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The Best LED T8 tubes and how to retrofit them

In this guide you will find the best LED tubes for your needs, how to retrofit, the kinds of savings you will make with LED and an extensive FAQs list.

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Definitions

  • Lumens—the brightness of the bulb. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.
  • Colour temperature—the visible colour of the light, ranging from warm white to daylight.

Best LED T8 tubes by size

Bulb

Size

Lumen output

Colour temp

Lifespan

Price

Osram 2ft 8w SubstiTUBE Value T8 LED Tube

2ft

650lm—750lm

2700k

30,000 hours

£9.00

Energizer T8 2ft 9 w LED Tube Frosted

2ft

935lm

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£4.80

2ft 9w LED T8 Tube - Single Ended Wiring

2ft

900lm

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£3.72

T8 3ft 14w Led Tube Frosted (High Output)

3ft

1470lm

6000k

30,000 hours

£7.80

Energizer T8 4ft 18w LED Tube Frosted

4ft

1850lm

6000k

30,000 hours

£7.50

4ft 18w LED T8 Tube - Single Ended Wiring

4ft

1800lm

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£6.89

Energizer T8 5ft 22w LED Tube Frosted

5ft

2015lm

6000k

30,000 hours

£9.24

5ft 23w LED T8 Tube - Single Ended Wiring

5ft

2300lm

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£8.96

Energizer T8 6ft 30w LED Tubes Frosted

 

6ft

2250lm

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£12.96

T8 8ft 40w Led Tube Frosted (Extra High Output)

8ft

3850

4000k—6000k

30,000 hours

£35.99

LED T8 tubes and colour temperature

Kelvin is a unit measurement for the colour temperature of light, and is used to determine the shade of white rendered by LEDs. Most LED tubes start at approximately 2700k up to 6500k.

  • 2700k : Extra warm white
  • 3000k: Warm white
  • 3500k: White
  • 4000k: Cool white
  • 6000k: Daylight

2700k – 3500k is generally reserved for areas wanting a more yellow light such as living rooms and homely areas.

Cool white and daylight are often used in workplaces such as factories and offices. This is because studies have shown higher levels of kelvins improve alertness and concentration.

Best warm white LED T8 tube

Image

LED

Osram 2ft 8w SubstiTUBE Value T8 LED Tube

  • 2700k (warm white)
  • Last 30, 000 hours
  • A-class energy rating
  • 150o beam angle

Best cool white LED T8 tube

Image

LED

5ft 23w LED T8 Tube - Single Ended Wiring

  • 320o beam angle covers a wide space
  • Minimal yellowing over 30,000 hour lifespan
  • Available in 4000k (cool white) and 6000k (daylight)
  • IP50 rated
  • 30,000 switch cycle

Best daylight LED T8 tube

Image

LED

Energizer T8 5ft 22w LED Tube Frosted

  • Designed as a direct retrofit meaning it can be wired straight to the mains
  • 30,000 hour lifespan
  • No light wastage
  • Frosted design – frosting eliminates glare and minimises shadows

Fluorescent vs LED

 

Fluorescent

LED

Dimmable?

No

Dimmable options are available

Lifespan

7,000—15,000 hours

30,000 hours

Shatterproof?

No

Most LED tubes are made with a shatterproof coating

Environmental impact

Made with mercury, which is environmentally toxic

LED contains no mercury and uses less power to run

Energy usage

Uses an excessive amount of energy when switched off/on

At least 30% more efficient than standard fluorescent bulbs

Energy efficiency label

A+

A+

Warm-up time

One minute to reach full brightness

Instant

Benefits of LED tubes

  • Energy-saving—can save you between 45% and 65% in energy costs
  • Instant warm-up—immediate light compared to one-minute warm up times
  • Long life—30,000 hours compared to 7,000—15,000 hours
  • Strong lighting performance—brighter light for less energy
  • Safer for the environment—no mercury and consumes less electricity

LED savings

 

8ft fluorescent tube

8ft LED tube

Wattage

100w

40w

Electricity cost per year

£43.80

£18.40

Savings* per tube:

Wattage—58% reductions

Cost—£24.40 saved per tube

*Savings are based on one tube being on for 10 hours a day with an electricity cost of £0.12 per KW

Retrofitting LED T8 tubes

At Lamp Shop Online, we stock a range of LED T8 tubes designed for retrofitting into lamps previously used for fluorescent lights.

Fluorescent lights rely on ballasts in order to operate. Ballasts are designed to create a high-voltage burst to get the fluorescent light started and then regulate the power that comes into the tube. LED needs none of this and instead uses a driver, rendering the ballasts useless. These ballasts can cause issues when trying to fit an LED tube.

Lamp Shop Online stocks a range of direct retrofitting tubes, which completely cut out the ballasts.

Internal driver tubes

With our tubes, you can wire the sockets directly to the line voltage and simply remove or bypass the ballasts.

We use single-end wired tubes—one socket end has the line voltage and the other holds the lights in place.

LED battens

There is a lot of confusion are what battens are. You will see multiple articles comparing fluorescent lights vs LED battens around the internet. However, this is making the assumption that LED battens are a light source themselves.

Battens are simply a type of fixture that houses tubes, both fluorescent and LED. You can purchase battens with the LED tubes already fitted.

Benefits of LED battens

With the wide variety of LED battens available, you will find several benefits including:

  • Easier installation
  • Waterproof options available
  • Dustproof options available
  • Emergency options available

To see our full list of LED battens: click here

FAQ

Are LED tubes as bright as fluorescent tubes?

Yes.

Fluorescent tubes have a 360o beam angle, which means light is wasted by pointing back into the fixture or roof.

LED tubes are available in a range of brightnesses (see table above). LED tubes also direct the light downwards so no light is lost. While LEDs use less wattage, they still retain a high level of lumens (brightness).

Do LED tubes need ballasts/starters?

No. LED tubes contain drivers—electrical devices that regulate the power to the LED bulb.

Drivers are much more efficient and safer than a starter or ballast. LED drivers protect the LEDs from fluctuations in voltage and current.

How to remove ballast for LED tubes

Simply remove the cover from the ballast and unscrew the ballast from the unit.

How to replace fluorescent tubes with LED

Replacing fluorescent tubes with LED is relatively straightforward, so long as you understand electrics.

  • Remove the bulb – Some light fixtures have covers which you will need to remove.
  • Remove the ballast – Remove the cover from the ballast and unscrew the ballast from the unit.
  • Rewire – Twist the wires together with an appropriately sized wire nuts. Pull all the wires from one side together securely with one of the leads from the centre and do the same for the other side. If you do not know how to rewire light fixtures, use a trained professional.
  • Install LED – Install the same as you would with a standard halogen T8. Ensure the bulb is tightly sealed

How do I assemble an LED tube light?

LED tube lights don’t need an assembly. Simply remove from the packaging and place in the appropriate frame. If you are replacing your fluorescent tubes, follow manufacturer instructions or hire a professional. See above for our brief step-by-step.

Are LED tube lights harmful?

LED tube lights are both safer for the environment and humans alike.

LED tube lights are A+ energy saving rating, meaning it’s better for the environment. Unlike their fluorescent counterparts, LED tubes contain no toxic chemicals that are bad for humans and the environment. Studies have 

Are LED tubes as bright as fluorescent?

Yes

LED light dedicated almost all its energy into creating light, with just a few percentages lost to heat. Fluorescent can lose up to 50% of its energy to heat production. This means that fluorescent requires a higher wattage in order to be as bright as an LED.

For example: A 24 watt LED light produces the same amount of light as a 70 watt fluorescent.

This is why the term lumens has gotten more popular - we simply cannot look at a wattages as a way to measure to brightness.

Can you buy soft light LED tubes?

We stock LED tubes with a frosted design.

Frosted designs:

  • Diffuse shadows
  • Remove glare
  • Reduces light intensity

Do LED tubes flicker?

If working properly, no.

LED tubes switch on instantly, unlike fluorescent lights which utilise a starter. So long as you have a continuous current coming from the mains, your LED tubes will not flicker. If your LED tubes does flicker, it is due to a fault in the system and will need to be investigated.

For more information:

Have a look at our printable PDF