Fluorescent vs LED Tube

As an LED lighting professional, I realize that LEDs are a new concept, not yet known or fully understood for many people, who don´t understand the difference between Fluorescent vs LED Tube.

Briefly, LEDs or light–emitting diodes are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passed through them, and there are many LED options.

Some look like lights or light bulbs you know, others don’t look like anything you have seen before, both in shape, color, intensity, and flexibility.

However, their main advantages are that LEDs consume much less electricity and last on average eight times longer than the standard bulb.

Indeed the cost of LEDs is also greater, but the cost is returned quickly through long-term savings.

The truth is there is great opportunity and variety with LED illumination, and great savings too.

Getting to Know LEDs

For the person just getting to know LEDs, general lighting is the place to start.

General lighting is nothing fancy, it is simply the lighting you see everyday in your home, office, etc.  The most commonly sold and installed light is the LED tube, and it also is one that pays for itself the fastest.

Fluorescent tubes come in three common wattages and most of the time more than one tube fit in a single fixture.

The LED equivalent to most fluorescent lamps will be 22 or 18 watts.  However LEDs do not use watts to describe the light’s brightness.

LEDs are measured in Kelvin, a lighting term used to describe color appearance.

Lumens measure the light’s saturation per second, or its brightness. Lumens best articulate the comparison of fluorescent tubes to LEDs.

Fluorescent vs LED Tube - Increase Your LED Sales - DUMALUXAs a result different spaces require different lighting needs, it is worthwhile to consult with a lighting specialist before a retrofit project begins.

In addition, home renovation retailers mostly sell a lower quality version of LED lighting.

If businesses want a smart investment, they will invest in a commercial grade product.

While one LED tube can replace 2 fluorescent tubes in many cases.

Replacing one T8 32W tube with one LED 16W Tube will save right at $20 a year, provided you use the lighting 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.

The cost of one LED 16W tube can be somewhere in between $5 and $7.

So the investment pays for itself within 3 to 5 months.

The next thing that should be discussed about LEDs is their installation and how it differs from the standard florescent tube:

Fluorescent tubes require ballasts, while LED tubes do not.

Ballasts are inductive devices that use energy in addition to the energy needed for the fluorescent lamp itself.

Ballasts are needed in fluorescent fixtures because the negative resistance characteristics of the tube design, which would otherwise rise to destructive levels.

LED tubes do not require ballasts in order to work, and they can be installed either on standard fixtures by removing the ballast, or using ballast compatible tubes.

The advantage of the ballast compatible tube is that they are “plug and play” and function with or without a ballast.

However,  ballasts have a life expectancy of about 5 years, so eventually the ballasts have to be removed or replaced.

Thus, the advantage of the plug and play tube is that it buys you sometime before you eventually remove the ballasts.

Some businesses choose to remove the ballasts at the time of LED installation.

The plug and play tube only averages $1 more than the non-ballast compatible tube, so the cost difference is minimal.

While rewiring the ballast out of the fixture system will cost on average $25, which cost less than replacing the bad ballast anyway.

Once again, a lighting specialist can help you through the pros and cons of each option.

Fluorescent vs LED Tube - Increase Your LED Sales - DUMALUX

Other differences between Fluorescent vs LED Tube

Some other differences between LED tubes and fluorescents are:

Tube Projected Lifespan



Watts per Tube



KWh used at 80k hrs of use



Annual cost (@$0.12 kWh) per tube



Number of bulbs for 80K hours of use



On/Off Cycling

no effect

shortens life span

Turns on Instantly


slight delay




Heat Emitted

3 btu’s/hr

15 btu’s/hr

Sensitivity to High Temps



Sensitivity to Low Temps

no effect


Sensitivity to Humidity

no effect


Hazardous Materials


10mg mercury per tube

Replacement Frequency

1 tube (@ 80,000 hrs)

8 tubes (@ 10,000 hrs each)

Light Quality

high, consistent

Induces headaches and eye strain, light quality erodes with time

Which one do you think is the LED Tube?


In summary, when it comes to LED lighting, every single light you see has an LED equivalent.

Over the course of the next few months and years, homes and businesses will be changing to this technology, and eventually LED lighting will be everywhere.

I would love to think this change is environmental friendly motivated, but reality is it is about simple economics.

LED lights pay for themselves and save money, and in the long run any savvy person knows that money is the bottom line!

Fluorescent vs LED Tube - Increase Your LED Sales - DUMALUX


  1. Recommended Lighting Advisors says:

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  2. Matt Garter says:

    Highly informative article. No doubt, LED is a boon in the lighting sector, boasting amazing energy-saving capabilities, longer lifespan, & superior technical specifications. A few months ago, I bought T8 LED tube lights to replace CFLs which recently had ballast fail. Instead of repairing the ballast, I decided to replace them all with T8 LEDs (totally worth it). Here are my 2 cents about using LEDs –
    *LED lights use significantly less power than the fluorescent bulbs and are comparatively brighter.
    *They light up the room in a go and never flicker (I hate flickering though).
    *They help you save a huge amount of money in energy costs.
    *They balance circadian rhythm, improve sleep & mood (I’ve heard that but didn’t experience yet)

    My colleague recommended a supplier (Dumalux) from which he bought all his LED lights. From product quality to features, everything is par excellence. Overall, a great replacement for fluorescent bulbs (or any type for that matter) that are more energy-efficient, durable, and throw out a brighter light. Keep writing awesome content.

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