LED or Fluorescent Lighting: Which is better for your enclosure?

Many factors come to mind when considering the best working conditions for humans. Key conditions include ergonomics, environmental conditions, and lighting. Studies show that a well-lit workspace can improve employee morale by 78%!

Though they often go overlooked, enclosures and electrical cabinets are workspaces that benefit from good lighting in several ways. Just like your desk or workstation, you should strive to provide suitable lighting which allows for around-the-clock clear visibility in your electronics cabinet.

So. What is “good lighting”? 

Let’s consider the evolution of lighting technology: we have progressed from the simple candle to incandescent, then fluorescent, and now LED. LED technology has gone through decades of improvements to bring us to its modern, state-of-the-art level. 

Did you know that Nick Holonyak, Jr. (the “Father of the Light-Emitting Diode”) invented the first LED that produced visible red-light while working at General Electric in… 1962?

Manufacturers have continued to refine LED technology since the early 1960s, and it is now the best lighting technology on the market. Let’s go through a few reasons and compare the modern LED to its predecessor: fluorescent.

STEGOs LED 025 Econoline light source
The LED 025 light series is suitable for all types of panels and enclosures, especially where space is at a premium.


LED is manufactured using modern techniques and materials. The primary components include plastic, aluminum, and electronics. Compare and contrast the fluorescent solution, which contains metal, glass, and mercury, and you get a safer, sturdier, longer-lasting solution.

Working Life

LED typically lasts up to ten (10) years and includes a warranty. Fluorescent usually lasts a maximum of five (5) years, so LED generally has double the useful life.


LED’s aluminum and plastic components can be recycled. The electronics circuit board can be e-cycled. However, the fluorescent solution requires proper and careful disposal as hazardous waste due to the mercury contained in the tube.


Finally, and most importantly –LED provides a far superior quality of light output. Fluorescent lights only produce a limited color spectrum of red, green, and blue light, creating an “artificial” look and feel.

LED produces a full spectrum of color that more closely resembles sunlight. 

Also for consideration: LED is a directional light source, emitting light at a 120˚ pattern versus the 360˚ pattern with fluorescence. This means a more efficient transmission of light to where it is directed.

Beyond these easily measurable differences, LED also offers several anecdotal benefits, including:

  1.  Flicker-free light quality: no hum or flicker during use,
  2.  Instant-on: no need to wait for warm-up time to reach full brightness,
  3.  Easy installation, including a magnetic attachment option.

When spec’ing out designs, it’s a no-brainer when you consider the whole package. LED offers better light quality and is the most efficient, longest-life choice for enclosure design. Pick the STEGO solution, knowing you’ve got the best lighting for your installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Designing complex electronics that perform perfectly outdoors is, well, complex. At STEGO, we believe that protecting and lighting those complex projects should be the simplest part of your design. That’s why we use German engineering to create the highest quality components. With STEGO parts installed, you can rest easy that your complex design is reliably protected for the long haul.