Most landscape lighting options include either traditional incandescent bulbs or newer LED lights. The lights have distinct differences in energy consumption, price, longevity, and maintenance—so selecting one over the other is tricky for most people. With modern advancements in LED technology, this lighting option has the most benefits for property owners.
LED lights are the go-to choice of professionals for residential and commercial landscape lighting designs but some people still prefer incandescent lighting. Our locally owned business is the top landscaping company in northern Indiana, serving Elkhart, Granger, South Bend, and nearby cities. Let us help you choose a lighting system for your home or business landscaping. Below, we compare and contrast the features of LED vs. incandescent light bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs are far from energy-efficient. Most of the energy a bulb consumes goes into generating heat.
These classic bulbs work by using energy to heat a wire filament hot enough to produce illumination. They can spend up to 90% of the electricity they absorb for heat generation, causing the energy-efficiency rating to be around 10 lumens per watt.
LEDs are significantly more energy-efficient than classic bulbs. Unlike incandescents, LEDs don’t use most of the energy they consume to produce heat for illumination. They require little power to make a type of infrared heat, which goes directly toward producing light.
Landscape lighting with incandescents can consume a substantial amount of energy, mostly if you leave the lights on for most of the day or into the evening. With LEDs, you can keep the lights on for extended periods without incurring high electricity bills.
The cheapest bulbs to manufacture are incandescents, so their prices are low. The low pricing extends to landscape lighting, which enables you to purchase more for less.
The drawback to the low cost is that you will need to replace the bulbs often since an incandescent bulb only lasts for about 1,000 hours, compared to 50,000-plus hours for an LED bulb. Though you will have a lower upfront cost, you will pay a lot more over time in replacements than with LED bulbs.
LED landscape lighting will have a higher upfront cost, which can be problematic if you have a smaller budget. However, LEDs are worth the investment since LEDs use less energy and don’t require frequent replacements. The installation cost will pay for itself over time.
All worthwhile landscape lighting must have decent durability and low maintenance because of its constant exposure to the elements. The structure of LED lights makes them one of the most durable options available.
The light from an LED comes from a small chip inside an epoxy resin capsule. The capsule material is highly durable and has good resistance to heat and moisture, so it will work in rain, wind, and snow.
Landscape lighting with LEDs can also withstand:
- Extreme temperatures
LED exterior lights are also shatterproof, unlike incandescents. Incandescents contain fragile components like the thin exterior glass and internal filament. Both are prone to breaking under slight force or vibration.
A reason why LEDs are the top choice for professional landscape lighting designers is their longevity. They have an incredibly long lifespan compared with other lighting options. Modern LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours with regular use.
Basic LEDs have a minimum lifespan of about 50,000 hours, which is substantially higher than any other lighting type. Using modern LEDs for eight hours a day will provide about 17 years of quality illumination.
Incandescent lights have the shortest lifespan of any lighting type. A standard bulb will only generate about 1,000 hours of illumination. At best, the bulb will last for a year with consistent use. It would take between 50 to 100 incandescent bulbs to equal the lifespan of one LED light.
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