Do T8 LED Tube Lights Need a Ballast?

T8 LED tube light

A T8 LED tube light is a 1-inch diameter LED tube of various lengths with a single-ended or double-ended base. T8 LED tube lights are mainly used in high bay fixtures, troffers, and other lighting applications. They are also commonly used for office lighting and are the best replacement for T8 fluorescent lights. They are highly energy-efficient and work best in climate-controlled areas. In addition, they have better color rendering, require less maintenance, and work up to 50,000 operational hours.

T8 means the size of the tube light (T) is 8/8 or 1 inch in diameter. There are many people who got confused about having a ballast or not in their T8 LED bulbs. To know this, you will first need to understand the installation and three different types of LED tubes: Type A LED tubes, Type B LED tubes, and Type A+B LED tubes.

Plug & Play Tube lights (Type A)

Plug & Play Tube lights (Type A)

A plug-and-play LED fixture is where you can install an LED tube light to what was once a fluorescent bulb. It is very easy to install and needs minimal effort on your side. As plug and play tube works with the existing ballast, you do not need to remove the ballast. This is also known as a direct fit. As the name suggests, you need to plug the light in and play it.

The plug-and-play LED tubes work best with double-ended power and shunted tombstones. If you want to know the difference between shunted vs. non-shunted, go through this guide.

Ballast Bypass Tube Lights (Type B)

Ballast Bypass Tube Lights (Type B)

Type B LED tubes are designed with an internal driver to bypass the existing fluorescent ballast in a fixture. This results in high energy savings as Type B tube lights are very efficient. The installation process can take longer as ballast wiring needs to be cut out, but this will make the light maintenance-free in the long run. This light also gives you more options, from various lengths to dimming capability. Type B LED tube lights are best suitable with single-ended power and non-shunted tombstone.

To know how to bypass the ballast in type B LED tube lights, read this blog.

Hybrid Tube Lights (Type A+B)

Hybrid Tube Lights (Type A+B)

Type A+B is known as the hybrid tube lights, which can be used with or without the ballast. As the name suggests, this tube light is a mixture of type A and type B tube lights. This is the latest T8 LED tube light which is suitable for all the customers. It can work with both single-ended and double-ended power and shunted & non-shunted tombstones.


To conclude, T8 LED tubes do not need a ballast. Plug and play is the only LED tube that does require a ballast. Type B LED tubes works without the ballast, while hybrid LED tubes can be used with or without a ballast. So it depends on the type of T8 LED tube lights, whether you will need a ballast or not!
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