Abstract This work is a study of the degradations of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs induced by 2000 h of ageing tests. The methodology is based on cross-characterisation analysis. The life tests (HTO 150 °C, HTO 175 °C and HTRB 175 °C and Idq 90 °C) have mainly induced a decrease of the saturation drain current, occurring during the first 50 h, followed by a stabilisation. There is a shift of the pinch-off voltage in the range of 0.1–0.2 V while the Schottky contact is rather stable after ageing. The evolution of the electrical characteristics after ageing does not depend on the bias conditions but rather more on the channel temperature. It seems to be neither field nor current driven. Low frequency drain current noise demonstrates that there is no trap creation and the weak evolution of the 1/ f noise confirms that there is no degradation in the channel. Moreover, pulsed I– V measurements show a weak evolution of gate lag and drain lag rates after ageing. The same degradation mode is demonstrated for all life tests with rather high activation energy of 1.6 eV. The weak evolution of electrical characteristics observed during the life tests cannot be obviously explained by a single physical mechanism and results from a combination of trap-related effects before stabilisation.