How Much Should You Pay For LED Light Bulbs?


Right now, LED light bulbs are at a price where it makes sense to buy them in some cases, but not in others. For example, if they don’t start saving you money for another 16 years, what sense does it really make to buy them?

After all, your kids could easily break them one or more times during that many years, and that puts an end to any savings you could have got.

So, let’s do some math together and see when it might make sense to buy LED light bulbs for all areas of your home, shall we?

  1. First, Prioritize

First, consider where the lights get turned on most in your home. Probably your living room, dining room, or kitchen. Maybe a bedroom or office. It really depends on your living arrangement.

Make a list of all the rooms in your home. You probably know which ones your family spends the most time in.

  1. LEDs May Need Different Dimmer Switches

How much of your current lighting uses dimming switches? While inexpensive ($20 each), the costs add up if you need to replace those for your LED light bulbs. Keep that in mind to add to your budget.

  1. Use These Numbers to Do Your Calculations

For your electricity cost, get the kWh from your electric bill. In this case, we’ll use 13.5¢. Now, make these assumptions:

Incandescent light bulbs cost 50 cents each and last 800 hours, using about 60 watts of power

CFLs cost $2 a piece and last 4,000 hours, but only use 15 watts to generate the same brightness

LEDs cost $20 each and last 25,000 hours, and use between 7-12 watts.

And here’s the total cost you’d get for 25,000 hours of on-time, according to Simple Family Finance:

  • Incandescent: $218.50 (32 bulbs at 50¢ each costs $16.00. 60 watts at 25,000 hours costs $202.50)
  • CFL: $64.63 (7 bulbs at $2.00 each equals $14. 15W for 25,000 hours equals $50.63)
  • LED: $53.75 This assumes a 10W LED, which equals a 60W incandescent. (1 bulb costs $20.00. 10W for 25,000 hours equals $33.75).

Some LEDs come with a 50,000-hour lifespan, which would cut their electric cost in half to about $16.75. That would make their total life cost $36.75.

Is it worth it? After all, the light could burn out. Your kids could break it. You might move. And you must have your bulbs on enough during your day to actually see the savings!

It looks like CFLs give you the best value. LEDs give you a little more, but you’ll have to decide if the risk of them breaking or failing is worth it.

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