Collection: T8 LED Tube Light Fixtures | T8 LED Bulbs
About T8 LED Tube Light Fixtures | T8 LED Bulbs
Buying Guide: The A-Z of T8 LED Tubes
The more options you have for a decision to be made, the more your mind is boggled. Similar is the case with tube lights. With a large array of options to choose from, how do you decide which one you need to suit your requirements?
That is exactly why we felt the need to come up with this guide, to help you in the process of picking the right kind of tube so that you neither waste your money nor your time.
This guide will not only take you through everything that is there to know about light-emitting diode (LED) tubes but will also inform you about why is there even a need to replace your old fluorescent tube lights.
Without further delay, let's dive into the bright world of T8 and T12 LED tubes.
What are LED and Fluorescent technologies?
Since the advent of lighting technology, progress has been continuing in this industry just like any other. In this series of research and development achievements, LEDs are the latest and the most advanced form of lighting technology in the market today. It is the fourth generation of lighting technology and succeeds fluorescent lighting in the sequence.
To understand which of the two technologies is better, we will first have to understand how they work.
Let's start by looking at how LEDs work
In simplified terms, an LED is made up of two plates of semiconductors one having positively charged particles known as ‘holes’ and the other having negatively charged ‘electrons’. The two plates collectively make up a ‘diode’.
Now, when an electric current is passed through the diode, holes and electrons move in the opposite direction. This ensures that holes collide with electrons. Holes exist at a lower energy level then electrons. So, when the two collide, electrons lose some energy in the form of photons, i.e, Light.
LED light purely works by the movement of atoms in a semiconductor. The number of photons released determines the luminosity of the light. This can be manipulated by adding impurities in the semiconductor which gives us multiple kinds of lights.
How fluorescent tubes work
Unlike LED technology, Fluorescent lighting works on a different principle. The ends of fluorescent tubes have tungsten filaments which heat up due to the magnetic field generated by the AC current flowing through the circuit.
Now, this heated filament encourages the electricity to start flowing, the starter in the tube’s fixture enables this. There is also a ‘ballast’ present in the fixture of the tube which limits the flow of electricity and prevents the filament from overheating. Ballast plays a crucial role since without this the filament will overheat and the tube will explode.
The inside of the tube contains a mixture of Argon and Mercury vapor which mostly emits ultraviolet light. There are various chemicals with a specific property called ‘fluorescence’ which convert this UV light into visible light.
These chemicals are coated on the inside of the tube to create a spectrum of colors.
The LED technology offers a number of advantages over fluorescent lighting technology. Energy efficiency and eco-friendly properties are just the tip of this iceberg. In the next section, we will look in detail the advantages LED tubes have over their conventional counterparts.
Why should you prefer LED tube light over Fluorescent tubes
As we can see from the section above, LED tubes work on a much cleaner and efficient process involving no gas, no heating of filament and no requirement for additional components. However, some LED tubes do support ballast.
Digging deeper, one comes to know that LEDs offer so much that after knowing the advantages of using LED products, one can never go back to conventional technologies.
Let us have a detailed look at what T8 LED bulbs offer
- Efficiency: LEDs offer energy efficiency like no other technology has ever. LEDs convert 95% of the electricity into light and only 5% of it is converted into heat. This results in massive savings of up to 75% on utility bills. This efficiency also means that a lower watt LED light can replace a much higher watt fluorescent light.
For instance, an 18W LED tube produces an equal amount of light as does a 50W fluorescent one. This also transmits into less energy demanded from the utility grid, resulting in less emission of greenhouse gases, making LEDs eco-friendly as well.
CRI ranges from 0 to 100 where 0 means every color is the same and 100 means absolutely exact color. Fluorescent tubes which have a high CRI are energy guzzlers which makes them not such a common choice.
Whereas in LEDs, CRI commonly hovers between 80-90 with that same power efficiency as discussed in the previous point.
This essentially means that your LED tube is not a sprint runner but a marathon runner with the speed of a sprint runner. Having the capacity to function 24 hours for 5.7 years (approx), LED tubes can function 11.4 years if used 12 hours a day.
- A color temperature less than 2000 Kelvin is a dim glow of light similar to candlelight and this CCT is used where ambient light is preferred.
- 2000-3000 Kelvin is the range in which a soft white light appears often yellowish in color. This CCT is often used for lighting the living room, dining room, bedrooms, etc.
- 3100-4500 Kelvin gives a bright white light which finds its uses in kitchens, offices, workspaces where task lighting is needed.
- 4600-6500 Kelvin is similar to daylight and is best for display area and places where very bright illumination is required.
- Lighting with a CCT of more than 6500 Kelvin is a bright bluish hue of light and is best for places where very bright illumination is needed.
Now, that we have a fair understanding of ‘What LEDs are and what are their advantages over conventional lights’, we will now take you through the various types of tubes available.
The Bright World of T8 LED Bulbs
T8 LED tubes are indoor lighting appliances that are most commonly used in offices, homes and other such places. LED tube lights replace traditional fluorescent tubes and work best in standard ceiling heights.
While making the decision of switching from fluorescent tubes to LED, you might get caught up in the various nitty-gritty of T8 LED tubes and will eventually order a product that may not suit your needs.
LED tube lights come in various configurations, each with a specific set of profiles to fit into your old fluorescent fixture.
Let us now closely examine the different types of LED tubes and understand how to pick one.
LED tubes are classified according to a variety of factors. Those factors are the size; Ballast Compatibility; the pin of the tube; the material of the tube’s encasing; the clarity of the tube’s encasing.
Different types of lengths serve different kinds of purposes. Primarily, LED tubes come in three different lengths, those are:
- 2 Foot LED Tubes: With a length of 2 feet, this LED tube finds its application in smaller indoor rooms.
In this size, the LED tubes come in 8 watt and replace fluorescent tubes of 50 watt capacity.
- 4 Foot LED Tubes: This size of LED tube is appropriate for medium-sized rooms where high lighting output is needed but the availability of space is restricted. LED tubes in this size come in three different wattages.
18 watt LED tube replaces 40 watt fluorescent fixture. 20 watt LED light which is a suitable replacement for 50 watt fluorescent light. 22 watt LED light replaces 60 watt fluorescent light.
- 8 Foot LED tubes: This size of LED tube makes it ideal for installation in large halls and big rooms.
In this length, the LED tubes come in two different wattages: 40 watt LED replacing 100 watt fluorescent and 48 watt LED replacing 120 watt fluorescent.
LED lights primarily come in three different types of diameter. The notation of this is T followed by the number. T stands for tube and the number is a division of 8 which gives the diameter in inches. For example, if you order a T8 tube, this would mean the diameter of the tube is 8/8 inch, i.e, one inch. Different sizes of diameters are:
- T5: This means that the diameter of the tube is ⅝ inches which is a thinner model as compared to the other two.
- T8: A T8 tube is the one with a diameter of one inch and is slightly thicker than T5.
- T12: A T12 tube is the one with a diameter of 1.5 inches and it is the thickest of all.
Ballast Compatibility:When switching from a traditional fluorescent tube to an LED tube, people often choose not to change the fixture.
The way fluorescent tubes function is that they need high voltage to start but regulated voltage to operate. This is essentially the task of the ballast in the tube light.
There exist three types of LED tubes based on the ballast compatibility. These are:
- Type A: This type of LED tube is compatible with the ballast and will function properly in the old fixture of your fluorescent tube.
- Type B: This type of LED light is not compatible with ballast and will either require the removal of the ballast from the wiring or will need a new fixture to operate.
- Type A+B: This type of hybrid tube can work with or without ballast and is universal when it comes to ballast compatibility.
Tubes differentiated by base:Depending on the type of base available, LED tubes are categorized into three different types. Those are:
- Single pin (FAB): As the name suggests, the ends of this type of LED tubes have a single pin on both ends which connect with the fixture into live and neutral wire.
- Double pin (R17): This type of LED tube has two pins on both ends which connect with the live and neutral end of the fixture.
- Single-ended: This type of LED tube has two pins but only on one end of the tube. The other end of the tube is only for the support in such tubes.
Difference based on tube’s encasing: These tubes come in two different materials covering the main LED strip. These are:
- Glass: This type of LED tubes offer better heat dispensation and thermal handling then glass because glass has a higher temperature tolerance then plastic.
- Plastic: Plastic or polycarbonate tubes have a distinct advantage of being rugged and have a better tolerance to breakage.
Difference based on the clarity of encasing:Based on clarity, there exist two types of LED tubes in the market with each serving a different purpose.
- Clear: A clear LED tube is almost 40% brighter than a frosted LED tube of the same wattage. But the drawback of having a clear LED tube is that it is sometimes uncomfortable to look at. Clear tubes find their home in tunnels, parking lots where high luminous output is required.
- Frosted: Frosted LED tubes have a coating on the encasing which makes the tube opaque and thus dims the lighting output of the tube making it soft and comfortable. The main areas where frosted LED tubes are used are offices, study rooms and resting places.
Choosing an LED tube is not an easy choice, but with the help of this guide, we can be assured that now you have enough knowledge to shop for all the variety of LED tubes you want.
By writing this guide, we are assured that you won't waste your time and money, now that you have this guide at your instant disposal.