Frosted v Clear LED Tubes: The Key Differences & Benefits

Are there any real differences between frosted and clear LED Tubes? This is a question we’re commonly asked by many of our customers so we have compiled a guide to help you see the differences between the two types of LED tubes.

By comparing the similarities and differences you can make the best choice for your home or workplace the next time you’re buying T8 LED’s.

In this guide, you’ll find out more about:

What are the key differences?

Find out more about how to choose between frosted and clear LED tubes

  • Useful further reading
  • Learn more about LED Tubes

    What are the key differences between frosted & clear LED Tubes?

    The following table provides a quick comparison chart to help you identify which T8 tube will best replace your existing fluorescent tubes. 

    T5 Fluorescent to LED Comparison Chart

    Frosted Clear
    Shadow Cast a subtle, more diffused shadow that’s soft on the eyes. Cast sharper, more direct shadow but can look a little unsightly.
    Retina/Eye Glare Create light that’s more subdued and easier on the eyes. No direct glare on highly focused light.

    Create bright light, which may be too harsh on the eyes.

    Directly looking at the LED’s may cause staff issues day to day.

    Can distract staff, clients and students.

    Light Diffusion Produce even light distribution Light is stronger, more enhanced.
    Colour Rendering There’s no real difference between these types of LED tubes.
    Colour Temperatures

    There’s no difference between these types of LED tubes.

    4000K bulbs are best for offices and workspaces.

    6000K bulbs are best for industrial, retail and display areas.

    Lumen Output Estimated 3.5% less lumen output than clear bulbs. Estimated 3-5% more lumen output than frosted bulbs.
    Material Used Covered in polycarbonate with an opaque, frosted film sleeve. Cover is polycarbonate with a transparent cover that allows you to see into the bulb itself.
    Shatter-proof Film sleeve that’s placed on the glass of the bulb is shatterproof. Glass covering makes the bulb susceptible to breaking easily.
    Recycling/Disposal Most LED packaging has a crossed bin icon. This means that they should be recycled at a local recycling centre or at large retail distributors offering a recycling scheme.
    Use Cases

    Commercial offices, schools and industrial premises where staff may be exposed to light for long periods of time.

    Outdoor areas needing lighting – perhaps for security purposes and to avoid creating shadows.

    Home kitchens and work areas wanting to use lighting to create the perception of size.

    Garages and lockups.

    Retail environments wanting to create the wow factor may opt for clear tubes so they can further enhance products.

    Interior designers wanting to produce dramatic shadow and effects.

    Design studios where crisper light may help staff working on projects.

    Popularity Used in more applications because it provides a well distributed, even light, which is commonly preferred. Clear tubes aren’t as commonly used because the light is too harsh on the eyes.

    The Verdict

    As can be seen, Frosted LED Tubes are a more popular option in most environments. Due to the glare of exposed LED lights, its common for many customers to opt for frosted tubes to avoid complaints from staff, students and customers. Frosted LED tubes tend to provide a more even light output and cast less shadow, making rooms feel brighter and larger.

    To maximise on light output, clear tubes may be a better option, especially if you are lighting specific areas that may not be used for general lighting. A great example here would be a retail stand.

    A final consideration is that many customers opt for clear tubes simply because they feel that frosted tubes look dated.

    tubes next to a white wall

    Our top selling frosted tubes:

    energizer 6ft
    • Buy 6 and save 6%
    • Buy 12 and save 10%
    • Buy 30 and save 15%
    brite source 6ft tubing
    • Buy 4 and save 18%
    • Buy 10 and save 19%
    • Buy 20 and save 20%
    • Buy 50 and save 23%
    • Buy and save 25%
    energizer 5ft
    • Buy 6 and save 3%
    • Buy 12 and save 7%
    • Buy 30 and save 10%

    Energizer T8 5ft 22w LED Tube Frosted - 4000k c/w FREE Starter

    • 2000 Lumens
    • Full Glass Design with Protective Shatterproof Coating
    • Easy Replacement & Flicker Free Design
    • Even Light Distribution
    • True Retro Fit
    • IC Drivers
    • Includes a Free LED Starter
    • 3-year warranty included

    Shop now >>

    Useful further reading

    We have a number of other useful resources relating to LED Tubes:

    LED v Fluorescent LED Tubes – A comparison beyond cost

    How to replace your fluorescent tubes with LED counterparts (includes cost comparisons)

    Our most popular brands Energizer, Osram & Sylvania

    Our best picks for warm white, white and cool white Led Tubes

    Picking T8 Tubes – Budget, Mid-Range and Premium options

    Picking T5 Tubes – Budget, Mid-Range and Premium options

    Waterproof Led Tubes – what this really means

    Glass v Polycarbonate LED Tubes

    Single v Double Edge LED Tubes

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