Lightbulb Efficiency Comparison Chart

Buying a light bulb for your home or business used to be a simple task. Most bulbs were incandescent, so all you had to do was find the desired wattage and then buy it. Today there are so many light bulb options for your home or your business that deciding which bulb to purchase is no longer straightforward.

The chart below compares some of the major characteristics of common bulb types.

Lightbulb efficiency comparison chart

Lightbulb Efficiency Comparison Chart

Lumens per Watt: Where Efficiency Lives in Bulbs

Lumens per Watt shows how efficient a bulb is at converting power into light. At 10 lumens per watt, a 100 watt bulb is not very efficient. The energy lost is converted into heat, which is why incandescent bulbs are much hotter to the touch than CFL or LED bulbs.

The efficiency of CFL bulbs in converting energy into light falls between that of incandescent and LED bulbs. As LED bulbs continue to improve, CFL bulbs will likely be phased out.

For homeowners, LED bulbs are the most efficient bulbs at converting energy into light. LEDs aren’t always a ‘slam dunk’ though – for commercial buildings, 4’ 0” t-8 fluorescent tubes are more efficient than LED bulbs.

LEDs For the Win

The last three rows in the chart show the important differences between bulbs. Incandescent, florescent, and CFL bulbs don’t have the same lifespan as LED bulbs, so you’ll have to purchase additional bulbs as the old ones burn out. Those extra bulbs cost money. To get 25,000 hours of use from 60-watt incandescent bulbs, you’ll have to spend $12.50 in bulbs, more than the cost of one LED.

The Cost to Operate number provides the best approximation of the total value of the bulb. LED bulbs win this comparison hands-down. Despite the high up-front costs of LED bulbs, their low cost of operation and long lifespan mean that they are a much better investment than incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs.

For more information on selecting an LED bulb, view this infographic developed by ENERGY STAR.


Lumens: measures the “brightness”, or the amount of light produced by the bulb

Watts: the amount of power consumed by the bulb

Lifespan: measures the typical life of the bulb.

Price per bulb: an approximation based on a recent market survey, and we averaged the prices to round numbers to make the comparisons easier.

5 Ways to Beat the Heat


Summer is here and it’s shaping up to be hot. It’s tempting to crank up the AC, but getting a higher energy bill can be a real strain on the wallet.

Resist the urge to blast the cold air, and try some cost effective cool down tricks. You can easily cut your energy bills without taking a toll on your comfort level within your home.

Beat the heat by following these 5 energy efficiency guidelines:

1. Control Your Appliances

Unplug It: If you’re not using your electronic devices, or lights, be sure to turn them off and unplug them from the wall. Computers, chargers, TVs and other gadgets still suck up electricity – even when they’re not on!

Clean the Coils: Increase your refrigerator temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and clean the condenser coils behind the fridge to reduce some strain on your energy bill.

Switch Out Your Bulbs: By replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, you’re saving energy and cooling down your space. CFL bulbs don’t use as much energy and consequently don’t give off as much heat as traditional light bulbs. The heat from the incandescent is wasted energy, and the CFL bulbs focus all their energy on the light source

To learn more on lighting efficiency, check out Energy Tip: Lighting Matters.


2. Take Care of Cold Air

Support Your AC: If you do use an air conditioner, give it some care to help it run better. Replace the air filter if it is dirty, and if it’s programmable, schedule the system to warm up a few degrees when no one is home.

For more tips on cold air care, check out some of our past energy tips on programmable thermostats and HVAC tune-ups.


3. Pull The Shades

Window shades: Not only do curtains, blinds, drapes and shades add an aesthetic quality to your decor, they also help keep the heat out! If you draw the shades during the day, you help to reflect sunlight coming in to your space and heating things up. You can purchase specially insulated drapes just for this purpose (and they’ll help keep the heat in come wintertime!)

For more windows tips, check out Energy Tip: Windows Dressed for Success from our previous newsletter.


4. Keep Your Cool Air FAN-tasitic

Use fans wisely! During cooler days, and always during summer evenings, open windows and use ceiling fans instead of operating the AC. If the heat is just too unbearable, turn the AC no lower than 75 degrees and run the fans to help circulate the cool air.

Even more tips on how to keep your fan use “balanced” in this months newsletter
Energy Tip: Balance Your Fan Use.


5. Schedule a Home Energy Assessment

A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® whole home energy assessment informs you how to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Contact the Energy Alliance today to get started!