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Christmas Lights – LED or Filament?

The decision between which Christmas lights to buy for Christmas 2013 has always been a simple one; white or coloured?  With the introduction of LED to the festive lighting scene, the traditional filament or incandescent bulbs are being tested by this newcomer.  There’s a lot to weigh up when it comes to choosing between the two, below we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each bulb in their relative sectors.  You need to take into consideration the running costs, sustainability, power sockets and more!

bundle of traditional fairy lights

Running Costs

LED have stolen the show here, the running costs of LED bulbs are significantly lower.  The technology behind the bulbs are super-efficient, they give off barely any heat and as such dedicate all of the expended energy to the lighting.  You can expect to save up to a staggering 60% on the cost of running a string of LED bulbs as opposed to filaments.  The unfortunate fact is that buying LED fairy lights is a more expensive outlay, so you might not reap the rewards for a couple of years use.


As mentioned, LED bulbs are significantly more energy efficient than filaments.  Not only will you find yourself replacing filament strings more frequently (contributing to un-recyclable waste) you will also be using far more electricity.  At the moment, the majority of British electricity is generated through fossil fuelled power stations and the more we use, the more pollution we encourage.  Looking down the production line, switching to LED can contribute towards reducing your carbon footprint.


Power Sockets

Plug sockets are at a premium over December!  You’ll be very lucky to find yourself with a spare socket for that last set of lights, so you end up having to double or triple up through one outlet.  Unfortunately, filament bulbs consume much more energy and you can be at risk of blowing the fuse in the strands or the plug.  The great thing about strings of LED lights is that, thanks to their low energy consumption, you can combine up to fifty of them without having to worry about this problem.  If you tried that with filaments, you’d be going through fuses faster than you’re going through the sherry! 


Bear In Mind…

As you can see, LED lights clearly have the advantage over their more traditional rivals.  But don’t assume that every string of LED fairy lights is going to be super-efficient on your electricity bill, different colours consume different levels of energy.  LED “bulbs” aren’t really bulbs, they’re electronic circuits and they have to be composed differently to produce different colours.  A set of 100 white LED fairy lights will consume around 7.7W, whereas the same fairy lights in red will only use 4.3W.  It pays to do your research beforehand.


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