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T8 LED Tube Lights and LED Tube Replacements

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Huge Savings on LED Tubes, starting at $2.99/ea

LED T8 Tubes

T8 LED lights are commonly used for office lighting and can replace fluorescent lights in both parabolic and indirect light fixtures. They work best in climate controlled areas with standard ceiling heights, including storage areas, fabrication floors, and mechanic garages. LED tubes are an energy efficient replacement for fluorescent tubes. They also boast better color rendering, require less maintenance, and burn out less frequently with up to 100,000 lifetime hours.

When switching from fluorescent tubes to LED, don't get too caught up on wattage equivalent. Look instead at the number of Lumens produced by the LED tube and consider the height of your fixture. For offices, retail spaces, hospitality, and applications with similar ceiling height, 4 ft. tubes with 1800 Lumens or less are the most popular. You don't want to overwhelm a space and make customers or employees feel like they are sitting in an interrogation room. For taller ceilings that use strip lights or high bay fixtures, LED tube lights with over 2000 Lumens offer the brightest output.

Direct Wire vs. Plug-n-Play

The technology for T8 tubes has advanced to the point where they are available in the traditional direct wire or the newer plug-and-play options. Plug-and-play T8 lamps operate with the fixture's existing fluorescent ballast, so no rewiring is necessary. The direct wire LED tubes run off of the line voltage that flows straight to the sockets. With this option the fixture's ballast must be bypassed and removed. Direct wire LED tube lights were traditionally wired at just one end and required the use of non-shunted tombstones only, but we now carry double-ended LED tubes. These tube light bulbs are wired at both ends to utilize non-shunted or shunted lampholders. If you're not sure which installation method is right for you, we also carry a third option. Hybrid LED tubes can use either installation method, so it can plug in directly to the fluorescent fixture and work with a compatible ballast when first installed. Then, once the life of the ballast has run out, you can bypass the ballast without needing a new lamp. Ballast compatible hybrid and plug-n-play replacement tubes sold at 1000Bulbs.com all have a Ballast Compatibility PDF or spec sheet hyperlinked on the page to help you find the correct fluorescent replacement tubes. Because fluorescent ballasts use a small amount of electricity, direct wire LED tubes offer more in energy savings over the life of the light bulb compared to ballast compatible LED tubes. LED tubes are an excellent way to retrofit fluorescent fixtures without having to replace the entire housing.

Depending on the manufacturer, these lights may be called type A, type B, or type A/B.

  • Type A: These are ballast compatible lamps, but not every LED tube will be compatible with all ballasts. When replacing fluorescent tubes, make sure to check the Ballast Compatibility PDF or spec sheet hyperlinked on the LED tube product page prior to purchase. One of our lighting experts is only a phone call away if you have any questions or concerns regarding ballast compatibility.
  • Type B: Direct wire lamps that are not ballast compatible. These tubes require the ballast to be disconnected and removed from the fixture prior to installation. These lamps are wired directly to line voltage and often require non-shunted sockets, so you may need to change the sockets at the same time.
  • Type A/B: Hybrid T8 linear tubes. Similar to type A tubes, these lamps are not compatible with all ballasts. Check the Ballast Compatibility PDF or spec sheet for a full list of fluorescent ballasts that are compatible with these LED tube lights. Alternatively, these tubes can also be used as a direct wire tube which makes these a flexible option. Check the installation instructions or confirm with a licensed electrician if you choose to bypass the ballast.

T8 LED Tube Color Temperature

When replacing or installing overhead lighting, it's important to understand color temperature so that you have consistent lighting across an area. Lower Kelvin values mean the light output is more yellow and higher Kelvin values mean the light output is closer to blue. The 3000 Kelvin T8 bulbs have a similar yellow glow to a halogen light bulb. The 4100 Kelvin T8 bulbs are considered a cool white with color output similar to clear metal halides. This is the recommended color light for general lighting in offices and work-spaces. 6500 Kelvin T8 bulbs are a daylight equivalent with a bluer glow than traditional lighting. A Kelvin temperature of 5000 of higher is recommended for display areas, high security areas, and garages.

Understanding LED Tube Sizes

The easiest way to tell what size tube light you need is to read the label at the end. If the label peeled off or is no longer legible, you can measure the diameter to figure out the size. The "T" stands for the tubular shape of the light bulb and the number gives the diameter in eighths of an inch. A T8 has a one inch diameter, T5 has a 5/8 inch diameter, and T12 is a 12/8 inch (or 1.5 inch) diameter. If a T12 and a T8 use the same bi-pin base, you can use them interchangeably with the same light fixture as long as you double check the milliamp (mA) requirements of the ballast, if one is present.

LED Black Lights

The most common type of black light tube is a fluorescent. The black light blue or "BLB" tube light has a dark blue coating on the tube which filters out most visible light. The fluorescent lights use a phosphor that emits UVA light instead of visible light, allowing the fluorescence effect (or glow) to be observed. Ultraviolet light can also be generated by some LED lights. Because the wavelength is set by the diode, these LED tube lights don't need the same colored coating as fluorescent lights.


LED T8 FAQ's

Can you get LED lights to replace fluorescent tubes?

Yes, you can replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes or LED integrated fixtures. If you aren't ready to replace the fluorescent fixture and just want to replace the bulbs, you can use plug-and-play, direct wire, or hybrid LED tubes. Plug-and-play tubes are the easiest to install as they do not require any rewiring to the fixture. As long as the bulb is compatible with the existing fluorescent ballast in the fixture, you simply remove the fluorescent and replace it with the LED tube light. Because the ballast is still operational, it will continue to draw power and can fail, causing the lights not to turn on. These problems are eliminated with direct wire LED tubes. Bypassing the ballast requires rewiring the fixture with new sockets, but removes that failure point and the energy consumption of the ballast. If you're short on manpower, but don't want new tubes as soon as the ballast fails, hybrid LED tubes are the ideal option. Install as plug-and-play first, running the bulbs off the compatible fluorescent ballast, then rewire the fixture and change to non-shunted lampholders once the ballast goes out. Unlike plug-and-play tubes that can only be used with a working ballast, hybrid LED lamps can be used in either installation.

How long does a LED tube last?

LED tubes last an average 50,000 hours, twice that of fluorescent tubes. Used for 12 hours a day, an LED tube with a 50,000 hour rated life will last over 11-years. Some LED tube lights are rated for 70,000 hours or longer.

What is the difference between T5, T8, and T12 lights?

The main difference is the size. The number after T is the diameter in eighths of an inch (5/8 inch, 1 inch, and 1.5 inches respectively). Other differences include how efficient the lamps are and the rated lifehours. T8 lamps are a longer lasting, more energy efficient replacement lamp for T12 lamps of the same wattage. Both are frequently used in general lighting applications such as offices and warehouses. T5 lamps however often require specialty T5 fixtures and while sometimes used in general lighting, are more often used for under cabinet lighting, grow lights, and other specialty applications.

How do I convert a fluorescent light to LED?

To convert a fluorescent light fixture to use LED bulbs, you can either use LED bulbs that are compatible with the existing fluorescent ballast (plug-and-play tubes) or you can rewire the fixture to bypass the ballast and replace with sockets with non-shunted lampholders. While this is a little more effort upfront, using direct wire LED tubes eliminates the ballast as a failure point and reduces the overall energy consumption by the fixture. Hybrid LED tubes can be installed as plug-and-play tubes to get you back up and running with minimal downtime, then switched to direct wire installation once the ballast fails.

Do T8 LED bulbs need a ballast?

Most T8 LED bulbs do not need a ballast. The only type of LED tube that does require a ballast is plug-and-play tubes. Used as a direct replacement for a fluorescent tube in a fixture, plug-and-play LED tube lights are installed without any rewiring to the fixture, keeping the fluorescent ballast. While hybrid LED tubes can be used with a ballast, one is not required as they can be installed to run directly off line voltage. There are even some tubes that cannot operate with a ballast. Direct wire or ballast bypass lamps require the ballast be removed from the fixture prior to installing the LED replacement bulbs.

What does T8 tube light mean?

A T8 tube light is a 1 inch diameter fluorescent or LED tube of varying lengths with a bi-pin or single pin base. T8 tube lights are commonly used in high bay fixtures, troffers, and other general lighting applications.

Can a T8 LED replace a T12?

Yes, a T8 can replace a T12 bulb of the same length and wattage.

Are LEDs more efficient than fluorescent?

Yes, LED tube lights use substantially less energy than fluorescent tubes. LED tubes also have a longer lifespan, saving additional money in maintenance and replacement costs.

T8 FAQ's

What is a T8?

A T8 tube light is a 1 inch diameter tube used for general lighting and grow light applications. It can replace a T12 lamp and is available in fluorescent or LED.

What does T8 stand for?

T8 notes the size of the tube light (T) is 8/8 or 1 inch in diameter. Similarly, a T12 lamp is a 12/8 or 1/5 inch tube light and a T5 lamp has a 5/8 inch diameter.

How long do T8 ballasts last?

Fluorescent T8 ballasts can last from 5 to 20-years, but environmental factors, temperature, number of hours the fixture is turned on, and bad bulbs can decrease the lifespan drastically.