Switching from an old incandescent light bulb to an energy saving bulb should be a no brainer. However, selecting what type of energy saving bulb to use is a different matter. For many years the CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) was the immediate choice for anyone who wanted to reduce the energy consumption of their household lighting. The advent of super energy efficient LED Lighting has complicated this matter as consumers are forced to weigh up the pros and cons of both of these bulbs. But which in fact is better? Commence the battle of the bulbs!
A typical CFL will use between 9 and 11 watts in power. This is a good improvement over traditional incandescent bulbs, but not as good as an LED. A GU10 80 LED Bulb uses 4.5 watts in power, which is not only a vast improvement over the old incandescent, but is also better than the CFL.
Most CFLs have a quoted life span of about 5,000 hours, but you need to be wary. Most retailers will exaggerate this figure and most CFLs will use a large percentage of their luminosity before the end of their life span. On the other hand a GU10 80 LED has a rated life expectancy of 30,000 hours, about 6 times longer, and they will remain consistent bright for their entire life span.
One of the largest issues with CFLs is their safe disposal. CFLs can not be included in normal household waste or recycling because they contain a small amount of a harmful substance called mercury, which is important in their operation. If a CFL breaks this substance is released and can cause serious environment damage. In order to recycle them safely they need to be taken to designated recycling centers for hazardous waste. GU10 LED contains no harmful substances at all. They also do not heat up. This makes them very safe to handle and recycle. Even if they break, which is unknowingly as they are quite durable, they can be swept up and thrown away. Most retailers also provide their own recycling service under the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Contact them to find out.
A notorious issue with the CFL is the time it takes to reach full luminosity. Some models may take a couple of minutes to reach full brightness, which can be a real headache. Some new models have overcome the issue, but the light they produce is still quite unnatural and achieves poor color rendering. GU10 LED light up instantaneously. They also produce a clear, natural looking light.
CFLs are available in a limited range of fittings, shapes and sizes. In addition to this, research and development into CFL technology is much slower than LEDs. LEDs are available in a huge range of styles.
Finally, the all important factor; price! CFLs are still cheaper than typical GU10 LED , but the price of the latter is gradually coming down, and it will not be long until it reaches a level that is viable for both domestic and commercial consumers.