A good quality flashlight is always useful for the home or even for vehicle owners especially in case of emergencies such as power outages. Flashlights are also very useful for any night time outdoor activity, such as camping or hunting. In emergency situations where a light source is needed, they can be life savers. The light source in hand-held flashlights is either an incandescent light bulb or LED. So what is the difference between LED and incandescent flashlights? Which one is better?
LED or Light Emitting Diode is basically a semiconductor diode. When the diode is switched on, electrons move in an orbit around the nucleus and release energy in the form of photons. The photons move up or drop in the orbit depending on the total energy produced. The emitted light is maintained by the orbit in which the photons reside in.
An incandescent bulb, on the other hand, is basically a glass bulb under vacuum or filled with an inert gas to prevent oxidation and a tungsten filament. When the light bulb is turned on, an electric current is passed through the tungsten filament thus heating it to an elevated temperature to produce visible light.
An LED flashlight offers lower energy consumption than an incandescent one, which means longer battery life. An LED flashlight can last approximately 10,000 hours of uninterrupted usage while the bulb of an incandescent flashlight can last for only 6 hours of uninterrupted usage. LED flashlights are also more robust and less susceptible to breakage because they don’t posses any tungsten filaments which can easily shatter when the flashlight is dropped, for example. LEDs are offered in a variety of colors unlike incandescent with their yellow hue.
One major drawback to LED flashlights is the fact that they are much more expensive, but in the long run they make up for it because of better energy efficiency, brightness, and robustness.
Source: Ezine Articles – Mark T Twain