As governments around the world phase out incandescent light bulbs, consumers are turning to two popular lighting options: light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Touted as being more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than incandescent bulbs, LEDs and CFLs can be found in virtually any [city] hardware store and are available in all kinds of shapes, configurations, and designs.

However, when it comes to comparing both lighting solutions, LEDs clearly come out on top. Below are a few reasons why.

Longer Life Span

LEDs have the longest life span of any artificial lighting solution on the market. In fact, lighting giants GE and Philips both claim to have light bulbs that last 50,000 hours, or nearly 6 years if the LED bulbs are switched on for 24 hours a day and 11.4 years if 12 hours daily.

In contrast, CFLs only have an average life span of about 10,000 hours. Of course, compared to the measly 1,200-hour lifespan of incandescent bulbs, you can’t go wrong with either an LED or CFL bulb. But if you want real performance mileage, LEDs are the way to go.

Superior Durability

Most LED light bulbs are made with plastic or glass components that can withstand shocks and extreme temperatures. It’s no surprise then why LEDs are a prime option for outdoor lighting, particularly street lighting.

On the other hand, CFLs contain glass tubes filled with phosphor and mercury gas, which combine to create a chemical reaction that produces light. This means that cracking a CFL bulb’s glass tubes will render it useless. With LEDs, the bulb enclosure is usually made of heat-resistant plastic. And even if it somehow cracks, the LED bulb is still usually functional.

No Dangerous Chemicals

LEDs don’t contain mercury, a chemical needed by CFLs to produce light. Should a CFL break, the mercury vapors inside can escape into the air, posing a health hazard to those inside your home. Although the amount of mercury vapor is usually not enough to be of any real danger to adults, it can have adverse side-effects to infants and pets. The presence of mercury in CFL bulbs also means they require special handling when it comes to disposal and recycling.

Superior Lighting Quality

LEDs produce a strong, bright light without any delay in full lighting intensity. That means LEDs are instant-on, producing their full lighting output the second they’re switched on. And even when LED bulbs approach the end of their life span, they barely lose their brightness, as opposed to CFLs which noticeably get dimmer after a few months.

And compared to CFLs, LEDs also have a higher color-rendering index (CRI), which means colors appear accurate under their light.

Better Energy Efficiency

The biggest factor that makes LEDs better than CFLs is their superior energy efficiency, generating the same intensity of light for a lot less electricity. You could potentially save up to 50 percent less energy by swapping all your CFL lights to LEDs.

Lower Maintenance Costs

Because LEDs are sturdier and longer-lasting than CFLs, you won’t have to spend as much money on repairs and replacements. You won’t have to buy a new set of bulbs as often as you need to with CFLs—LEDs last longer and handle extreme temperatures and vibrations just fine.

But are LEDs perfect? Not quite. Before you go out and buy LEDs for your [city] home, remember they are significantly more expensive than CFLs. So unless you have deep pockets, it might be better to install LEDs in areas of your home that get the most use—think the kitchen, living room, or bedroom.