LED lighting and fluorescent lighting are just two of the types of lighting technologies available. Both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. One key area that they differ in is the area of energy consumption and lifespan. Comparing LED lighting and fluorescent lighting requires taking a look at a few key specifications.
LED lights are light emitting diodes and are found either as single diodes, such as in a flashlight, or as a cluster of diodes to create a light bulb. Fluorescent lighting comes in two primary types: tube lighting and CFL (compact fluorescent lighting). Fluorescent lights can range in size from tubes multiple feet long to the compact bulbs that are about the size of a standard lamp light bulb.
LED lighting can last upwards of 60,000 hours before needing to be replaced. Fluorescent lighting, particularly CFL bulbs, can last around 10,000 hours before needing to be replaced. You would have to replace the average CFL bulb 6 times to equal the lifespan of one LED light bulb.
LED light bulbs use about half the wattage of fluorescent lighting, about 6 watts of power versus 14 watts of power for a CFL light bulb. For an LED bulb's lifespan, about 340 kilowatt hours of electricity is used. CFL bulbs used over 60,000 hours (6 bulbs) will use around 840 kilowatt hours of electricity, according to the website Product Dose which compared different light bulb energy specifications.
As far as energy efficiency goes, LED light bulbs are about 5 times more efficient than fluorescent lighting, according to the website MegaVolt.
LED lighting is ideal for directional lighting. Directional lighting is useful in lights such as flashlights and desk lamps. The light focuses on where the bulb is pointed rather than bathing the wider area in light. LEDs are also found in vehicle headlights and electronic devices for status lights.
Fluorescent light bulbs are ideal for lighting up full rooms, with full-size tubes being ideal for large rooms such as warehouses where focused light is not needed. CFL bulbs are useful for home use and lighting up bedrooms and living areas.
Both types of lighting are energy efficient when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. However, LED technology costs more than CFL and fluorescent lighting.
Another consideration is the makeup of the bulbs. CFLs and fluorescent bulbs do contain small amounts of mercury that can be poisonous if the bulb is broken. LEDs do not contain mercury or harmful gases. LED bulbs are also more durable than fluorescent bulbs due to their compact size.