Ordering LEDs direct from China (AliBaba/AliExpress)

We use hundreds of PAR bulbs in our buildings, many of which are on 24/7. Anything that’s not dimmable I switched to CFL about a year ago, and found the light quality really really poor. I wanted to switch to LED but at $10-40/bulb at Menards (similar to Home Depot to those not familiar) we couldnt afford it. I bought a few LEDs from Menards and the local lighting supply house to try and really liked the light quality.

I buy a lot of stuff on eBay, and I’ve noticed the stuff that’s made in China often comes direct from China at really cheap prices. The wife had bought jewelry from AliExpress before, so I figured that might be a good way to get some LEDs for pennies on the dollar.

I did a lot of research first, particularly looking for posts/articles by others who had already tried this, and couldnt find anything. So I gave it a shot and placed a few sample orders myself. I want to share what I found in case anyone else is considering it. So far I’ve received about 100 bulbs and installed them.

First, these:


They’re advertised as PAR20 but they’re actually smaller, I’d call them a PAR16 short neck. I ordered 120v, they sent me bulbs labeled 220v but assured me they would work fine on 120v and they did. I got the 30 degree beam angle (which is more spot than flood), warm white, non-dimmable. They work out to being $2.70 per bulb, shipping included. They feel very cheap and lightweight, but they are in fact brighter than the cheapest similar bulb Menards sells ($9 each) and do not get NEARLY as hot to the touch as most of the LED bulbs I’ve bought from Menards or the supply house. I’ve had several of them burning 24/7 for about 3 weeks now, and no failures. Interestingly I noticed the exact same bulbs being used in a Chipotle that just opened. Their “warm white” is a little less pink than most, which is fine by me.

Next up I tried these:


They are a true PAR20 and more similar to what I’ve bought locally. I got 60 degree beam angle, warm white, non-dimmable. Their warm white is the more typical “slightly pink” warm white I am used to. These are for all intents and purposes very similar to the PAR20s from Menards, Home Depot, etc, except they are about 200 lumens less (the manufacturer’s lumens rating seems accurate). They worked out to being $5.75/lamp. They also operate a lot cooler to the touch than the Menards ones. I’ve had some of these burning 24/7 for about a week with no failures.

These arrived today:


I have had more interaction with this seller than any of the others. They didnt make the bulbs until I ordered them, the other sellers seemed to have them ready to ship. They were very responsive and their customer service was very good, however they seemed very new to the online ordering process and missed the deadline to have them shipped by. Rather than say anything I extended the deadline a week and they met it with no issue. I ordered 9W, 45 degree beam angle, warm white, non-dimmable. They worked out to being around $7/bulb. They are short neck PAR30 which wasnt clear from the ordering page, I was expecting long neck (which usually are cheaper). They are a traditional slightly pink warm white with excellent light quality, probably best of the three.

I have some PAR38’s on the way from the same seller as the PAR30.

I also am going to try these:


From the same seller as the first ones.

If anyone else cares about this, let me know and I’ll keep updating.

Trying these next:


It’s the same factory as the other small bulbs I mentioned, but a different seller account.

So far my experiences have been GREAT with the PAR20s (and smaller) and PAR30s. The PAR38s were pretty junky.

The thing that keeps me from buying bulbs from China is the fact that I have repaired so many Chinese electronic items that have been built with low quality electrolytic capacitors. The LEDs may last several years, but I suspect the driver circuit in the base of the bulbs will not live so long.

What kind of buildings are these for?

No failures yet, and I’ve been running many of the bulbs 24/7 for over a month. Usually the duds show themselves within the first couple months.

Worst case scenario, filter caps are very cheap and easy to replace.

Keep us updated on the lights and any more you try.

So far I have gotten all of these from the same seller, and been very pleased:


I placed a second order of the latter in the dimmable version, they havent arrived yet.
I also placed an order for these, same supplier, different store:


and again they havent arrived yet.

From a different seller, I got these, and was pleased:


I placed a second order of the same and havent received them yet.

I have some PAR38s I got offlist, no link, their build quality seems poorer but they work fine.

Yet another seller, I got these:


The product is good but the seller sent the wrong quantity and hasnt rectified the issue.

I ordered these, paid for them, the seller changed the price after I paid and refused to honor my payment. Eventually it was refunded:


Same thing happened with these:


Trying this from eBay, I dont have great expectations:


And this, which I have higher expectations for:


That’s everything!

I dont know if I mentioned it previously in the thread, but I bought one LED MR11 from eBay:


It lasted exactly one day.

I didnt have high expectations for it, so far I havent been able to find ANY LED MR11s that meet our needs.

Are these directional point lights or flood lights like incandescents?

I would like a few 5-7W for my home and buying bulk like that might help me retrofit pretty easily…but I want the all around light and would like 4000-5000K, all I see is the yellow warm bulbs and crazy white cool whites

Like these…plain jane 7 watters (they say 220v…I thought E27 was 110V or am I missing something)

I dont understand your question.

They’re the LED version of something like this:


(for the larger ones)


(for the smaller)

They come in a variety of color temperatures. I can give you the contact info for the suppliers I’ve had good experiences with, I am sure they can match the color temperature you’re looking for.

I want the 360 light all around bulb replacements…not these funny cone shaped ones

but with neutral tint not yellow or crazy white

Plain Jane 60 watt incandescent replacement 110vAC screwin

Here are a few examples from suppliers I like:


I have no experience with this type of bulb, just with the suppliers. I also didnt look into color temps, you may have to request one. Feel free to drop my name, Dan “Spiffy” Neuman from Faith Ministries Intl/Now Faith Community Development.

I’m not an expert but perhaps leaving them on 24-7 for a month is not the same test as normal domestic usage for a month. I suspect the on/off repeatedly may contribute to their demise also.

~1/2 of them are on 24/7. The rest are on occupancy sensors. I’ll have plenty to compare.

The on/off can create small power surges that can be hard on the power supply. The 24/7 operation is more likely to generate more heat which would cause the LEDs themselves to fail.

The order of dimmable ones came today. I’m home, but wanted to do some testing, so I put one in the track fixture in the spare bedroom. It’s controlled by a GE rotary click on/off dimmer, 600w max.

I prefer dimmers that cannot be turned on at full brightness— therefore either rotary with click off, or slide with off at the bottom. I also dont like it when a dimmer is clicked on, but there is no visible light. At the dimmest setting, you should be able to tell it’s on, otherwise you get people turning lights off but leaving the power on.

In this case, the dimmer clicks on and the LEDs start slightly brighter than the halogens. They’re brighter than the halogens at full brightness too, so it may be linear. At the very dimmest setting there is a faint flicker visible when I look at the fixture. As I gradually move the dimmer up, the flicker goes away and it gradually continues to full brightness. There is no color change at varying levels, unlike incandescents and halogens.

I’m going to try a few other dimmers when I get to the buildings.

If anyone thinks a video would help I’ll make one.

thanks for the review. are you talking about the 12W bulbs? what power halogens are you comparing them too? i have been trying to order the 15W version but have alipay issues at the moment

Yes, the 12w. I have the 15w as well (non dimmable) and I dont see a significant difference in brightness. There is a notable difference from the 9w to the 12w.

The halogens in question are either 50w or 75w PAR30. I cant remember which, honestly I havent had to replace one since I installed them.

I paid with my credit card, no issues.

600w no name rotary dimmer: click on, nothing. As you turn the dimmer, the lamps come on to 15-20% brightness, then evenly continue to full brightness

1000w Cooper dimmer: click on, nothing. Nothing for a while. Then out of nowhere 50% brightness, then full. I hate these Cooper dimmers

1200w dimmer from Taiwan: Click on to about 10% brightness, then evenly continue to full brightness.

I did not notice any flicker with any of these dimmers

I tried one of the non dimmable bulbs on a dimmer, just to see. It comes on at full brightness and stays at full brightness no matter the dimmer position. No flicker, no variation, no nothing, just on.

How’s the color rendition on these bulbs?

My experience:

The most ultra cheap 5050 or 1-5W HP LEDs from China are crap.
Bad CRI, yellowish light.

I’m going for 5630 and COBs - I made a lot of good experiences with that.

On the way to test:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-shipping-1x15W-60LED-5730-SMD-E27-E14-B22-220v-Corn-Bulb-Light-Maize-Lamp-LED/1574462989.html (WW)
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-shipping-downlight-led15w-Recessed-Down-Lighting-Lamp-Warm-Cool-White-85V-265V-SMD-Ceiling-lamp/841576196.html (WW)
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/7w-12w-400lm-110-220v-Voltage-led-downlights-with-CE-RoHs-Authentication/1820192674.html (12w WW)
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Super-5w-7w-9w-12w-LED-COB-Ceiling-Light-Cool-White-Warm-White-LED-Down-Light/1327220657.html (7w WW)