Outdoor flood lights are a great way to improve the security and appearance of your home at night. As incandescent lights continue to be phased out, you really should only consider two options for outdoor flood lights: compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). Both have their benefits and drawbacks and understand each is essential to make the best decision for your outdoor lighting needs. Here’s what you should be looking for:
Light bulb lifespan
Outdoor lights are usually more difficult to reach than indoor lights, so you’ll want to replace your bulbs as little as possible. LEDs have a significantly longer lifespan than CFLs – 25,000 hours vs 8,00 hours. All things equal, your LEDs will last more than three times longer than your CFLs, so if you need a ladder to replace your outdoor lights, LEDs will make your life significantly easier.
Which cost less: LED or CFL light bulbs?
LEDs are typically more expensive than CFLs if you only look at the price of the bulb. LEDs cost around $8 per bulb and CFLs cost around $2 per bulb. However, because LEDs last three times as long as CFLs, you really need to multiply a CFL’s initial price by three to make it truly comparable to an LED. At this point in the equation, CFLs are still cheaper than LEDs, but we’re still missing the cost to use these bulbs over time. You’ll spend approximately $30 powering an LED for its 25,000-hour lifetime. To power CFLs for 25,000 hours, it will cost approximately $42. Adding their lifetime energy costs to their purchase price, the total cost of an LED is $38 and the cost of a CFL is $48. If you have ten or more outdoor light bulbs, LEDs could save you hundreds of dollars on your outdoor lighting.
You want your bulbs to work, especially in harsh conditions. CFLs work by heating a filament which causes the mercury in the bulb to light up. In the winter, this process can be slowed dramatically due to the cold temperature surrounding the bulb. Normal CFLs may take a few seconds to turn on and even take a minute to achieve its full brightness. If you live in an area that does get cold in the winter, be sure to purchase cold cathode CFLs that will work in lower temperatures. Unlike CFLs, LEDs turn on instantly, regardless of the outside temperature.
In short, while CFLs are a major improvement over incandescent bulbs, LEDs are your best option when choosing outdoor light bulbs. Upgrade your outdoor lighting to LEDs now, and you may not have to change them again for seven years!