Philips’ Apple and Orange Comparison Tear Down

A friend came to me claiming LED lighting has shorter life worst than traditional lighting because Philips says so. To a layman, Philips is the BRAND and the leader in Lighting. Philips is producing one of the best LED Lighting in the world. Philips is launching new products with a big promotion. The latest Philips’ LED bulb can only last 8000 hours and the latest LED tube can only last 15,000 hours. To a layman, Philips LED tube is selling at USD 2.92 with a shorter life.

Why is Philips LEDtube quality so bad that it could only last 15,000 hours as compared to others at 35,000 hours or 50,000 hours?

LM80 L70 is a good standard measurement approach for LED as a component. Many uses LM79 to measure the LED lighting with components inside.

It turns out Philips is adopting a B50 L70 approach. The B50 L70 includes the probability of failures of the other electronics in the system.

It is clear that the electronics may be the weakest link. As an industry, many are declaring LED products at 35,000 hours, 50,000 hours and longer. As a layman, the 15,000 hours life means that LED lighting has life shorter some of the traditional lighting.

Fig. 1: Philip’s Promotion

Philips’ LED Lighting marketing information can be confusing and misleading.

To a layman, the selling price is probably the most important. Fig. 1 shows the Philips’ Ecofit LEDtube at only USD 2.92 ( 1 USD = 4.28 RM). To a layman, one could purchase a Philips branded 4 ft tube to replace a fluorescent tube with 60% energy savings at only USD 2.92. In the same breath, Fig. 2 shows at USD 4.09, one could get a 30% brighter tube with 50% energy savings. These are nonsensical comparisons for following reasons.

(a) Fig. 1 declares 60% energy savings. This means that it is comparing against a 40W tube to get 60% savings. Fig. 2 claiming the same at 50% savings at 20W. Thus, one can conclude that the device for comparison is probably a 40W fluorescent tube.

(b) A 40W fluorescent tube outputs a particular lumens to deliver a certain lux. Fig. 1 claims that the standard output Ecofit  at 1600 lumens could replace a 40W fluorescent tube to deliver equivalent lux at task level. A 40W fluorescent tube delivers 3200 lumens. Assuming faster light decay, all known testings shows that one needs about 2100 lm to replace a 40W fluorescent tube. Thus, it is misleading to compare two different brightness performance products and claiming 60% energy savings.

(c)  Fig. 2 goes on to declare 30% brighter and 50% Energy savings. To a layman, one could interpret that Ecofit High Output (HO) could deliver 30% higher brightness and 50% energy savings as compared to a fluorescent tube. Based on the mathematics; Ecofit HO has 2100 lumens at 20W. The “50% energy savings” is comparing with a 40W fluorescent and the “30% brighter” is comparing to the Ecofit standard LEDtube. This is like comparing Apples and Oranges.

(d)  Building regulations are an essential part of life which one cannot ignore. Whether at work, at home or out doing the shopping, our safety depends on them. All aspects of a building must meet the standards set by authorities, and lighting is no exception.

If a room isn’t sufficiently lit, it could be hazardous to those inside it. So the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) introduced measures to promote safety and quality in the lighting industry. What is important is the task level lux. Based on most studies, the 1600 lumens tube may deliver lower lux as compared to the 40W fluorescent.

The following pictures are the latest LED tubes marketed in Malaysia. There is so much misinformation and opportunity for the misinterpretation. Perception and expectation are formed base on this misleading information.

Fig. 1: Philips Ecofit Marketing Information


Fig. 2: Ecofit HO (High Output) LED Tube marketing info



  • Electronics has many different grades. Electronics may be the weakest link in the LED Lighting system. However, many have proven LED system could go beyond 35,000 hours. Is inferior electronics used to reduce the life of the lighting so that more replacements could be made over time?
  • If electronics is the weakest link, then, it may make sense to sell LED lighting as two-component product similar to the lamp and ballast concept.
  • Marketing information can be misleading. Perception is formed based on misleading information. Be aware.