Fluorescent T5 vs LED Bulb Replacement

As recently as 2010, the United States Department of Energy found that nearly 80 percent of lamps being used in commercial buildings were fluorescent. These lights are commonly found in large industrial buildings or other commercial edifices, such as hospitals and schools. They provide up to 75 percent more energy savings than their incandescent counterparts. That being said, as LED technology updates and shifts, even more savings can be realized by switching from fluorescent tubes to LED T5 plug and play or LED T5 direct wire lamps.

LED T5 direct wirePower Up
One of the major identifiers of any light is its wattage. This is the main indicator of how much you’re going to save when you switch. For example, a standard 28-watt fluorescent tube can be replaced by a 15-watt LED lamp. Additionally, a 54-watt high output fluorescent tube is easily replaceable by an LED that consumes only 25-watts of energy. With such a difference in the amount of power being used, savings in energy costs quickly follow installation.

Plug and Play
Plug and Play, or direct wire, LED T5 lamps make switching from fluorescent to LED simple. These bulbs are easy and quick to install. Replacing the ballast in your current fixture won’t be necessary, as it plugs directly into the fixture without any rewiring. This also reduces the the cost of labor and reduces maintenance for facility managers.

Bypass the Ballast
Ballast bypass, also known as LED T5 direct wire lights are slightly different from their plug and play counterparts. These lamps cannot be installed without first removing the existing ballast in a fixture. This is because they operate using the line voltage that flows straight to the sockets, essentially doing what its name indicates, bypassing the ballast.

Time is Money
On average, an LED T5 lamp is rated to last as long as 50,000 hours. This is more than double the standard 24,000 hour life of a fluorescent tube. Installing lamps with this long of a lifespan eliminates the need for frequent replacement. Also worth consideration are warranty periods. Standard fluorescent tubes have a warranty period up to 2 years. Conversely, the typical warranty period for LED fluorescent tubes is 5 years.

These lamps are available in cool and daylight white and designed with high lumen outputs. This provides both consistent color and illumination for a seamless switch. With lower power usage, longer lifespan, and a longer warranty, whether you choose an LED T5 plug and play or a ballast bypass lamp, you’re easily looking at saving as much as 45 percent on both energy usage and costs.

10 thoughts on “Fluorescent T5 vs LED Bulb Replacement

  1. David says:

    Is there any meaningful efficiency difference (lm/W) between plug-and-play and ballast bypass types? Or any other difference, e.g. lifespan, luminous flux, etc (other than install time)?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. Conservation Mart says:

    Hi David. As long as you’re comparing bulbs of the same wattage/lumen rating there won’t be any difference in the light quality, light output, or lifespan. Between plug-and-play and ballast bypass, the biggest difference you’ll find is in the way they’re installed, and the maintenance needed moving forward.

  3. Steven says:

    Hi My existing light fixture is equipped with T12 lamp and T12 electronic ballast, can I still install the plug and play T5 LED without changing the ballast?

  4. Greg Devlin says:

    The plug and plays must still power the ballasts, creating heat and possibly efficiency loss. Has anyone compared the power usage on plug and plays to ballast bypass?

  5. DeAnna says:

    Do electricians offer this service? I have flourescent fixtures & want to change to T5 bulbs for inside grow lights. I bought the T5 bulbs but see no way to install them into my flourescent units or instead of the units. Never done this before myself. Any direction in this is greatly appreciated!

  6. Conservation Mart says:

    Hi DeAnna! Some do. You would have to contact electricians in your area to find out if this is a service they offer near you.

  7. Ezekiel Longoria says:

    I have a t5 54watt florescent lamp can I replace the bulbs to a 21 watt led or 41 watt led which is better as far as being compatible

  8. Steve Boivin says:

    What is the heat output of a T5 LED as compared to a fluorescent T5 lamp? I have 3, 4-tube, T5 daylight fixtures in my shop, which provide me with plenty of light, but they put out a lot of heat. Will I see any significant difference, if I change over to T5 led lamps?

  9. Tom Schulte says:

    Do you know of ANY SUPPLIER who produces a T5 bi-pin LED to replace the 8 watt fluorescent? There must be over 100,000 of these ‘under counter fixtures. Sure would be easy to retrofit rather than time/cost of a LED fixture replacement!
    Please, no referral to Alibaba. I don’t need 10,000 of them!

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