T8 LED lamps: characteristics, comparison with fluorescent + best manufacturers

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Maxim Fomin
Last update: May 2019

If the fluorescent tubes in the ceiling lamp burn out and you want to save money by installing the LED, then it is not necessary to change the lighting device. It is enough to put T8 LED lamps in it, which are specially designed for a socle-cartridge type G13.

We will tell you how to find the best option for a linear diode bulb. We will show you how to slightly modify the power circuit for its installation, removing unnecessary elements from it. Based on our advice, you can easily upgrade your lighting device without the expense or special effort.

The device and types of LED tubes T8

Lighting in offices and public buildings is most often made of lamps with fluorescent fluorescent lamps. And for the most part these are compact “squares” on the ceiling with mercury tubes under the G13 base.

These lighting fixtures are standardized for the dimensions of 600x600 mm of Armstrong-type ceiling systems and are easily integrated into them. At one time, fluorescent tubes were universally implemented as part of energy saving. In public facilities and buildings, light is often turned on around the clock.

Conventional incandescent lamps in such conditions quickly burn out and consume too much electricity. Luminescent analogues surpass them 7-10 times in durability and 3-4 times in terms of efficiency.

Lamps under T8 on the ceiling
Ceiling lamps with T8 lamps - a classic in lighting modern offices, warehouses, retail halls, as well as educational, administrative and medical institutions

However, technology continues to evolve, LEDs are gradually replacing tubes with harmful mercury. This new product is even more durable and consumes an order of magnitude less energy than old bulbs with a tungsten filament.

“LED” (Light-Emitting Diode) outperforms its competitors in all respects. The only drawback of such LEDs is the rather high price. But it is gradually decreasing as the market for LED lamps.

Externally and in size, the T8 LED tube fully repeats the electroluminescent counterpart.However, she has a fundamentally different internal structure and a different principle of nutrition.

This LED lamp consists of:

  • two rotary socles G13;
  • diffuser flasks in the form of a tube with a diameter of 26 mm;
  • drivers (power supply unit with surge protection);
  • boards with LEDs.

The flask is made of two halves. One of them is an aluminum substrate-casing, and the second back is a diffusing light diffuser made of transparent plastic. In strength, this design is much superior to conventional glass tubes with mercury. Plus, aluminum excellently removes that little heat that is formed during the operation of LED elements.

The device of the T8 LED tube
The diffuser diffuser can be transparent (CL) or matte (FR) - in the second case, a loss of 20-30% of the light flux occurs, but the blinding effect of the burning LEDs is eliminated

To power the LED, you need a constant voltage of 12–24 V. To transform the alternating electric current from which the lamps are powered, a power supply unit (driver) is provided in the lamp. It can be built-in or external.

The first option is preferable, as it simplifies installation. If the handset has a built-in driver, then you just need to insert it in place of the old one. And in the case of an external power supply unit, it will still need to be placed and secured somewhere.

The external option is recommended to be selected only with a complete replacement of all lighting. Then such a PSU allows you to save a lot, you can connect several tube tubes to it alone.

The number of LEDs on the board can reach several hundred. The more elements, the higher the light output of the lamp and the more powerful it is. But much depends on the size of the tube.

T8 LED lamps in length are in:

  1. 300 mm
  2. 600 mm.
  3. 1200 mm.
  4. 1500 mm.

Each option is designed for its own type of fixtures. The tube can be found for any size of the lighting fixture and on the ceiling, and for desktop models.

Which is better: LED vs fluorescent

When compared with other lamps, LEDs greatly benefit in terms of efficiency. However replacement of fluorescent tubes with diodes is fraught with a number of problems. You can’t just insert an LED into a lamp in place of a discharge lamp.

Replacing Luminescence with LEDs
The process of replacing lamps with a phosphor with LED analogues requires remounting the wires in the lamp, which must be performed by a professional electrician - while such modifications do not fully comply with safety requirements

Before installing the T8 LED tubes in a luminaire designed initially for connecting luminescence, it is necessary to remove the starter (starter). If the LED lamp has a built-in driver, then it only needs direct power from the 220 V.

But in the circuit there is also ballast (throttle). Some tubes with LEDs are compatible with it. They may well work without extracting this element. In this case, you only need to unscrew the starter.

However, there are modifications linear LED lampsfor which the ballast load is completely unnecessary and even contraindicated. It also needs to be removed by connecting the wires in place of the gap. Such alterations lead to the fact that after putting the luminescent tube back it is already impossible.

In this case, usually no notes are made on these modifications of the power circuit on the lamp housing. As a result, a new electrician comes in and for one reason or another inserts a luminescence. And this is a direct way to problems in the power grid.

Plus, measurements show that connected through throttle T8 LED lamps can lose up to 20% energy efficiency. And this is additionally consumed electricity for nothing. And much depends on the manufacturer. Some reduce these losses to almost zero, increasing the cost of the product, while others simply do not mention them on the package.

Marked changes
All changes in the power supply circuit of the lamp should be reflected in the form of stickers or inscriptions on its body, otherwise problems in the future cannot be avoided

It is best to initially choose a handset designed for direct connection.Then it will only be necessary to remove all unnecessary from the lamp and make notes on the lighting device about the changes. This is a more difficult solution to install, but not so problematic in the future.

In general, replacing T8 luminescences with LED lamps of a similar size has a number of advantages:

  1. Energy saving, consumption is reduced by 50-80%.
  2. Longer service life (manufacturers claim 5-6 years of continuous operation, but practice speaks of 3-4).
  3. No flicker effect.
  4. No hazardous mercury vapor.
  5. Higher light output.

Almost all models of T8 LED tubes have a narrow luminous flux of 180 degrees. The luminescent opponent, on the contrary, shines in all directions, losing most of the light that is directed upward directly into the body of the ceiling lighting fixture.

Wiring diagrams for G13 lamps with LEDs

The luminescent tube start-up system is built on the basis of induction electromagnetic (PRA) or electronic ballast (Electronic ballasts). If the T8 LED lamp is connected through them, then it should be designed to work with these circuit elements.

Schemes of connection of LED tubes T8
Before starting installation, it is necessary to carefully study the instructions supplied with the LED tube, there are several types of these lamps and their connection schemes

There are two basic schemes for connecting new LED lamps instead of luminescence:

  1. Directly into the 220 V network with the complete removal of the starter and ballast.
  2. Through the electromagnetic ballast in the luminaire.

The first option is still subdivided into a pair of subspecies depending on the presence of an internal or external power supply. If the PSU is built into the LED tube, then you just need to insert it into the connectors. And if the lamp is designed for 12 V power supply, then a separate PSU will have to be mounted somewhere nearby, and then the wiring should be connected through it.

Power Wiring Diagrams
The connection of wires, depending on the model of the LED lamp, happens only on one of the sides or on both sides at once, the exact scheme of their connection must be specified in the instructions or data sheet of the lamp

Installation is simple. In most cases, just insert a new tube in place of the old one. The main thing is to choose it correctly.

If you bought a simple linear model without the ability to connect through the starter, you will have to tinker with the wires. It is not enough to remove the ballast and starter, we must also short-circuit these places of gaps. And short wires in such lamps are often not designed for pulling together, you have to make inserts.

General criteria for choosing LED lamps

In order to correctly choose the T8 LED-tube and then not regret it, you must carefully study all the inscriptions in the product labeling. Everything is described in detail there, you just need to understand all these numbers and characteristics.

Scattering angle and color temperature
Almost all T8 LED tubes have a 180-degree scattering angle so that the light flux is completely directed strictly down: from the ceiling to objects in the illuminated room

By the color of light (color temperature) LED lamps are divided into three groups:

  1. Warm White Warm White (2700–3300 K).
  2. “Natural White” Neutral White (3300–5000 K).
  3. “Cool White” Cool White (> 5000 K).

For offices it is recommended to choose the third option with invigorating light. And for the home, the first with a “warm” yellowish shade is more suitable. Such bulbs will not “load” the vision with excessively bright light.

The second important parameter is light output (luminous intensity). The more lumens indicated in the passport of the T8 LED lamp, the more LED chips are on it. But the brighter it will shine, which is not always useful.

When choosing for this indicator, you need to focus on old fluorescent light bulbs. New ones should not exceed them too much in light intensity.

The third important figure is the degree of color rendering (Ra or CRI). To the maximum, it can be equal to 100. This is the standard natural light from the sun. But such lamps are more designed for spot lighting desktops, where the distortion of the colors of objects is unacceptable.For ordinary luminaires, Ra in the range from 80 to 90 is sufficient.

For power supply, LED lamps can be designed for 12-24 or 220 V. For the former, an additional power supply is required, and in the latter it is already built into the tube body.

By degree of protection Enclosures for installation in the office will suffice IP20 or IP21. There is no particular dust and moisture in such rooms. If you want to take with a margin, then IP40 is suitable. Other models with a large IP will cost too much, and the need for increased protection in a domestic environment is zero.

Overview of LED Tube Manufacturers

In recent years, the LED market has been booming. The number of brands and manufacturers is growing exponentially.

This leads to a gradual decrease in LED prices in stores. However, these processes are not always beneficial to the average buyer, as there is a high risk of running into a frankly low-quality product.

Variety of LED T8 lamps
Most LED tubes are made in China - if it is a well-known brand, then there is nothing wrong with it, but you should not buy products from an unknown manufacturer from China

Among the many manufacturers of T8 LED bulbs, they deserve trust:

  1. From the European-world - "Gauss", "Osram" and Philips.
  2. From Russian - Optogan, Navigator and SVeto-Led (Newera).
  3. Of the proven Chinese - “Selecta” and “Camelion”.

The price of LED tubes for ceiling lights depends largely on the region and the particular seller. Plus a significant role is played by the characteristics of the model.

Before you buy one or another option, you must carefully study the labels on the package.

What to do with an old fluorescent device after replacing it, you will learn from next articlededicated to the disposal of mercury-containing devices.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

There are many nuances in choosing an LED tube for the G13 base. To make it easier for you to understand their assortment, we made a selection with reviews of individual models and analysis of connection schemes.

Video # 1. Alteration of a fluorescent lamp under LED:

Video # 2. Overview of a linear LED lamp with a description of the device and connection principles:

Video # 3. All the features of installing an LED tube instead of a fluorescent one:

The popularity of LED lamps is growing, they are beneficial from all points of view. To replace them with standard tubes of "daylight", it is only necessary to remove a number of unnecessary elements from the power circuit. The T8 LED lamp was originally designed for the G13 socket. Special difficulties with its installation should not arise.

Please write comments in the block below. Tell us about how you selected linear diode lamps for a lighting device or design of a suspended ceiling. Ask questions, post a photo on the topic of the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. LED lamps have many advantages compared to other types of lamps - a much longer service life, low power consumption, a large selection of colors, a minimum of heat generated. Despite the fact that the only disadvantage is the high price. And even considering that during the operation of the LED lamp, you would change several fluorescent lamps or incandescent lamps, then this is a debatable minus.

  2. Alexander

    It’s not clear why reinvent the wheel and dismantle the old system, if you can buy a base specially designed for LED lamps? Is this a form of masochism?