Fluorescent Bulbs vs. Incandescent Bulbs

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Difference between Fluorescent Bulbs and Incandescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs offer a better alternative to the traditional incandescent bulbs for a number of reasons, although the latter do have advantages of their own. If you are as yet undecided about which type of bulb is best for you, this comparison article may clear things up considerably.

Fluorescent Bulbs
Incandescent Bulbs


Fluorescent bulbs are types of gas-discharge lamps that utilize electricity in order to excite the mercury vapor contained within. The mercury then produces short-wave ultraviolet light that in turn causes the phosphor to fluoresce or shine, producing light. Fluorescent bulbs convert electrical power into light more efficiently than incandescent lamps and they generally consume less electricity. This offsets the higher initial cost of fluorescent bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are electricity driven light sources that generate light by heating a piece of wound metal wire called a filament. When heated to a sufficiently high temperature, the filament gives off light.


Fluorescent bulbs are considerably more expensive than incandescent bulbs, which may give buyers reason to reconsider. The reason why fluorescent bulbs are more expensive is because they have a ballast in them, which is necessary for regulating the electrical current that flows through the lamp. That being said, there have been a number of attempts to make fluorescent bulbs cheaper, and this along with their environmental benefits make them favorable alternatives to incandescent bulbs. For one thing, a 23-watt fluorescent bulb provides just as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb, and it has a life span of 15,000 hours versus the 1,000 hours of an incandescent bulb. This is a considerable cost advantage in the long run, even though fluorescent bulbs cost almost twice as much as incandescent bulbs. In addition, fluorescent bulbs also come in a lot more different varieties than incandescent bulbs. 


Fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs differ in efficiency as well, and again it is the fluorescent bulbs that take top marks. Most fluorescent bulbs use up only ¼ of the energy required by incandescent bulbs, which means that a lower watt fluorescent bulb gives off just as much light as a considerably higher watt incandescent bulb. This will obviously save you a lot of money off electricity costs, science you will need less fluorescent bulbs for a given area.

It is also worthwhile to mention that over 90 percent of the energy generated by incandescent bulbs is wasted. This was confirmed by no less than The U.S. Department of Energy, who also determined that compact fluorescent bulbs use up 75% less electricity and generate 75% less heat than equivalent incandescent bulbs. This is because most of the gases emitted by fluorescent bulbs remain in the bulb itself.

Similarities and Differences

Fluorescent bulbs

  • Type of gas-discharge lamps
  • Utilize electricity in order to excite the mercury vapor
  • Use up only ¼ of the energy required by incandescent bulbs
  • Some people experience headaches when exposed to fluorescent bulbs – attributed to a flickering to which some people are more sensitive
  • It is said that the Germany’s Federal offices have banned the use of these bulbs
  • Must be handled with care avoid releasing the mercury vapor contained within the bulbs. 

Incandescent bulbs

  • Generate light by heating a piece of wound metal wire called a filament
  • Over 90 percent of the energy generated by incandescent bulbs is wasted

Which type of bulb is more dangerous when shattered?
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Incandescent Bulbs

comments 1 Comments

  • jassenjj . 3+ yrs. ago

Incandescent lamps have expected lifespan of 1,000 hours, not 10,000!

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