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How to tell a good LED lightbulb from a bad one?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 11th, 2019 9:46 pm
Sr. Member
May 13, 2014
577 posts

How to tell a good LED lightbulb from a bad one?

I've heard that there's been a cost cutting race to the bottom amongst the various brands over the past couple years, to the point where many (most?) of the LED lightbulbs on the market today have lifespans comparable to an incandescent.

I hate changing lightbulbs and am willing to pay a bit more for quality, but how can I tell if a given lightbulb is junk or will actually live up to its 25 year advertised lifespan?
4 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
7975 posts
Buy from more name brand in big box store. Avoid cheap brand from CT, Dollar stores.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
2749 posts
If you can, hold the two bulbs in your hand. Which one weighs more? The one that weighs more is almost definitely made to last longer. You can see this with Hue bulbs: 3rd gen bulbs have 25,000h MTBF ... the revised "4th" gen (3.1 really) bulbs are 15,000h, and weigh considerably less ... same company, same price point, same everything, but cheaper build quality.

I know it seems stupid, but nobody is adding gravity to devices, it just naturally happens (generally) when something is higher quality (better heat sinking, glass vs plastic, larger components, etc.). Oddly enough, this general rule applies to most things, except when the thing's weight is literally a selling point (phones, bikes, fishing rods, etc.).
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9646 posts
ChubChub wrote: (phones, bikes, fishing rods, etc.).
40 pound bike: $100
5 pound bike: $4700
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1316 posts
I agree with Teoconca.... Buy a brand name, GE, Sylvania, Philips, Cree, AVOID Globe.