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Do Projector bulbs go bad on the shelf?

The short answer is “no”. Projector lamps do not go “bad” sitting on the shelf. These projector bulbs are designed to withstand very harsh temperature and pressure changes while operating in the projector. Sitting on the shelf will not cause the lamp to lose any of its potency.

Should you stock an extra bulb for your projector? I think most institutional users will have a spare in case a dynamic failure occurs. We do not recommend that anyone should stock large quantities of extra projector lamps for the following reasons.
  • Human error: Projector lamps will get dropped, broken, lost, stolen, misused or mismarked. In areas of high humidity parts of the projector modules may corrode over time.
  • Warranty: The guarantee on most projector lamps usually expires after 3 – 6 months whether the lamp was used or not. If you install a new projector lamp one or two years later and find it is DOA. You will probably not be able to get a replacement.
  • Obsolescence: Lamps quickly become obsolete. Because of advances in AV or because of high projector repair costs, most people will upgrade their projector every 5-7 years. Your new projector will not be able to use the same lamp, and you will have a $200 - $300 paper weight on your hands.
Our motto is “we stock them, so you don’t have to”. It makes good business sense for us to have what you use on our shelf. We know the typical life span of these lamps and purchase accordingly. We protect the price on virtually all repeat orders as well, so you don’t get sticker shock the next time you need the lamp. In many cases the lamp is even cheaper the second time around.
Although lamps do not go bad on the shelf, nothing good ever happens to them either. Unlike wine, they do not improve with age. Let someone else take the risk of stocking your lamp.
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