Two things to look for when replacing your T8 Fluorescent tubes with LED Leave a comment

So you’re ready to replace the rainbow of different colored lights in your ceiling with an LED equivalent? Well, it’s about time – for a few years now, LED lighting has been a commercially viable option that can pay for itself in as little as 9 months. Say goodbye to the flicker and buzz of traditional Fluorescent T8 tubes and get ready to enjoy the lower electricity costs, longer maintenance intervals and more time spent on your business. 

Efficiency & Electricity Cost 

LED lights have a long history of being power sipping replacements for their TRADITIONAL equivalents with a more voracious appetite for watts of electricity. However, not all LEDs are created equal, and it might surprise you to know that some LED Tube Replacements are only marginally more efficient than their more ancient brothers and sisters. In this article we’ll help you decide how to choose the right light for your situation.

Lumens per watt

The first thing you’ll want to know about a potential tube purchase is how many lumens per watt the tube produces. In other words, how efficient your new lighting product is at creating light from electricity. Multiplying this number by the rated wattage (W) of the lamp will tell you the raw output of light it can produce. 

The average Fluorescent T8 tube has an efficiency rating of 60 lumens per watt and consumes 32 watts of power making the raw output of a Fluorescent tube 1920 lumens.

Average LED Tube replacements have an efficiency of around 110 lumens per watt and can be rated anywhere from 12 to 20 watts. At 110 lumens per watt, and 18w tube rating, the average LED tube produces 1980 lumens. Nearly identical light output as our traditional 32w tube while reducing power consumption by 44%. Not bad. 

When deciding on what to purchase, you can use this math to choose the tube that is best suited for your space and your goals. If you want to save money on electricity choose the highest efficiency with the lowest wattage, if you would rather increase light levels in a space that is underlit opt for a tube with high efficiency and high wattage as well. 

Maintenance Intervals

One of the greatest benefits of LED lighting over traditional fluorescent tubes is a lifespan that is as much as 10x longer. Reduced maintenance has the obvious benefits of saving money but also eliminates distractions that take you and your staff’s attention away from the important decisions in your business.  

In order to maximize the benefits of LED Tube Replacements, you must understand the difference between “Direct Replacement (Type A) ” and “Direct Wire (Type B)” tubes. The differences are subtle but can have a significant effect on the lifetime cost of your project.

Direct Replacement (Type A) tubes are the easiest to install, and work with most electronic ballasts. They are a plug and play replacement for standard T8 Fluorescent tubes but because they rely on the existing ballast which has a lifespan of its own and is designed to operate with fluorescent lighting – they are not the best choice for reducing lighting system maintenance.

Direct Wire (Type B) tubes require the help of an electrician to install and operate by bypassing the electronic ballast of your traditional fixture and sending power directly to the driver of the tube.  While they are more expensive to install initially, they don’t require the support of a ballast that has its own lifespan and requires periodic replacement. 

There exist a third type of LED Replacement tube, which is Type A/B and allows you to plug and play, or direct wire the tubes. They offer a measure of balance when it comes to tube replacement and allow you to make the switch to direct wire upfront, or periodically as ballasts fail. It is not uncommon for businesses to take a stepped approach. 


These are two of the important factors to consider when making a purchasing decision on LED Replacement tubes. Considering tube efficiency, and power type can have a big impact on doing your project right or doing it twice.

If you need help making the right decision for your space we offer free no obligation lighting audits that will give you the information you need to make a data driven decision, and free up your time to focus on your business. Give us a call at 1 (800) 918-6607 or book an appointment through our calendar by clicking here

About Reliable Lighting Solutions

We’re a group of passionate lighting professionals who light the way to healthy and productive spaces. We supply, install and finance LED lighting solutions with benefits above and beyond traditional energy savings. Our consultations are free and come with no obligation. 

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