LED Tube Lighting vs. Fluorescent Tube Lighting

Energy Focus Blog

The Differences Between LED Tube Lighting and Fluorescent Tube Lighting

Unless you work in the lighting industry, you may not be able to tell the difference between tubular LED lighting and tubular fluorescent lighting. The tubes themselves look similar at first glance, but there are major differences between the two types of tubes. We are going to give you an insiders look comparing the Energy Focus LED tubes to fluorescent tubes.

three LED tubes on white background

LED Tube Lighting

Materials

Energy Focus’ LED tube lighting utilizes an aluminum backbone, polycarbonate lens, and high-quality electrical components that enable state-of-the-art functionality. Energy Focus LED tubes are designed with non-hazardous materials that are free from lead, mercury, and other toxic components, which makes this tube safe for everyone in the unlikely event that the LED tube should break.

Longevity

Energy Focus LED tubes last much longer than traditional fluorescent tubes. Current LED specification measurements state our LEDs can endure over 70,000 hours of testing. This means an LED tube will pay for itself over time. Energy Focus is confident in the longevity of our tubular products, offering a 10-year end-to-end standard warranty on most of our LED tubes.

Recyclability

Energy Focus’ tubes are recyclable! To be properly processed for recycling, you will need to disassemble the tube. You can drop off the aluminum and plastic at your local recycling center and the electrical components at a computer or e-cycling center. Alternatively, you can send all your tubes back to Energy Focus where we will make sure they are properly recycled.

Efficiency

On average, electrical consumption cost is 17% of a company’s budget. LED lighting can cut costs down drastically with its efficiency. For example, our newest T5HO Commercial LED Tube requires 26 watts (W) and outputs 3334 lumens (lm), translating into about 130 lumens per watt (lm/w)! That’s a lot of light for such low wattage.

Installation

It’s never been easier to switch to LED tubes! By offering the Intellitube® which utilizes a direct-fit installation mode (UL Type-A), Energy Focus makes retrofitting LED tubes that fit in your current fluorescent fixtures that utilize ballasts. Our most common tubular offering utilizes our direct-wire (UL Type-B) installation mode. This type of installation bypasses the ballast, eliminating the additional wattage requirement, and runs the wiring directly into the main line via non-shunted lamp holders that lock the LED tubes in the fixture. Energy Focus also offers tubular LED fixtures for new installations, which are compatible with all of our T8 and T12 LED tubes.

Color Rendering

The most drastic difference you will notice with an LED light is how closely it resembles natural sunlight. This is because all spectrums of color are represented in the LED chips, producing the brightest white. In addition, every single color output is replicated seamlessly. The right lighting can help improve focus, productivity and overall health and wellness.

Fluorescent Tube Lighting

Fluorescent Tube Lighting

Materials

Tubular fluorescent lighting may be made of glass, plastic, metal, and mercury. Mercury is a very hazardous material and can be dangerous to everyone in the vicinity, should the fluorescent tube break. Since some fluorescent tubes are made of glass, the likelihood of the tube breaking increases, including the risk of exposure to mercury.

Longevity

Fluorescent tubes last anywhere from 3-5 years before a replacement is required but it absolutely depends on the ballast. If the ballast should fail, the fluorescent tube will fail as well. When fluorescent tubes begin to go, they will become blackened and begin to visibly flicker, which may cause headaches, eyestrain, and can be especially harmful to those with photo-sensitive epilepsy.

Recyclability

You should never, ever put a fluorescent tube in the recycling or the garbage. Fluorescent tubes are made with mercury, which is highly toxic, meaning it cannot be recycled and it should not end up in a landfill. You must contact a special company that handles the disposal of hazardous materials to dispose of fluorescent lights properly. This can cost around $0.80 per tube, and if you’re doing an entire warehouse every 3-5 years, this cost adds up quickly.

Efficiency

Do you remember the lumens per watt that Energy Focus’ LED tubes can produce? Well, fluorescent tubes can only produce about 50-100 lumens per watt (lm/w). This is because a lot of the energy that is produced is wasted because it is transformed into heat instead of light. LED tubes remain relatively cool, so the maximum amount of light can be produced, while there is little to no wasteful heat produced.

Installation

Due to the short lifespan of tubular fluorescent lighting, significant maintenance is required. In addition, fluorescent tubes require a ballast for normal operation. The ballast adds an additional maintenance point, as ballasts may also need to be replaced if the fluorescent tube gets too hot, causing damage. If a ballast fails, you will need to call in an electrician to replace the part and install a new ballast to continue normal operation.

Color Rendering

Fluorescent lighting is not flattering lighting. This is due to the fact that the color wavelengths spike at blue, green, and red generating a harsher color rendering. Natural sunlight produces smooth color transitions from blue to green to red, something fluorescent artificial lighting cannot mimic.

LED Tube Lighting is the Better Choice

LED tube lighting is the better choice because it lasts about 40,000 hours longer in testing, is more energy efficient, will save you more money, and will leave less impact on the environment.

If you are interested in learning more about our LED offerings, please use our contact form.

Infographic - LED & Fluorescent Tube Comparison