Knowledge Base

How Long Do LED Lights Last?

As you are probably aware, LED lighting has become increasingly popular over the last decade. More and more people are switching their incandescent and fluorescent bulbs for LED equivalents.

Why? Because they are generally a lot more energy-efficient and as such tend to save people money on their electricity bills. Further to that is the fact that they are made from materials that are non-toxic and therefore better for the environment in that respects. One of the stand out, reported features of LED lights is, though, that they have a longer lifespan than the average incandescent or fluorescent option.

How Long Do LED Lights Last

You’ve probably seen the bold claims of “50,000 hours lifespan” and similar. Most people take the manufacturer’s word for it and invest in these bulbs.

However, have you ever stopped to wonder if they are actually as long-lasting as they are reported to be? If so, you’re not alone and have come to the right place, as that’s what we are going to briefly discuss in the following post.

Understanding LED Light Bulb Lifespan

To understand where they pluck the 50,000 hours or 10-years lifespan from, you need to properly understand how they come to those figures.

So How Long Do LED Light Bulbs Last?

Whats an LEDs Lifespan

How long LED lights last (also known as its lifespan) is generally based on manufacturers assumptions, and modest ones at that, about your day to day usage of lighting. For example, in the case of a 10-year lifespan LED bulb, it is usually based on you only using it three hours each day.

Although, if you are not home very often, that may be accurate or at least close enough to be accurate, for other households, it is ridiculous.

So, obviously, the longer you have your lighting on, the lower the actual lifespan of the bulbs will be compared to the suggested lifespan by the manufacturer.

Take, as another example, the light bulbs that have a 50,000-hours lifespan. If they were used every day, 24-hours a day, they would only last for six years.

However, if you used it all day long, so around 16-hours, it would last for 8.5-years. Again, in order to get anything near to the 35-years or more, you would need to only use it a maximum of four hours in the evening every day.

So Are LED Lights Worth The Money?

Does that mean that LED lights are not worth the money? Not really, as they still last longer than the alternatives of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. In many cases as much as 50 times longer than incandescent and 10 times longer than fluorescent.

Yes, the lifespan of an LED is still better value

So, although they may not last for the exact lifespan suggested by the manufacturer, once you understand what that number actually means, they are still a worthwhile investment.

Sure, they cost a lot more upfront, but the return on investment is a lot longer in the long run and given that on a day to day level they consume less energy, your electricity bills will benefit greatly. Furthermore, as they last longer, it means you will have to replace them a lot less than the fluorescent bulbs you seem to have to replace quite regularly.

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Sharon Wilson-Smith February 27, 2019 at 12:30 am

Quite random to know that LED headlights can last for up to 8.5 years if they are only going to be used around 16 hours a day (not exactly likely). My cars standard headlights are starting to break and I need to replace the bulbs. What’s your recommendation for cost-effective LED headlights so I can have peace of mind that I won’t worry about replacements costs too soon?

H Kok October 7, 2019 at 7:14 am

A LED (the diode itself that is) lasts a long time, if it is correctly powered. But there lies the problem: powering the LED. While the LED can last a lifetime, the other components (e.g. capacitors) will not.
I have had to throw away to many LED bulbs (e.g. IKEA, budget versions of bigger brands) that didn’t last even 5k hours.
Maybe the “real” brands (Philips, Osram) can deliver, but the prices of these products are even in 2019 still too high for this business case to work


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