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Best Type of Restaurant Lighting: Incandescent vs. LEDs

Posted by Molly Austin on Jul 29, 2020 2:48:00 PM


Whether someone is going for a casual dinner or a more upscale meal, proper lighting plays a major role in your guests’ dining experience. The lighting in a restaurant affects many elements, including food presentation, mood, and overall gratification. 

Not all restaurants are created equal, and for that matter, neither is the lighting. In the contemporary world of lighting, perhaps one of the greatest debates is Incandescent bulbs versus LED bulbs, two main types of lighting utilized in restaurant establishments. Each type of lighting performs differently, creating different results in return. What are the differences and why choose one over the other?

Incandescent Lighting for your Restaurant

Not long ago, there weren’t any types of light bulbs. There wasn’t any choice other than the wattage, and the lighting technology had not changed in over a century. The reason incandescent remained popular due to the main factors: cost and color.


Price is the main factor that attracts people to buying incandescent lights. Even though the cost of LED light bulbs is dropping rapidly, incandescent bulbs have the lower up-front cost and that continues to drive their desirability.


The color of lighting wasn’t something people thought about a decade ago, but now with the wide array of string lighting options, consumers are seeing cool white lights, warm white lights, daylight lights and numerous other tones. Traditional incandescent bulbs though are the ones that have the familiar warm glow that most people associate with home lighting. It has an element of tradition or nostalgia to it, and is still the most common light bulb sold.

Benefits to Using LED Lighting

There’s a reason that you’re seeing more and more LED lighting options. LED has become the next major wave of light bulb that will be used for the foreseeable future. While more expensive than incandescent bulbs up front, they have numerous advantages and with prices dropping, they are quickly becoming the most popular and preferred choice.

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Lower energy usage is another distinct advantage with LED bulbs. For example, with string lights, a 25-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 1 to 2-watt LED bulb. That lower wattage means lower energy usage which has a direct correlation with energy costs, particularly with multiple bulbs and save money.


While LED bulbs may cost more to begin with, the combination of the low energy usage and the longevity of the bulb, means that they are actually less expensive than incandescents in the long run. With roughly 10 times the life span, and one-tenth the wattage consumed, LED bulbs will pay for themselves within a couple years.


Because they don’t use the same fragile components, LEDs are much better able to stand up to vibration, shock and temperature extremes. Also, many LED lights have a plastic shell rather than glass making them much more durable.

Safety and Environment

A couple other advantages are safety and environmental benefits. LED bulbs expel most of their energy as light (hence the lower wattage for the same brightness), whereas incandescent light give off energy as heat. That means LED bulbs remain cool to the touch. Additionally, LEDs are made from non-toxic materials and don’t contain any mercury or other hazardous chemicals. When it comes time to dispose of them, they won’t require any special handling.


LEDs are a product of semiconductors, and by adapting the semiconductors in the chip, the color of the LED can be adjusted. That means that LEDs can be made to emit a wide range of colors similar to the warm light of an incandescent light, as well as other hues of white light that many people find more appealing.


Ultimately, when it comes to comparing incandescent and LED lighting, the latter is the best choice for installation. Contact Electro-Matic Visual for a quote today!

Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News