Do CFL & LED light bulbs really save money?

**Do CFL & LED light bulbs really save money?**



View Time:5:Minutes



An informative video on how to determine where to install energy-saving light bulbs to save money, and where you should stick with good ol’ incandescent bulbs.

The web application used for calculation of energy costs can be found at The Chrome App can be found by visiting the Chrome web store at and searching for ‘wattcalc’.

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When you go bulb shopping nowadays you'll notice that there's lots of energy-saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent and LED
and all of them profess to save you money. Some of them even go so far as
to give you a dollar amount of how much money you can save. But the truth is, how much money you save
depends on how you are going to use that bulb and in some cases you might not
save any money at all. You might be better off buying the old incandescent type bulb so in this video I'm going to give you a simple
way to calculate which will bulb you should use in each situation. I'm gonna be utilizing an application that
I made myself a couple years ago. It's called WattCalc and it's available as a web application Just go to Or it's also available as a chrome application
in the chrome web store if you happen to be using the Chrome web browser or the
Chrome operating system. The advantage to using the Chrome app is
that it's a "packaged" app, and that means that you can use it even if you're
offline so you don't have to be connected to the internet in order to
use it. For this example I'll be using the chrome app,
but everything is pretty much the same even if you're using just the standard
web app. The application takes three pieces of
information: First, how many watts the device uses and i'm just gonna use an example of a
60 watt incandescent bulb so I'm going to go ahead and put 60 in there and then tab down and uh… let's just say I'm going to put this
bulb in a lamp that will be used in our main living area
and so I'm gonna assume that on average it will be used about three-and-a-half hours a day and next you'll want to put in the cost of your electricity per
kilowatt hour and that will vary depending on what part of the country
you are in I'm using 9 cents per kilowatt
hour which is fairly typical and now I'll press the calculate button and you can see that um… the cost per day to run this light bulb is 2 cents. Cost per month is 58 cents and the cost per year is $6.90 –
just under seven dollars. Now for comparison purposes I'm going to
assume that the bulb is a 13 wat typically if you get a 60 watt equivalent compact fluorescent to replace a
incandescent bulb a 13 watt compact fluorescent is
roughly equivalent to 60 watt incandescent. So now I'm going to go ahead and calculate it that way and you'll see that the electricity cost
per year using the compact fluorescent only $1.50 so you're saving almost 5 dollars and 50 cents every year. So obviously if the compact fluorescent bulb lasts even for just a year you have recouped your cost and if it lasts longer than that then you obviously are saving even more
money. However let's use a different
scenario: let's just assume that these bulbs are going to be installed in a closet and you only use them for just a few
minutes every day – we'll just assume six minutes which would be .1, or one-tenth of an hour and I'm going to start with the incandescent
bulb so I'll type 60 and and then hit calculate and you see that this bulb will only cost
twenty cents per year to run and I'll try a compact fluorescent which is 13 watts
and press calculate and find that it uses 4 cents per year. so the only savings you're getting is
16 cents a year and it will take a long long time at the current prices to justify buying a compact fluorescent. So it really depends on
where you're going to put the light bulb and how long you're gonna be using
it. Obviously this is only taking into account the economics of the different bulbs – how much money you'll save and spend. There are other considerations as
well: usually it's recommended that you don't put a compact fluorescent in an area
where it can be easily knocked over by a child and broken because of the mercury
content and there have also been a few studies that
have demonstrated some other chemicals that compact fluorescents can give off which
can be harmful to the health so you may want to do your research before you make
your final descision as to which bulb you'd like to use. Hopefully this has been helpful to you.
If you have questions feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to answer
those as soon as i can and as always thanks for watching and
i'll see you next time.

23 thoughts on “**Do CFL & LED light bulbs really save money?**

  1. BaSsGaZ

    You forgot to mention the life span factor, generally, a CFL bulb can go 4x times as much than the old bulbs, so you might have to replace that closet bulb 4 times, which will cost you even more money than buying a CFL bulb!
    Bottom line, if you're gonna talk about saving money, you're gonna lose in any situation, if you're a lover of old bulbs, you have to bring other factors to fight!

  2. Louann Elwell

    Are the transformers in LED lights eating up more electricity if you have many light bulbs with individual transformers. For example if I have track lighting with 12 bulbs. Should I switch to a shop light (LED) that would have only one transformer that puts out just as much light as these 12 bulbs?

  3. mightySHRIMP 420

    thank you for the converter. but if a light says 150 watt replacement uses 45watts. is that true tho. is it only using g 45 watts

  4. mixwell1983

    Leds are much cheaper now and use 1/2 the wattage. You should do a remake of this with incande vs led not cfl and in a major lighted area like a living room for say 4-5 hrs a day.

  5. bob s

    Cfl lamps tend to have a relatively short life if they are only used for short periods so tungsten filament lamps would be better in these applications. Led lamps should be ok too especially now their prices are dropping.

  6. NetRolller3D

    Remember the formula for bulb efficiency: Q = (B*t)/($s + $e*P*t), where $s is sticker price, $e is energy price, P is wattage (actual power consumption, not "equivalent" wattage!), B is brightness (aka lumens), and t is lifetime; the unit of Q should come out to lumen-hours per dollar. Assuming 10 cents per kWh, good LEDs typically have Q values around 600000 lmh/$, while a typical incandescent hovers around 100000. Replacing a bulb with one with a higher Q WILL pay off eventually – the higher the difference, the faster.

  7. Tyler Shepard

    I only pay about $4 per LED I buy. Extremely cheap now a days, with the prices going down. However, even though they're a cheap $4 per bulb, I was only able to justify buying about 10 of them for the light fixtures that are used most in our house. Our electricity costs are quite expensive here in California, as PG&E ranges from $0.15-$0.36/kWh depending on how much you've used in the month. So having a tiered system is also another justification. Installing solar is also another great option as well considering how expensive electricity is here, and even more so in states like Hawaii or Arizona where it is hot most of the year. We did not get many CFL's because they contain Mercury and we've had incidents where some have gotten broken. So CFL's are only in certain locations where we know a dog can't get to them. Anyways, remember to take these factors into account when buying bulbs. If you break them all the time, you won't get your money's worth. LED's are fairly durable 🙂

  8. Greg Zeng

    Lighting in refrigerators, microwaves, oven fans, etc.

    The other cost is replacement, with purchase, storage, fitting times to be added.  The longer life duration means this cost is less, so it is miportant in large commerical organizations.

  9. Krisha Irish Santos

    There's so many bulbs that I've already tried to use. I started from CFLs and I noticed that it's too soon to burn out, there is a warm up time needed before it is able to produce its 100% light, and disposing it is very complicated. It was a such a big hassle until I was able to find refuge on LEDs. Its energy efficiency is really noticeable once you turned all your bulbs to LED ones. I purchased mine from Triangle Bulbs and I've proven its quality because they work well for me over the years, my house's lighting looks splendid, and I just couldn't find any fault. No regrets to LEDs. No regrets to Triangle Bulbs. You might wanna check the one I'm talking about here:

  10. Jonathan Tan

    Price of CFLs and LED lightbulbs are dropping quarter by quarter. As the technology matures & economics of scale are achieved, we're only gonna see cheaper prices. I bought a LED bulb from IKEA for $7 about 1.5 years ago. The same bulb now goes for $4.50. 

  11. jejustissIII

    My experience with the current CFL's, they don't last long. Simply not worth the expense compared to my older CFL's that were probably not Made In China. The newer light bulbs of any type have not given me good service compared to made in the USA or Canada. Now, the newer LED lights might be better but I'll wager the lights won't last either. Why should it? No money to be made in something that lasts a lifetime. 

  12. mendyc158

    CFL last longer than incandescent and LED last even longer than CFL
    Even if you plan to use them in the closet for 3 min, the incandescent will last 1,5 years, the CFL can easily last 2 or more years, and so on; so you don´t have to re-pay for them; even if you use LED which are supposed to last 50.000h, you will have like 4 or more years before changing them 
    I don´t know why people are saying they have never seen a CFL that last longer than 1 year, I have plenty that were used 10/7 and lasted almost 2 years

  13. davi1

    This was published in 2012 now in 2014 almost 2015 I'm sure its not valid in most parts of the world because LEDs have come down so much in price. Another factor to consider is LEDs supposedly last around 20 years which brings the annual cost down even further and if your time is valuable and you don't enjoy shopping and installing light bulbs factor this in – especially if the lamp is hard to get to for example requiring a ladder and tools… I expect tungsten and CFL lamps will be phased out in the near future.


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