How Long Do LED Light Strips Last With Average Usage?

LED strip lights have become increasingly popular due to their versatility, energy efficiency, and stylish design. However, before investing in these lighting options, it’s important to understand their lifespan to make an informed decision.

In this article, we will explore the question “how long do LED strip lights last?” by discussing the average lifespan of LED strip lights, factors that affect their longevity, and how to properly maintain them. Additionally, we will also cover the benefits of LED strip lights to help you understand why they may be a good investment for your home or business.

What is the structure of LED light strips?

LED strips consist primarily of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), Flexible Printed Circuit Boards (FPCBs), resistors, and other essential components. The manufacturing process involves Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Assembly, wherein LEDs, resistors, and additional elements are mounted onto the FPCB.

For outdoor or underwater applications, some LED strips undergo an additional step of being coated with silicone or polyurethane (PU) glue for protection.

It’s crucial to note that LED strips with higher Ingress Protection (IP) ratings tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to those with lower ratings like IP20. This is because LED strips with higher IP ratings struggle to dissipate heat efficiently. Generally, LEDs perform better in cooler environments, producing higher light outputs. Conversely, elevated temperatures can diminish their light output.

The most pivotal component of an LED strip is the Surface Mount Device (SMD) LED. The lifespan of the SMD LED essentially dictates the overall lifespan of the LED strip. Now, back to the question: Can you cut LED strip lights, and how does that affect their lifespan?

What is the structure of LED light strips?

Outdoor LED strips may be coated with silicone or PU glue for protection

LED strips with higher IP ratings, despite their enhanced protection, tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to IP20 LED strips. This is due to their limited ability to dissipate heat efficiently. The environment’s temperature plays a crucial role: cooler surroundings result in greater light output and extended LED lifespan, whereas higher temperatures reduce both light output and LED lifespan. Essentially, temperature directly impacts the longevity of the LED strip.

The pivotal component within an LED strip is the LED circuit. Its lifespan predominantly dictates the overall lifespan of the LED strip. Calculating the lifespan of LEDs involves considering various factors like operating conditions, environmental temperature, and the LED’s design specifics.

Manufacturers often utilize methods such as the L70 method, which estimates the hours an LED can operate until its brightness decreases to 70% of its original level. Understanding these factors helps in estimating and ensuring the optimal lifespan of LED strips.

Outdoor LED strips may be coated with silicone or PU glue for protection

LED lifetime and the 70% rule (L70)

Unlike incandescent bulbs that abruptly burn out or fluorescent tubes that begin flickering, LEDs exhibit a different behavior over time, gradually losing their light output. Barring a “catastrophic” failure caused by power surges or physical damage, LEDs within an LED strip typically continue to function until their brightness diminishes significantly.

Determining what constitutes “too dim to use” varies across different lighting applications. However, the industry has established, somewhat arbitrarily, that a 30% light loss or the remaining 70% of light is the standard measure. This criterion is often referred to as the L70 metric, defining the number of hours an LED takes to dim to 70% of its original luminous intensity.

The calculation of L70 involves the use of the LM-80 test method, which serves as the primary standard for assessing the lifespan of light in LEDs. This method involves subjecting the LED sample to testing at varying temperatures (55 and 85 degrees Celsius) and the specific temperature and current designated by the manufacturer. The process measures the change in luminous intensity over a typical interval of 6000 hours.

LM-80 testing is typically conducted in independent laboratories to ensure unbiased outcomes, and the findings are documented in a report for reference.

Testing the lifespan of LED lights poses a significant challenge due to the extensive duration required. Even when LED lights operate continuously (24/7), the 6000-hour test demands around 250 days, which can be quite lengthy in rapidly evolving industries like LED lighting. To reach the full 50,000-hour requirement, continuous testing would extend over nearly six years.

To address this, the TM-21 extrapolation algorithm comes into play. This algorithm factors in the performance data gathered from the LM-80 sample during the initial hours and provides an estimated lifetime. Typically, LM-80 test reports provide the estimated lifetime of the L70 metric as a result.

How Long Do LED Strip Lights Last? 7 Factors influencing the lifespan of LED strips

How Long Do LED Strip Lights Last?

1. FPCB (Flexible Printed Circuit Board)

Using high-quality 2-4 oz double-layer pure copper flexible PCBs ensures efficient current flow, reduces heat generation, and aids in quicker heat dissipation. Heat can significantly impact LED lifespan, necessitating effective heat dissipation methods. Mounting the LED strip onto an aluminum profile maximizes heat dissipation, lowering the working temperature.

2. Resistors

Resistors regulate the forward current to maintain LEDs at the intended brightness. The resistor’s value might vary between batches, hence opting for a reputable supplier is crucial.

Ensure the use of high-quality resistors. Inferior ones can drastically reduce the LED strip’s lifespan or cause damage. Avoid overpowering LEDs as they may initially appear brighter but fail prematurely, generating excess heat that could pose safety hazards, especially on flammable materials.

3. Power Supply

The power supply is pivotal. Utilizing a branded, quality-assured power supply is imperative. A subpar power supply may output unstable voltage levels, surpassing the LED strip’s working voltage and potentially damaging it.

Ensure the LED strip’s power doesn’t exceed the rated maximum capacity of the power supply. It’s generally recommended to limit the LED strip’s power to 80% of the power supply’s rated maximum capacity for stable voltage and prolonged usage.

4. Heat Dissipation

Heat significantly reduces LED lifespan. Therefore, efficient heat dissipation methods are essential. Installing LED strips in well-ventilated areas is recommended. Budget permitting, affixing the LED strip to an aluminum profile facilitates timely heat dissipation, prolonging LED lifespan.

5. Electrical Current Impact

Higher electrical currents result in brighter LED outputs, initially appealing. However, sustained higher currents accelerate LED component degradation, akin to constant high-speed running leading to burnout eventually.

6. Double-sided Tape

We rely on 3M’s VHB tape at LEDYi. However, numerous suppliers offer unbranded or counterfeit adhesive products. The key to a durable installation and effective thermal conductivity lies in using superior quality tape.

7. Daily Usage and Durability

Increased usage inevitably accelerates wear and tear.

How does the power source affect the lifespan of LED lights?

How does the power source affect the lifespan of LED lights?

Stable Power and LEDs

LED strip lights can be likened to marathon runners in the lighting world—they can persevere as long as they receive a consistent energy supply. The power supply serves as their essential lifeline, the key to their enduring performance.

A reliable power supply isn’t merely important; it’s indispensable for LEDs. It’s akin to the fundamental pairing of bread and butter or the essential role of wheels for a car. Without it, functionality is compromised. LEDs specifically thrive on stability. Consistent and stable power sustains their luminosity, allowing them to radiate brightly over extended periods.

However, when the power supply experiences fluctuations, it’s akin to altering the gravitational forces during a marathon run. One moment, you feel weightless like a feather, and the next, you’re burdened like lead. An unstable power supply disrupts the smooth functioning of an LED strip light, impacting its performance and longevity.

Fluctuating Power

Fluctuating power supplies act as the Achilles’ heel for LED lights, drastically reducing their lifespan, akin to a lumberjack swiftly chopping down a tree with an axe.

The relationship is straightforward: superior-quality power supplies directly translate to extended longevity for LEDs. It’s comparable to the difference between fresh organic produce and fast food—clearly, one leads to better outcomes in terms of health.

Another inadvertent method of damaging LEDs is by overdriving them with excessive voltage. Picture your LED light as a small boat sailing in calm waters (stable voltage). Suddenly, an enormous wave (high voltage) crashes in unexpectedly! This surge can inflict severe damage, resulting in reduced lifespan or immediate failure.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Always opt for quality power supplies specifically designed for LED lights.
  • Avoid subjecting your LEDs to high-voltage surges.
  • Regularly inspect your lighting setup for any indications of instability or voltage fluctuations.

How does heat affect LED strip lights?

LEDs, much like any other electronic device, generate heat. However, they differ significantly from old incandescent bulbs, which often doubled as miniature heaters. LEDs operate at lower temperatures but are not exempt from the laws of physics. Let’s delve into how heat impacts these small yet remarkable light sources.

How does heat affect LED strip lights?

LED lights generate heat

LEDs emit light through a process known as electroluminescence, where electricity passing through a semiconductor results in light emission. Despite its fascinating nature, this process isn’t entirely efficient, leading to some energy loss as heat.

Unlike in other electronics where heat is typically an incidental outcome, in LEDs, it can directly influence their performance and longevity.

Heat: A Light Dimmer and Color Changer

Excessive heat adversely affects the output and color quality of LED strip lights. It’s analogous to running a marathon in scorching weather—you tire quickly and probably don’t perform optimally.

Elevated temperatures can prematurely dim an LED or alter its color rendering index (CRI). Over time, bright white lights might shift to a yellowish or reddish hue, deviating from the expected lighting quality.

Heat sink for LED lights

Effectively managing heat is crucial for prolonging the lifespan of LED strip lights, primarily through the use of efficient heat sinks. Think of these heat sinks as the air conditioning units for LEDs.

A quality heat sink absorbs surplus thermal energy from the LED chips and disperses it into the environment. This practice maintains lower operating temperatures, ensuring consistent light output and color quality over time.

Various types of heat sinks are available, such as:

  • Aluminum extrusion
  • Stamped metal
  • Cast metal

Each with its advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, any heat sink solution is preferable to allowing LEDs to overheat and deteriorate.

The higher the temperature, the shorter the lifespan

The correlation between higher operating temperatures and reduced lifespans is simple—higher heat leads to shorter lifespans. It’s akin to leaving ice cream out in the summer—we all know how that ends!

For every 10°C rise in temperature at the junction (where electricity enters), an LED’s lifespan typically decreases by about half. So, if you want your strip lights to outlast your latest diet plan, keeping them cool is the key!

Using LED strip lights continuously also affects the lifespan

The precise lifespan of LED strip lights is a common inquiry, yet not easily answered. Multiple factors contribute, but let’s delve into how daily usage impacts their longevity.

Hours Used Per Day

Consider a high-quality LED strip light with an approximate lifespan claim of 50,000 hours. If left on continuously (24/7), that amounts to just over five years! Conversely, using it for an hour daily could extend its lifespan to over a century. The duration of daily usage directly correlates with the overall lifespan—more usage leads to a shorter life, while less usage extends it significantly.

Switching Frequency

The frequency of turning your lights on and off matters too. Research indicates that frequent switching can impact lifespan. Although seemingly trivial, each switch-on causes an instant power surge, adding stress to the LED strip lights’ internal components. While LEDs are more durable than traditional bulbs, excessive switching throughout the day can affect their longevity.

Use for a long time without stopping

Allowing LED strip lights to run continuously without breaks can also affect their lifespan. Similar to humans needing breaks from work, these lights require intervals. Extended uninterrupted usage can cause overheating, subsequently reducing their life expectancy. Although leaving them on overnight might create a desirable ambiance, moderation in usage is advisable.

Usage Patterns: Continuous vs Intermittent

Different usage patterns influence LED strip lights differently. Continuous use exposes them constantly to electricity and heat, leading to faster wear-out. Conversely, intermittent usage allows for cooling down periods, potentially extending their lifespan.

However, bear in mind that these factors aren’t the sole determinants of lifespan. Other crucial aspects such as product quality and operating conditions (e.g., exposure to sunlight) significantly contribute to how long these lights will serve you reliably.

Understanding Electrical Currents in LEDs

LED strip lights have gained popularity due to their energy efficiency and extended lifespan. But have you ever pondered what makes them tick? Well, it all comes down to electrical currents.

Think of an LED as a one-way street. The electrical current flows from the positive end (anode) to the negative end (cathode). Each LED bulb contains a semiconducting element that controls this flow. When voltage is applied, electrons move through this semiconductor, producing light.

But there’s more to an LED’s brightness than just the amount of electricity it receives – it’s also about how that electricity is handled.

Balancing Drive Currents

Drive currents are pivotal in determining both the brightness and the lifespan of your LEDs. Higher drive currents can increase LED brightness but simultaneously generate more heat. And we all know electronics and heat aren’t the best companions.

Running LEDs at high drive currents without adequate heat management can lead to early bulb failure or even total system breakdowns. So, while turning up the remote control might offer immediate brightness, it could compromise long-term performance.

Significance of Optimal Current Levels

Maintaining optimal current levels is critical for maximizing the longevity of LED strip lights. It’s akin to caring for a car – sure, you could push it to its limits on every drive, but that’ll wear out the engine faster compared to driving at moderate speeds.

So, how do you ensure these optimal current levels? Enter resistors. These tiny components regulate current flow within an LED system, preventing excessive flow.

Risks of Maximum Rated Current

Although running LEDs at their maximum rated current might seem like a shortcut to maximum brightness, remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch in physics! Doing so elevates temperatures within each bulb, significantly reducing its lifespan.

Tips to Extend LED Light Strip Lifespan

1. Installation Techniques

Improving the way LED strip lights are installed is crucial for their longevity. It’s not just about slapping them on and plugging them in; there are essential steps to consider.

  • Surface Preparation: Ensure the surface is clean and dry before applying the strips. Dust or moisture can interfere with the adhesive, leading to early failure.
  • Avoid twisting and bending: LED strips are flexible but not indestructible. Over-bending or twisting can damage the circuits, shortening their lifespan. Using mounting clips for support when installing long strips helps relieve tension and prevents sagging.

Another critical aspect for optimizing LED strip lights is concealment or discreet installation, which significantly impacts their overall aesthetics and functionality.

2. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance may seem odd for lights, but it’s essential:

  • Dust Removal: Dust accumulation over time can cause overheating and reduce brightness. Wiping down the strips monthly helps prevent these issues.
  • Connection Check: Loose connectors can harm LED strips. Ensuring all connections are tight and secure is vital for their optimal performance.

In addition to regular maintenance, certain practices can help prolong the lifespan of LED strip lights. By incorporating these maintenance practices and knowing how to reset LED strip lights when necessary, you can ensure they continue to provide optimal performance and longevity.

3. Appropriate Power Supplies

Choosing the right power supply is crucial:

  • Voltage Match: Always match your power supply with the LED strip’s voltage requirements to prevent issues.
  • Avoid Overloading: Avoid overloading your power supply by connecting too many strips together. This can negatively impact their performance and lifespan.

4. Controlling Temperature

Controlling temperature is often overlooked but crucial for extending LED lifespan:

  • Heat Dissipation: Efficient heat dissipation is essential as LEDs produce heat. Consider using aluminum profiles to manage heat better.
  • Room Temperature: Maintaining room temperatures below 25°C (77°F) can minimize wear-and-tear on LEDs, extending their life expectancy.

5. Consider purchasing premium-grade LED strip lights

Upgrading to higher-quality LED strip lights can significantly impact their longevity. Cheaper or basic lights often lack an optimal design for long-term preservation. They tend to channel excessive energy into areas near the power source, causing overworking in those sections while leaving downstream areas insufficiently lit.

In contrast, premium LED strip lights contain more copper, allowing for smoother and more uniform electric current distribution across the entire strip. This design ensures consistent illumination throughout, not just in sections close to the power source.

When considering new strip lights, opting for 24V lights instead of the standard 12V could be advantageous. Contrary to what one might expect, higher voltage enhances unit performance, potentially reducing electricity bills in the long run.

6. Investing in LED-compatible dimmers is another crucial step

If your home has older dimmer switches or dials and you’ve installed LED lights, compatibility issues may arise. Standard switches might not function optimally with these newer bulbs, hindering their dimming capabilities or illumination. Swapping out these switches for LED-compatible dimmers is recommended to ensure maximum performance and functionality.

These six simple but effective tips can significantly extend the lifespan of your LED light strips. Proper care and installation not only ensure their longevity but also brighten up your space for a longer duration. Remember, treating them well results in longer-lasting illumination!


1. How long is the usual lifespan of LED strip lights?

LED strip lights typically last around 50,000 hours, depending on usage and quality.

2. Is it safe to keep my LED strip lights turned on for extended periods?

Generally, it’s safe to leave LED strip lights on for extended periods due to their low heat emission and energy efficiency.

3. What happens to LED strip lights if they overheat?

Overheating can lead to a shortened lifespan or malfunctioning of LED strip lights.

4. What measures can I take to ensure the maximum lifespan of my LED light strips?

To ensure the longest life for LED light strips, proper ventilation, and heat dissipation are essential, along with using quality products and avoiding overdriving them.

5. What are the indicators that my LED strip lights might be experiencing overheating issues?

Signs that LED strip lights might be overheating include dimming, discoloration, emitting a burning smell, or visible damage.

6. Does switching off my LED strip lights when not in use help prolong their lifespan?

Yes, turning off LED strip lights when not in use can significantly extend their lifespan.

7. Are all LED strip lights anticipated to have an identical lifespan?

Lifespan varies among LED strip lights due to factors such as quality, usage, and operating conditions.

8. Can the lifespan of LED strip lights be compared to that of traditional light bulbs?

Generally, LED strip lights have a longer lifespan compared to traditional light bulbs, often lasting significantly longer.


LED strip lights present a wise investment for those seeking durable and energy-efficient lighting solutions. With a lifespan stretching up to 50,000 hours, these lights ensure prolonged illumination, minimizing the requirement for frequent bulb changes.

Moreover, LED strip lights boast versatility in design and color choices, rendering them a favored option for both home and business applications.

By delving into this article, you’ve likely discovered an answer to the query: “How long do LED strip lights last?” For further insights on LED strip lights and tips like how to take LED lights off without ripping paint, remember to follow BLLS-Lighting to stay abreast of the latest knowledge and trends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *