Choosing the right T8 LED fluorescent tube replacement

What is a linear T8 LED replacement tube?

The “T” stands for the long (linear) tubular shape of the tube. The number “8” represents the diameter of the tube in eights of an inch.

Traditionally, linear tubes have been fluorescent technology. However, in more recent years, LED technology has been used to create more energy efficient replacement options (like tubes) for the more traditional tube technologies of the past. There are great financial and environmental benefits in using LED lighting technology.

Why should I choose T8 LED tubes?

If you currently have linear T8s installed in your space, chances are they are outdated technology costing you time and money in energy consumption and maintenance costs. There are better, more efficient, and more cost-effective solutions in modern day linear T8 LED technology. In today’s surging LED tube revolution, installers and end-users have a myriad of choices of which way to go when they want to replace outdated T8 fluorescent tubes. New linear T8 LEDs offer the same form factor as their fluorescent predecessors, but with additional benefits like longer life and significantly reducing energy consumption with little to no maintenance after installation.

The goal is to reduce costs. Newer T8 LEDs can reduce energy consumption as much as two-thirds by replacing 32W linear fluorescent T8 tubes, or even first-generation LED tubes which were far less efficient than the current variety of LED tube technology.

Which T8 LED replacement tube should I choose?

Choosing the right T8 tube could be a complex process if you don’t know the basic tube types and what the project job requires. People can end up paying too much for a T8 tube solution that is overkill for what they need – or they can end up going the least expensive route which could backfire due to potentially expensive callbacks and frustrated end-users and cost you more money in the long run.

T8 LED tubes come in a variety of color temperatures (CCT’s) and wattages so clients can get both the right color and light output for the task at hand. Many utilities also offer rebates on T8 LED tubes making it much more affordable. If the application in question is such where the fluorescent fixtures or ballasts are not too old.
What are the best applications for T8 LED tubes?

When making T8 LED purchases, it’s best to consider some questions like:

  • What is my application?
  • What areas within my building would benefit most from T8s?
  • What is my budget?
  • Do I require dimming?
  • How much light do I need?
  • Are there Rebates available?
  • Should I replace the tube and ballast?
  • What is the most cost-effective approach for my project?

The majority of the applications for these types of tubes are indoor. They include:

  • Schools/Universities
  • Offices
  • Municipalities
  • Small Businesses

What T8 LED replacement tube options are available?

The T8 LED tube has been around for years but has evolved into four basic classifications:

  1. T8 LED Type A (commonly referred to as direct-fit)
  2. T8 LED Type B (commonly referred to ballast bypass)
  3. T8 LED Type A/B which is relatively new variety which uses integrated circuitry in the base of the tube to sense heat
  4. T8 LED Type C which introduces a remote power supply

What is a T8 LED Type A linear tube classification?

Type A may be your best choice for both price and ease of installation. However, by allowing the existing ballast to remain in the circuit, the likelihood of callbacks is greatly increased because the ballast only has so much life. As a result, clients can pay for next generation technology only to find out the tubes are not burning in a short period of time. This leads to a poor customer experience with the contractors having to come back and assess the situation under warranty. Another way to use the Type A with confidence is to replace the fluorescent ballast with a new one. This is surely a safer bet, but it definitely adds cost which is not necessary and there can be compatibility issues.

What is a T8 LED Type B linear tube classification?

The Type B tube is generally preferred over LED Type A. The Type B takes the fluorescent ballast out of the equation completely by bypassing it and bringing power directly to the socket. This type of tube has its own internal power supply which will energize the tube. The preferred “double-ended” Type B is by far the most popular in that all you to do is bypass the ballast at not do any rewiring of the existing sockets.

What is a T8 LED Type A/B linear tube classification?

The Type A/B hybrid tube is a relatively new product on the market which introduces special integrated circuitry in the base of the tube to sense unusual heat which will lead to automatic shut-off. So, the tube starts out as a Type A and then, when the ballast fails, it can be bypassed and become a Type B. However, many people expressed safety concerns and it was only recently that certification bodies even allowed it. This configuration would still require a callback to convert the tubes to Type B.

What is a T8 LED Type C linear tube classification?

The Type C tube requires a remote power supply to power the tubes. Once again, you bypass the ballast and bring high-voltage to the remote power supply but everything on the secondary side is Class 2 low-voltage. This eliminates all potential of shocks electrical shocks and allows for dimming. So if you have a an application where dimming is critical, then clearly a type C is your solution. However, there is more cost involved because of the added remote power supply.

In summary, end-users and installers need to do their homework to determine what they really need and what is in-line with budgets, if rebates are available, and if they willing to keep an outdated fluorescent ballast in the equation. There are four types of LED replacement tubes to choose from so make sure you pick the one that’s right for your project.

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