Fluorescent T8 tubes have been a top choice for offices, retail spaces, hospitals, schools and the like for decades, but their time at the top may be coming to an end. LED T8 linear tubes have emerged as a viable alternative to fluorescent tubes, and like many LED lighting products, they are being adopted at a rapid rate.
However, there’s still one major lingering concern about the future of LED T8 tubes, and that concern is price. Decision makers sometimes balk at the upfront cost of LED tubes, however, over the long term, LED T8s are more cost effective than fluorescent T8s.
What About The Cost Of LED Linear Tubes?
The chief concern with LED tubes is their elevated upfront cost. It’s true that LED T8s cost considerably more than fluorescent T8s, but over the long run, LED tubes are the less expensive option.
How long is the “long run” in this case? LED T8 linear tubes are more energy efficient (around 30 percent more efficient) than fluorescent tubes and they last longer. The typical LED T8 will last about twice as long as a fluorescent T8, on average.
When you factor in reduced energy usage, reduced lamp replacement costs and reduced maintenance overhead, the cost difference between LED T8s and fluorescent T8s is much smaller. After 10-15 years, you can expect your LED lighting to make up for their greater initial costs.
LED Tube Lamps Produce Better Quality Lighting Than Fluorescent Tubes
Put aside cost and it’s clear which lighting technology does their job better. LED T8 lighting is brighter and can emit in a range of color temperatures. Some LED tubes look remarkably like fluorescent lights, while others are closer to neutral white or natural sunlight. Most people prefer the higher quality illumination that LED tubes emit, and the added comfort can help boost productivity. At the least, it’ll improve the mood around the office.
More importantly, LED lamps do not flicker as they age like fluorescent tubes do. Instead, LED fixtures slowly dip in overall output as they near the end of their lifespan. The drop in output may not even be noticeable in LEDs. If you rely on fluorescent T8s, though, you know about that obnoxious flickering that occurs before a fluorescent tube dies completely. It’s distracting and usually forces a replacement before the lamp’s rated life comes to an end.
LED T8 Linear Tubes Can Be Paired With Modern Controls Much Easier
One of LED’s primary advantages is its controllability. This controllability extends to LED linear lighting, as LED tubes can be paired with just about any modern control device.
Dimmers allow users to precisely set lighting output. Timers automate the LED lighting so that it is only in use when the building is operating. Occupancy sensors use motion or heat to detect when people are in the space and click on automatically. When no one is around, the LED tubes switch back off.
Lighting controls don’t just allow businesses to control their lighting – they also allow businesses to control their expenses. It’s much more difficult to make these controls work with fluorescent lighting, though. Fluorescent tubes rely on electrodes and a pressurized gas chamber (that includes mercury) to produce illumination. It’s not easy to regulate that chemical reaction. What tends to happen with fluorescent lighting controls is that constantly switching the light on and off wears it out, leading to early failure.
LED T8 Linear Tubes Are Safer And More Durable Than Fluorescent Tubes
Hopefully your linear tubes aren’t falling out of the ceiling left and right, but mishaps happen, and when they happen to fluorescent tubes, the result is usually a pile of shattered glass.
Linear fluorescent lighting is fragile and has a nasty habit of shattering into tiny pieces when it’s dropped or struck. Compare this to linear LED T8 lighting, which is durable enough that it can be roughed up a bit without damage. Sure, there are shatterproof fluorescent tubes, but they are expensive and eat away at the one advantage fluorescent lighting does have – a lower initial cost.
The enhanced durability that comes with LED linear lighting can make the difference for some businesses. Food processing facilities, daycare centers, elevators and a lot of other settings require shatterproof lights for regulatory purposes. LED T8 tubes meet that standard without an additional shatterproof designation.
Linear LED Lighting Can Be Retrofitted Into Existing Lighting Systems
It’s no fun installing a new lighting system from scratch, but modern LED lighting doesn’t have to be installed with a completely new system. Lighting manufacturers have ramped up their engineering efforts in recent years to bring retrofittable LED T8s to market.
Now they’re here, and they can slot into your existing fluorescent-based lighting system immediately. Some LED tubes can even utilize an existing ballast without the need for a new driver. Other tubes can bypass the ballast and work with a new LED driver.
There are advantages and potential challenges associated with either option, but the important point is that most facilities operating on fluorescent tube lighting don’t have to. There are retrofittable LED lighting options available on the market now.
Making The Switch To LED Linear Lamps
Whether you’re going with a retrofit or installing a new system from the ground up, linear LED tube lighting is the most efficient and effective option. And whether you’re going with new or a retrofit, you’ll want to consult with a lighting expert before beginning your project.
There’s a lot of LED lighting to choose from, but Bulb Daddy is an expert in that kind of thing. We can help your facility manager or managers target the best LED tube lighting for your project. We can also supply that lighting and expedite the transition from fluorescent tubes to LED T8 lighting.