When Do Smart Bulbs Burn Out? Don’t Be Left In The Dark

The average smart lightbulb lasts 15 000 to 25 000 hours, comparatively longer than regular light bulbs. Some brands indicate the lifespan of their bulbs in years according to the daily number of hours that manufacturers assume the bulb will be used for.

Various factors affect the lifespan of a smart bulb until age or use burns out the bulbs.

For how long does a smart light bulb last?

Most smart light bulbs on the market today are advertised with a life expectancy of 25,000 hours. Some brands advertise the predicted life span in years, which can be misleading as this depends on the number of hours that you have your lights switched on every day.

The American Lighting Association recommends choosing a smart bulb with a predicted lifespan of at least 25, 000 hours to ensure that you get the best value for your money.

You can find the lifespan rating of your chosen smart bulb on the side of the packaging with the main specifications such as lumens and wattage. The manufacturer will state the number of hours of daily use that they considered when calculating the predicted lifespan for the smart bulb. You can use this information to calculate the predicted lifespan in hours.

The following section will discuss how you can convert the ratings to customize the predicted lifespan to suit your household. 

How do I calculate the lifespan of my smart bulb from years to hours?

If the smart bulb brand advertises their bulb life span in years, the rating may be wrong for your household. Their calculation may have estimated fewer daily hours of use than what you use your smart bulbs. To calculate the number of years that your bulb will last in your household you can use the following calculation by inserting the relevant numbers found on the packaging of the bulb.

To calculate the number of hours for which your smart bulb should last, you can use the following calculation:

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To calculate the number of hours for which your smart bulb is predicted to last, you can use the following calculation:

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The Average Smart Bulb Is Rated To Last For 15,000 To 25,000 Hours. The Lifespan Indicated In Years Depends On Your Daily Hours Of Use Of The Bulbs.

Which smart bulb lasts longest?

After researching 11 different smart lighting brands, I have found that there is no specific light bulb brand that can make the longest-lasting bulb. The American Lighting Association (ALA) does recommend looking for a minimum predicted lifespan of 25,000 hours.

The table below lists the lifespan of popular light bulb brands and shows how the different models compare to each other.

Most smart bulb brands have reached the ALA standard of 25,000-hour lifespan ratings. This excludes the tunable white Wyze bulb and the Lumos smart bulb, which both list an estimated 20,000 hours as their predicted lifespans.

As seen below, it is a common trend that the vintage filament bulbs, often used for a rustic aesthetic effect, have a notably shorter lifespan of an average of 15,000 hours. If you use your smart bulbs for an average of three hours each day, a filament smart bulb would burn out 9 years sooner than a standard smart bulb.

This shorter lifespan is a result of the fragility of the filament in these vintage-style bulbs and the type of diodes used for the LED. The design increases the possibility of overheating when compared to the standard smart light bulb. 

Smart Lighting BrandSmart Bulb ModelExpected Lifespan (hours)

Philips Hue

All Hue models

25,000          

 

Filament bulbs

15,000

LIFX

All models

25,000

Nanoleaf Essentials

All models

25,000

IKEA Tradfri

All models

25,000

TP-Link Kasa

All models excluding LB100 bulbs

25,000

 

LB100 bulbs

15,000

Eufy Lumos

Lumos Smart Bulb

Less than 20,000

Hive Active

All products

25,000

Innr

Wi-Fi and Retro bulbs

25,000

 

Filament bulbs

15,000

Sengled

All models

25,000

Xiaomi Mi Yeelight    

All models

25,000

Wyze

Tunable White Wi-Fi Bulb

20,000

 

Wyze Bulb Color

25,000

Factors that affect the lifespan of a smart bulb

Smart light bulbs have a much longer predicted lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. The traditional bulbs are generally more sensitive to handling and environmental factors, but the surroundings can also affect smart bulbs and decrease their lifespan. These factors include temperature, frequency of use, and voltage.

While the predicted lifespan is a good indication of what you can expect from your smart bulb, you should remember that this prediction considers average conditions. It does not take into account extraordinary factors in your home environment that can impact the time your bulb will burn. 

1. High Temperatures

When exposed to extremely high temperatures, smart bulbs may suffer heat damage that decreases the lifespan of the bulb. A light fixture that is too small may have poor heat dispersal which leads to overheating of the bulb. Make sure that you buy a bulb that is the correct size and type for your lighting fixture. 

Adequate ventilation is also important to prevent a build-up of heat in the components of the bulb. Avoid installing smart bulbs in small, enclosed spaces, such as closed lamp shades. Check your lighting fixture where it meets the bulb for any heat damage that mayor show that you should choose a smaller bulb.

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2. A high number of usage hours

You now know that the predicted lifespan of smart bulbs is measured in hours. Unlike incandescent bulbs, switching LED lights on and off many times does not affect the lifespan of smart bulbs as much. Instead, you should focus on switching your lights off when you do not need them as every hour of use pushes them closer to their predicted maximum. Consider installing motion sensors, timers, and lighting routes in your home to use your lights with maximum efficiency and only when necessary. Smart bulbs also have the advantage that you can control them with a mobile app so that you can switch off your lights from anywhere.

You can refer back to my article on controlling your lights when away from home to find out how this works.

3. High voltage

The voltage that enters your home’s electrical system is in direct proportion to the current that flows through your plugged-in devices. This determines how much electrical energy is available for your smart bulbs to use.

A lower current passing through your bulbs will result in a dimmer light as the bulb does not have enough energy to work at full capacity. While this is not ideal for lighting purposes, your smart bulb’s lifespan could increase as it does not function at full capacity.

On the other hand, a voltage and current that is higher than for what the smart bulb is designed provides the bulb with excess energy and leads to the bulb shining brighter as it is trying to use all the available energy. As a result, the bulb burns out faster than expected.

The excess electrical current may also cause the light bulb to overheat, causing the heat damage I mentioned before.

How can I make my smart light bulbs last longer?

Considering that the lifespan of your smart bulbs will decrease through high temperatures, excessive hours of use, and higher voltages than what your bulbs are rated for, the steps to increase the lifespan of your light bulbs can be quite simple.

  1. Make sure that your bulbs fit into your light fixtures correctly and that there is enough ventilation around the bulb. This allows the various components to maintain a moderate temperature. Choose smart bulbs that have built-in, high-quality heat sinks for even heat distribution between the various components. 
  2. Switch your lights off when you are not using them and make use of motion sensors and timers to make your electricity consumption efficient and maximize the hours of use that you get from your smart bulb.
  3. Ask a professional to test the voltage in your home or do it yourself, if you have the know-how. Choose smart bulbs which have a rating compatible with the electrical current passing through your grid.

Following these general safety tips can also help you to avoid damaging your bulb and causing it to fail early.

  1. Read the instructions before installing your smart lighting systems and bulbs and make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  2. Ensure that you have no faulty or exposed wiring in your house that could lead to shortages and fires when exposed to moisture and dust particles.
  3. Use compatible lighting accessories in your smart lighting system. Tunable light bulbs should not be used with smart dimmer switches as the two functions interfere with each other and cause flickering and failure. Dimmer switches made for incandescent bulbs are also not suitable for smart bulbs as the LED bulb uses much less energy and therefore does not register the lighting phases correctly with the dimmer switch.

Lifx Color, A19 1100 Lumens, Wi-Fi Smart Led Light Bulb, Billions Of Colors And Whites, No Bridge Required, Works With Alexa, Hey Google, Homekit And Siri Multicolor (2 Pack)

Click on the image above to find more information about the LIFX Smart Bulb

Does my smart bulb give a warning before burning out?

While the term “burn out” is used to describe a light bulb reaching the end of its functionality, this term is misleading when referring to smart bulbs.

Smart bulbs do not burn out as other bulbs do. Instead, they slowly fade and lose their lumens or lighting output until they become ineffective for their purpose.

This process is called lumen depreciation and is the result of the individual diodes in the LEDs losing function one by one. Smart bulbs may also begin to flicker or only give off a dim glow when they are near the end of their lifespan and should be replaced. 

Are smart bulbs a fire hazard?

Smart bulbs do not burn out in the literal sense when they stop working and their risk as a fire hazard is minimal. Their low heat output during the conversion of electrical energy to light energy has reduced the risk of overheating when compared to the previous filament bulbs and, as a result, decreased the risk of fire.

In my article Are smart bulbs a fire hazard? I explain why LED bulbs are a safer lighting option than traditional incandescent bulbs due to their lower heat output. All smart bulbs are LEDs and therefore have this same benefit, as long as you use them according to the provided instructions and with safe wiring in your home.

This does not mean that smart bulbs have a 0% chance of starting a fire but, if you are using them correctly and in a suitable environment, the risk level is reassuringly low. 

Home Streamliner’s Take:

Most smart lighting brands have reached the lifespan rating standard of 25,000 hours, but the aesthetic filament bulbs are limited to 15,000 hours. Because the lifespan of a smart bulb is measured in hours, you will find that a high usage frequency will have you replacing your light bulbs faster than the predicted average of 22 years.

To maximize your smart bulb’s lifespan, it is important to make sure that your light bulb is compatible with your lighting fixtures and rated for the voltage in your home.  Make sure that your bulb is not installed in a space that is prone to high temperatures, and follow the instructions of your bulb carefully to avoid damage through accidental misuse. It is important to check the product warranty before purchase.

Contact the manufacturer if your smart bulb does burn out suddenly, or loses function without warning long before the end of its predicted life span. Keep a record of the dates when you installed your smart bulbs to give you an easy timeline and accurate reference if you want to make a claim within the product warranty time frame.

HomeStreamliner
HomeStreamliner

This blog aims to share my research and first-hand knowledge in a helpful way. My goal is for you to be able to save time and find happiness in a streamlined home.

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