LED flood light bulbs 6-pack for $36

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I’m gradually doing the same thing, but I worry a little about the opportunity cost in buying LED lightbulbs. They have such a long lifespan, will having all LED bulbs discourage me from buying some new lighting innovation in five years?

On the other hand, they’re so obviously superior to both incandescents and CFLs that you certainly can’t justify buying more of those.


20 years? How long were CFLs rated to last when they first came out? And how long did they actually last in practice?


Important to consider the led bulb’s actual LUMENS output, these mentioned are 650, that’s about right, but for outdoors you need 1600 plus. I use them around our property, so far so good.

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I have one or two ancient CFLs around and still going (maybe 15years +) but most were under the 5(?) years expected. If there had not been a few duds that lasted only months I suspect they would have averaged out at close to the expectations. Then again my sample size is not huge.

I do wonder about the wisdom of complete replacement before the old bulbs die. Sure going forward you are saving energy but you have sunk more resources into the equipment and thrown out working bulbs. I don’t even know how i would begin to compare the environmental impact of creating a new LED bulb vs the time left on the old.

Also I have already had 2 LED bulbs go… well they developed eccentricities. They decide after a certain amount of use to develop a strobing behaviour - not some barely noticeable frequncey of strobing - one that you could achieve just throwing the light switch on and off. I moved those to less used fixtures.

I buy incandescent 60 watt bulbs for $1 and they last well enough, especially considering the pig tail bulbs I got with the hunter fan I bought at a garage sale last year for $10 are beginning to go, and they are $6-7 each.

Light bulbs are a massive con job. I watched a documentary on how light bulb manufacturers deliberately make bulbs with shortened life spans, and while it makes sense for a business to ensure repeat business, it’s a little cynical to expect people to believe the new con. …but people do.

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The trouble with LED lights is that it is relatively difficult to know how durable the device is in the places that will likely limit its lifespan.

LEDs themselves, outside of the really dreadful crap lurking around the shadier corners of the cut-price market, are both reasonably well characterized and quite robust. If treated as the spec sheet suggests the colored ones are practically immortal, and the white ones weaker but still very long lived(the phosphor glob that turns a blue or UV LED into ‘white’ tends to degrade faster than the diode itself does).

Unfortunately, the driver circuitry can(and sometimes does) fail surprisingly quickly, or murder the LEDs surprisingly quickly, if it isn’t built with quality and durability in mind. It’s not a hugely demanding job, relatively low wattage; but if you half-ass the driver board it can end up providing a life of mere months to a year. Areas with electrically unpleasant power sometimes see even quicker death.

The trouble is that distinguishing between a good driver circuit and total crap is not exactly something you can do from the packaging.


? Methinks you might be overlighting your exterior. I use about 400 lumens at the back porch. It’s all about context.

By the time I’ve burnt through all of the USD $0.25 CFLs I have I will be dead and LEDs will be… $0.25.

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Your LED source might last that long but probably not the driver. Or LED droop will impact the output enough so you notice. Or the phosphors will degrade and leave you with disappointing or inconsistent lamp color.

Don’t worry, as an early adopter you’ll still be encouraged to buy new lighting innovation in five years.


@frauenfelder , I know I’ve brought it up before, but please stop saying these devices are rated to last twenty years. The electrical components inside are designed to fail long before the sources reach that theoretical 20 year lifetime.


Most people use lighting as-needed. Flick it on - flick it off. While this doesn’t really affect incandescents - it does significantly reduce the life of a compact fluorescent. This is not the issue with LEDs. Premature LED failure happens but not because of this.

Sorry, but it’s a large condo complex, we need the light.

If you’re not Early Adopter - you’re little people.

Joking aside - you make a good point & I agree - and I don’t consider this to be a criticism of early adopters. Different strokes.

I dunno - is buying LED bulbs now really early adopting?

They probably do a MTBF (mean time between failure) analysis. When I was a quality assurance engineer way back when I did this with disk drives. Run a whole bunch of them continuously and as they died you could extrapolate how long it would typically last.

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You are saying the manufacturer is making a fraudulent claim about the bulbs? They might be, but I would like to see the data you have seen to make this claim.

I imagine (as with LED TVs and Monitors) it comes down to capacitors…

Here’s one article on failure rate – don’t know if the test protocol was fair
One in four ‘long-life’ light bulbs don’t last as long as makers claim | Daily Mail Online
The consumer watchdog and European partners tested five samples of 46 types of bulb. New EU regulations say that from March 1, 90 per cent of any batch of LED (light emitting diode) bulbs should last at least 6,000 hours.

imho this is why i only go for philips or other big brands. even the ones they sell at costco (feit) are crap and die prematurely. this seems to have been even more true for the CFLs. granted i’ve got recessed cans and those are hard on bulbs.

6000 hours? If you use the light for 6 hours a day, that’s less than 3 years. That regulation is either meaningless or indicates that LED bulbs are either crappy in general or are long lived on average, but have a high premature failure rate.

I think we are seeing CFLs again.

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I’m pretty sure incandescent a and CFLs were rated both in hours and on-off cycles (cycling affects incandescents because the filament develops cracks due to thermal expansion and contraction).