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LED Wattage vs. Incandescent Wattage

Posted on: November 10, 2015

You hear a lot of suggestions and general chatter about making the change from traditional incandescent bulbs to LED. And while we at Kolb Electric generally agree, we noticed something when hopping around on the web. You can find a lot of answers why this is a good idea. But none of it is really…simple. You get charts, math, and massive walls of text, and you know that deep down, somewhere in there lies your answer. If only you could get your eyes to stop glazing over. So we decided to lay it down layman style for our consumers, letting you know the why in a short, succinct bit of information!

There are a few aspects that overall make LED the superior option. Longevity is good, as these lights tend to last much longer, thus need to be purchased less often. They’re also environmentally friendly, and that’s nice too. But when it comes down to it, you care about the efficiency. And this lies in the wattage of the two lighting types.

LED (Light Emitting Diode) vs Incandescent Bulbs: Wattage

Light wattage strictly refers to how much energy a light requires to generate lumens (the unit we use to measure light). The big secret between these two light sources lies all in how they generate lumens:

  • LED. Put simply, Light Emitting Diodes work by generating an electrical arc along a semiconductor. An electric charge activates the light, and creates light. The process is efficient (what we call “solid state lighting”) and generates little to no heat.
  • Incandescent. These are the bulbs that until recently were the typical household light. They generate light by way of heat, electricity going into a filament and superheating it until it generates light. And therein lies the problem. Heat doesn’t really make an efficient light source, as most of the energy is given off and doesn’t interact with the bulb at all.

To make it clear, let’s use an example: A standard incandescent bulb generally uses 60 watts of power to generate light. You can get the same amount of light from an LED, for a mere six to eight watts.

So there’s the big answer. The average light wattage of an LED is more desirable, since it requires demonstrably less energy to produce light. The longevity and environmental-friendliness are basically the icing on the technological cake!

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