LED Lifespan and Useful Lifetime Explained


The lifespan and useful lifetime of an LED are key when looking at investing in this technology, especially when calculating savings that can be made in maintenance costs.

Not convinced that LED lighting is for you? Then surely these facts will make you decide that LEDs are well worth the investment…


As you have heard, LED products provide vastly improved lifespans compared to traditional lighting, typically being:

Tungsten Bulb  =  4,000 hours

Halogen  =  2,000–4,000 hours

Metal Halide  =  6,000–12,000 hours

Fluorescent  =  6,000–20,000 hours

LED  =  30,000–100,000 hours

So for an LED product with a 50,000 hour lifetime being used in a 9-5 / 5 days per week environment, the product would be expected to last 24.7 years.

Useful Lifetime

Reputable brands label their LED products with a useful lifetime value. Known as the ‘L’ value it should be provided on all product data sheets, for example:

Lamp Lifetime:  50000h L90

This means that after 50,000 hours the product’s luminous flux will be 90% or more of the initial luminous flux (L90). Generally a product will be rated to L70, unless otherwise stated to L80 or L90.

It is important to not assume that a product rated with an ‘average lifetime of 50,000 hours’ will be useful for 50,000 hours… The product ‘could’ still work after 50,000 hours but not necessarily provide a minimum 70% of the product’s initial luminous flux.

Take a look at the simple chart from iGuzzini that shows why their products are regarded so highly:



It’s also important to know the ‘B’ value. This is the percentage of the population of LEDs that will not meet the minimum flux value, e.g.:

Lamp Lifetime:  50000h L90 B10

Therefore the B10 value means that 10% of the LED population will achieve less than the L90 flux value after 50,000 hours.

So in layman’s terms, longer lifespans result in maintenance savings and therefore further reduce the costs of lighting, so combined with energy savings LEDs really are a win win!

For further information on LEDs and which units are right for you then please do contact us.