The price of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs, dimmers, and strips is becoming more affordable. These lights are among the most energy-efficient on the market, but the most significant factor affecting the cost is what you plan to do with them. Your project plans and electrical wiring costs, plus labor will affect your costs.
Upgrading Incandescent/CFL Replacements to LED Costs
Replacing incandescent and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs with LED bulbs will cost about $6 – $9 for a 10-Watt LED. Therefore, if you change 24 bulbs, it will cost $144 – $216 to replace those all at once.
10W LED lamps are the standard bulb replacement for 60-100W incandescent lamps. LED lights use lumens rather than watts. Refer to the chart below for the appropriate LED lamp to use to replace an incandescent bulb, along with the average price.
|Incandescent Watts||LED Watts||Lumens||Average Cost|
|40W||6W LED||450 lm||$3|
|75W||10W LED||1,000 lm||$6 – $9|
|150W||25W LED||2,500 lm||$12.00|
Keep in mind these are average per bulb prices, and you could pay less buying in bulk. Even though the initial cost might be more, these long-lasting and highly-durable lights will save significant energy, and therefore, money over time.
Smart LED Bulbs
The new smart LED bulbs used with voice-controlled services cost anywhere from $40 to $100 per bulb. These bulbs are capable of voice-activated color change, dimming, and on/off capabilities from a remote location.
There are even LED smart lights with built-in video recording capabilities with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Many call these nanny cams so you can discreetly keep an eye on the nanny or babysitter.
Color-changing bulbs will also cost a bit more than a typical LED bulb, but they offer the ability to control the mood using a smart phone or remote control.
LED Light Strips
LED light strips offer a slick way to add accent lighting in many applications. You can add backlighting for a piece of art, add under-cabinet or under-bed lighting, or add a glow to pretty much any indirect surface using the strips.
Strips often come with an adhesive backing and a low voltage power supply, meaning nearly anyone can install them without the need for an electrician or an expensive set of tools. The strips often cost from $50 for a standard white strip to up to $300 for a color changing variety.
One way to upgrade to LED lighting is to replace the entire light fixture with a new fixture that has integrated LED lighting instead of standard bulb sockets. Fixtures usually cost between $100 and $150 and require an electrician for the installation.
Track or String LED Light Install
Track or string lights are the easy method to get targeted and personal lights for any room. Track lights are particularly popular in kitchens, studies, and crafting areas so the user can point the light where they need it.
Otherwise, you could set up a string of lights to point out artwork or prints to make these a highlight for your room. Track lights usually have six or more lights on the track and cost about $50 to $200 for a simple style, but elaborate styles can cost as much as $1,500.
A handyman can install track lights with a cord that plugs into a wall socket. They will usually hang the track with sheetrock screws or the screws that came with the track lighting kit.
However, when wiring must be changed or added, an electrician must be used. Where there is already a ceiling light fixture, they can hook into those wires without installing more. Figure 2-3 hours and between $150 and $250 for labor.
DIY of LED Lights
The LED light projects for DIY are minimal. About the only thing you can do on your own is changing the light bulbs or install a plugin track or strip. If you don’t have the tools, time, or knowledge, a handyperson will charge $40 – $80 for a small project.
Every other project likely requires a permit and a licensed electrician. Licensed electricians charge $50 – $100 per hour depending on the going rate in your area.
Quality with Energy Savings
LED lights have equal or, in many cases, better quality than a comparable incandescent or CFL lights. (The comparison to CFLs is likely moot since most companies discontinued production of these due to the toxic mercury disposal problems.) LEDs will continue to save you money on your energy bills for a long time after installation.
Many new and repair lighting projects can use LED lighting indoors and out. These LED lights will save you nearly 85 percent on your electric bill, produce less heat, and some last up to 35 or 40,000 hours.
The estimated savings for the average homeowner by replacing 24 incandescent bulbs with LEDs is nearly $7,000 over twenty years. Likewise, you should consider using solar-powered lamps where practical, for even more savings. These are also becoming more affordable.
For that “warm cozy” feeling, choose warm-white LED bulbs. Cool white is a light blue, and natural bulbs are somewhere between those colors. New smart lights come in a variety of colors.
You can calculate the amount you’ll save by upgrading to LED lighting using our lighting cost calculator.
Estimates for a Professional Install
When you choose to install new LED lights, and you need to do more than change the bulb or mount the light on the wall, you will probably require an electrician. To get estimates for wiring, circuit panels, and other electrical projects try our contractor locator.
You might also be interested in our under-cabinet lighting cost guide.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.