A Safety Comparison of LED and incandescent bulbs

A safety comparison of LED & traditional lamps bulbs

February 2021

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LED lights outperform traditional bulbs in almost every way, but which is the safest option?

Traditional lamps & bulbs use a gas to produce light. When the power is switched on, it begins to glow and generate heat, which in turn produces light.

LED stands for light-emitting diode; they are semiconductors that convert electrical energy directly into light when power is applied to them.

Because of the differences in the way LEDs and traditional bulbs work, the former are far more efficient.

LEDs have quickly risen in popularity because of their numerous benefits, including:

  • Much longer lifespan – LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • Better for the environment – Using LEDs produces fewer CO2 emissions and less pollution and waste
  • Energy efficiency –  typically 4 times more
  • Cost-saving – LEDs offer long-term cost-savings because of a longer lifespan, better efficiency and lower maintenance requirements.
  • Controls – LED lights can be dimmed in various ways, offering better comfort and making them a more flexible option.
  • Instant light – Unlike other types of bulb, LEDs light up instantly; there is no waiting time for them to warm up

But while it may be obvious that LEDs outperform traditional light bulbs, are they safer?f

Traditional bulb safety concerns

Made from very thin glass

A key safety concern with bulbs is their fragile nature.
They are made from very thin glass, so if one explodes or breaks it can send dangerous shards of thin glass everywhere. It will also send chemicals into the atmosphere; the billions of mercury- fuelled fluorescents is a scary prospect.

If a bulb shatters while it is still screwed into a socket, it can also be dangerous trying to remove it.
LEDs are more durable and resistant to shocks and vibrations, so there is less chance of them causing an injury.


Traditional bulbs release up to 90 per cent of their energy as heat and can be extremely hot to the touch, whereas good LEDs hardly generate any heat at all. Good LEDs do not require hefty heatsinks.



LED safety concerns

Blue light is bad

Some LED lighting companies sell fixtures with 6000 kelvin CCT. In 99% of cases this is bad. Even in places like print or paint shops who have historically thought they wanted 6000 kelvin “because it looks brighter”, when they actually need 4000 and high CRI.

The higher the CCT, the lower the CRI and we generally want to see things in their true colour, (let alone printers and painters who definitely do!)

The reason some LED manufacturers supply blue/white 6000 kelvin is simply because it looks brighter than it in reality is.

Poor performing/ low lumen output masked by a colour that looks brighter than it is.


Some studies suggest blue light can impact the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep cycles) and could worsen symptoms of eyestrain.
Both LEDs and incandescent bulbs produce some blue light, but LEDs tend to produce higher levels.

Toxic substances

While it is true that LED lights do sometimes contain arsenic and lead, the amount of each substance present is so minimal that LEDs are not considered to be toxic and can be thrown away with your normal rubbish.

Some LEDs flicker

Some LED lights flicker, but the flicker is so rapid that you are unlikely to notice it.
There is some speculation about whether, on a subconscious level, the flickering could have a negative effect on health but nothing has been scientifically proven.

A little bit of research will uncover safety concerns about every type of lightbulb.
However many of the concerns surrounding LED lighting are merely speculative and have not been proven.
The safety worries with incandescent bulbs, however, have been supported with evidence over the years.
That can make them physically hazardous, especially during maintenance – which they need lots of due to their short lifespan.

Modern LED lighting offers businesses numerous benefits over incandescent lighting.
By consulting a lighting specialist about your commercial building and workforce requirements, you can enjoy the benefits of LED lighting safely.

Intelect Lighting LED specialists

Here at Intelect Lighting we design, supply, and install advanced LED lighting solutions to organisations and businesses of all sizes nationwide.

We have specialised in LED lighting for more than a decade, developing and patenting our own innovative LED technology.


If you need help or advice with using or designing LED lighting to effectively light your workplace, get in touch with our team of experts by calling 01942 604 191.

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1 thought on “A Safety Comparison of LED and incandescent bulbs”

  1. I was try to find to some information about led light and then I got found this website. Really nice and in depth information about Led lights. Thanks for them for sharing content like this

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