LED or Incandescent?

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LED or Incandescent?

A lot of people wonder which type of Christmas lighting is right for them. Should I use LED or Incandescent, hmm? It really depends on the situation, How many lights do you plan on putting up? How much are you willing to pay extra every month on that electrical bill? There are pros and cons to everything, so let’s just start with the facts.

An LED is a light-emiting diode, a semiconductor diode that glows when a voltage is applied

LEDs are far more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. They can use up to 95% less power on average compared to traditional Incandescent Christmas lights and last up to 50X longer.  Each LED C7/C9 bulb uses 0.35 watts of power, compare that to 5 or 7 watts of power for each C7/C9 Incandescent bulb. So let’s compare  LED lighting  to regular incandescent lights to see exactly how much it would cost to run them 12 hours per day for 40 days. Here is the formula I used:

kW • Cost/kWh • Hours Used = Cost -and with the numbers plugged in-  0.007kW • 0.12kWh • 480 = Cost

Incandescent C9 – 0.007 kW

  • (125 bulbs, 7 watts each, 12 hours for 40 days) Cost: $50.40
  • (125 bulbs, 7 watts each, Per day) Cost: $1.26

LED C9 – 

  • (125 bulbs, 0.35 watts each, 12 hours for 40 days) Cost: $2.52
  • (125 bulbs, 0.35 watts each, Per day) Cost: $0.063

As you can see LED are 95% cheaper to run during the Christmas season than traditional incandescent lights. To continue, LEDs emit very little heat, reducing the hazard risk. They are constructed without a filament as well as being completely contained within the bulb itself, there is nothing to burn out. Every year when you plug your LED lighting in, they work, no fumbling around trying to find the burned out bulbs. Another advantage, if we can  go back to the power consumption, is the fact that you can put a lot more LEDs Christmas lights on your home than you can Incandescent lighting. Let’s be real, not all of us have 10 dedicated circuits to be used for Christmas lights, Incandescent bulbs can really limit you to how many lights you can safely put on your home. A 20 AMP breaker will hold on average about 240 feet of Incandescent 7 watt C9 bulbs spaced 12 inches apart and still be in the safe zone of the breaker. Which is 80% of the maximum rating, or 15 AMPS on a 20 AMP breaker.


One of the main drawbacks of using LED lighting though is a larger upfront cost, however, this cost is usually offset by the electricity savings. The average Incandescent C9 bulb costs around $0.22 cents, while the average cost for an LED C9 bulb is around $1.95. Some LEDs also tend to burn less bright than it’s traditional counterpart, you should be aware of how many diodes are inside of each bulb, I would suggest a minimum of 3 super bright LED diodes in each bulb. Similarly, the color quality of LEDs can suffer sometimes as well, some colors just look a lot better with Incandescent lights. Quantity and selection can also be limited, I would suggest looking into them well ahead of time.

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