How Long Do Light Bulbs Last? – A Complete Guide (2023)

How long do light bulbs last actually, you may ask yourself. Well, there is no universal answer to that question since that depends on many various factors. In this article, you’ll find out more about those factors and how to take them into account.

Depending on that, you can actually assess what type of light bulb suits you and your needs. 

How long do light bulbs last?

Without specifying what type of bulb it is, it is difficult to answer how long do light bulbs last, but you can safely assume that incandescent light bulbs (traditional) will last up to 1000 hours, while LED  light bulbs will last up to 100,000 hours. Since these two types of bulbs are the most common and popular bulbs, take into account the above calculation.

However, with further analysis, we will find that the lifespan of the bulb depends not only on the type of bulb but also on other various characteristics of the bulb and different external factors.

Below, check the breakdown of the factors that can affect the condition of your light bulb and how to avoid what you don’t want.

Related article: How long do integrated LED lights last?


Wattage and brightness

Even though it’s true that bulbs with higher wattage ratings often generate more light and might last longer than bulbs with lower wattage ratings, the difference in lifespan isn’t always directly correlated with the difference in wattage. The wattage rating is actually less important when it comes to determining the longevity of a bulb as energy-efficient LED bulbs become more prevalent.

Since LED bulbs use substantially less electricity to generate the same amount of light as conventional incandescent bulbs, they can last longer while still being more energy-efficient. 

Usage and frequency of turning on/off

If you constantly turn the light on and off, you will shorten the lifespan of your bulb regardless of whether you have an LED, incandescent, or compact fluorescent light bulb.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are negatively affected because their capacitors in the circuits face more electrical stress, incandescents are weakened because their sensitive filaments are overused, and CFLs downgrade from their high starting voltage.

Type of fixture

There is no direct correspondence between light bulb lifespan and the type of fixture but there is some useful advice we can suggest to you. Simply use longer-lasting bulbs (such as LEDs) on light fixtures that you use more often, and use shorter-life bulbs (such as incandescents) on fixtures that you use less often. It will pay off the most in the long run.

Environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, etc.)

Traditional bulbs tend to wear out when in darker and colder conditions, while LEDs are designed to tolerate any weather perfectly. The same goes for humidity.

This especially applies to bulbs located outdoors, for example on your porch or balcony.


Incandescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs have the shortest lifespan. However, they are often used because of their convenience, simplicity, and easy availability. The low price also comes as a bonus.

Halogen bulbs

Halogen light bulbs last a bit longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and are only slightly more expensive than them. They’re also more energy efficient.

Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)

Compact fluorescent light bulbs last even longer than the previous two and are more energy efficient, but they are very sensitive when it comes to constantly turning them off and on.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) 

LEDs are definitely the longest-lasting and most energy-efficient light bulbs. In addition, they are also eco-friendly.

How often should you change light bulbs?

When you detect noticeable differences in the functioning of your bulb you should consider changing it, and the phenomena that indicate that you need to replace it can range from a sudden burnout to a gradual fading of the light.

Incandescents will most likely burn out suddenly or eventually start to flicker frequently before that, but the LEDs will fade gradually.

As we already mentioned, take into consideration that incandescent light bulbs will last up to 1000 hours, while LED light bulbs will last up to 100,000 hours approximately.

Tips for extending light bulb lifespan

Regardless of all the listed factors that predetermine the lifespan of a light bulb, there are still ways you can influence it as well.

  1. Make sure you install them properly, tighten them as much as they need to be tightened, and handle them carefully because the glass can always break.
  2. Keep your bulbs clean, it’s very simple to get rid of excess dust. Dust can affect the performance of your bulb as well as its longevity by raising its temperature.
  3. Never exceed the maximum wattage that your lighting fixture allows, as overheating may occur.
  4. The ultimate way to guarantee the longer lifespan of the bulb is to switch to energy-efficient bulbs, i.e. LEDs.


How long do cheap light bulbs last?

Indacescents are the cheapest option and they can last up to 1000 hours approximately. Regardless, they are used often and people still love them.

How long does a 60-watt light bulb last?

According to the official statistics of the Department of Energy, a 60-watt incandescent bulb can last about 1000 hours.

How long do LED strip lights last?

LED strip lights can last you up to 50 000 hours, they’re very long-lasting. If we’re talking about years, that would be about 4-6 years.

Final words

A variety of factors, including usage habits, ambient circumstances, and bulb quality, affect how long do light bulbs last. In general, traditional incandescent bulbs last less time than alternative types of bulbs, such as LED or CFL bulbs, which can last a lot longer.

Nevertheless, other factors may also be at play, therefore a light bulb’s lifespan is not necessarily exactly correlated to its wattage rating.

It’s critical to operate light bulbs correctly, to prevent overheating, and to make sure there is adequate ventilation if you want to extend their lifespan. Moreover, routine fixture upkeep and cleaning can help the bulb last longer.

In the end, making the proper bulb selection and maintenance decisions will help save money on replacement costs and lessen the environmental impact of frequent bulb disposal. A light bulb may provide effective and dependable lighting for your home or place of business for years with the proper care and maintenance.

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