LED bulbs burn out faster than makers claim

Long-lasting energy efficient LED lightbulbs may not be as long lasting as they claim to be, a study has found.

An investigation carried out by British consumer watchdog Which? found that many LED bulbs simply do not live up to manufacturers’ claims that they will shine for 25,000 and 50,000 hours.

In fact, the consumer body found that not only do many stop working before the end of their promised lifespan, some fail to even reach the soon-to-be-implemented EU minimum lifespan of 6,000 hours.

Along with its European partner organisations, Which? tested five samples each of 46 types of LED lightbulbs sold right across Europe. 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 tested.

Another five bulbs stopped working before the 10,000-hour mark for the majority of samples tested. This was despite claiming lifespans of at least 25,000 hours.

In total, 66 of the 230 samples tested failed before the 10,000-hour mark, though all claimed they would last at least 15,000 hours.

Researcher with Which? Matt Clear said it was clear from the study that many types of LED light bulbs do not stand up to “grand claims” made about their lifespan.

“One of the attractions of LED lightbulbs 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.”

Under an EU directive which came into force in Sept 2012, traditional incandescent bulbs were phased out to be replaced by halogen bulbs, which are 30% more energy-efficient, and the CFL long-life bulbs, which are 80% more energy-efficient.


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