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The true cost of untested, cheap LED work lighting – up to £1.69million

The true cost of untested, cheap LED work lighting – up to £1.69million

The true cost of untested, cheap LED work lighting – up to £1.69million

Cheap LED work lighting: Most buyers have an expectation from manufacturers that LEDs will last anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 hours – and while this may be true of the LED component themselves, under perfect operating conditions – does this actually make low-cost LED lighting the best option?

Back in the Summer of 2016, we started our own experiments with a range of LED work lighting products.  As part of our policy of continuous product range improvement, we analysed third-party and our own-brand ranges.  The range included interior lights, worklamps, truck & trailer lighting and other exterior lighting and the outcome was shocking.


LED work lighting with water ingress problems

LED work lighting with water ingress problems


Aside from a majority of cheap LED work lighting purchased from a well-known auction site, and an international rainforest-name related retailer, being untested and uncertified to electrical safety standards – we also found the following problems.

  • Up to a 97% drop in actual light output
  • Water ingress from supposedly water-proof products
  • Individual LED failures within lamps

That’s all within 800 hours too, less than 1% of some of the manufacturer’s claimed expected life-span – quite a difference.  Under the same conditions comparative products from within Dun-Bri Group’s own product portfolio had a 0% drop in light output and a zero failure rate.


Faulty LED interior strip lighting

Faulty LED interior strip lighting


We have continued the research into these, as well as other products, and nothing has changed.  During the last batch of research we even encountered products that carried an ‘E’ mark to indicate electrical safety but the certificate was false.


The on-costs of cheap LED work lighting

It also seems that the implications of cheap LED work lighting can have a sizeable impact on your costs over the lifetime of a vehicle.  We asked engineers from within our nationwide fitting service, Dun-Bri Fit, as well as one of our lighting manufacturers for more information on the other financial implications and these were their responses;

  • Cost of replacing a defective lamp – up to £132 + VAT each including labour
  • Vehicle down-time resulting in loss of business – up to £2,000 + VAT
  • Additional costs of vehicle damage and injury

You may remember last time that we also looked into the financial costs associated with road accidents.  We approached including the road safety charities Making the Link, Brake and RosPA, as well as the Department for Transport and the police.

The financial costs, let alone the personal costs, based on Government reports from 2011 put the cost of each type of accident, per person, were simply staggering;

  • Slight injury – £14,611
  • Serious injury – £189,519
  • Fatal injury – £1.69million

While we were unable to pinpoint the number of road accidents that were caused by poor vehicle lighting, the final figure of a fatal injury within a road accident is unbelievable.  With the £1.69million overall cost for just one death, could you justify the initial saving at the point of purchase?

The advice from the police and DVSA was also pretty clear, that the duty to maintain, keep clean and replace and any failed external vehicle lighting is that of both the driver and vehicle operator.  They also agreed that it was likely to result in a criminal prosecution if it was a contributory factor in an incident.  This is all important information for those working on the road at night.

Additionally if your vehicle is fitted with lighting that isn’t E approved – it shouldn’t be on there, plain and simple.  It can even invalidate your motor insurance too which will lead to penalties just for being on the road during a stop-check or DVSA inspection.


How are Dun-Bri Group’s own-brand lights different?

At Dun-Bri Group, our ongoing commitment to product quality means that lighting product life tests have been carried out.  Some of our products do reach their original target of 100,000 hours lifespan albeit with a reduction of less than 20% light output over this period.  To put that in perspective, that’s still 77% better than some of our rivals!

This is partly down to good thermal management as LEDs generate a lot of heat but it degrades them very quickly if there is not sufficient cooling in place.


So what’s happening now?

We are aiming to get all of our LED lighting thermally managed to prolong their life as much as possible.  It was one of the deciding factors in bringing a new range of LED work lighting to market late in 2017 and some more additions again in 2018.  As well as our own-brand ranges, we also stock and supply ranges from Labcraft, Tyri, Redtronic, Rigid Industries, WAS and Truck-Lite – and you can search for them on our web site at

Look out for the testing that Rigid Industries put their products through – it’s absolutely savage!



Did you know that some of our LED lighting ranges have a warranty of up to 10 years?!  Talk to us today to find out more!


Sources & credits:
Accident statistics – Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: annual report 2011, Department for Transport, 2012,
Accident costs calculated by Making the Link using data published in above report from DfT, Redtronic, Labcraft

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