LED lights - reliability & life expectancy

LED lights claim to last up to 25000 hours. However, I have found that the majority last nothing like this. The worst seem to be the spot/down lights. I have tried cheap and more expensive brands and they all fail within a year. I think the issue is heat and components that have a very narrow tolerance. These lights should be the last I ever need to purchase as theoretically they should outlive me, but this isn’t the case. I have given up returning them to the store for a refund. What has been others experience with these lights.


I had the same problem. What I do know now is you must also change the transformer for one that is suitable for LED’s

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Very true, although solid state LED’s by their very design and nature are very reliable it appears the control circuitry is mostly of dubious quality and something there usually goes out.
I feel we still have a long way to go before they are the total panacea for low energy lighting.

Agree, everything else apart from the led ‘chips’ will determine its life.

We have some that have lasted years (we were early adopters), but have had a few smd types which have failed.

I understand voltage regulation is also important as leds have little tolerance for over-voltages. Possibly the quality of the electronic transformers is also an issue…along with quality of transformers in low voltage circuits…we use gu10 and standard bayonet fittings which run at 240v with the light ballast containing the transformer.

CHOICE is currently testing light bulb claims, including for long-term use (the longest-running bulb has been going for over 13,000 hours). We factor any results including failures into our ongoing light bulb reviews.


I have had Osram gu10 base led lights in my kitchen for the past few years with no problems. One is a 5w and the other 4 are 3 watt. I bought them from Bunnings when they were a rarity: expensive and difficult to source; as a replacement from my 50 watt halogens. However one of my tenants bought some E14 1 watt candle bulbs online and used them for less than a year, then replaced the light fitting due to the bulbs blowing constantly( they were left on all night as part of a shop display). I have the same bulbs in a large 10 light chandelier and apart from a “glowing” one had no problems. However this light is seldom used and not usually on for very long periods as it is a landing light.

I have exactly the same problem, one or two years & that’s on down-lights not used often. Very difficult for me to change also, previously I could stand on a small stepladder & just change an ordinary light bulb. Now I’m feeling around trying to find the transformers.

Agree with the changing transformer, I have bought a number of the DETA brand downlights from Bunnings, these units come complete with transformer so just plug in, they have been quite reliable in areas of heavy use, certainly worth a try.

When I was a kid from 1940 we lived in a 1900s weatherboard house in Geelong. Mum and Dad’s bedroom had this old light globe that tapered toward the base, like a stubby baseball bat, not like the sort-of pear-shaped ones in the rest of the house and that we have today. The filament went up and down in a zig-zag. When my wife and I rented the house from Dad and Mum in 1967, that globe was still there. Incredible longevity. I don’t know what happened to it, but there must have been others like it. It wasn’t very bright. Now come on, there’s no need to be rude!


I am an Electrical Contractor that installs lots of these things so here are my observations. In the early days of LED’s ( nearly 7 years ago now) we installed 300 plus GU10 1.5Watt Globes in a complex. All of these work today! Since then we have installed literally thousands with generally good results. Some comments though:- MR16 (12 volt LEDs that have 2 pins and a transformer) are very susceptible to problems if you don’t change the transformer. Brand is a reasonable guide but the problem is that LEDs like DC voltage and all of the electronic transformers produce AC. Also the transformer may not have enough discrimination to “fire” when you put in a very low wattage LED. This causes flickering and in some cases they won’t work at all. A LED driver will fix this.
GU10’s are connected to the 240V mains system directly and convert by on board electronics. Our experience with these is that they are super reliable (they do get pinched in common areas though!) but price is a good guide to quality. In short don’t buy the cheapest and stick to mainstream brands.


Thanks for the insight @neil

I had all new LED Downlights installed in a 15yr old house that only had the old incandescent fittings and bulbs, two years ago - all 35 of them are still going fine… was not expecting any problems. Hope it continues…

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Well we have 8 yr old Halogen transformers and around 3 yrs ago changed to LED via the free Vic gov scheme and they’re still alive and well. Only thing I can add is, I put in the covers that keep them cool and the insulation away from them.


In the 70s my great aunt had a 1900s house near Gawler SA that was sold when she died. The light on the front porch was the original Edison brand globe from when electricity was first connected.


My personal experience has been that “you get what you pay for”. I have tried many different types of LED lighting and would say that 90% of the time the failure rate directly related to cost - the cheaper the light the more likely to fail. In our last house in Sydney we decided to pay for (hopefully) quality LED downlights and budgeted accordingly. It was a double story house so naturally that was a lot of downlights, and ended up costing us a few thousand. In the years we lived there one light failed so we called in a sparky who informed us there was nothing wrong with the globe, it was the mouse driver the builder’s sparky had put on it. On a couple of the downlights they had put normal downlight drivers on instead of LED, and the driver had blown.
We have now moved to Tamworth and were so happy with the lights in our last house we have ordered the same brand again for our new build (from the same supplier too). The supplier we used happily sent up both a replacement globe and a mouse driver, as they are based in Melbourne and we were in Sydney. I cannot fault that level of service and product backup so they kept our business for the new house. The newer model of the LED downlights are better as well, since they are now driver and light wired together and plug into a powerpoint socket rather than hardwired (saving callout costs if a failure does happen).
Our choice is the BrightGreen D900 Classic 15.7w and whilst it is more pricey than others on the market they give them a 7 year warranty. They are also dimmable (which many aren’t) so we don’t have to get different globes for different rooms. The supplier was LightingMatters in Melbourne and dealing via email and phone was no problem, they even drew up a suggested lighting plan for our new house for free. I mention the product and supplier as we are always ready to mention bad experiences with companies but less often do we praise.


I bought a floor lamp from IKEA with a built-in (i.e. non-replaceable) LED bulb which IKEA also claimed to last 25,000 hours of operation. However, 8 months later it started to blink intermittently. Unfortunately the circuitry didn’t stand up to service, not the bulb’s fault. The moral of the story is, don’t buy an all-in-one LED lamp.

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I have found the same thing…, I think they last no longer than a normal globe.
My house seems to blow globes a fairly regular basis(at least 1 every 3 weeks or so, sometimes more). I have had the house checked a couple of times by different electricians and they have given my house an all clear…, so the problem either lays with the bulbs not being very good or a surge in the electrical supply. The electricians have said that this is a “lot” more common than what the electrical suppliers let on. Either way, I have gone back to the cheaper globes.

Having spotted this thread I might as well report my experience with a Mirabella LED globe. I figured that paying $20 for a globe was an indication that it would be reliable. How wrong I was. My error was in not using it immediately rather than leaving until I needed a replacement globe, by which time it was over the statutory 1 year warranty. It lasted several months, perhaps 250 hours use, before it began flickering. When I turned it off after 2 hours or so, it was too hot to remove without wrapping my hand in a towel. I messaged the company through their Facebook page, without any response. Having spoken to others about this, I’ve been told the problem is in the transformer. Mirabella is one company whose products I will NEVER buy again.


I know I shouldn’t have, but a while ago I bought several cheap Chinese globes on ebay for around $2.50 each. One has died within a year, but that was in a socket that we’ve been having some trouble with. The others are still going strong after a year which is better than we were getting with our compact floros which in some cases were being replaced every few months as they either blew or got too dim.


Do you mean the circuitry within the floor lamp or your house circuitry? If the former, you are certainly entitled to a refund or replacement under warranty. You bought an article, not a bunch of components. The true moral of the story is that if it doesn’t perform as expected, complain loudly and demand your money back.