LED v Fluorescent Tubes: Key Differences & Benefits

More and more people are replacing their old fluorescent lighting with LED lighting. LED lighting provides a more eco-friendly and low cost option which has led many customers to make the switch.

In our guide on LED Tube light replacements ,we provided some useful cost examples. Plug and play replacement tubes are a great way to make the switch to an LED tube as they are easy to fit and don’t require an electrician to fit the bulb.

However, beyond cost, there are many other factors that make LED tubes stand out from their fluorescent counterparts.

In this guide, you will learn more about the reasons to ditch the flourescent tube and join the LED tube lighting world. You will learn more about:

A comparison between LED and Fluorescent tubes

Find out more about the specific differences including beam angles, installation and colour rendering

Find out more about our LED Tubes products

black light

LED Tubes vs Fluorescent Tubes: A Comparison

We have compiled the following comparison table to help you get a quick grasp of the differences between fluorescent lighting and LED lighting:

Purchase Area LED Tubes Fluorescent Tubes

Lifespan and Warranty

Lifespan of 25,000 to 50,000 hours.

Warranty of 3-10 years depending on the brand.

Lifespan of 7,000 to 15,000 hours.

Warranty of 2-5 years.


No ballast

Require a ballast

Beam Angles

From 160 to 325 degrees

360 degrees

Colour Rendering

CRI of 80 or higher typically

CRI of 60-75 typically

Colour Temperatures

From 2700k to 6500k

From 2700k to 6500k

Lumen Output

High lumen output per watt of around 90

Lower lumen output per watt around 50-70

Energy Efficiency

High efficiency rating

More energy-efficient than incandescent lights, but less than LEDs

Froster or Clear

Both are available

Both are available


Glass or polycarbonate


Shatter Resistance



Dimmable Options

Dimmable or non-dimmable

Dimmable or non-dimmable

Recycling and Disposal

Recyclable and safe to dispose of

Harder to recycle and dispose of because they contain mercury

Heat Resistance



Heat Dissipation

Generate less heat

Generate more heat

In summary, LED beats fluorescent across the board.

LED vs Flourescent Tubes in more detail

Below, we discuss the key differences between LED and flourescent tubes in more detail:

Lifespan and Warranty

LED Tubes

LEDs have longer lifespans in general, whether in tube or bulb form. An average LED tube can last up to 30,000 hours, while a more premium product can last for up to 50,000 hours. 

For example, this T8 LED tube, comes with a lifespan of 30,000 hours and a warranty of three years. 

Fluorescent Tubes

As for a fluorescent tube light, you’ll find that they will only last for a maximum of 15,000 hours. Their warranty may also vary according to the brand.


Fluorescent Tubes

A fluorescent tube needs a ballast to be installed correctly. This ballast for the fluorescent fitting regulates the amount of electricity that reaches the tube so that it matches its wattage.

LED Tubes

Of course, this doesn’t happen with LEDs as they’re easier to install and don’t require a ballast.

Beam Angles

LED Tubes

LED tubes are directional, meaning that they have narrower beam angles. Therefore, the resulting LED lighting can be more focused in the areas you want it which allows you to create diretional lighting.

To make the picture clearer, imagine buying a 16-watt LED tube with an angle of 160-200 degrees. It should give stronger working lighting than a fluorescent tube of the same wattage.

Fluorescent Tubes

Fluorescent tubes have a beam angle of 360 degrees which means the light scatters around the room and loses strength.

Colour rendering

In general, LED tubes have much higher CRI capabilities than fluorescent tubes. This means that their colour rendering is more accurate and closer to natural daylight.

For instance, a warm white LED tube with a 90+ CRI gives you far better results than the same colour temperature of a 75 rated fluorescent tube. A standard LED Tube CRI is around 80 and this again will help put colours in a better than light than typical fluorescent lighting which has typical CRI values in and around 60-70.

osram panel lights

Lumen Output and Energy Efficiency

LED tubes tend to emit more lumens per watt in comparison to fluorescent light. Their lumen output can reach up to 150 lumens per watt. While fluorescent tubes can only provide 50-100 lumens per watt.

For instance, this T5 LED tube uses 7.5 watts to give 1100 lumens.

Of course, this makes LED tubes more energy-efficient. As a result, they can save you more money in the long run since they’ll be cutting down on your electricity consumption.


LED tubes are made of sturdier materials such as polycarbonate which means they can last longer than other types of tube lights which are more prone to breakage. In addition, they don’t contain mercury, which can have a number of negative effects on human health. For this reason, they’re also easier to recycle.

Heat Dissipation

LEDs don’t emit heat as much as fluorescent tubes. This is because LED tubes use most of their energy to produce light, not heat. In other light sources, including fluorescent tubes, heat is required to generate light. Therefore, they can heat up pretty quickly and affect the temperature in the room.

A summary

Beyond cost and environmental issues, LED tubes provide a number of positives over fluorescent counterparts. If you have a specific requirement that isn’t covered on this page, please give us a call and we will be able to assist you more directly. 

Useful further reading

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

LED v Fluorescent LED Tubes

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

Frosted V Clear Led Tubes – what you need to know

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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