We’ve previously reported that LED light bulbs are falling well short of their bold lifespan claims. Our latest tests suggest they’re getting better, but can you really expect them to last 25,000 or even 50,000 hours?
You’ll see a lot of LED bulbs claiming to last for 25,000 hours or more. And compared to compact fluorescent bulbs, there’s no doubt that they’re more durable. But too many LED bulbs don’t last for even half as long as they should.
Last month we shared our test of 410 LED light bulb samples. We revealed that 75 of those (18%) failed within 10,000 hours, even though they all claim to last much longer.
We also tested 185 of those 410 bulbs for a longer period – all of them claimed to last at least 15,000 hours, but 69 (37%) had failed by that point.
Your LED bulb experiences
The data wasn’t a surprise to many of you. BJ is disappointed with his LED bulbs:
‘I purchased six LED bulbs for my kitchen. After four days one had stopped working and another had two LEDs in a second had failed. Also in the same purchase I bought an ES LED bulb for the hall. Half the bulbs (banks of LEDs) went out after 45mins. Not impressed.’
John was similarly frustrated:
‘I have purchased 30 LED bulbs over the past year as I have been replacing conventional bulbs with LEDs as and when they fail. Out of the 30, five have failed and one has developed a horrible green hue. That’s a 20% failure rate in bulbs that vary between a few months and a year old. Retailers have generally been very good about replacements, but it’s hassle and surely the point of LEDs is to save energy AND to save time/money in replacing bulbs.’
Which? Convo regular John Ward isn’t keen on spending over the odds for LEDs:
‘If LED’s were just a bit dearer than CFL’s I would take a chance and install them everywhere, but at £7 – £20 each for the popular types, their endurance very unpredictable, and possibly going to pop far too soon, I shall stick with what I have.’
Signs of improvement
Our results show that LED bulbs are getting better, however. Looking just at older bulbs, 28% failed by the 10,000 hour mark. For the latest batch, made up of bulbs produced since new tougher EU regulations were brought in, that was down to 6%.
We’ll have to wait to see whether there are similar improvements for the newest bulbs reaching 15,000 hours – they haven’t reached that point in the test yet. We’ll continue to measure how long LED light bulbs are lasting, and we’ll update you on what we find out.
Tell us about your experiences with LED bulbs. Have you noticed a difference between older LED bulbs and those you’ve bought in the last year?