Comparing Halogen, CFL and LED Floodlights for Home Security
Automatic floodlights are one of the best investments for home security as they’re active 24/7 and cost very little to install and maintain.
Home Depot offers a few options in the PAR38 standard floodlight size from Halogens, CFL’s and the latest in LED lights.
Price points and lighting color options are still the tipping points when it comes to light bulb purchases and these seem to change every month as the cost of CFL’s and LED’s continue to fall and they also broaden their color ranges.
Home Depot has a handy display that compares a small range of lighting options which can help give you a rough estimate of what to expect regarding color but keep in mind you are viewing these lighting options under florescent lights in a warehouse which can vary from the look you’d see in your home.
If you are shopping for the typical indoor/outdoor floodlight you are most likely looking for PAR38 size and we’ve broken down some basic prices and bulb stats on different types.
LED PAR38 Comparisons
Philips 90-Watt PAR38 Halogen Flood
Light output: 1,350 Lumens
Energy used: 90 watts
Life Hours: 2,000 Hours
EcoSmart 23-Watt (90W) Soft White Par38 CFL Light Bulbs (2-Pack)
Light output: 1,200 lumens
Energy used: 23 watts
Life hours: 8,000 hours
Last up to 3 times longer than 90-watt incandescent floodlights
Use 75% less energy than 90-watt incandescent floodlights
EcoSmart PAR38 18-Watt (75W) LED Flood Light Bulb
Light output: 850 lumens
Energy used: 18 watts
Life hours: 50,000 hours
Lasts up to 46 years
Energy efficient LED bulb has an estimated energy savings of $360 per bulb over the life of the bulb
Philips 16 Watt Ambient LED PAR38 Indoor Flood (shown above)
Light Output: 514 Lumens
Energy used: 16 Watts
Life Hours: 25,000 Hours
Contains no mercury and provides a soft, white light
Obviously you can save a lot initially by going with the standard halogen but keep in mind if this light is going to be used in a high-traffic location and will be constantly turned on and off the life of the halogen is going to be fairly low and require changes as often as any other halogen which is to say probably a few times per year.
The CFL’s offer a much better cost per bulb-life ratio but as we keep seeing, one of the drawbacks to CFL’s is the mercury contained and we’ve had experiences with them not reaching full light potential and need a couple seconds to “warm up”.
The new LED’s take a significant jump in price but also bump up the bulb life to almost 30 years which makes it a good chance the bulb will last longer than you own your home. These bulbs also use very little energy but emit just as much light as a halogen and are usually dimmable which is an advantage over CFL’s.
Changing outdoor security lights also require a bit more effort as they should be placed in out of the way and hard to reach places so they aren’t compromised very easily. Think about changing the bulb once and forgetting about it is a nice option to have.
Whatever bulb you choose we strongly recommend the use of floodlights for home security and if you can swing the upfront cost, the LED’s are a great way to go.
Where to Buy
Home Depot lists over 20 PAR38 bulb types to purchase online and if you go in store you can check out the light display for yourself. If you prefer to shop online visit the Home Depot website.
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