How Long Do LED Bulbs Really Last?



LED light bulbs,LED lighting,LEDs,light bulbs

LED light bulbs are the wave of the future! Or, so we’ve been told, and one of the reasons is because LED bulbs last forever when compared to conventional lights – but how long is forever?

It wasn’t that long ago that LED lighting was more of a gimmick than a reality, kind of like cell phones in the 80s. Now, however, LEDs are a legitimate alternative to fluorescent or incandescent lighting.

Engineers have figured out ways to keep them cool, mellow the light and make them affordable, which only adds to their allure considering their legendary longevity. Now, about that legend …

LED Technology

While the LED semiconductor that makes the magic happen is an extraordinarily durable device, the supporting electronics are susceptible to failure long before the semiconductor dies. This isn’t news and it’s not really a big deal. Even though it may mean that the light won’t last as long as the semiconductor, those kinds of weaknesses are common to all lights and electronics in general.

The real problem when it comes to LED light “failure” is when the semiconductor starts to emit less light, which is how LEDs die. They don’t just go out like traditional bulbs; they gradually fade out. So, the question is – how long does it take for them to fade to a point where it impacts their advertised performance?

LED Ratings

This is where the confusion starts, because there are two schools of thought when it comes to measuring and rating LED longevity: “useful life” and rated life.

Useful life is the time it takes for an LED bulb to fade to a degree noticeable by the user, which is estimated at anywhere between 30 to 50 percent. Rated life, on the other hand, is a manufacturing estimate that measures longevity in hours that may not account for variations in use (duration, ventilation, current, voltage, etc.) or component failure.


So, what’s the answer? Naturally, it depends. What you should know is this: Estimated rated life for standard bulbs is the mean time to failure, which means if a bulb is rated at 10,000 hours, half of any given batch will have failed by that time. For LED bulbs, however, it means that manufacturers believe the bulb will be operating at 70 percent capacity by the stated time.

Apply some quick math and you get this: An “average” LED bulb that advertises a rated life of 50,000 hours means that after five and a half years the bulb should still be at 70 percent of its strength as long as its constituent components continue to work.

ATGStores.com hopes this helps give you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to LED light bulbs.

The Lumensource multicolor LED light bulb has four preprogrammed color-changing modes and a display of 16 colors, all of which can be controlled by remote.

As LEDShine puts it, this is "tomorrow's light bulb ... shaped like yesterday's." Available in both cool and warm light, this bulb fits into any standard socket. 

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