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Guide to LED – The 3 generations of light bulbs

posted July 17, 2012

Guide to LED – The 3 generations of light bulbs

Lets start from the beginning,

Incandescent lighting

Incandescent lighting is the first generation light bulb, it uses a filament that is heated
up to the point that it glows thus producing light. Below are the benefits of incandescent lighting: –

  • Light output is sharp, good for reading.
  • Dimmable

The downside are : –

  • High energy consumption – 100W
  • Very hot
  • Lasts about 1,000 hours
  • Slowly being discontinued world wide as an effort to promote use of more energy efficient technologies.


Florescent Lamps

From Incandescent came the 2nd generation which is florescent lighting. This
technology instead of using a filament, instead uses radiated mercury gas which generates Ultraviolet which in turns react with the phosphor coating creating light. Below are the benefits of florescent technology: –

  • Energy saving compared to incandescent, 100W -> 18W (82% saving)
  • Cooler than incandescent and last longer about 6,000 hrs

The downside are : –

  • Non dimmable, unstable power fluctuations can cause bulb failure
  • Dangerous to health as it contains mercury and German scientists have found that it also emits carcinogenic chemicals and toxins that can cause cancer. As stated in International Business Times, The Telegraph UK and  Washington Times.
  • It also emits Ultraviolet which darken skin and can cause skin irritation for those sensitive to UV.
  • Flickering, the light output for florescent light isn’t stable. It switches on and off between 50-100 times a second. Although not noticeable, our pupils do react to this. This is the primary reason why our eyes get easily tired when reading with florescent lamps.
  • Unlike incandescent light which is sharp and bright, florescent emits a soft glow. This soft light may look nicer but it is the main reason why we get bright ceilings and dark tables. The light just can’t reach sufficiently to where we need it most, at table height for reading and other activities.

And finally comes to the 3rd generation of light bulbs which is eLED.

  • Super energy saving. From 100W Incandescent -> 18W Florescent -> 2.5W eLED. Saving 97.5% over Incandescent and 86% over florescent.
  • Gets only slightly warm and is given 2 years warranty.
  • Sharp light which has better light travel compared to florescent. (Do not purchase any LED with diffuser as this will limit the light travel to approx 5ft, it may look nicer but not practical as we need light to reach our tables and sofas for reading and other activities and not just to look good on the ceiling.)
  • Zero flickering, good for eyes and reading.
  • Dimmable, able to withstand power fluctuations easily.
  • Does not contain hazardous lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg).

The downside are : –

  • Slightly more expensive on initial costs but this is offset by the immense energy saving and warranty.

So there it is, the 3 generations of light bulbs together with pros and cons of each. To be honest, each eLED product is designed to have the best features and efficient design to bring out the best that LED has to offer. This is where the Malaysian creativity and passion comes into play.

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