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LED vs. Incandescent Outdoor Lighting

When you want to enjoy comfortable evenings on your backyard patio or watch the fireflies glow throughout your garden, you'll need the right outdoor lighting to set the scene. Choosing lighting for your backyard can be a time-consuming task with so many options available to you. As of 2014, the United States has banned the production and sale of traditional 40-watt to 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, but there are now more efficient incandescent bulbs on the market for your indoor and outdoor use. The debate between LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs and incandescent bulbs like CFL (compact fluorescent light) and halogen bulbs is an ongoing, and your choice will ultimately depend on your personal preference and your budget.

LED Lighting

Incandescent Lighting

Upfront cost

Higher Lower

Cost of operation



Longer Shorter


More energy efficientLess energy efficient


More durable Less durable

Light output

Less lightMore light

LED Lighting

Advantages of LED Lighting

  • Energy-efficiency - LED lighting uses less energy to operate than other lighting options. LED lights also release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other lights.
  • Cost of operation - Because they use less energy, LED lights cost less to operate than incandescent lights.
  • Durability - LED lights are frequently manufactured using a more reliable material than incandescent CFL and halogen options.
Limitations of LED Lighting
  • Upfront cost - The upfront cost of LED lights can be significantly greater than that of incandescent lighting.
  • Light output - LED lights have fewer lumens than incandescent lights, so they don't have as much light output.

Advantages of Incandescent Lighting

  • Upfront cost - Incandescent lights cost much less upfront than LED lights, making your original purchase more cost effective in the short term.
  • Energy efficiency - While incandescent lighting isn't as efficient as LED lighting, you'll find that CFL and halogen lighting offer more energy efficiency than older incandescent bulbs.
  • Light output - CFL and halogen lights have more lumens, which means that they have a higher output of light per watt.
Limitations of Incandescent Lighting
  • Durability - Incandescent lighting is often made of glass and can be easily breakable.
  • Cost over time - While new incandescent lights are more energy efficient than old incandescent lights, they are not as efficient as LED lights. These lights tend to have a higher cost over time because they use more electricity than LED lighting.
  • High carbon footprint - Incandescent lighting uses more energy and releases more carbon dioxide into the air than LED lights.