Lighting Guide: All You Need to Know about LED Lights Cost (2021 Update)

LED Lights…

Nowadays, everywhere you go you’ll bump into them; these fixtures are in most of the places people spend time in.

For example, you’ll find them in:

  • Households,
  • Offices,
  • Schools,
  • Shopping malls,
  • Streets,
  • Walkways,
  • Public libraries,
  • Garages, and so on.

But:

Have you ever wondered how much they cost?

And, no. I’m not just talking about the cost of purchase; I’m talking about all the costs associated with LED lighting.

Well, we rarely talk about them.

And even when we do:

It’s hardly about the costs. People usually talk about their high brightness, longevity, energy efficiency, reliability, and so on. Just not the prices.

But, note:

The topic of LED lights costs is a crucial one.  

When upgrading your lighting to LEDs or installing the lights from scratch, you’ll need to come up with a good financial strategy. 

You’ll need to know exactly what you’ll spend on and their specific costs as well.

Otherwise:

You might spend more than expected or, even worse, go bankrupt in the process.

You don’t want that, do you?

So, the main question here is:

LED Light Cost

Chapter 1: How Much Does It Cost To Install LED Lights?

Or rather:

What are the other costs apart from the purchase?

I bet you want to know the answers.

Don’t you?

So, walk with me to the end as I tell you everything you need to know about LED lights cost.

Now:

These days, most people who’ve been using incandescent lights and CFLs are shifting to LEDs. 

For that reason, LED lights are becoming so popular.

But:

Should you also move to LED? Are they worth the while?

So:

Before we get down to the costs, let’s see some of the reasons why you should change your lighting to LED.

Chapter 2: Advantages of LED Lights

  1. Long life: LEDs are with no doubt more durable than incandescent and CFL bulbs. This is because of their components and the mechanism they use to generate light. Unlike their incandescent and CFL counterparts, the bulbs have lower heat levels. Therefore, most of the LED bulbs can last for over 25,000 hours and will live up to your expectations.
  2. Energy efficiency: As aforementioned, unlike CFLs and incandescent bulbs, LED lights involve very little heating, hence, most of the energy is often converted into light. Consequently, these fixtures end up saving a lot of energy.
  3. High brightness: Despite consuming less energy, LED lights are capable of emitting high brightness levels. This is because they create a more focused glow; allowing you to use fewer bulbs. This, as well, lowers energy consumption.
  4. Wide variety of colors: Another reason why LED lights are becoming so popular is the wide variety of colors they can offer. Whether you want it to be pure white, green, blue, red, or pink; you can easily get it.
  5. Low heat: As above-mentioned, LED lights convert most – if not all – energy directly into light with minimal heating. This is not only energy efficient but also makes them safer than other lighting technologies. Also, this makes them ideal for heat sensitive areas because they illuminate a room without necessarily raising the temperatures.
  6. Instant lighting: Have you ever turned on a bulb and had to wait some moments before you saw ample light? That can be frustrating. Well, it doesn’t happen with LED lights. Since they don’t need warming up, they’ll turn ON and be at full brightness once you hit the switch.
  7. They are reliable: LED bulbs can operate well in cold temperature areas and some can also withstand moisture. Also, given that they don’t have filaments and delicate parts, they can easily endure sudden impacts. And that makes them stable, durable, and reliable.

So:

Those are just some benefits that come with LED lights.

Anyway:

This post is all about the costs.

So, what exactly are you going to spend your money on?

Well, if you are wondering the same thing, here are a few examples of costs that may need your consideration:

  • Initial Costs
  • Transportation Costs
  • Location/Planning/Preparation Costs
  • Installation Costs
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Electricity Costs
  • Other Costs

Let’s look at each, shall we?

Chapter 3: A Look at LED Lights Cost In 2020

1. The Initial Costs of Buying LEDs

Now:

If you are planning to install LED lights in your home or business place, the first thing to consider is the cost of buying the bulbs. 

A good fixture should be pocket-friendly or at least sensibly priced.  

For example:

Incandescent bulbs, ever since they were invented, have been generally cheap.

Despite the fact that they started off expensive during their early years, their prices have dropped – noticeably – with time.

Nowadays:

You can get an incandescent or fluorescent bulb for under a dollar.

Cheap, isn’t it?

However, the same cannot be said about LEDs. 

Why?

They are expensive than most lighting fixtures. And this is mainly because:

  • There is an imbalance between demand and supply; i.e. the supply does not meet the demand for LED lights.
  • Also, the number of manufacturers in this industry pales in comparison to other lighting technologies; hence, most of them haven’t yet gotten to the point where they can offer cheaper LEDs and still make a decent profit from it.
  • Expensive raw materials. LED technology is still relatively new, and that means that some of the components used to make these fixtures, due to high demand, cost a pretty penny.  Consequently, resulting in high pricing for LED lights.

Now:

There are so many other reasons that explain why LEDs are so expensive.

But:

On a more positive note, things are starting to improve in the LED industry with price reduction being one of the major signs.

Wondering; how?

Get this:

LED lights are quickly taking over and dominating the lighting industry; with many people switching to this technology.

In fact:

Some governments, such as Brazil and Venezuela, started the phase-out old lighting systems like incandescent lights as far back as 2005.

Basically:

This phase-out dictates a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of incandescent lights; in favor of LED lights and other modern methods of lighting.

Other countries like Australia and Switzerland began their phase-out in 2009. Projecting that by the end of 2020, everybody should have moved to LED or other recommended types of lighting.

So, that literally means that shifting to LED lights is inevitable as governments continue to push for this change.

However:

You should note that the phase-out process has been slow; mainly attributed to the high upfront costs of setting up an LED light system.

And:

Even though it may not be as expensive as it was in the beginning, switching to LED technology will still cost you more than other old lighting equipment.

Now:

To help you paint a clearer picture of the costs associated with acquiring LEDs, here’s a sample pricing table; showing how much it will cost you to buy a good lighting fixture from different technologies:

Technology

LED

CFL

Incandescent

Price

~ $3.50

~ $2.00

< $1.00

So, the question demanding an answer here is: Are LED lights worth all that money?

The answer is a straight out ‘YES’.

Why?

For starters, LED light fixtures are often one-time investments.

Fun fact:

In terms of durability, one LED fixture is equivalent to 21 incandescent bulbs and 3 CFL ones.

Fantastic. Isn’t it?

2. LED Light Fixtures Transportation Costs

LED Lights Transportation

Obviously:

You will need shipping services to get your purchase from the manufacturer to your location.

And that means finding a shipping company that is:

  • Affordable.
  • Reputable.
  • And reliable.

But:

You should note that the best companies don’t offer cheap services.

Therefore, shipping will cost you extra; especially if the products are being transported from one country to another.

How much?

Well, this cost will be dependent on several factors; including:

a) The Distance and Time

Now:

Due to obvious reasons, the distance and time factor is the most important consideration when it comes to transportation.  

Simply put:

The farther and harder it is to access your location, the higher the shipping cost.

Note:

Shipping agencies often calculate the freight fees according to zones.

You see, delivery areas are divided into zones; beginning from Zone 1 up to Zone 6; depending on how far the client’s location is.

Clients in Zone 1 are charged the lowest and the prices go up as the zone extends further.

Also:

Time is defined in terms of how fast you want the items delivered. You should expect to pay more for fast/urgent delivery orders.

b) Type of Product

Understand this:

More money will be charged if the product is delicate and requires special handling. Also, products that require packaging and those that are perishable will attract higher freight fees.

In our case, LED lights may not be so fragile but to ensure that the client gets them in the best shape and conditions, several safety and packaging measures must be put in place.

And:

Depending on the type of products you’re shipping, a relevant and reasonable fee will be applicable.

c) Quantity of Items to Be Transported

Note:

The transport cost charged is almost directly proportional to the number of items to be shipped.

However:

Some shipping service providers often give incentives in the form of discounts/reduced fees for bulk shipments.

This is what I mean:

If you are transporting a large number of fixtures, the transport cost for each unit will be much lower as the quantity increases.

And that’s why, when importing LED lights, you should ensure you make a bulk order and ship it all in one go; remember, making several shipments will cost you a lot more.

d) Import Duty and Customs Office Clearance

Import LED Lights Duty

Yes!

For anyone importing LED lights from China or any other part of the world, this bit has to be taken care of – correctly. 

Note that there are government-imposed fees and taxes on every product entering any given country.

And:

For your shipment to be cleared and released to you, you’ll have to meet and pay all informational and financial requirements issued by your local customs office.

Failure to do so may result in your products being held up at the landing port at your expense.

You don’t want that, do you?

Anyway:

These are just a few of the costs you should expect to cover in terms of shipping.

Therefore, you need to make sure you research and consult with your supplier/manufacturer to come up with a list of all the costs relating to shipping your order.

Does it end here?

No!

There’s more…

3. LED Location/Planning/Preparation Costs

Fact:

When planning to install LED lights, there are two likely scenarios:

  • You are upgrading from old technologies like CFL or incandescent lights.
  • You are installing the LEDs from scratch.

Now:

If it’s the former, chances are that you will not spend much. 

Given that the voltage is correct and the wiring has no faults, all you need to do is an easy and fast swap.

Keep this in mind though:

The female fittings of the old bulb bases have to match with the male fittings of the incoming LED fixtures. Common bulb fittings are either the GU10 pin type or the E27 screw type; hence, the need to find out which type your new fixtures are.

Luckily, the two fittings are available for LED lights as well. So when making the purchase, make sure the fittings are a match.

If it’s the latter (LED installation from scratch), you’ll spend more as proper wiring has to be done. And talking of correct wiring, I mean the proper installation of:

  • Fittings  
  • Circuit breakers
  • Fuses
  • Switches
  • And the correct placement of live, neutral, and earth wires.

Since you can’t do this all by yourself, you’ll need to hire an electrician or a wiring expert.

That’s where preparation costs come in.

Don’t fret though; hiring an electrician won’t break your bank.

Most of them charge between $50 and $300 per hour. And if that doesn’t work well for you, you may negotiate with them to charge you for the entire project.

Note:

If you’ll pay them on an hourly basis, the total costs will depend on the size of the building or the number of fixtures.

Expert installers often take an hour (for simple lights) or two (for complex ones) to install a single unit.

Therefore:

If you have five simple fixtures, the estimated installation time will be around 6 hours (with delays and unexpected events taken into account). And that means that you may end up spending up to $300 for this.

But:

This is not the final cost – it’s just an example.

Your overall cost will depend on the rate you agree on with your contractor after price and work negotiations.

Moving on…

4. LED Fixture Installation Costs

Again:

Installation experts or service providers can charge you on an hourly basis, per light fixture, or for the entire project.

It all depends on your agreement with them.

The charges differ depending on the service provider but are, mostly, determined by the type of light fixture or installation.

The following table shows the costs of installing different types of LED lights. These prices are just known averages.

LED Lights Installation

Type of LED fixture

Price per bulb/hour ($)

Ceiling lights

90 – 185

Wall-mounted lights

90 -200

Fluorescent lights

90 – 217

Pendant lights

95 – 250

Chandelier installation

100 – 250

Track lighting

100 – 250

Holiday lights

175 – 350

Recessed lights

175 – 225

Lightbar

330 – 400

Typical bulb

125

 

When the installation is done, all that remains is maintenance.

Of course, LED lights, just like any other bulbs, need to be maintained (even if it’s just a little).  

Learn more about this next…

5. LED Light Maintenance Costs

Now:

Organizations and individuals are always looking for lighting solutions that cost less when it comes to maintenance.

I mean, you have already spent a lot on preparation, purchase, transportation, and installation.

So, why keep spending in the name of maintenance?

Unfortunately:

Most of the traditional light fixtures like incandescent bulbs last for only 1,000 hours. 

And chances are that they will burn out or develop other faults before those hours elapse.

Consequently:

You might end up spending thousands of dollars every year just on maintenance!

And that’s one of the reasons why switching to LED is a prudent move.

Well, let’s answer this question first:

Why do LED bulbs require little maintenance?

Precise answer: Due to their long lifespan.

You see, unlike incandescent lights that are rated at 1,000 hours, LED lights will serve you for an impressive 50,000!

That’s equivalent to 6 years of uninterrupted lighting; i.e. if you decide to keep them ON for 24 hours every day.

So:

Let’s do the math…

Most electricians will charge $3 to replace an incandescent bulb or LED fixture.

However:

LEDs last more than 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs; meaning that you’ll change incandescent fixtures for more than 50 times before you replace one LED light.

Therefore, an LED fixture will cost you $3 in maintenance over a period you’d have spent $150 to maintain an incandescent bulb.

Impressive, right?

Bottom line:

Maintenance costs for LED lights are generally low.

What spikes the prices for traditional lights maintenance is the cost of labor multiplied by frequent maintenance needs.

With LED lights, those high costs are taken out of the picture. Therefore, you can save money for other projects.

And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe this next part will…

6. LED Electricity Costs

Note:

One of the reasons why governments are phasing out incandescent lights is their high energy consumption. 

Despite the fact that most often go for less than $1, their high wattage will spike your electricity bills quite high.

LED light fixtures, on the other hand, might have high upfront costs but they beat out CFLs and incandescent lights when it comes to long-term energy costs. 

Their energy efficiency is rated at +75% and they can noticeably cut down your electricity bills.

So:

Why do they consume less power?

The answer is easy: their architecture/design.

What do I mean by this?

Well, for starters, LEDs are designed to use less power to produce more light.

This is often possible due to the fact that these fixtures don’t have filaments and therefore, very little energy is wasted in the form of heat.

And that makes them very cost-effective; not only in reducing your lighting costs but also in reducing your cooling (HVAC) costs.

It is impressive, right?

Anyway:

To get a clearer understanding of all this, let’s use a few example energy costs from different lighting technologies:

Technology

LED

CFL

Incandescent

Wattage (10W LED Equivalent)

10

14

60

Upfront cost

$3.50

$2.00

$1.00

Daily Energy Costs (8hrs/day at $0.2/kWh)

0.080

$0.112

$0.480

Monthly Energy Costs

$2.40

$3.36

$14.40

Annual Energy Costs

$28.80

$40.32

$172.80

Total cost (Annual + Upfront cost)

$32.30

$42.32

$173.80

It doesn’t get any clearer than that…

Bottom line:

LED might still be costly, however, if you do the math, they are your best option if you are looking for cost-effective lighting solutions.

Funny enough:

LEDs are the most expensive to buy but also the least expensive to run and maintain.

Get it?

In Summary…

And that’s that – everything you need to know about LED Lights price.

So:

What do you prefer?

To pay high upfront costs and low maintenance costs or vice versa? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

But here’s what I think:

LED lights, despite the high bulb costs, are the best solution for lighting. Apart from the low maintenance costs, there are dozens of other benefits they come along with.

Anyway:

I hope this has been helpful. If you are planning to install or upgrade to LED lights, be sure to use this guide to learn of every single cost you need to take into account.

If you have any questions or additional thoughts on the topic, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

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