Light plays a key role in the development, production performance, health, and well-being of poultry. Yet there are no standards regarding light type, spectrum, intensity and diurnal photoperiod for poultry production. Thus, it is of socio-economic as well as scientific values to assess light needs of pullets and laying hens, especially considering the emergence of LED lights intended for poultry production. This study assessed the choice between a commercial dim-to-red LED light (LED, correlated color temperature or CCT = 2000K) and a typical compact fluorescent light (CFL, CCT = 2700K) by Hy-Line W-36 pullets and laying hens using free-choice preference test. Three categories of birds with different prior lighting experiences were evaluated, including pullets (14-16 weeks of age) reared in incandescent light (IP), layers (44-50 weeks of age) reared and kept in LED (LL), and layers reared and kept in CFL (CL). Each bird category consisted of 12 groups (replicates), three birds per group. A 6-day preference test was performed for each group, where the birds could move freely between two inter-connected compartments that contained LED or CFL. Feed intake and time spent of birds in each light were determined using load-cell scales and automated computer vision, respectively. Behavior parameters were analyzed with generalized linear mixed models. Evaluation of the light preference was accomplished by testing the null hypothesis that the proportions of feed intake or time spent in each light under concern equaled 50%. Results showed that the birds spent significantly higher proportion of light-period time in the CFL (P = 0.011, 0.030, and 0.001 for IP, LL, and CL, respectively), regardless of their prior lighting experience (P = 0.422). Birds in all three categories had comparable proportions of daily feed intake in the LED and CFL (P = 0.419, 0.566, and 0.749 for I P, LL, and CL, respectively). The study reveals that the CFL was preferred over the LED by the pullets and layers in terms of time spent regardless of their prior lighting experience; but no distinct effect of one light vs. the other was observed on feed use.