UACES Facebook All Light Bulbs are not Created Equal
skip to main content

All Light Bulbs are not Created Equal

By switching the type of light bulb you buy, you can save money and feel good about it!

Nashville, Ark. – Have you purchased light bulbs lately? If so, you may be confused by all the choices available. Many people are switching from traditional incandescent (or slightly more efficient halogen incandescent) to light emitting diodes (LEDs) and saving at least a thousand dollars over ten years, according to research from the Consumer Federation of America.

            Based on CFA's price survey, the average electricity cost of a single 60-watt equivalent incandescent bulb is around $5 per year, while the energy costs of a comparable LED are $1 dollar per year. Couple this with the fact that incandescent bulbs will need to be replaced every one or two years and LEDs last at least an astonishing ten years, and the savings benefits of using LEDs are massive. 
            LEDs have an initial cost and many consumers are questioning the expense. Do they save money in the long run? The survey conducted by CFA compared 17 different LED bulbs. They found savings anywhere from $15.40 for the more expensive bulbs to $61 for less expensive bulbs over a ten year period. Therefore a few dollars spent up front on LEDs pays for itself after just one year, especially if you purchase the less expensive ones. This adds up to big savings when you consider how many light bulbs you have in your home. The average home has 20.

            LEDs aren't hard to find because they are now the primary light bulbs displayed in most stores. Here are five important things to keep in mind when buying brand new LEDs:

  • Don't buy the first LED bulb you see. Check out wattage or brightness (now indicated in lumens), light color (measured in kelvins), and dimmability to see what LED fits your needs the best. These are on the packaging. Consider buying a few different bulbs to test before installing them all over your home. 
  • Look for in-house brands. Store brands tend to be slightly cheaper and can be just as good as brand name products. 
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR logo. It indicates that the LED you are purchasing meets minimum federal standards for light output, color quality, and warranty.
  • If your bulb does not work properly, return it to the store for a replacement. The store you purchased it from is also more likely to contact the manufacturer and complain, helping to improve quality control. 
  • Focus on dollars, not cents. Keep in mind that the $1-$2 extra you are paying today for the LED only represents a few cents in costs each year over the life of the bulb, but the energy savings will be much higher.

            By switching to LEDs, you can save money and feel good about it! For more information on saving money, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. The Cooperative Extension Service in part of the U of A Division of Agriculture.

            Information for this article was adapted from a similar article which appeared on America Saves webpage. Check out America Saves at

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe was demonstrated at the recent Horticulture Field Day at the Southwest Arkansas Research and Extension Center. With watermelons starting to show up at the Farmers Market, now is a great time to try this recipe!

Watermelon Cooler

2 cups lemonade*

3 cups seedless watermelon, coarsely chopped

1 cup crushed ice

            In a blender, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Yields: 4 (1 cup) servings

Nutrition information per serving: 86 calories, 0 fat, 12 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber

*This recipe uses purchased lemonade. However, it would be tasty with homemade lemonade!

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.