Dollar Sign made of lightsWhen assessing the cost of lighting, there’s more to think about than the price on the tag. While a low priced bulb or fixture may seem initially appealing, there are a multitude of factors to consider to make certain your bargain bulbs won’t end up costing you in the long run. By considering a variety of factors you can rest assured that you’re getting the best quality without breaking the bank.

For many people, the cost of a bulb is the beginning and end of the search. But this type of decision making is an easy way to set yourself up for disaster. This approach entirely discounts factors such as wattage, life span, annual running cost, and maintenance. By ignoring these factors you may find your lowest priced bulbs will quickly become a high-cost headache.

A perfect example of this phenomenon in practice is seen when comparing LED lampsto their fluorescent and incandescent counterparts. While LED bulbs are often double or even triple the price of alternatives, their true value lies in longevity and annual energy costs. Conventional bulbs generally require replacement in 2 years or less. LED bulbs can generally offer a lifespan 3-5 times this duration. To break this down in even simpler terms, we can say an incandescent bulb is $10, fluorescent is $15, and LEDs $20. If the gas-based lamps meet their maximum life expectancy of 2 years, they will still require replacement 5 times in the lifespan of a single LED lamp. This means the cost of the bulb over ten years skyrockets to $50–$75 for traditional options, while the LED lamps remain at the initial investment of $20. Scaled for multiple fixtures to meet the lighting needs of any significant area these small differences can add up quickly.

Similarly the annual energy costs to keep bulbs lit can span a wide range due to varying efficiency in lamp types. Modern LEDs can provide illumination equal or greater to incandescent and fluorescent options at a greatly reduced rate of energy consumption. As energy prices increase with standard inflation, so does the running cost of those bulbs—that seems like such a fantastic deal up front. Most lamps will offer a “Yearly Energy Cost” in the description or packaging, averaging the energy consumption costs under optimal conditions, allowing the consumer to weigh the price of the lamp itself against the long term expenses associated with that particular bulb.

Need assistance evaluating your options? Let our specialists help you to determine what will truly be the best deal for you today, tomorrow, and for years to come. Now that sounds like a bright idea!