Many of us are trying to save on our electricity bills. That’s why we go for appliances that consume the least energy and last the longest. Many bulb types claim to be the most efficient in the market, but there can be only one type of bulb to claim that title. Which is it?

LEDs are the most long-lasting bulb. They last 50,000 hours, incandescent bulbs last 1,000 hours, CFLs last 8,000 hours, and halogen bulbs last 2,000 hours.

This article will elaborate on the lifespans of different light bulb types and explain the processes that lengthen or shorten them. So read on to know if you’re getting your money’s worth with your bulbs!

An Overview of Different Bulb Lifespans

Here’s a quick reference table showing the lifespan of different types of bulbs:

Light Bulb TypeAverage LifespanLumens Per WattSpecial FeatureLikely Cause Of Burnout
Incandescent Bulb1,000 hours lifespan14 lumens per wattFeatures a tungsten filamentTungsten filament may burn out quickly
Light-Emitting Diode Bulb50,000 hours lifespan100 lumens per wattConverts electrical energy directly to lightComponents are heat-sensitive and may burn out with excessive voltage
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb8,000 hours lifespan70 lumens per wattHas mercury vapor and argon gas within the tubingElectrodes coating may burn off
Halogen Bulb2,000 hours lifespan20 lumens per wattHalogen gasses within tubing prevent quick burnoutFilament may burn out due to buildup of dirt.

How Long Does an Incandescent Bulb Last?

An incandescent light bulb lasts 1,000 hours on average. So if you use it eight hours a day, the light will last roughly four months.

a bulb with smoke coming off of it with the words 98% of electricity burned is from heat

Accordingly, when an electrical current passes through the thin wires in incandescent light bulbs, they get heated and light up.

These thin wires are called filaments and are usually made of tungsten, which is highly incandescent.

Whenever the tungsten filament receives an improper wattage, it either does not light up or channels so much heat that it explodes.

This is why incandescent bulbs are often replaced in areas with unpredictable voltage.

Incandescent bulbs are also not efficient at all. Up to 90 percent of the electricity it consumes is converted to heat, and only 10 percent becomes light.

Per every watt consumed by an incandescent bulb, only 14 lumens of light are produced, which is very low.

How Long Does an LED Bulb Last?

an LED candelabra bulb sitting on a table with a black background
LED bulbs have a tremendous lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours. So if you use it eight hours a day, it could last you more than 17 years.

This is why LEDs are considered the most energy-efficient of all the light bulb types.

One of the main reasons for this is its ability to convert electrical energy directly into light without transitioning to heat first.

LED is short for light-emitting diodes, and nearly all diodes can emit light because they are electroluminescent.

One part of a diode is deficient in electrons, while another is highly abundant.

Electrons in the highly abundant side transfer towards the deficient side, and jumping back and forth creates light.

Since they don’t produce heat, LEDs are much cooler than incandescents. However, LEDs have components sensitive to heat, so they can’t tolerate fluctuating voltages.

One such component is the transistor, which regulates the current or voltage within the device.

As such, it would not be suitable to plug it into a fixture with bad wiring.

LEDs achieve minimal heat production through a much more complex system than an incandescent bulb. This is why LEDs are much more expensive.

In fact, before the year 2000, LEDs were considered a luxury. Prices have plummeted due to wide-scale production and the cheapening of their components.

Overall, you save up much more with LEDs, which last longer and consume less electricity. LEDs produce around 100 lumens per watt, the highest of all bulb types.

How Long Does a CFL Bulb Last?

A CFL bulb stacked on a pile of cash and coins, indicating the savings provided by using this energy-efficient light bulb
CFL bulbs have a much longer lifespan than incandescent lights, making them a great value for the money!

Compact fluorescent light bulbs last almost 10x longer than incandescent bulbs at 8,000 hours. So if you use it for eight hours daily, it should last nearly three years.

CFLs usually have spiral-shaped tubing connected to a network of capacitors, transistors, and other electronic components. The tubing contains mercury vapor, argon gas, and a tiny filament made of tungsten.

When the filament is heated, it produces accelerated electrodes which come into contact with the argon and mercury vapor molecules. The interaction causes ultraviolet light inside the tubing.

A fluorescent coating is placed inside the tubing to become visible light when ultraviolet light passes through it.

When you turn on a CFL bulb, you burn a bit of the coating of the electrodes. Once the coating has completely burned off, the whole bulb wears out. This is why some CFL bulbs die way sooner than advertised.

Generally, CFLs are pretty efficient, with a lumen count of 70 per watt.

How Long Does a Halogen Bulb Last?

a closeup of a halogen bulb with a blue background
Halogen bulbs have a moderately long lifespan, but LEDs far surpass them.

Halogen light bulbs last for around 2,000 hours. So using it for eight hours a day will last about eight or nine months.

Halogen bulbs are pretty similar to incandescent bulbs in their use of tungsten. However, when tungsten burns out, it evaporates, and the material settles on the glass, causing it to blacken.

Halogen bulbs remedy this by placing halogen gas inside the glass, which evaporated tungsten reacts with.

When it does, it resettles back into the filament, allowing for a cycle of deposition and evaporation. This is why halogen bulbs last nearly thrice as long as incandescent bulbs.

However, this mechanism can be disrupted if there’s a material buildup inside the glass.

Heat cannot be dispersed thoroughly, raising the bulb’s temperature bulb. When the filament is already hot before being turned on, it’s likely to melt.

The halogen bulbs are only slightly brighter than incandescent ones, producing about 20 lumens per watt.

Conclusion

The best energy-saving light bulb is definitely the LED. However, there’s still a market for incandescent bulbs, which are the cheapest and most accessible.

While LEDs are still more expensive, semiconductors and other parts are becoming more affordable every year.

Sources

Wikipedia: Incandescent Light Bulb | Energy Education: Incandescent Light Bulb | Center For Nanoscale Science: Light Bulb Efficiency | Philips Lighting: A Life Of 50,000 Hours | How Stuff Works: How Light Emitting Diodes Works | LED Hut: Why Are LED Bulbs Expensive | Volt Lighting: Lumens To Watts Conversion | Wikipedia: Compact Fluorescent Lamps | Healthy West Australia: Mercury And Compact Fluorescent Lamps | The Light Bulb: Light Bulb Average Rated Lifetime Hours | How Stuff Works: How A Halogen Light Bulb Works

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