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Are your LED light bulbs burning out too soon?

LED light bulb

LED light bulbs have a tendency to make grand claims about their lifespan – it’s common to see manufacturers promise bulbs will last 25,000 or even 50,000 hours. But we’ve found many failing well before this.

One of the attractions of LED light bulbs is that they’re supposed to last a long time. And so if you’re shelling out for these bulbs – typically more expensive than other types of light bulb – you’ll want to be sure that they’ll live up to those claims.

But our tests show that not only do many LED light bulbs stop working before the end of their promised lifespan, some don’t even reach the soon-to-be-implemented EU minimum lifespan of 6,000 hours. We discovered bulbs from both Ikea and TCP that failed to reach the 6,000 hour mark for the majority of samples we tested.

Ikea bulb among failures

In the tests – which were carried out by Which? and our European partner organisations – we took five samples each of 46 different bulbs. The bulbs were switched on for two hours and 45 minutes, then switched off for 15 minutes, in a continuous cycle until they burned out.

Five different bulbs stopped working before the 6,000 hour mark for the majority of samples we tested, though the TCP and Ikea bulbs were the only ones which were sold in the UK. Both have since been discontinued.

New EU regulations which will come in from 1 March 2014 say that 90% of any batch of LED light bulbs should last at least 6,000 hours.

Another five bulbs stopped working before the 10,000 hour mark for the majority of samples we tested, despite claiming lifespans of at least 25,000 hours. None of these bulbs were sold in the UK.

In total, 66 of the 230 samples we tested failed before the 10,000 hour mark, though they all claimed they would last at least 15,000 hours.

Has your bulb burned out early?

Ikea said the bulb had passed its own tests and those in a third-party lab. It’s looking into why the bulb failed our test and has removed it from sale in countries where it was still available.

TCP said it was already aware of the problem with this bulb and withdrew it from sale when they discovered the problem. TCP added that it no longer deals with the supplier of that particular bulb and now make their LED bulbs in-house.

We’re in the process of testing the life span of many more LED bulbs, and we’ll update you if we find others that burn out prematurely. But we also want to hear from you – have you bought bulbs that haven’t lasted as long as they should?

Comments
Ivan says:
24 January 2014

I bought 6 LED SES candle lightbulbs from Homebase. 2 failed within 2 weeks.

David says:
24 January 2014

In December 2012 I bought 10 MEGAMAN 7W LED bulbs (LG 1907dv2-E14-2800-25000) to go into two new light fittings. One bulb failed in September 2013 and from December 2013 a second only comes on after a delay of about a minute. The fitting is SES and the bulb is golf-ball style,warm white, which goes very well with the lamp fitting and shades.

Do I replace the defunct/defective LED bulbs and keep my fingers crossed that the replacements will last, or, for lower cost, replace all 10 by clear halogen bulbs ?

Don K says:
24 January 2014

I have experienced 3 failures of LED R80 type spotlights since purchase in early November 2013 from Convertabulb.com. Although they have been very good at supplying replacements it does not look as if I have found a reliable solution to low energy kitchen lighting without the infuriating warm up time!!

Mark Vandersluis says:
24 January 2014

Some very interesting pints made in this thread!

I have a number of warm white LED bulbs (mostly GU10) and am generally very happy with the results. I spotted above that someone is waiting until his non-LED bulbs fail before replacing them, but this is a false economy – if you do the calculations, payback time is generally 2-3 years, and although you have a higher immediate cost to buy the bulb your electricity costs will immediately decrease. The sooner replace, the sooner you start saving! I retain any of the replaced (and still working) non-LED bulbs as short term emergency replacements in case of bulb failure.

One point on the disposal of LED bulbs: these be should disposed of via an electrical retailer. They count as electrical waste according to the WEEE initiative, as they contain electronic parts. I’d hate to think they are just thrown in the bin.

And finally one question: I have quite a few G4 halogen bulbs in the kitchen and in lamps, but have been unable to find any LED replacements of the same dimensions as an original G4. Housings are generally too large to fit in the confined space available. Has anyone found a suitable LED replacement?

Victor Palmer says:
24 January 2014

We moved to a new house last February and purchased 2 new 5-arm candelabra pendant fittings from John Lewis. These were supplied with 25W G9 halogen capsules, which have an E energy rating and a claimed life of 2000 hours. Five of the 10 capsules failed within the first 6 months (200-800 hours)and when I complained to John Lewis, they said that this must have been due to inferior bulbs originally supplied and gave me 5 Phillips replacements (at £3.50 each). Five months on and another 7 have failed – including some of the Phillips replacements! We calculate that by the end of another year the cost of replacement G9s will have exceeded the cost of the light fittings!
I wish, like a previous commenter, that I had stocked up on incandescent bulbs before they were withdrawn – two 100w bulbs at 75p each, would have still been going strong, would have given almost as much light and would have saved 25% of the electricity cost!

Nick C says:
24 January 2014

Halogen capsules ARE incandescent bulbs. Just very high power ones.

Not necessarily high power. As well as spotlights you can get them to replace the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. The halogen in the gas around the filament allows the filament to run hotter – and therefore more efficiently (around 30%) and gives twice the life. They are also generally dimmable. Useful for some applications

Nick C says:
26 January 2014

As I said above:

The relative efficiency of various light sources is typically as follows: Non-halogen incandescent: 15lm/w, halogen: 18lm/w, Compact fluorescent: 50lm/w, Fluorescent tubes: 80lm/w, LED: 90lm/w. And LED efficiency is still improving with technological advances.

You can clearly see that halogen lamps are not by any measure energy efficient when you see what else is available which is vastly more efficient.

I’ve never had a better kitchen light than the long fluorescent tube that I had in my first flat in 1968!

You have to be a bit careful with the economics. For some applications – e.g. spotlights – your choice is TH or LED. If you get decent LEDs, a good colour and reliability then they are a good choice. If you went a replacement for a GLS bulb then you have a choice between say a 13W 1055 lumen LED bulb and a 15W 970 lumen spiral CFL. The LED costs around £15, the spiral around £5 – but over the LED lifetime you will use 1.5 spirals, so equivalent cost £7.50. Electricity saved 50p/year at 5.5 hours a day burning. So it will take 15 years to recoup the cost. I suggest we look hard at the various features of both and what suits us best and not become too obsessed with energy and cost.

I too have bought TCP bulbs and experienced very poor life. I bought some 6.5watt (350 Lumens) and also some 4w (250 Lumens). The 6.5w gave a great light, which when using a bathroom fitting was the best I could get to give a good light, but they all failed within a few weeks. As they failed, I changed to the TCP 4w with a lower light emission, and these are still operating after about 3months.

In fairness to Homebase, where I purchased these, they changed the failed items without a problem……maybe I was not the only one to return failed TCP LED bulbs?

After reading these comments (above) I will think very carefully about using LED again. But, when using a Bathroom 4x Light Bar which has a 20w GU10 Halogen restriction because of the heat generated inside the sealed light fittings; even with four GU10 Halogen bulbs the light is poor and to get a greater light emission the only solution is to use LED bulbs which run much cooler.

I have converted my house completely to LED, and so far only 3 bulbs have failed, one after only 1 day, which was replaced as faulty, and the other 2 after about a year’s use, and they were all purchased cheaply from China via the Internet and I tend to leave them on for long periods. My garden lights are on from dusk to dawn, and none have yet failed. Basically I wholeheartedly recommend them as my Electricity bill has been reduced by around 70% for not a massive outlay.

I purchased 12 GU10 LED warm white bulbs from Ledhut.co.uk on the 05/04/12. These give an output of 320 lumens to replace 50W halogen bulbs. The power used by these bulbs has dropped from 600W (12x50W} to 48W (12x4W) in total less than one of the former Halogen bulbs. At present I have had to replace 2 led bulbs on the 02/10/12 and 14/03/13. The rest of the bulbs are working fine. The above company offer an excellent service giving a 5yr cover on their LED bulbs. Also valuable information on the use of the correct transformers and dimmers when using 12V LED’s.
Hope this information is of some help.

Ian Gray says:
24 January 2014

I have recently replaced 22 50w halogen GU10 downlighters in a basement kitchen/diningoom with 5w LEDs. Initially very pleased with them, particularly with the potential energy saving, as a number of the lights are on most of the day. The light output was comparable, as was the beam spread. However after only a few weeks half were giving very low light output, and a number were getting very hot. The faulty units were replaced without query, but I wonder about their suitability in downlighters which are on for considerable periods. Time will tell. The LEDs were supplied by Fusion lamps and come with a 3 year guarentee.

Personally, I have always thought that GU10s were a terrible format. My first experience with 50W halogens was that they only lasted around 6 months at the most. The CCFl versions gave out a pathetic, weak light that was horrible to either work or rest under.

Recently, RO80 and R63 LEDs have become available. We replaced all the GU10s in the kitchen with 4 x 7W RO80s and they produce a fantastic, bright wide beam of light, just great for a working kitchen. I can’t vouch for their longevity as I haven’t had them for too long. But the light quality and intensity is as good as the old incandescents.

I have also installed 5.5W R63 LEDs in a long hall and upstairs on the landing: they too give out a fantastic light beam – probably a little too bright for the landing!

I can highly recommend the RO80s and R63s where you need good lights. You can get them on line from the LED Hut and/or WholeSaleLedLights.

I converted the lights in the cooker hood from halogen to LEDs and they are excellent: but, of course, the narrow beams aren’t a problem illuminating a small area like a stove top.

paul says:
24 January 2014

After reading so many negatives on led lighting on this page from my experience I would recommend every one to get them.I have only bought 240v gu10 led’s and mainly the smd type which I favour in day white and installed them only in kitchens and bathrooms,recessed in bathrooms and on the multi bulb arm type in the kitchens.I was fed up of the halogen bulbs blowing frequently and in one bathroom 3 smd led’s gave more light and proper white light than 8 50w halogen gu10’s( which seem yellow) from only about 4w each bulb.same in a kitchen the light output is far superior.they do not produce the heat that the halogen do and are cool to touch.the smd led’s have come from ebay and the halogens were purchased from various well known places.i have yet to notice any issues and if I do then I will not hesitate to replace with more smd led’s
.So pleased am I with led that i have fitted led lights to 2 trailers i have

Addition to my post of 22nd. Of the 10 under cupboard light I have another failure, or at least partial failure. It is obvious that these get too hot and go off. If I remove one just after going off it is too hot to touch where presumably the control circuitry is. If I let it cool down it will go again for 10 minutes or so, then go off again. Seems they get slowly worse and then fail altogether. Mine are branded Sensio and sold specifically for this purpose; see their website.
I fail to see how these are ecofriendly if this 2w light in a plastic box with 39 leds and control electronics is a throwaway item after just a few weeks. Bring back the tungsten filament in a bottle. Cheap to produce. Years ago I made my own garden lights using car light bulbs in coke cans running of a transformer. Lasted for years. Time for more diy i think.

Ian Savell says:
24 January 2014

The biggest problem with LEDs is that in their “native” form they operate on 3V DC or less. Even on a 12V DC supply circuitry is required to spread the voltage over several LEDs and limit the current in case of impedance variations. With 240V LED assemblies this circuitry also has to transform and rectify the input power. Hence the issues reported here with radio interference, heat output, and mysterious failures. The LEDs themselves are staggeringly reliable.

Incidentally, when you see a “5W LED” not all of that wattage is actually producing light, some is heat produced by aforesaid circuitry. I have high brightness 3V LEDs that barely get warm.

Mostly I find that 240V LEDS, because all the circuitry is designed into the product, are efficient and reliable. But that does depend on the ability of the manufacturer and this is clearly an area where Which? could do some valuable testing.

LEDS run off a good low voltage DC supply, seem to always be efficient and reliable. They are also dirt cheap in the raw. (note that even 12V MR16 LEDS have to include rectifier circuitry because the connector is non-polarised) Which is why almost modern light sources from consumer electronics through car lights to motorway lights use LEDs.

John C says:
24 January 2014

I have been playing around with LEDs for my boat as have several of my friends. We’ve all had failures and have now largely corrected them. LEDs have a voltage drop of between 1.8 volts and 3.3 volts depending on colour. If you put too much voltage on an LED, the current will rise and the LED will blow. So either you have an electronic device to control this, you put a resistor in series or you daisy chain them together to the required voltage. Most boats have a voltage of 12 volts but when charging this can rise to 13.6 volts and this is sometimes enough to blow an LED.

The standard European voltage is 230 volts 50Hz. Could it be that most LEDs, and especially those from, for example IKEA, are just not made to be used in the 240 volt UK? It appears that the other LEDs tested by Which? were not for sale in the UK, perhaps for a very good reason.

No real complaints about CFLs apart from some slow startups. We bought 4 over 20 years ago, and installed them above the kitchen units to bounce light of the ceiling, to replace the old 4 foot long lamp. We can’t be sure but we think we have only replaced them each once in that time and they will have been used for several hours almost every day.
Thinking of putting spacer washers behind the mounts of my LED surface mounted lamps. They keep much cooler if I unscrew them from the kitchen units and may last longer with air all round them.

Ray Couch says:
25 January 2014

Having bought 16 LED striplights from Wickes for under cubboard use in my new kitchen. I have found that just over a year later ALL of them are now that dim that thet do not light up the worktops. I will be taking them all out and replacing them with flouescent lighting.
DO NOT under any circumstances buy this lighting from Wickes.
I will be taking the old lighting back to Wickes but dont hold much hope of any redress.

It is very obvious that heat is the principal reason why LED lamps are unreliable. Manufacturers have been open about the problem and the reason why we do not have an LED replacement for the old fashioned 100 W bulb is that too much heat would have to be removed.

If LEDs and the electronic components in the lamp are stressed by high temperatures, their life will be shortened. As an analogy, consider that most car engines will survive for 100,000 miles or more but put an engine under stress by racing at high speeds and the lifetime is likely to be much shorter.

Manufacturers of LED lamps are at fault by claiming very long operating lifetimes. It will take a lot to convince me that these are predicted by proper extrapolation and I see the predictions more as educated guesses, and not very good ones.

So where does the consumer stand? We have the Sale of Goods Act, but that gives us rights for only six years (5 in Scotland), and on the basis of predicted life in hours, LEDs should be expected to last a lot more than six years in some applications. What we need is for all LED lamps to sold with a TEN YEAR WARRANTY. If the manufacturers are concerned that people may start returning LED lamps that have been running continually, then they can build in a device that measures how long they have been running. That is not difficult, and it might help them realise how many lamps are actually failing after very little use.

Faith in many LED suppliers / distributors is misplaced – they just want your business, not your satisfaction as evidenced by their wilful lack of compliance with standards
:
The EC collated tests from member states on 168 LED products. 54% Chinese, 39% of unknown origin (!), 7% EU. These were tested against technical standards – emissions, immunity and harmonics – and administrative requirements – CE marking and Declarations of Conformity.
38% failed on emissions (EMC), 47% failed on harmonics, 9% were not CE marked. .In total only 17% met the technical and administrative requirements for them to be sold legally in the EU.
This work was reported in 2011. You wonder why no action appears to have resulted (or has it?). (No product should be sold within the EU without a CE mark).

So many products are just a gamble.

Heat has a number of effects on LEDs – high temperatures reduce light output, degrade the phosphor more quickly (“white” LEDs are blue-emitting chips with a phosphor coat), stress the electrical connections to the chip so increase failures and reduce life of the electronics used to control the current. A “good” LED with controller and luminaire will ensure these problems are taken into account – so the well known manufacturers should be better relied on – or manufacturers using this standard of product. They will also produce or use LEDs that are nearer their claimed performance – LEDs when produced cover a wide range of light outputs and colour for the same nominal input power; a reputable manufacturer will select those that match their requirements. What you get from some others can only be guessed at.
My view is if you are concerned about quality, try buying from a well-known source or brand (e.g. Philips, Osram) that you can complain too directly if you have a problem, but you will no doubt pay a premium price. Otherwise you are taking a chance.

I very much agree that buying products is a gamble, Malcolm, but perhaps CE marking is not helping as much as we would hope because it is up to manufacturers to declare compliance rather than having their products independently tested. Larger manufacturers with a reputation to protect are more likely to take compliance seriously but, not always. Which? and other organisations have found many cases of companies – large and small – marketing products that do not meet safety requirements. The 2011 report that you obtained your figures from found that 23% of products did not comply with the rules on CE marking, so if some companies cannot cope with this simple matter, can we trust that they have followed the requirements laid down for products? I suspect that well established brands are generally better, but we need all products to comply with the rules.

I welcome the EU ruling that 90% of LEDs must survive for 60 hours. Hopefully this will lead to longer warranties.

For the time being, I have no intention of buying LED lamps. I have had a great deal of success with CFLs, though I am well aware that others have not been so fortunate.

“The 2011 report ..found that 23% of products did not comply with the rules on CE marking, so if some companies cannot cope with this simple matter, can we trust that they have followed the requirements laid down for products? ”
It is probably more a question of choosing not to comply rather than not coping.
It would, I think, be logistically impossible for every product, of any kind, that requires CE marking to be independently tested (also requires integrity of the testers) ; hence the system relies largely upon declaration of conformity with technical documentation to support it.
My point is that the policing system seems to fail – the report identifies a large number of failures to comply, so why has punitive action not been taken against the EC distributors – it is they who have responsibility for the legitimacy of the products they import and sell on. A similar situation exists with our trading standards – not properly resourced and lacking teeth it seems. Until we are pepared to take action against those who defy the regulations we will always be innundated with defective product. No point in having standards and regulations if you don’t enforce them. Perhaps Which? could put on some pressure to remedy this aspect of consumer protection (or lack of).

There is no point in having legislation unless there are penalties. In the Conversations we learn about many cases in which the law has been broken and recommendations have been ignored. Rarely do we hear about fines or other penalties and where action has been taken a fine may be sufficiently small to be treated as an operating expense for a company.

I take your point about the practicalities of independent testing, but perhaps there is a compromise. Companies that have a good track record of in-house testing could be spared the need for independent testing of similar products unless evidence arises to show that they are not fit to be trusted.

I support what the EU is trying to achieve here, but fear that it is being as ineffective as our UK regulators such as Ofcom.

When I was directly involved we were accredited and regularly audited to the quality management standard ISO:9001. This includes all aspects of a business – technical, purchasing, manufacture, sales etc to ensure you have adequate procedure in place, and in use. This then helps ensure products conform to standards. All the mechanisms are in place to provide conforming products, but if those who ignore them, circumvent them or are dishonest are not penalised then nothing will change. It’s like having criminal law without a proper police force.

Some years ago I had a problem with some expensive scientific laboratory equipment manufactured by a highly respected German company. I had a technician PAT-test the equipment and every one of the 36 units failed. The supplier was unhelpful, but after I had produced a signed document from our senior electrician and I started asking about what their ISO certification meant, I got some action. Their engineers went through each unit rectifying problems. As soon as they had left I established that the company had only addressed some of the failings and despite contacting the company’s overseas headquarters, I could not get further action. Due to shortage of time, I called in an electrician to complete the work. This is probably an exception, but I have seen other dodgy electrical equipment produced by ISO registered companies. At work I had all new lab equipment PAT-tested because experience has shown me that even the best respected companies can make mistakes.

I very much agree that we need penalties for irresponsible and dishonest companies, but I would like to add carelessness and human error. It is excusable to make mistakes but not to check for them.

The advantage of ISO:9001 is that many purchasers (commercial, industrial, public authority) demand accreditation as a condition of supply. It is a regularly audited system and my experience was this was thoroughly done. The penalty for non-compliance in a sustained way is withdrawal of the licence – a disaster for most companies. Customer complaints are a key part in the process. A pity that similar sanctions aren’t as effective in the domestic purchasing world.

Scott X says:
4 February 2014

Malcolm, where was the report published? Could you please provide the link to promote the awareness of such poor result. I believe Which is doing the right thing to address over claimed lifespan queries in customers’s mind.

Scott X says:
4 February 2014

I am afraid ISO9001 does not address the lifespan issue at all. Don’t expect the suppliers with ISO9001 certification to deliver high quality of products. It is just a marketing tool for a supplier to the buyers who may not be capable of distinguishing good or bad suppliers.

Scott, if it is the EC report you mean then this is the link. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/electrical/files/emc/ms-campaign-fourth_en.pdf

Scott, my experience with ISO 9001 is in the professional product field, UK and European. A quality standard is not designed to produce “high quality” goods, it is designed to ensure as far as possible that a manufacturer, for example, produces goods that consistently meet the requirements of the relevant product Standards – e.g Euronorms and British Standards. Basically, you have to satisfy a registered accreditation body, including say BSI, that you have in place written procedures and facilities that make this happen. For example, detailed manufacturing instructions, quality control, recording and addressing failures etc. A company that is accredited is then thoroughly regularly audited to ensure they remain compliant. The accreditation can be withdrawn for failure. The companies I was involved with took this very seriously; without it many clients would not buy from you. Many of these standards are safety related so it is in the companies’ interests to comply with them, if not just for commercial reasons, but to demonstrate responsibility should a safety failure emerge. It is a functional tool, and clearly also advantageous for marketing.
As far as lamp lifetime is concerned, quality will ensure that a design is produced consistently to meet the claims. Like everything else, unscrupulous manufacturers can evade the system and make false claims. Hence the safest route is to buy reputable manufacturers products – they value their reputations.

Scott X says:
4 February 2014

Thanks Malcolm! Very informative!

Scott X says:
4 February 2014

ISO9001 applicable to professional products is quite different to the consumer products. Nowadays, most of manufacturers are ISO9001 certified. Unlike BS 5750 in old days, it was a very high honour to have the certification.

ISO9001 is an international standard that replaces BS 5750; same principles though. It applies to any manufacturer, whether they make professional or consumer products. Reputable manufacturers will always have it. All manufacturers who supply products declared to meet an international standard (e.g. BSI’s kite mark for example) must have ISO9001 type accreditation as a condition of using the mark. (They must also have their product compliance type tested in an approved test house to show compliance). It is as good a guarantee of quality consistency as is available. Like everything, it can be used fraudulently. The enforcement must be much better than it is now, and the penalties severe.

Zebo says:
25 January 2014

My experience with leds has been largely positive. I changed all my 30 GU10 halogen down-lighters about 6 months ago. Only failures have been with purchases from Homebase. These occurred very soon after purchase. I have subsequently fixed on MiniSun 5W bought through Amazon. I hasten to add I have no connection of any sort with MiniSun and had not heard of them prior to this purchase. My choice was based on the manufacturers superior claims (Lumens, life length etc) and reading the Amazon customer reviews.

Contrary to other posters, I calculate a payback of approximately 1100hrs based on 11p per whr. For my usage this is less than a year. Although they have a claimed life of 35000 hrs (yes thirty five thousand), they are guaranteed for only 1 year. On the assumption that the guarantee will be honoured, it was a no-brainer to change out all bulbs immediately without waiting for the halogens to fail. The discrepancy between claimed life and guarantee is a bit of a concern. It is too late for me, but an independent test of GU10 replacements by Which? would surely provide useful guidance for those still evaluating their options.

Advice from my electrician. If spatial considerations permit, don’t replace halogens that require a transformer with an equivalent led. (These bulbs are the ones with thin prongs, GU5’s I think.) Your existing transformer is unlikely to match the requirements of the led. It is better to scrap the transformer and replace with a GU10 fitting (very cheap).

Nick C says:
25 January 2014

Regarding your comment about MR16-cap downlighters (the two prongs, 12v). There are two different ways of turning 240v into 12v as used by low voltage (note: NOT low power!) downlighters. The first way is with a small device situated next to each lamp which converts the voltage using essentially electronic components. The second way is to use a conventional transformer, and this can be done in a way which supplies a whole string of lamps at low volatge.

If your downlighters are supplied using the first approach it is relatively simple (as long as the cable is not too short) to pull the small device down out of the ceiling and connect the mains cable that powers it directly to a replacement light fitting that takes GU10 lamps at 240v.

If, however, your lights are supplied by a single transformer for a string of lights it is nothing like so straightforward, unfortunately, as you have to locate the transformer and change the wiring appropriately, and this depends on the nature of the cables which run from it to the existing lights.

On the positive side I have had good experiences with using MR16 cap LED downlighters with a circuit powered by a single transformer.

I bought several very expensive LED GU10 bulbs for my kitchen from a company called bltdirect.com. If they had lasted as long as the marketing claimed I would have saved money. However they started failing after just six months and none of them were still working after two years. The company refused to refund or replace the bulbs and did not even reply to my email and letter. Therefore I am put off both LED bulbs and bltdirect.com.

Electrician 1963 says:
25 January 2014

I purchased 6 no Aurora GU10 lamps to install in downlights in my own bathroom 2 of which failed after approximately 100 hours use. The lamps were replaced by Aurora via my local electrical wholesaler who tells me that they were not aware of any problems with GU10 LED lamps. I feel that a 33% premature failure rate is an unacceptable level. I will be carefully monitoring the lamps that I have installed in a number of customers properties

I’m guessing that as these are in the Bathroom, they were installed in splash-proof fittings (ip65)? The problem I am guessing is that the GU10s get hot and the holders restrict natural cooling airflow, so they overheated.

The same applies with CFLs. It is important that manufacturers specify if their lamps are unsuitable for use in enclosed or semi-enclosed fixtures.

1 was in a UP65 fitting the other was in a standard fitting outside of zone 2 I did wonder if an extract fan in circuit may have contributed to the failure.

Good point. Who knows what sort of surge an extractor may induce on the shared power line.

I have an extractor fan and 4x LED bulbs operating in my bathroom (with IP65 fitting) and although I had some early problems with 2x 6.5w LED bulbs (see earlier post), the current 5w LED bulbs are still ok after 3 months – early days perhaps? My fan is a 3 wire installation (pos & neg + switch wire) so this may better than some installations using just 2 wires. My view on LED bulbs is very cautious, I plan to research more and hope that Which will undertake an in depth trial. This trail of postings has been very useful and informative – thanks to all contributors.

My electrician supplied 4 ETON LED bulbs for my kitchen two years ago.One failed after 18 months and was replaced,through him. A second has now failed and he is talking about trying for a refund for the batch.