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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
Geoff says:
13 February 2014

In June 2012 I bought six GU10 2.5w LED lamps from My Green Lighting. They are made by tp24 and have a stated life of 20,000 hours. At about 3 hours per day this is around 18 years. They are installed in two Ikea light fittings in a domestic kitchen.

Since installation, all the original lamps have failed and some of the replacements have also failed. Furthermore, some of the replacements for the replacements have failed!

The lamps come with a 2 year warranty and tp24 have replaced the defective bulbs promptly without question and I cannot fault them on their service.

However, I have no confidence in the claimed life of the bulbs.

tp24 seem to be simply a distributor. If so, their LED products could come from anywhere. As many have found, there is a plethora of poor quality products out there. You could try replacements from well-known manufacturers – Philips, Osram / Sylvania, GE for example – to see how you get on.

Geoff – Can you tell us if your lamps are suddenly failing completely or gradually deteriorating? Have they failed at random times, when switched on, or have more than one failed at the same time?

tp24 have a website where you can add your review. They also say they offer a technical back-up service by phone, but I cannot find a number on their website.

I found the following statement on their website, which suggests that tp24 are not confident about the durability of their products:
Can I leave my lights on continually 24 hours a day?
No. Because of the way that these lamps work they are not designed to be left on 24/7 – they need a rest period (a bit like us!).

Geoff says:
13 February 2014

Typically, they flicker for a few weeks and/or do not light up instantly. They then stop working altogether. None have failed at exactly the same time.

The lamps are not on continuously. The kitchen is quite dark and we turn the lights on whilst we are in there making breakfast, lunch or dinner so they are “rested” quite a lot.

Whilst it would be most unusual to leave your LEDs on 24h/day, I have not come across such a restriction in the past. I may have missed something? However, electronic devices – and an LED is pretty simple and robust – when properly designed and used should be quite suitable for continuous operation. If they are run near limiting temperatures then a “rest” may be beneficial, but that would set alarm bells ringing about the quality of the product.

Thanks Geoff. Had more than one lamp had failed at a time, that could point to damage by a voltage spike due to lack of an adequate surge suppressor. From your description, it seems possible that failure of the control electronics may be the problem.

If you have further problems I think it would be worth buying well known brands or waiting until standards improve. LED lighting should be very reliable but some of the products on sale are not reliable or create radio interference.

So if you can’t leave your LEDs on 24 hours a day, how long can you leave them on for?

Since our previous next-door-neighbours built an extension we have to have the light on in our living room all the time that it’s in use. Although it’s not common, that could be over 16 hours of continuous on-ness.

We don’t have an LED light in there, Are we being advised not to install one?

As I said above, I know of no reason why you should not burn an LED continuously, unless it is substandard.

I bought two Philips LED bulbs and within months one had failed. You can’t rely on the big names either. I don’t remember what the stated lifespan was, but the one that failed did so well within that period. It hadn’t even been on all that time, either.

Mike, they should last a minimum of 6000h, but longer normally, if they have been used correctly. I suggest you report it to Philips – http://www.lighting.philips.co.uk/connect/contact-philips.wpd -. Be interesting to see if they respond and what they say.

They did replace the bulb. It went totally dead. However, they took about 6 months to send the replacement, by which time I had of course bought a new bulb.

They never gave any explanation.

I know why they fail as I cut one up to take a look. Its the heat generated by the substandard power supply in the base of the lamp. This usually consists on the low cost lamps of a couple of capacitors some diodes to rectify to DC and resistors for dropping the current.This is why they limit the running time.
Good quality lamps like the U.S made Cree, have a transistorized power supply and proper cooling. Pity Cree do not make a 230V version only a 110 V ES base. They also only cost 10$ in the states. Why are we being ripped of as usual?.

Could you be a bit more detailed in what you found please.
If you simply found diodes to rectify and resistors to voltage drop (not current), I am unable to see how the LED lamp can be using less energy. Anybody else any thoughts?

They were Chinese lamps. I suspect what I assume to be a plate capacitor had failed but it was not marked. Compared with the Cree lamp on YouTube, the electronics were both minimal and flimsy. I doubt though it was the diodes unless they were blown by a component failing on the driver board.
They both had similar power supply units, though neither had marked components. They certainly did not have an I.C fitted and were rated at a 7 watt consumption. I do not claim to be an electronics engineer but I recognise crap when I see it.

Alan says:
16 October 2014

In the last 18 months I have returned no less than 13 LED lamps to tp24 because they have all failed within months of installation. Usually one of the 48 individual LEDs seems to “burn out”

These lamps are only on for a couple of hours a day max so it is extremely disappointing.
However, I keep sending them back to tp24 under their 2 year guarantee and they keep sending me replacements….

As Philips took 6 months to replace my bulb, I had to buy one to replace it, so I had three in total. The replacement from Philips and the one I bought have since failed. One went dead. The other, I took a look at the other day. Its plastic globe was cracked and it was very hot. It had not been disturbed so it had cracked by itself. There lies the problem with these bulbs: heat generation destroying the LEDs.

Why do Which? not test the operating temperatures of these LED bulbs? I know of someone whose Which? recommended Osram 10w bulbs have failed prematurely due to heat damage too. Look at the reviews on Amazon.

chetan mistry says:
22 October 2014

Hi a relative has been having nothing but trouble with LED bulbs so they asked me to have a look when I opened the lampi found that the curcuit board had burnt out on most of the bulbs ? They told me this is the second set and different manufacturer they have tried and still they are having trouble.so i asked how are they being used and was told the lightscard bieg switched on for only short periods (only for 1/2mins) then back offf again and I think this is the problem , are the bulbs tested for this type of operation ?

The LED lamps tested by Which? have survived being switched on 30,000 times, so I doubt that this is the problem.

How long can you leave them on? About 15 minutes before they are red hot, if they are the Which? recommended Osram bulbs.

radhika says:
30 November 2014

I also bought from tp24 following a positive meeting at the home improvement show. They were brilliant and helpful in the sales phase. However sadly the initial batch of LEDs were faulty. They did replace them however for me I cannot praise the aftercare service as highly as the person above. I have ended up spending a lot of time writing to them and posting back (at my expense). It really isn’t the green ideal I had in mind.

Judith says:
15 February 2014

I have had continuing problems with Philips warm white energy saving 12w small edison screw bulbs which are supposed to last 10 years.I bought 3 for a 3 light fitting and the longest any of them has lasted has been 14 months.

I bought them from Argos who to date have always replaced the bulb on production of the receipts.

Judith, can I suggest to report this to Philips Lighting and attach a photo of your light fitting. Try http://www.lighting.philips.co.uk/connect/contact-philips.wpd

When they were first pushing CFL lamps and everyone and his brother were sending out free samples I put one into my mother’s bedside lamp and switched it on to see if it chucked out enough light. It seemed fine so I switched it off and the next time it was switched on was when mum went to bed..

It didn’t come on.

I guess the LED bulbs just don’t have much to measure up to…

William France says:
24 February 2014

We have a four X 50w spotlight bar in our study. In the winter this is on virtually all day. We have had it about eight years and the lamps have burned out fairly frequently. When two burned out in November, I decided to replace them with LEDs. I was very impressed. The colour was good and the amount of light if anything better than the 50w halogens. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my electricity consumption reduced by about 20%. That is overall, including hot water and cooking. (I check my electricity monthly).

However, I bought the lamps on the internet. They are not marked with a manufacturer. The first failed after a month. After two months, all four had ceased to function. I replaced them with Osram bulbs bought locally. These have a very slightly redder/yellower colour and I find them more pleasant to work under. So far they are still working, one after nearly three months. If they continue working, they will pay for themselves many times over.

We have found several bulbs that do not last the time stated. Since then we now put dates on as to when we put them in and take them out. Both examples below are candle shaped small screw.

Philips EcoClassic 42w>55w 630lm supposed to last 2 years/2000hrs
Out of those that we have timed, one lasted 10 months, another 11 months and another even less (no dates but it was the first to go).

GE 42w=55w 630lumen halogen
One 8 1/2 months and another 9 months.

In all cases, these have included summer when the lights are used very little or not at all.

I think you are referring to halogen lamps, Cari. This Conversation is about LED lamps, some of which are failing prematurely.

I have four halogen lamps in my bathroom and some of the bulbs fail prematurely, though I have not made a note of when they were installed.

Switching to LEDs or CFLs will save a lot of electricity. LEDs are still fairly new and expensive, but will hopefully become the best choice for most uses within the next few years. I suggest you look at CFLs, which have improved over the years and offer good value for money. Both CFL and LED lamps can be damaged by overheating, so avoid using them in enclosed light fixtures.

Scott X says:
27 February 2014

If the bulb failed prematurely against its claim in most cases, is it in breach of any law? Or just get the store for replacement? What is the entailment of customers?

Ooh- er, Wavechange. Ever since a bulb exploded at the top of our stairs I’ve been putting enclosures of one kind or another on all our light bulbs. Maybe that’s why I’ve not had one lamp last its full lifespan.

Scott: I doubt the bulb is actually breaking any law, but if it fails a long way before its time and you still have the receipt you should be able to get a replacement.

To quote from the instructions for a Tesco CFL: “Do not use in enclosed fixtures. Usage in recessed recessed fixtures could result in reduced product life.” The reason is that without good ventilation, the electronic circuitry in the cap of the CFL will get to hot, making it likely to fail prematurely. I have no experience with LED lamps but would expect the same to apply with LEDs. In this case the LED chips that produce the light are possibly more sensitive to heat damage than the control electronics. If the base of a low energy lamp becomes too hot to touch after being on for an hour it’s unlikely that it will survive for the claimed lifetime.

I have never been victim of exploding lamps though I’ve frequently been left in the dark when old fashioned bulbs have blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers to herald their demise.

This used to be less complicated than it is now with many lamp types and shapes, especially LEDs, but my recollection is that at one time, for some lamps, life was quoted for cap up and cap down separately. I think it was because for any tungsten that evaporated from the filament it made a difference to the life if it condensed inside the cap end or on the glass envelope.
Can I assume that with a LED or CFL more heat is produced by the light emitting part than the control gear electronics; or am I wrong with these? In my case the failed LEDs still stayed warm to the touch when switched on, but I cannot assume the control gear gives off the same heat when working properly.

Another complication is that 230V and 12V LEDs will differ in heat generation, since some of the control electronics for the latter is separate from the lamp(s). My guess is that the LED chips produce more heat than the control electronics. Light output suffers if the LEDs get to hot which is presumably why you are unlikely to find a LED lamp with the size and light output of an old fashioned 100W bulb. It is interesting that a failed LED lamp still uses power, but I don’t think it would be correct to assume that the LEDs had failed, rather than the electronics.

60W golf ball bulbs, now consigned to history, normally came with an instruction not to use them cap-up. I have always assumed that this is because the heat generating filament would be too close to the lamp holder. I used them cap-up in a brass light fixture for over 30 years without a problem.

Gary says:
7 March 2014

Paid nearly £100 for 11 number LED GU10 to replace my existing 50W lamps…absolutely brilliant..reduced power consumption, similar light output – all good….until we noticed that some lamps had started to loose there brightness…..after some months, now putting the lights on in the evening makes no appreciable difference over a single low energy lamp in the middle of the room…they are now useless.

Ongoing correspondence with both the manufacturer in Poland, and the Distributor in the UK has resulted in nothing – appalling customer service.

I’m sorry to hear that you have not had any joy with getting replacement lamps because others have been more fortunate, as you may have read on these pages. You can try to get recompense from the retailer (not the manufacturer) under the Sale of Goods Act, which is explained on the Sale of Goods Act.

I expect that the manufacturer is trying to produce too much light from what is a very compact lamp, resulting in overheating and deterioration of the phosphor that produces white light. The problem will be greater if the lamp is not well designed to remove the heat generated by the LED chips and electronic components.

Gary, GE, Osram and Philips all produce GU10 LED lamps to replace from 35W to 50W TH. Is yours one of these makes? If not, I’d suggest trying one of these mainstream manufacturers – I’d hope, if you had a problem, there’d be a better response.

Tony says:
17 March 2014

In October 2011 I bought 4 AURAGLOW – GU10 – 330 Lumens LED lamps from Maplin at £12-99 each.The box states lifespan 35000 hours and a 5year warranty.Up tonow 3 have failed at between 1 year and eighteen months at an average use of 3 hours per day.Maplin have replaced them free of charge but for how long.Can I keep taking the back forever.I have a small fluorescent tube light that’s still going strong after 18 years.How can they get away with these incorrect facts.

It’s odd that fluorescent tubes get no mention in the alt.lighting debates. We have one in our living room and they do indeed have an excellent lifespan. It was here when we bought the house about 60 years ago and in all that time I doubt if we’ve bought half a dozen replacements. And given that, since our neighbour’s extension went up it’s on for most of the day, I’d say that’s pretty economical going.

Stephen says:
26 March 2014

The only thing reliable about LED (mains) bulbs, is that they will fail prematurely.

Nick C says:
26 March 2014

Total and utter rubbish. I have converted my whole house to LED lamps and yes, there have been a few failures out of a total of about fifty lamps, but the vast majority have not failed and have been in use for three years or so now. The failure rate is very dramatically less than for old-style filament lamps, particularly 50W halogen downlighter lamps which I used to replace all the time. Unqualified comments like yours are designed to discourage people from using low energy lighting, and I don’t know what agenda is promoting this attitude (a desire not to behave sensibly, maybe?), but it is contemptible.

I didn’t mind much if an incandescent lamp failed – at four to the pound [or less] it was acceptable. A lot of the LED lamps that people have reported on in this Conversation have cost them a lot of money and might have been chosen especially for their advertised extremely long life given that they will be installed in fairly inaccessible positions. There is no overwhelming reason why people should choose LED lamps over CFL lamps at present – the energy consumed for domestic lighting the home is hardly significant in relation to overall energy use [most houses only have two or three rooms lit at a time and only after dusk]. Unfortunately a lot of the fittings I have seen in people’s homes where 50W halogen lamps have been installed have not been suitable and have led to overheating. In the right applications, 50W halogen lamps are reasonable value and give the kind of light that people seem to want. LED’s can function just as well but the upfront cost might be prohibitive and reliability remains an issue.

I have been through a load of LEDs on an aquarium. They last about a year, despite the quoted 500 million hours lifetime. I have had corn bulbs fail, too, going really dim after a few months’ use.

With GU10s I have had better success, but they are evolving so quickly that staying on the cutting edge is expensive. The earlier ones (year or so ago) were dim compared with the same wattage of a CFL bulb, so savings have been minimal or negative.

Stephen says:
26 March 2014

One should buy based on running costs against initial cost.
In 2006, it was possible to buy 10 incandescent 60 W bulbs for less than £2 (20p).
An LED bulb costs circa. £9.
If mains LEDs were reliable, then there is a breakeven point which can easily be calculated. A bulb failing in a matter of weeks, or less than a year is not breaking even.
I would much rather use less electricity, but not if it is going to cost me in the process.
I expect the environmental damage of the manufacture of an LED bulb is greater than an incandescent bulb, because of the electronics contained within, and the use of plastics (a petrochemical) compared with glass.
It would be good if Which! did an assessment of this.

Phil says:
15 July 2014

Nick, what brand do you use? I desperately want to use LED GU 10 bulbs, but the ones I currently use have an appalling failure rate (none has lasted more than 173 days at a maximum of 6 hours per day, despite a claim of nearly 23 years life at 6 hours a day!) I bought 30 of the damned things at £4.66 each (none brand from Lighting Ever) in January this year, but so far 9 out of 22 that I have fitted have failed.

The only meaningful comparison is with CFL bulbs. Incandescent lamps are no longer relevant. If LED lights do not have a substantially longer life than CFLs then they are a non-starter.

Even the big name bulbs are clearly failing, including Philips and Osram, My experience of waiting for a Philips replacement under warranty was a wait of 6 months.

Many manufacturers are pushing these LEDs to the extreme without adequate heat dissipation and they are failing very early. On the other hand, some GU10 bulbs from the Long Life Lamp Company that I have had in intensive use have never once failed.

Which?: can you test these bulbs more thoroughly? Measure how hot they get as well as switching them on and off!

Phil, I have found those from the Long Life Lamp Company on Amazon very reliable and have had only one replacement, when the two halves separated. Their highest power gu10s are brilliant in both senses of the word.

Drew says:
19 May 2014

The problem is simply that these are retro-fit lamps, we are putting an LED lamp into a fitting designed for a halogen. The LED lamp manufacturer cannot know the conditions to which their lamp will be subjected. There are, of-course some shockingly bad ones but just as many perfectly good ones.

At the moment LED’s have such a bad press, but it’s not the LED technology at fault, it’s the standard electronics to run the LED’s that fail. In time, I hope these retro-fit lamps will die out and properly designed LED fittings will come into the mass market. In the commercial lighting field 50,000 hour warranties are common.
Drew (lighting engineer).

With both LED and CFL lamps, cramming the electronic components and light source into a small space causes overheating and early failure. With LEDs, the heat affects the LED chips too, and sometimes the electronics is not protected against voltage spikes, so heat is not the only factor causing failure.

We certainly need to get away from our fixation with direct replacement of incandescent and halogen lamps.

Drew, agree. Commercial and public customers of course generally buy lamps and luminaires together, designed to match, and certainly would not tolerate poor performance or reliability. They do have the knowledge and resources to buy knowledgeably. The technologies of both LEDs and CFGLs, with their accompanying electronics, are robust and mature. The problem with private buyers is they do not generally have the knowledge to choose best what to buy, or how to use it, and are swamped with many suppliers of poor quality. I support the idea of buying lamps and luminaires together, apart from where retrofit is straightforward – table lamps, open pendants, for example, but in small enclosures – a big risk. The other problem with retrofit is that the electronics is embodied in the lamp – usually a hostile thermal environment unless done properly and used correctly. Far better to have separate electronic controllers. I have never understood why CFLs were not promoted officially with separate ballasts. I suspect it all comes down to the perceived unwillingness of domestic purchasers not wanting to spend the money. Short sighted and ill-conceived I believe – look how much we can be persuaded to spend on new kitchens and bathrooms – the cost of decent luminaires would be small by comparison.

Unfortunately, the large manufacturers have also been producing LED and CFL lamps as direct replacements for bulbs and halogen lamps. One of them could have taken a stand and declared that they were not going to produce such products and concentrated on making luminaries that use new technology to best effect.

The failure of the various types of components used in electronic circuits is well understood, so it makes no sense to use them at excessive temperatures.

My concern is the plethora of rubbish sellers who do not have the technical and manufacturing resources of the large manufacturers and get the technologies a bad name.

I certainly do not trust small manufacturers of cut-price electrical products. What concerns me more is that the large manufacturers are also producing lamps in which the electronics get too hot. I have recently been doing some post mortems on CFLs that I have replaced because the light output had decreased. Despite the fact that I have used these in a way to maximise cooling, the components have obviously been operating above a sensible temperature.

The first time I saw a warning that using a CFL in an enclosed or semi-enclosed fixture could affect the life as a result of overheating was on the packaging of a supermarket lamp. There was no similar warning on the packaging of the big brands at that time. In the Conversation about interference caused by certain LED lamps, it was not just the cheap products sold on the internet that were causing problems.

” Look how much we can be persuaded to spend on new kitchens and bathrooms”

You must move in different circles to me. We couldn’t afford either, and I seriously doubt that there’s a bank out there that would loan us the money in this day and age.

Keith says:
28 May 2014

Extra heat from enclosing the led and driver without ventilation can greatly reduce the life of the driver and cause early failure. I am making every effort to provide ventilation in each enclosure to obtain the maximum light possible. I have been very pleased with the LED bulbs that I purchased. I bought one for a work light after I had 3 halogen failures in two weeks. I have dropped the light hit the light and it keeps on working. I installed 3 LED candelabra 3 watt bulbs in a hanging ceiling fixture above my wife’s treadmill. She reads while walking and the lights provide an amazing amount of light.

I wish I could get my wife on a treadmill and power the house lighting. Got any tips we can all use?

Show her how it’s done. 😉

Dave Mason says:
6 June 2014

I replaced all my halogen spotlights with Phillips LED, so far out of 15 spotlights I have had 4 failures, one having popped just a moment ago. I intend to contact Phillips about them all next week although must say it has been very disappointing, especially from such a big brand.

William France says:
7 June 2014

I have been using LEDs in 6 of 18 Halogen fittings all nominally 50w, for nine months now. Although single year figures are unreliable, my electricity usage is 22% lower than the same months last year. Initially, I had four failures from an unmarked brand. Despite this, I have already recuperated the relatively high cost of the bulbs. (Three of which would have had to be replaced by the relatively expensive halogens anyway). I have noticed that the LEDs are compound bulbs. The ones that failed only had three component LEDs. The Osram and our supermarkets own brand all have seven components. Perhaps having more lower powered LEDs reduces the strain on each one. The lights I have changed are the ones we use most the one in our study being on for up to 18 hours a day in winter.

Simon says:
16 June 2014

Purchased three TCP LED R50 5W 220 Lumen 25000Hr bulbs from Homebase on 28/03/2014 and noticed today 15/06/2014 that two had failed already (all in the same three spotlight unit).
Been away 15 days so max use 64 days. At 3Hr per day (actually probably less) they have failed at well less than 1% of their claimed life.

Simon says:
16 June 2014

Re the previous post (three TCP LED R50 5W 220 Lumen 25000Hr bulbs from Homebase), when I originally purchased the bulbs, two of the three didn’t work from the outset. I exchanged all three the next day (in case they had all been dropped, or something). So, in total four of the six bulbs I purchased have failed at less than 1% of their claimed life!

What would convince me much more than any claim would be a nice long guarantee.

wavechange, I’m not convinced, nor suggesting anyone else should be, just worth testing. It’s interesting the contrast between the way LEDs have lifetimes attached whereas domestic appliances don’t (as in the Samsung conversation). I wonder how the claimed life of an LED would help against a durability claim under SoGA. They should, anyway, last a minimum of 6000h (with the proviso they have been used correctly). Perhaps somone will try them and report back (eventually, hopefully).

My guess is that the reason is historical. CFLs were advertised as having a certain life to compare very favourably with the typical 1000 h life of an old fashioned bulb, and no doubt to help justify the price. LEDs offer an even longer life, or should do. That’s just a guess. We need to push for information about expected product lifetime, especially if the manufacturers have this information but are withholding it.

I agree that it would be good to have tests of life expectancy and also to find out if there is any significant decline in light output. As we have discussed at length, heat is a problem for LEDs and CFLs. I was not impressed when Which? showed us a photo of their CFLs on test, which showed the lamps were not in any fixture and thus protected from overheating. Testing has to be realistic.

I would have no hesitation in making a claim if I had a batch of LEDs that had obviously failed prematurely. Perhaps we should also be approaching the ASA if accumulated evidence shows that products are not nearly as durable as claimed. That will not provide us with a refund but I believe that many of us regard fair treatment of consumers as just as important as getting value for money.

I was very happy with the claims re lifetime made by Philips for CFLs and very much hope their LEDs really do last as long as they claim.

I am not impressed with two Philips CFLs I had, claiming a 10 year lifespan. One lasted 13 months before developing a fault (went very dim) and the other completely failed in less time. They were both in a standard fitting. Unfortunatly I can’t locate the receipt so there’s not much I can do about it.

mark, nothing lost by reporting this to Philips UK (contacts on their website – try http://phl-cip.quicksupportlink.com/ConsumerEmail.aspx?language_id=ENG&country=GBR). I’ve had no problems with either Philipsor GE CFLs, even in enclosed fittings; they all seem to be made in China.

Phil says:
29 June 2014

I purchased 20 4W GU10 LED Bulbs (Warm White) from Lighting Ever on January 21st 2014. I used these to replace my existing Halogen bulbs as they failed, mostly in our main Living Room, where the lights are on for no more than 6 hours a day, but also elsewhere where the lights are on for far less time. Over the last few months I have replaced all 10 of the bulbs in the living room, all on the same switch, but the lights have proved to last even less time than the cheap halogens they replaced. The first 2 bulbs were fitted on January 23rd, but both have failed, one on May the 9th and the other on March 19th. The latter’s replacement bulb failed on June 19th! Another bulb was fitted on January 30th, but failed on June 11th. The shortest lifespan was the bulb fitted on February 8th, which failed on March 23rd! A bulb fitted on February 13th failed on April 16th. A bulb fitted on March 7th is still working. The bulb fitted on March 18th failed on June 18th, whilst those fitted on April 16th, April 18th and May 30th, as well as the replacement bulbs fitted on March 23rd, April 16th, May 9th, and June 11th, 18th & 19th are still working. However this is an appalling failure rate which is far worse than anything you describe above. The company happily replace the bulbs without question, but do not tell me why they are failing so badly. They are correctly fitted, and are not on a dimmable switch. I think you should test these bulbs as they claim a 22.8 year life span at 6 hours/day, yet 7 out of, effectively 17, have failed so far, and none have lasted longer than 133 days.

They are just not reliable, had so many very expensive LED lamps fail, now when I order i keep a copy of the claims, such as 25,000 hours, and send them back if they fail before, as they always do!! if a lamp is only on a few hours a day every day it should last for many many years not a few months, the more people who return them, the more chance we have of a better product, they rely on people who cannot remember where or when they bought them, or cannot be bothered to return them.

I have four LED bulbs that I bought about 18 months ago and they haven’t failed yet. Mind you, I haven’t plugged them in yet as I prefer to use the CFLs I bought at about the same time, as I know they won’t fail.

The previous LEDs I bought from the same supplier kept failing (see my previous comments) and I got fed up with sending them back for replacement. Free replacement isn’t free when you have to pay the postage and packing costs.

Mr. Ed says:
2 October 2014

Warning to all !!!
About a year ago I thought I’d try a few of these LED lights. Now I’ve just had a complete LED lamp failure. This lamp was not one that was in constant use either, but it literally exploded like a big firecracker. One of the pieces even hit my kid hard enough to leave a mark. This was very alarming as I’ve never known any LED to explode before and didn’t know it was even possible!
Given what happened, I’d recommend some kind of shield for these things.

Jim F says:
3 October 2014

What was the make and where did you buy it? You can expect this kind of thing from anything bought on Ebay.

On the other hand, if you bought from a reputable supplier/manufacturer, you should report this to them in a most alarmed manner, as well as to trading standards.

See here:
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/nireland/consumer_ni/consumer_common_problems_with_products_e/consumer_dangerous_or_unsafe_goods_e/if_goods_are_dangerous_or_unsafe.htm