The Ultimate Guide To Fluorescent Replacement With LED Retrofit Light Tubes

LED Replacement Light Tubes T5 lamp

LED light tubes are the perfect replacement for traditional fluorescent lamps

If you’re lighting your residential or commercial property with fluorescent lamps, then you should definitely consider their replacement with LED light tubes. 

Already, people are making the switch to smart lighting solutions like LEDs in their homes and offices. And it’s an efficient move as LED lamps consume less than a third of the total energy needed by regular lights. 

Energy efficiency apart, LEDs also have a 25X longer lifespan than any other lighting material. Meaning, not only can you recover the upfront investment in a very short time, but you also save big on lighting costs, maintenance, and replacement. 

However, the transition to LED lighting solutions is slow, especially in homes. That’s because many people find the process of fluorescent lighting replacement across the property/building tedious and tiring. 

Not to mention, replacing all the existing lights and likely the lighting fixtures is a complex task and requires you to work with electrical wirings.

Nonetheless, switching over to LED light tubes and bulbs has its own rewards, which include exciting rebates from power companies, among others. 

And to make the fluorescent replacement with LED light tubes convenient for you, we have this detailed guide. So let’s dive in and have a look up close.

Why go for fluorescent replacement with LED light tubes and bulbs? 

LED Replacement Light Tubes

Before we begin with the process and options for fluorescent replacement, you might wonder why exactly you should go for LED lighting. 

The answer to that is very simple, the advantages of LEDs far outweigh the initial hassle of replacing your existing fixtures. 

Here are some reasons to replace your fluorescent lighting materials with LEDs: 

#1. LEDs are an easy replacement

Difficult as it may sound, you’ll be surprised to know that replacing your existing lighting system, be it fluorescent or any other material is very simple. 

As such, contrary to the assumption that the process is time-consuming, you can actually replace all the lamps in your home well within a day. And while such lighting replacement takes more time in commercial properties like offices, stores, etc., with the help of lighting experts, you can do so much quicker. 

So what makes the process that quick? 

Well, it’s the way LED replacement lamps and light tubes are made that makes the transition quick. 

You see, these lights are made to be compatible with the existing lighting fixtures of your home. As a result, all you need to do is remove the fluorescent lights and fix the LEDs in their place. 

#2. Transition to LED is cost-efficient 

When it comes to switching to any new solution, factors like changing the fixtures and rewiring the electrical lines stand to inflate the cost. 

But the fact that you can replace the existing fluorescent light bulbs or tubes with their LED counterparts by simply retrofitting makes this transition very affordable. 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? 

To learn more about the advantages of LEDs, you can read our blog: 10 Benefits Of Installing LED Lamps

Different fluorescent light tubes sizes and their LED replacement alternatives

LED Replacement Light Tubes

Most of the standard fluorescent light fixtures manufactured over the years are mounted into the ceilings of buildings and then directly connected to the main electrical supply. And it is this complex installation of these fixtures which makes it hard and expensive to replace them entirely.  

So it makes sense to keep your existing fluorescent fixtures while replacing the fluorescent light tubes with LEDs. 

However, for optimum lighting with LEDs, it’s important to undertake effective retrofitting on your fluorescent fixtures and mount the right LED tube light in each of them. 

To that end, you should know about the different fluorescent tubes that have been developed in the past. And that’s why we have compiled here the different types and sizes of fluorescent tubes introduced in the market over time. 

  1. The T8 4ft – These are the most common fluorescent light tubes that are still in use today. With a 48-inch length, they feature a lamp diameter of 1 inch. 
  2. The T12 4ft – The four-foot T12 fluorescent lamps have the same size as the T8 but feature a larger lamp diameter of 1.5 inches. Also, these lamps are less efficient than the T8 and thus less in use. 
  3. The T5 4ft – Introduced across the country in the 2000s, the four-foot T5 light tubes are the newest and most efficient of all fluorescent lamps. Also known as the T5 HO or high output for their high brightness, these lamps come in a number of lengths like one, two, or three feet. These lamps are mostly placed in non-ceiling fixtures like wall fixtures, table lamps, etc. 

Now, let’s talk about the LED retrofitting options

To begin with, the 4ft and 8ft T8/T12 fluorescent tubes are very popular and familiar across homes and commercial spaces. As such, LED light tubes with precisely the same mechanical specifications as these fluorescent tubes are available to ensure the perfect retrofit replacement. 

In fact, to eliminate any confusion among buyers, these LED tubes are also named similarly to their fluorescent counterparts, like the LED T8 Tube Lamp

Further, as the T8 and T12 are of the same length and use the same pin, technically, they’re cross-compatible. That means you can install a T8 LED Tube in a T12 fluorescent fixture. 

What about LED retrofit on a T5 fluorescent fixture? 

Well, the T5 fixtures have a different pin size and length, making them non-compatible with T8 and T12 fixtures. But you can rest easy as LED Tube Lamp for T5 fluorescent fixtures is also available on the market. 

Fluorescent ballasts and retrofitting choices for LED replacement light tubes 

LED Replacement Light Tubes


You might have noticed a small device in a fluorescent tube light fixture used to increase or decrease the brightness as the lamp warms up. This is called the ballast and is necessary for all fluorescent light types. 

Unlike incandescent lamps that are connected directly to an electrical line, you first need to connect a fluorescent light to the ballast before powering it. And since the ballasts are usually placed inside the fluorescent light fixtures, assessing them requires fixture removal from the ceiling, and that can be quite a task. 

Coming to the popular fluorescent light types like the T5, T8, and T12, they all have different ballast types. 

On the contrary, LEDs operate in a completely different way than fluorescent lamps and don’t need ballasts. Meaning, the process of fluorescent replacement and retrofitting LED light tubes is sure to be a bit complex. 

Nevertheless, while the LEDs in their heyday required you to bypass or completely remove the ballasts, modern-day LED tubes are compatible with fluorescent ballasts. And that allows you to simply replace the fluorescent tube with LED without having to rewire the fixture. 

To make the LED purchase easy for you, we have discussed different LED types and their compatibility with fluorescent ballasts, so let’s look at it. 

#1. UL type A LEDs (compatible with ballasts) 

The UL type A LED light tubes are very common and ideal for fluorescent replacement. 

These LEDs are designed in a way that makes them compatible with fluorescent fixtures. And with mechanical components identical to fluorescent lamps, they can be straight away installed in such fixtures without any rewiring. 

Pros: You need not rework your electrical system, thus saving expenses on electrical labor, spare parts, etc. 

Cons: The ballasts on fluorescent fixtures are prone to failures, and that results in frequent maintenance and replacement costs. Also, there are chances that the energy efficiency of your LED lights will reduce due to the ballasts. 

#2. UL type B LEDs (need to bypass ballasts) 

The UL type B LED replacement light tubes aren’t compatible with fluorescent ballasts, which means you’ll have to connect them to the main electrical line. However, LED drivers are pre-installed on these lamps for the purpose of regulating current and voltage fluctuations. 

Pros: These LEDs offer higher efficiency and require far less maintenance, given that they’re autonomous systems and don’t rely on fluorescent ballasts. 

Cons: It will require extensive electrical rewiring, and that calls for extensive knowledge of electrical systems along with safety measures. 

#3. UL type C LEDs (need a remote driver)

While the UL type C LED light tubes for fluorescent replacement aren’t very commonly available, they offer the most efficient and highly flexible lighting solution. 

The UL type C LED tubes, unlike their type B counterparts, don’t come with an integrated LED driver. So you need to connect a separate LED driver between the light tube and the electrical line. 

Pros: Your maintenance costs will be the lowest as you can replace LED drivers without having to replace the whole light tube. In addition to that, you’ll have more extensive lighting options, including dimmable and downlight illumination. 

Cons: This LED type needs the most electrical rework, as you need to remove the fluorescent ballast and replace them with LED drivers in every fixture. 

LED tube lamps and their compatibility with shunted/non-shunted tombstones 

Tombstones are the light holders or sockets in which LED tube lamps will be installed. Categorized into shunted and non-shunted types, they provide LED lamps with the required electrical current as well as mechanical support to hold them in place. 

If your LEDs are single-ended, it means they’re not compatible with shunted tombstones. So, if you have shunted tombstones, you’ll have to replace or rewire them and connect them according to the wiring requirements of your LED lamp. 

However, if you have double-ended fluorescent replacement LED light tubes, it is highly likely that they’ll be compatible with both the tombstone types, i.e., shunted and non-shunted. 

The final word

You see, converting your lighting systems by switching over to LEDs is a cost-efficient project. So much so that you can completely transition to LEDs in your home for well over $1000. 

On top of that, residential and commercial LED solutions also carry a high return on investment. And you can avail of it by not only recovering the upfront costs but also saving on your utility bills. 

Meaning apart from homes, a fluorescent replacement with LED retrofits also goes a long way to reduce your commercial utility expenses and, thus, increase the worth of your business

Impressive, isn’t it? 

If you’re looking for such affordable and high-return fluorescent replacements with LED light tubes, you can reach out to us. 

At Eco-$mart Inc, we have the largest inventory of fluorescent fixture-compatible LED tube lights readily available at the most competitive prices. 

Also, we have the most innovative and eco-friendly lighting products in the form of solar-powered LED lamps and more. So whatever your lighting requirement is, we have got you covered. 



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