How Long Does an LED Bulb Actually Last?

Posted by Doug Root on 15th Jul 2019

How Long Does an LED Bulb Actually Last?

Even though LED bulbs have been a pretty established part of many homes and businesses’ lighting fixtures for quite some time, there’s still quite a bit of confusion about how long a typical LED bulb’s lifespan tends to last. Even if you mix some electricians into your sample pool, you might get ten different responses from ten different people if you ask how long it’ll take your bulbs to sputter out. It’s a constant source of frustration for people in search of reliable lighting fixtures, and we see it all the time. Fortunately, misinformation doesn’t have to rule the day. Atlanta Light Bulbs presents a simple and concise guide to that strangely elusive question: just how long is an LED lifespan anyway?

Getting the Facts Straight

One of the things that tends to trip people up the most is the fact that there are a number of forms an LED light can take. Most people are familiar with LED lights as the grim luminescence that fills their office, but LEDs can take the forms of flat fixtures, bulbs and other shining examples of modern light sources.

For example, there are LED bulbs that  take the classic A shape, but there are also surface mount fixtures that serve a totally different purpose. And, of course, the lifespan of an LED floodlight is going to be something completely removed from either of those two examples. So when asking “how long do LED lights last?” it’s important to define exactly what sort of light you’re discussing in the first place. Determining what sort of lighting solution you’re going to use—and what you’re going to be using it for—will help you for budgeting with time and money in the long run.

The Surrounding Factors

It’s also important to take into account that there are a myriad of factors that can determine an LED lifespan that have as much to do with the bulb’s environment as the fixture itself. Not all LED bulbs are created equal, and the electrical systems they run on even less so. These factors include, but definitely aren’t limited to:

  • Time: The amount of time you use your bulbs is obviously going to play a huge factor in how quickly they burn out. Many unscrupulous bulb manufacturers will tout their fixture’s lifespan using as little as three hours’ usage per day as their point of comparison, so read the fine print carefully!
  • Heat: Your LED lifespan will have a lot to do not just with the heat your bulb runs at based on how much you use it, but the temperature of its environment as well (hotter environments will wear bulbs out faster; cooler ones, slower).
  • Complexity: LED lights run on an extremely sophisticated system of internal wiring, and as such a shoddily made bulb can trip over itself and burn out long before its natural lifespan has concluded. Again, some casual market research is key to avoiding this unfortunate fate!

The  US Department of Energy released a report on LED lifespans in 2015 that sums it up rather nicely:

... [the] electrical and thermal design of the LED system or fixture determine how long LEDs will last and how much light they will provide. Driving the LED at higher than rated current will increase relative light output but decrease useful life. Operating the LED at higher than design temperature will also decrease useful life significantly.

So, how long do LED lights last? It all comes down to the bulb itself, and how you use it.

Running the Numbers

But let’s be honest: you didn’t click on this for a wishy-washy assessment of the average LED lifespan, you want some hard numbers. Luckily, we’ve got a few that you can rely on.

Even when some of the less trustworthy brands exaggerate their claims of how long their LED bulbs can last, the odds are good that you’re still getting a better value than you would with a traditional lighting solution. Here’s a graph from another recent study from our pals at the Department of Energy:

If that’s all Greek to you, the  summary lays it out in pretty plain language: the enhanced lifespan of the LED light fixture saved consumers a total of 4.6 billion dollars on energy bills in 2016! And this is with LED solutions only composing 12.6% of total common lighting fixtures. Just imagine how much money and energy consumers could save if that percentage of adopters doubled. Excitingly, you might not have to wonder for long: 12.6% in 2016 is a sharp jolt up from 3% in 2014, so the odds of more people asking “How long do LED lights last?” and liking the answer they hear isn’t just possible; it’s incredibly likely to create another astronomical boost in the popularity of the LED lifespan by 2020.

Don’t Get Left Behind: Buy from Atlanta Light Bulbs Today

As you can see, the LED revolution is well under way and happening faster every day, but you don’t have to let it leave you out in the cold. With Atlanta Light Bulbs’ electrical expertise, affordable pricing and fast shipping, you can find yourself reaping all of the benefits of an enhanced LED lifespan with none of the hassle or disappointment that comes with buying from an inferior distributor.

Whether you’re looking for a  retrofit kit to get some LED lighting into an older edifice, or you’re looking to dive head first into the future with a top-of-the-line smart bulb, Atlanta Light Bulbs is here to make sure you wind up with the perfect lighting solution at a price you can feel confident in. Send us an email if you have unanswered questions about the average LED lifespan, take a look at our high volume pricing policy if you’d like to see how you or your business can save a bundle on lighting projects, and keep up with our blog if you enjoyed learning “how long do LED lights last?” and never want to leave another lighting question unanswered again. You can shop with confidence when you shop with Atlanta Light Bulbs, so whether you live down south or up in the frozen north of the USA, count on us to bring your home or business lights with a heightened LED lifespan that you can rely on.