LED tube lighting has a number of advantages when considering replacement of fluorescent tube lighting, but there are a number of factors that should be considered when deciding the best lighting fit for a given application.
Like fluorescent tube bulbs, LED tubes are available in a variety of sizes and formats. Popular lengths are 4′ and 8′. Many LED tubes are sold as T8, which describes a slightly smaller diameter tube than typical T12 fluorescents, but either diameter works with standard fluorescent fixture connectors. When selecting LED tubes, it is important to note whether they are described as replacements or ballast compatible. Ballast compatible LED tubes, for example the universal neiLite® 4′ LED ballast compatible bulb at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E5K1Y38 can be plugged directly into compatible ballast wired fluorescent fixtures. Replacement LED tubes, for example the neiLite® 4′ LED replacement bulb at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DY2N19S, typically require modest rewiring of the fixture to bypass the ballast, and run line power (commonly 120 VAC) directly to the connections. Rewiring is usually not difficult, but be sure to consult the manufacturer’s wiring instructions. A few universal bulbs, such as the 4′ neiLite® model above, can be used in any power configuration – with 120 VAC, magnetic, or electronic ballasts.
While fluorescent and LED tube are shaped similarly, LED tubes typically have a solid back, mounted towards the fixture, and emit LED light downward through a transparent or diffuse cover, providing light over 180 degrees instead of a full 360. Since most of the light directed upwards by fluorescent bulbs is wasteful, LED tubes with lower lumen ratings often provide brighter lighting than a higher listed fluorescent, by directing the light to where it is needed. Perceived brightness can also be affected by the color temperature of an LED bulb. High color temperature values, such as the 6000-6500K CCT provided by the 8′ neiLite® replacement tube at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DY8IAH0 provide a bluer, more intense light, that provides crisp detail for applications such as shops, warehouses, retail space, and home kitchens and baths. Lower value alternatives provide a more yellow, warm light, that may be more desirable for relaxed home living areas.
LED tubes have a number of advantages over fluorescents. They use much less power to provide the same level of lighting, and do not generate uncomfortable waste heat. Like most bulbs, watt ratings on LED tubes vary, and while wattage does not directly specify light level, higher wattage LED bulbs, such as the 22W neiLite 4′ LED replacement tube http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DY2N19S, are typically brighter than their counterparts. Finally, the lighting quality can be affected by the construction features of the LED tube. LED tubes such as the neiLite examples mentioned above use a diffuser cover which helps scatter the bulb light to fill the room. Clear tube covers can make light too directional, making the individual LEDs visible, and result in shadowed areas.
Whatever your application, there is likely a readily available LED tube light that can replace existing fluorescent lighting at lower operating cost and using less energy, often while providing a more satisfying result than the older lighting. Please review Nature’s Electric’s LED tubes and other LED lighting solutions available through Amazon at http://www.neilite.com.