LED bulbs come with seemingly outrageous claims about how long they’ll last, ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 hours of use. Can this really be true?
LED bulbs are built on an entirely different technology than incandescents and CFLs. Consequently, the light bulb doesn’t fail; it simply degrades a bit each year. So the question is not when does an LED fail, but when will it degrade so much that it becomes useless.
Lab tests show that LED bulbs will lose 30% of their lighting output in 20 to 30 years. These numbers are based on nine months of actual use (6,000 hours) and noticing the degradation during that period. Then a projection is made for the degradation rate over the next 20 – 45,000 hours of use.
If you are worried about whether this all makes sense, buy a bulb with a warranty. GE and Cree are two brands that make this offer.