Typically the experts say: The average lifetime of incandescent light bulbs is about 750-2000 hours. It would take at least 6-11 incandescent bulbs to last as long as one compact fluorescent light, which have an average lifetime between 11,250 and 15,000 hours. The harsh reality is for the most part we the users don't see on the market these long lasting fluorescents. Most users would currently say they both last about the same time. One reason for this is each "start" of a fluorescent lamp reduces its lifetime a little (as it blasts some cathode material off the filaments of the lamp). So if the on-off cycle of a fluorescent lamp is very short, then its life won't approach that average 10K hour number cited above. On-off cycling also has an effect on incandescent lamps, but it's much less significant, especially for lower-voltage lamps. Fluorescent lamps will not light at reduced voltage thus it becomes difficult to extend there lifetime. Near the end of it's life the intensity is much less than when new. Bottom line, for really long life we must ruleout fluorescents.
Offered by Mike.