The time it takes a savings bond to reach face value depends on the series of bond and the value at which it was sold. There are three different series of bonds. Series EE and I are intended to be savings bonds, and Series HH is intended to be an investment bond.

Series EE Bonds

Series EE bonds mature after 30 years, meaning they can earn interest for that period of time. EE bonds are sold for half of the face value, and the U.S. Treasury Department guarantees that they will reach face value after 20 years. If the interest payments don't cause the bond to reach full face value at the end of 20 years, the government will do a one-time adjustment to bring the bond's value to equal face value.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that EE bonds must be owned for at least one year before redemption. If they are redeemed before five years, the last three months' worth of interest is forfeited, but after five years, they can be redeemed with no penalty. The annual interest rate for EE bonds issued from November 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019, is 0.10%. 

Series I Bonds

Series I bonds are sold at face value and mature after 30 years. Redemption rules are the same with Series I bonds as Series EE bonds. The composite rate for Series I bonds issued from November 1, 2018, through April 30, 2019, is 2.83%. This rate applies for the first six months that you own the bond.

Series HH Bonds

Series HH bonds are also sold at face value, with bondholders receiving interest payments through direct deposit every six months for the 20-year life of the bond. As of January 2003, HH bonds have earned an interest rate of 1.5%. HH bonds have not been available for purchase since September 1, 2004, but bondholders will continue to receive interest payments until the bonds' maturity.