Money Talks News: Is LED Lighting Really Worth It

If you want to slash those electric bills, there's no doubt LED light bulbs are a bright idea.

They use a fraction of the power of conventional bulbs and can literally last for decades.

There's only one dark spot for LEDs, but it's a huge one: Cost. This incandescent bulb costs 50 cents.

This LED replacement: More like $20. Is it worth it? That depends.

Since LEDs last much longer and use so much less power, they'll ultimately pay for themselves. But the key word is ultimately. What you need to know is when you'll break even.

Here's what I mean: If you keep a light on for 5 hours a day, every day, and pay 13.5 cents per kilowatt for electricity, the cost of incandescent - that's bulbs and electricity - will be about $32 for two years: nearly all that cost is electricity. An LED, including both bulb and power, will only cost $25: $20 of that's the bulb.

So burn a light 5 hours/day, and you break even with a $20 LED in less than two years. But watch what happens when you don't use the light much.

If you only keep the light on 30 minutes daily instead of 5 hours, the cost of incandescent only about $3.50 over two years.

The cost for the LED is $20.50. It this pace you won't break even for 15 years.

Bottom line? While you're always going to save money over the long run with an LED, unless you use the light a lot, you may be dead before you break even.

So if you're going to buy LEDs, start with the lights you use the most.

Need further enlightenment? Just go to

Just do a search for "LED".

For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.