5F15.14 - Light Bulbs - Incandescent vs. Compact Fluorescent vs. LED

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Light Bulbs - Incandescent vs. Compact Fluorescent vs. LED
Power vs. Light Output
Area of Study:
Electricity and Magnetism
Switch, 60 watt incandescent light bulb, 13 watt compact fluorescent light bulb, amp meters (100 watt incandescent bulbs and the 27 watt compact fluorescent bulbs may also be used as a pair).

Video Credit: Jonathan M. Sullivan-Wood

Show that the package of the incandescent and the compact fluorescent show that they have approximately the same light ( lumen ) output.  Hook up each of the bulbs so that there is an amp meter in the circuit for each bulb.  Turn on the switch and show that with the same voltage and light output, the current of the compact fluorescent is about 1/5 that of the incandescent.   In other words, the compact fluorescent is the more economical and environmentally friendly alternative to the incandescent.

  • Xavier Bacalla, Edcel John Salumbides, "On the Intensity Profile of Electric Lamps and Light Bulbs", TPT, Vol. 51, # 8, Nov. 2013, p. 491.
  • James A. Einsporn, Andrew F. Zhou, "Correction, The 'Green Lab': Power Consumption by Commercial Light Bulbs", TPT, Vol. 49, # 8, Nov. 2011, p. 467.
  • James A. Einsporn, Andrew F. Zhou, "The "Green Lab": Power Consumption by Commercial Light Bulbs", TPT, Vol. 49, # 6, Sept. 2011, p. 365.
  •  Yaakov Kraftmakher, "Experiments with Fluorescent Lamps", TPT, Vol. 48, Oct. 2010, p. 461.
  • John L. Roeder, Activity 13, "Using Less Fuel to Light Your Home", Teaching About Energy, p. 157.
  • John L. Roeder, Activity 8, "Efficiency of Energy Conversion", Teaching About Energy, p. 99.
  • Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay, and the staff of the Exploratorium, "Electricity at Work", Exploratopia, p. 329.
  • John Herrman, "The Light Bulb Wars", Popular Mechanics, Sept. 2011, p. 97.

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