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Things You Should Know Before Digging Into LED Tubes

With the onset of the 21st century, the cost of LED technology has been reducing gradually and this has paved the way for increased acceptance of the technology. 

A sub-market of the LED segment, tubes have also followed a similar trend. Suitable for residential, commercial and industrial complexes, LED tubes have penetrated almost into all the spheres of indoor lighting. 

According to The US government’s Energy Savings Forecast, “Residential, commercial, and industrial lighting employs many of the same lighting technologies in their indoor lighting applications.”

The report further says that by 2016, LEDs penetrated into the indoor lighting market by 12.3%. The total number of units installed was 812 million and the total energy saving because of this was 384 tBtu (trillion British thermal units). The total energy saving potential of the indoor lighting market as estimated by the report was 1998 tBtu. 

LED tube lights being a significant part of indoor lighting fixtures represent a significant potential for savings and this is the prime reason why people opt for tubes instead of fluorescent tubes.

What are the advantages of LED tubes over conventional lights

The unmatched efficiency that the LED technology provides should be enough reason for anyone to instantly switch to LED. Although the price of LEDs is a bit steep right now but as per the above-mentioned report, “with expected performance and price improvements, LEDs hold great promise in the long-run for cutting energy consumption in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.”

led tube lights

That being said, let us have a deep dive into why LEDs hold such promise 

  • The Efficiency Quotient: LEDs convert 95% of the electricity into light. Merely 5% of the electricity is converted into heat. This makes LED tubes highly efficient as compared to conventional fluorescent tubes. For instance, an LED tube of 48W is enough to replace a fluorescent tube of 120W. This results in massive savings on utility bills. 
  • High CRI:The color rendering index (CRI) is the measure of how accurate the colors are keeping the quality of colors in daylight as the benchmark. Higher the CRI, higher the accuracy of the colors. LED tubes easily have a CRI of more than 80. Fluorescent tubes, on the other hand, have a CRI of 70. 
  • Eco-Friendly:Since LEDs consume much less power when compared to conventional lighting options, they put less pressure on the power grid thus resulting in less emission of greenhouse gases. 
  • Directional Lighting: LEDs have the capability to be directed for specific purposes. The head of the LED can be directed towards any direction. LED tubes have a beam angle of 120 and 220 degrees which makes sure that only the desired area is lit and no unnecessary wastage of light takes place. 
  • Flicker-Free Operation: Unlike fluorescent tubes, LED tubes turn on instantly and do not flicker while turning on which makes for smooth user experience. 
  • Long life: LEDs go through a rigorous testing period of 50,000 hours and thus have a life span of the same duration. 

Having a promise of unmatched energy saving and longer life, LEDs are slated to be widely accepted throughout the world by the year 2030. LED tubes will also have the same bright future and will gain widespread acceptance in the forthcoming years in indoor lighting options.

led tube lights

Various types of LED tubes available

LED tubes are classified according to five different specifications.

  1. According to size
  2. According to Ballast compatibility 
  3. Classification according to the pin
  4. Glass or polycarbonate
  5. Clear or frosted

Now we shall examine each of these categories and how many types of LED tubes are available in each category.

  • Classification according to the size: LED tubes generally come in three different sizes of 2 feet, 4 feet and 8 feet. 
  • The 2 feet LED tube is available in 8 watts and replaces 50 watts fluorescent tubes. 
  • The 4 feet LED tube comes in three different wattage options, 18, 20 and 22. 22 watts LED replaces 60 W. 20 watts LED tube replaces 50W fluorescent tube and 18W tube replaces 40W.
  • 8 feet LED tubes are available in 40 and 48 watts replacing 100 and 120 watts respectively. 

  • Classification according to Ballast compatibility: Like drivers in LED tubes, fluorescent lamps have ballast to operate. To install an LED tube in the same existing fixture, the ballast compatibility of the LED tube must be ascertained in order to find a fitting product. There are three types of ballast compatible tubes available.
    • Type A: Type A LED tubes are compatible with ballast and will not function without it.
    • Type B: Type B LED tubes run without ballast and will not function if there is one present in the fixture.
    • Type A+B: This type of LED tubes are hybrid and can function with or without the availability of a ballast.

    led tube lights

  • Classification according to the pin: There are three types of sockets available in LED tubes. 
    • Single pin: This type of tube has a single pin on both the ends of a tube light which directly goes into the socket.
    • Double pin: This type of tube has a double pin on both ends which interact with the frame of the tube.
    • SIngle ended: This type of tube has two pins on one end only which goes into the specific socket. 
  • Classification according to the covering material: There are two types of encasing which come in LED tubes.
    • Glass 
    • Polycarbonate
    • Classification according to the visibility of the frame: LED tubes come in two different types
    • Clear: This type of tube has a clear glass/polycarbonate encasing through which LEDs are visible.
    • Frosted: This type of frosted/foggy finish is available in both glass and polycarbonate encasing.

      LED lights are versatile and multifunctional. The use case of LEDs vary widely and find applications in a variety of different scenarios. With this rapid increase in the use of LED, the market share is slated to rise dramatically. Energy Savings Forecast report by the Department of Energy indicates that LED lighting sales (based on lumen-hours) will increase from approx 3% in 2013 to about 48% in 2020, and 84% in 2030. 

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