Picture of the Philips LED 75w A19 daylight white light bulb, glowing brightly.

LED Advantages and Disadvantages




The ultra energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) light bulb has taken the home and commercial lighting industry by storm lately.  LED light output has gone up a lot, their prices have fallen, and the bulbs weight less these days.  Many of what once were big drawbacks of LED lights have gone away these days.  In this post, we list some of the LED advantages and disadvantages. We’ve seen these ourselves in the LED bulbs we’ve bought.



Resembling an old fashioned incandescent bulb, this “solid state” LED bulb is roughly 90 percent brighter for the same power draw. Further, it runs much cooler and lasts twenty to fifty times longer. Yet an LED light bulb only costs a couple to four times more than incandescents.  Whether in indoor or outdoor lighting,  LED bulb benefits clearly dwarf older light bulbs markedly.

Prices drop every week too, as popularity grows.  The LED light bulb fits most standard light fixtures. But since LEDs runs at lower temps, higher brightness LED bulbs often work safely in enclosed spaces.  Check the usage tips on your LED bulbs though.  Make sure your bulbs are suited for enclosed fixtures.  Always observe any installation restrictions on the bulb’s carton.  For the most part, you can safely run a 100-watt equivalent LED lamp in a 60 watt incandescent fixture. Don’t worry about it overheating.  It won’t.

The CREE LED bulb pictured next creates the same light (lumens) as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. Yet the LED only draws eighteen watts of power.  Much more of the LEDs energy draw goes into actual light. Not heat.  Thus, brighter LED bulbs can work where the same brightness incandescent bulbs would damage fixtures due to their excess heat.

LED advantages and disadvantages. Picture of a CREE LED Light Bulb, 100 Watt, the Front of its original carton.
LED advantages and disadvantages. CREE LED Light Bulb 100W, Carton Front

LED lights can survive far greater physical shock than either incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Plus, LEDs typically need less space than CFLs.

LED bulbs often need no ballasts.  This raises their efficiency.  Plus, no ballasts also lowers EMI (electromagnetic interference) and RFI (radio frequency interference).  This means that you can listen to your radios without hash noise from your LED light bulbs.

Further the absence of the ballast means that LED light bulbs work well with incandescent light dimmers.  Dimmable LEDs offer a full range of brightness options.  LEDs can dim down to nearly no light output, without flickering, buzzing, or clicking. Plus, you can set them to any brightness in between max and min, and still get a solid light.

Finally, getting rid of the ballast further hardens the LED light bulb from power surges and spikes.  With less parts to fail, longer life LEDs are quite common.

The overall performance and economy of LED light bulbs has gotten so much better since 2010.  So much so that making incandescent lamps has now ceased here in the U.S.  It’s true.  They still make them for special uses. But they no longer build standard hot filament bulb here.  As of this writing, stores still sell these. But only until society depletes existing reserves.



LED advantages and disadvantages. Picture of a CREE LED Light Bulb, 100 Watt, back of original carton.
LED advantages and disadvantages. CREE LED Light Bulb100 Watt, Carton Back.

The LED Advantages and Disadvantages: Benefits, Pros, and Features

LEDs Save Much Energy

This 80 to 90 percent less power draw than tungsten bulbs makes LED light bulbs a blessing for aging power grids.  By reducing energy use by this much, we can put off costly upgrades to city power grids.  These savings can also shrink the need for foreign oil and overly fast using up of our own resources.

Increased Lighting Reliability

LED light bulbs have come a long way in recent years.  The fail less, last longer and give off a more solid, flicker-free, full spectrum, steady light. Plus, many last longer than advertised.  They might list 20,000 hours on a bulb’s carton.  But and LED bulb often lasts many more hours than this.  Furthermore, LEDs hold up better than incandescent lamps and CFLs when switched on and off a lot.

LEDs Make Less Heat

Since they convert more of the power drawn into light, LEDs change less of it into wasted heat. So, LED use lowers cooling costs in buildings.

Silent Running

LED lamps offer almost noise free lighting.  Even when fed from a light dimmer, buzzing, ringing, or singing of any kind is all but unheard of.

LEDs Make Less EMI and RFI

The 120 volt LED bulb units have a series string of single LED lamps.  They connect them in series. This raises the total input voltage needed to light these lamps to full brightness.  So, choose the right lamp count, and you get a light array that runs right from the 120 volt line.  Plus, it needs no electrical circuitry to drop the applied voltage, except for perhaps, converting AC to DC for reduced flicker.  Parts that do this are simple. LED lights need no switch mode power supply drivers.  Thus, little electro magnetic and radio frequency noise occurs while lit up.



LED Bulbs are Getting Cheaper

As LED technology matures, prices are falling. In fact, you can buy packs of two to eight bulbs for cheap.  They cost way less than what each lamp costs separately.

LEDs Last MUCH Longer than Most Other Bulbs

Though some LEDs fail before reaching life expectancy, they should outlast incandescent bulbs by many times.  They probably will last longer without being so delicate, once manufacturers build better ballast circuitry. The CREE bulb pictured above comes with a ten year limited warranty.  We’ve run the 60-watt version of this bulb as a bathroom night light, nonstop, for nearly four years now.  And guess what?  It’s still going strong, and glowing as brightly as when we first installed it.

Wide Color Choices with LEDs

Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED lamps come in many colors.  You can get them in 2700k (warm white) and 3000 K (less warm white).  They also shine at 5000 K (cool white), and 6500 K (daylight white).  Daylight white is a sky-blue shade of white.

Manufacturers attempted this with incandescent lamps but never got the colors above 3000 K or so, to work as well.  Efficiency and life span of incandescent bulbs drop as you move their color output more toward blue.  LEDs are highly efficient however, no matter their color temperature output.

LEDs Fit Same Fixtures as Incandescents and CFLs

You needn’t replace your standard light fixtures and lamps to take advantage of  LEDs.   With less heat output, LED lights work well any place that an incandescent bulb does.  So long as the LED bulb fits into that space, nothing else would stop it from running properly.

Instant Full Brightness

Whether hot or cold climates, LED lamps illuminate to full brightness instantly upon energizing.  No warm up time required, and they provide steady, fluctuation free lighting.  Usually no flickering.  If you do observe flicker, you may be running a dimmer on a non dimmable LED light.  Also, flickering is a sign that the bulb itself may be burning out.



Less Temperature Sensitive

LEDs emit the same amount of light for a given voltage, over a wide range of temperatures.

Less Long-Term Brightness Reduction

Tungsten deposits build up on the inner walls of incandescent lamps over many hours of operation. This causes notable reductions in light output.

But LED light bulbs suffer far les of this.  Typically, they burn nearly as brightly at the end of their lives as at the beginning.   However, some solarization of the plastic housing and reflective surfaces may decrease light output.  It may also trigger color changes in the light over time.

Long Extinguishing Time

Today’s LEDs have a phosphor that continues glowing for a few milliseconds after power goes off.  The output dims down less abruptly. This simulates incandescent bulbs as its filament cools off once turned off.  This helps get rid of LED light flicker thus.

Physically and Electronically More Rugged

No delicate glass tubes to break.  They make these state of the art bulbs of thick metals and hard plastics. They resist shattering.  Also, with less electronics, LED bulbs fail less than CFLs or incandescents.

More Environmentally Safe

Be sure to recycle your old LEDs. Without proper recycling stations nearby, the buyer must store them until these come to his locale.  But since LED bulbs have no hazardous gasses, you can store them without fear of breakage.  Further, the bulbs are hard to break.  So again, long term storage until neighborhood recycling comes to town should pose few problems.



Improving Technology Over All

Over time, efficiencies in LEDs have risen, in terms of energy consumption as well as initial purchases prices.  Indications are that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.  So obsolescence should not occur for at least a decade, and probably more.

LED advantages and disadvantages. Picture of an LED lamp, 60 watt equivalent, cool white 5000 K, glowing at full brightness.
LED advantages and disadvantages. LED lamp, 60 Watt equivalent, cool white 5000 K, glowing at full brightness.

The LED Advantages and Disadvantages: Cons, Problems, and Concerns

Among the Most Expensive Home Lighting Solution

They price LEDs currently, at the mid point of affordability in home lighting markets.  But we expect prices to fall further.  As with other technologies, growing LED light bulb use will quickly drop prices.

Heavier than CFls and Incandescent Bulbs

Most LED bulbs incorporate an integrated metal heat sink, as shown in the picture of the glowing LED light above.  This makes them heavier than similarly sized filament and CFL lamps. This added weight, adds to the overall expense of the bulb (shipping costs increase).

Do Not Throw LED Bulbs in the Regular Trash

You can’t just throw away burned-out LED bulbs. Why?  Because cities and towns consider them hazardous waste.  Again, why?  Because they have printed circuit boards and solder that many contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic elements.  But as LED solid state lighting further penetrates main stream markets, recycling stations and services are shoring up nationwide.  This makes proper disposal of LEDs much easier.

Thus, taking all of this into account, our energy-savings strategy has, and will continue to incorporate SOME CFLs around the apartment.  But we will not replace ALL of them with LEDs until the cost per LED bulb drops a bit more. Then,  upgrades of all lights to LEDs will be completed, with much excitement.

LED Advantages and Disadvantages: Related Posts

LED Advantages and Disadvantages: References




Revision History

  • 2017-01-19: Adjusted tags, and simplified the title to: LED Advantages and Disadvantages
  • 2016-01-05: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-09-27: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-07-06: Originally published.