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Difference between CFL and LED

We know that LED and CFL bulbs are much better than the traditional incandescent ones but which is better out of the LED and CFL bulbs and which should we choose? Let us see how they differ from each other and which is better than the other!


CFL, which stands for compact fluorescent lamp or light bulb, is designed to replace incandescent or halogen lamps. These light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs but less efficient than LED. They are made of glass tube which is coated internally with phosphorus and contains argon gas and particles of mercury.

The CFL fits in standard light sockets without any adaptor. When the current is applied, the current starts flowing and excites mercury molecules present in the argon gas which causes the gas to combine with particles of mercury and the particles start emitting ultraviolet light. When the ultraviolet light strikes on the glass surface which has a phosphorus coating, the bulb starts to glow.


LED, which stands for "Light Emitting Diode", is the most energy-efficient light bulb invented till now. It consumes less electricity than the other types of light bulbs. It also lasts longer so even though it is expensive, you usually buy fewer bulbs over time. These bulbs are designed to fit in standard light fixtures so adaptor is not required.

In LED, the light is produced when voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors (PN junction diode) in the forward direction and it causes electrons to combine with each other and to create light by an effect called electroluminescence. It produces light directly without causing too much heat.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between CFL and LED bulbs are as follows:

It stands for compact fluorescent lamps. It stands for Light emitting diode.
It emits light due to the ionization of mercury vapour. After ionization the mercury vapours emit ultraviolet rays which strike on the phosphorus coating of the glass tube to generate visible light. It emits light when current is applied across the diode and it causes charge carriers to combine with each other. The charge carriers produce energy in the form of light and heat.
It is less energy-efficient, consumes more electricity than LED. It is more energy-efficient, consumes about 75% less energy than CFL and other types of bulbs.
It is made of glass tube with phosphorus coating, argon gas and mercury particles. It is made of semiconductor chip.
It is cheaper than LED. It is expensive than CFL.
It is less durable. It is more durable, lasts long.
Its brightness is less than LED. It emits light in all directions. Its brightness is more than CFL as it produces light only in one direction.
It gets hot quickly as most of the energy is released as heat. It does not get hot as heat is dissipated by the heat sinks provided on the LED light bulbs.
A CFL bulb weighs more than LED. LED bulb is usually lighter than CFL.
It contains harmful substances like mercury which may pollute or harm the environment. It does not contain harmful substances. It has a semiconductor chip which can be recycled. So, it can be disposed of without harming the environment.
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