LED vs. Fluorescent Lighting

Posted by Briana Lipor on 11/27/19 9:00 AM


Over the years, advances in technology have brought many innovations to the lighting industry.

Significant improvements have been made to artificial light since the early 19th century. The improvement of efficiency, reliability and cost is ever present. For the longest time, the industry standard was incandescent, now we have fluorescent and lighting emitting diodes, or LED for short. Both LED and fluorescent lighting provide flexible options and have a large number of applications. Comparing the two technologies will help you decide which is the best option for your application.

The two different types of technologies are entirely different methods of producing light and have many differences. Fluorescent lamps generate light when an electric arc excites the gas in the tube. Mercury in the gas emits ultraviolet radiation causing the phosphor coating of the lamp to glow, or fluoresce. Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs produce light when voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors, causing electrons to combine and create a unit of light, or a photon. 







Fluorescent tubes can last anywhere from 3-5 years or 10,000 hours before a replacement is required, depending on the ballast. When fluorescent tubes begin to go, they will become blackened and begin to visibly flicker. LED's have an extremely long lifespan relative to every other lighting technology. New LEDs on average can last 50,000 hours up to even 100,000 hours or more, ultimately paying for itself over time. 




Tubular fluorescent lighting can be made of glass, plastic, metal and mercury. Mercury is a very hazardous material and can be dangerous if a tube breaks. Fluorescent bulbs also emit UV radiation that is usually surrounded by a protective coating that absorbs the UV light. Fluorescent lights are generally safe to use, but if they break and end up in a landfill they can contaminate soil and water. There are many hazardous waste options to properly dispose of fluorescents, but it is important to verify that  fluorescents are accepted before taking them anywhere. LED bulbs unlike other energy- efficient types of lighting, do not emit polluting radiation and therefore do not pose a health hazard. LED's do not have the environmental issues common to traditional lighting solutions. They contain no dangerous chemicals which allow them to be safely and easily recycled.






Energy Consumption and Cost

On average, electrical consumption cost is 17% of a company's budget. If a business is looking primarily at initial cost, LEDs probably won't be the first choice. LEDs are initially more expensive than fluorescent bulbs, however their lifespan make up for it in the long run. As an added benefit, LED light bulbs are about 5 times more efficient than fluorescent lighting. LED lighting can cut costs down drastically and generally consume very low amounts of power. LEDs can use up to 90% less energy than a comparable halogen or fluorescent light bulb. Ultimately, using far less watts and having lower energy bills while getting the same results. LED bulbs are also more durable than fluorescent bulbs due to their compact size. Replacement becomes minimal compared to the constant replacement with fluorescent bulbs.



                                     Ecoloy illustration Lamp bulb with clean nature and renewable energy symbol inside



Lighting plays a significant role in our every day life. Although fluorescent lights cost less, LEDs have a reduced maintenance cost, contain no toxins and use less energy. Reflective Concept’s UL approved Draco Retrofit kit is great choice if you're looking to upgrade old lighting. With removeable lamps, these kits can last much longer than others on the market.

To learn how to replace your fluorescent or other outdated lighting contact reflective concepts, or feel free to call us at 866-276-6242.

Topics: Laser Cutting, Lighting Facts, Photometric Design, Light History, Light Quality, Energy Efficient, Energy Efficiency, aluminum reflectors, photometrics, lighting reflectors, LED lighting, fluorescent lighting