Smart Lighting VS Traditional Lighting: A Comprehensive Comparison

Read on for a detailed guide to smart lighting vs traditional lighting, including how the two stack up in costs, energy consumption, and maintenance costs. 


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The lighting choices we make about our homes and workplaces reflect our commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency, and modern living. For decades, traditional lighting has illuminated our spaces, providing the basic function of brightening our homes and lives. But now, smart lighting is all set to transform how we interact with our environments. 

With advanced features like remote control and personalized settings, smart lighting is becoming a go-to for both residential and commercial units. But how does it measure up against the traditional incandescent bulbs many of us grew up with? Read on for a detailed comparison of smart lighting vs traditional lighting to make an informed decision for your space. 

Understanding Traditional Lighting & Its Types

Traditional lighting is the age-old method of lighting our homes, which primarily works on incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen bulbs. Each of these types works on the basic principle of electricity and light emission, yet they differ in their working mechanism. 

1. Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are the oldest method of electric lighting. They work on a simple principle: when electricity passes through a thin tungsten filament, it heats up to a high temperature and glows, producing light. This process is known as incandescence. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb to prevent oxidation and keep the filament from deteriorating. 

While incandescent bulbs are known for their simplicity and warm light quality, they are highly inefficient. In these fixtures, only about 10% of the electrical energy is used to brighten a room, with the remaining 90% lost as heat. Due to this inefficiency, incandescent bulbs are facing a phase-out in many countries in favor of more energy efficient lighting solutions. 

2. Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs operate on a different principle known as fluorescence. These bulbs contain low-pressure mercury vapor that produces ultraviolet (UV) light when electrically excited. This UV light then travels to the inside of the bulb, where it strikes a phosphor coating, making it glow. After absorbing the UV light, the phosphor expands its wavelength, converting it into light. 

When compared to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lights are far more energy efficient. They convert a higher percentage of electrical energy into light, losing 75% less energy as heat. This means that if an incandescent bulb consumes 75 watts, a fluorescent bulb would take around 20 watts to produce the same brightness. 

Electricity Use by Bulb Type

3. Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs take incandescent lighting a step further thanks to a chemical reaction that recycles tungsten filament within the fixture. These bulbs contain a small amount of halogen gas, which allows the filament to operate at a higher temperature. Much of the evaporated tungsten is redeposited back onto the filament by the halogen gas. This reduces thinning and prolongs the bulb’s life. Consequently, halogen lights have an improved efficiency and lifespan compared to the standard incandescent bulbs, lasting two to three times longer. 

Smart Lighting: Definition & Working Mechanism

Smart lighting represents the next generation of lighting fixtures, with advanced features like remote control and automation. These lights use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) which are known for their superior energy efficiency and long lifespan. LEDs are semiconductors devices that emit light when an electric current passes through them. 

The basis of an LED is a diode, which houses two different materials: a p-type semiconductor and an n-type semiconductor. When voltage is applied across these materials, electrons from the n-type material recombine with the holes in the p-type material. This process, known as electroluminescence, releases energy in the form of photons, which we see as light. 

Smart Lighting Vs Traditional Lighting 

1. Cost Comparison

When it comes to the cost comparison between smart lighting vs traditional lighting, the latter is much friendlier on your pockets initially. Generally, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb costs around $1 to $2, while compact fluorescent lamps (CFLSs) fall between $2 to $10 per bulb. However, smart lighting solutions call for a higher initial investment, with each bulb costing $42 on average. Plus, if your lights require a hub or bridge for connectivity, be prepared to pay more. 

2. Energy Efficiency

Traditional lighting, particularly incandescent bulbs, is known for its high energy consumption. These inefficient devices convert only 10% of the energy they use into visible light, with the remaining 90% lost as heat. This inefficiency translates into higher electricity bills. Fluorescent bulbs consume only 25-35% of the energy required by incandescent bulbs to provide the same level of brightness. However, they still fall short compared to LEDs. 

Smart outdoor lighting based on LEDs is far more energy efficient. Since LEDs are based on the electroluminescence process, they convert around 80% of their consumed energy into light. As a result, your power consumption decreases, slashing the electricity bills by a huge percentage. Smart bulbs also have other intelligent features like dimming, scheduling, and automation, which help you further reduce your power consumption. 

3. Maintenance Costs

While a traditional lighting system comes at a lower initial cost, it has a shorter lifespan, with each of these bulbs lasting:

  • Incandescent bulbs: 1,000 hours
  • Fluorescent bulbs: 8,000 to 10,000 hours
  • Halogen bulbs: 2,000 to 4,000 hours 

Due to its shorter lifespan, traditional lighting fixtures have to be replaced frequently, stacking up high maintenance costs. On the other hand, smart bulbs based on LEDs have a longer lifespan of 20,000 to 25,000 hours or more. Given that an LED bulb lasts 25 times longer than an incandescent one, homeowners can expect fewer replacements over the long term. 

Lifespan of Different Bulb Types

Since LEDs are highly durable, smart lighting reduces the probability of bulb failures and the associated labor costs. So, when it comes to smart lighting vs traditional cost, the high initial investment of smart devices justify the long-term savings they bring. After all, having smart lights mean you pay less in bills, replacement costs, and maintenance charges. 

4. Environmental Impact

Besides saving maintenance costs, smart lighting is also good for the planet. Since LEDs have a lower energy consumption and a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs, they use fewer resources over time. This leads to lower carbon emissions and less waste in landfills (as you replace your light fixtures less often). 

Thus, smart lighting helps homeowners and businesses move towards sustainable living by majorly reducing their carbon footprint. The Climate Group reports that a global transition to energy-efficient LEDs could reduce CO2 emissions by over 1,400 million tons. This migration will also cut down the need to build 1,250 power stations. 


In the debate between smart lighting vs traditional pros and cons, the benefits of smart lights clearly outweigh the drawbacks. One major con of smart lights is their high initial investment, which is justified by long-term savings. With smart lights, you can cut your power consumption and benefit from fewer replacements, all while having a system that adapts to your lifestyle. 

From automation and control to customization, smart lighting offers benefits that traditional systems can never match. If you’re ready to bring the future of lighting into your home, My Smart Home is the place to go. Their highly skilled team of experts will help you design and install a customized lighting system that perfectly fits your lifestyle and needs. So, contact My Smart Home to shift towards a smarter, brighter home! 


How does smart lighting improve home security?

Smart lights come with remote control and automation features, letting homeowners program their bulbs to turn on and off at random intervals. This helps simulate the presence of someone even when the house is empty. Smart lights can also be integrated with security systems, like cameras and motion detectors, turning on when motion is detected outside or inside the home. 

What are the health benefits of using smart lighting?

Smart lighting can improve health and well-being by mimicking natural daylight patterns, which helps regulate circadian rhythms. You can program your bulbs to dim the brightness in the evening, stimulating the production of melanin for better sleep. Smart bulbs can adjust in color and brightness to suit different activities, like reading or relaxing, thereby reducing eye strain. 

How does smart lighting integrate with other smart home devices?

Smart lighting systems usually connect to a central hub or bridge, which works as the command center for all smart home devices. You can integrate your lighting fixtures with smart thermostats and climate control to create an energy-efficient home. The bulbs can also be integrated with smart entertainment systems, changing colors and intensity as per the content being played. 

How does smart lighting save more energy than traditional lighting?

Smart lighting uses LEDs, which are far more energy-efficient than standard halogen or incandescent bulbs. Smart systems also give you precise control over brightness levels, leading to further energy savings. These devices can be programmed to follow schedules that align with daily routines, for example, turning off after sunrise. Plus, many smart bulbs give detailed reports of energy consumption, which allows you to reduce electricity usage and bills.