, 1070, etc. 

So, even if the price is higher when comparing Fluorescent vs LED, there is a reason. The upfront cost is high, but if you consider the lifespan and the quality of LED lights, the price is totally worth it.  

Fluorescent lights are cheaper to purchase in the short term, but they typically have a shorter lifespan and produce less light. LED lights are more expensive up front, but they typically have a longer lifespan and produce more light.

    5. What uses More Electricity, Fluorescent or LED? 

In recent years, many people have been switching to LED lighting because it is more energy-efficient than fluorescent lighting. On average, an LED bulb uses about 75-80% less electricity than a fluorescent bulb.

So, even if the upfront cost of LED lights is higher than fluorescent lights, the lower energy costs will save you a lot of money in the long run. 

The electricity bill of a single LED light is around USD 12.48 per year. On the other hand, the electricity bill of the T5-fluorescent tube is 19.34, and for the T8-fluorescent tube is USD 26.20. 

    6. Which is hotter, LED or Fluorescent?

Fluorescent light is hotter. 

If you are planning for large-scale light installation, the bulbs’ heat is crucial. Even if you are using lights at home, heat is also a factor to consider. Fluorescent lights produce much heat because they convert the additional energy into heat. 

On the other hand, LED lights don’t generate heat from the surrounding bulb. If you touch an illuminated LED light, you will not feel that much heat. That’s why restaurants, commercial spaces, and bars use LED lights. 

    7. Which is brighter, LED or Fluorescent?

The brightness of the light depends on efficiency. LEDs are more efficient, providing more light with the same amount of electricity as fluorescent lights.

    8. Fluorescent vs LED Consumption

When it comes to electricity consumption, fluorescent lights can not put up a challenge to LED lights. LED lights are more efficient. On average, LED tube lights consume 18W (+2W for the driver). On the other hand, T5 fluorescent tubes consume 80.6 KW, and T-8 fluorescent tubes consume 36 KW. 

    9. Fluorescent vs LED Efficiency

Fluorescent lights came into the industry with higher efficiency than previous lights. But LED lights outrun those by a long margin. LED lights are 70-80% more efficient. LED lights have the ability to convert 95% of electrical energy into lights. Only 5% of energy is wasted. Even after 50,000 hours of use, the efficiency is slightly reduced but still more than fluorescent light. 

Let us give you the number. LED tube lights can produce 127L/W. On the other hand, T-5 Fluorescent tubes produce 80-L/W, and T-8 Fluorescent tubes produce 70-L/W. 

    10. Which is better, LED or Fluorescent

LED lights are better than fluorescent lights in many ways. 

LED light came into the industry long after fluorescent lights. So, it is eminent that these lights are superior in technology. LED lights are more efficient and consume less energy to produce more lights. 

The lifespan of LED lights is much higher than fluorescent lights. One another important factor is carbon saving capability. LED tube lights to save 57 Kg of CO2  where T-5 Fluorescent tubes save only 32 Kg, and T-5 Fluorescent tubes don’t contribute to carbon savings. 

If we consider the upfront cost, then fluorescent lights have the upper hand because they are cheap. But if you do the math of energy consumption and lifespan, then the extra bucks you pay for LED lights are actually saving you lots of money. 

That’s why LED lights have replaced 50% of the old technology lights, and the forecast says that after 2030 90% of the lights will be LED lights. 

Conclusion

Fluorescent light is one of the most common types of lighting used in offices and other indoor spaces. Fluorescent light is made up of small tubes that create a green or bluish-green light when activated. These lights are inexpensive to operate and provide an even glow, but they have some disadvantages. 

First, fluorescent lights contain mercury, which can cause adverse health effects if it escapes from the lamps into the environment. Second, fluorescent light does not emit far-infrared radiation, which has been shown to be beneficial for human health. 

LED technology has replaced many traditional sources of lighting, such as fluorescents because it offers several benefits over fluorescent lights: LEDs emit a wider range of wavelengths than fluorescents, and these LEDs last longer without needing to be replaced often; they also do not contain mercury.

We hope this article on fluorescent vs LED was helpful to you, and now you can help customers to help find the best lights for their needs.

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