LED vs. Fluorescent Tubes

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In the world of lighting, the diversity of solutions is astounding. While there are a variety of options on today’s market, that doesn’t mean they are all on equal par. For instance, tube lighting comes in both LED and fluorescent options, but there are notable differences worth considering when choosing between the two. Let’s take a closer look at LED vs. fluorescent tubes to help you make the right choice.

Wattages and Lumens

The biggest thing when comparing LED vs. fluorescent tubes is the matter of efficiency. When a lamp uses a higher wattage to produce lower lumens, it isn’t as energy efficient as a lamp that can produce a higher lumen output using lower wattages. LED offers the highest lumen output to wattages consumed of any option on the market today. Part of this is because fluorescent lose some of the energy they create to heat loss whereas LED converts all energy consumed directly to illumination with no heat loss during operation.

Quality of Light

While fluorescent is a step up over incandescent in terms of quality, LED is still the winner in this area. Quality of light can relate to a few factors. For example, flickering can be a problem in any type of light fixture. Fluorescent are known to flicker and even lose their lumen output once they reach 70% of their expected life span. LED is always flicker free and consistent the entirety of their life span. LED is also the clear winner on startup times. Since most fluorescent operate on a ballast, there is a warm up time before the lamp reaches full illumination whereas LED is ready to go as soon as you turn it on.

Life Span

When looking at LED vs. fluorescent tubes, the matter of lifespan is a big factor. While fluorescent will last longer than incandescent options, LED outperforms them all. In fact, LED can last up to 4 times longer than other solutions and offers up to 50,000 hours of illumination in certain options. It is also worth noting that LED will maintain full illumination the entirety of the lifespan whereas the florescent loses capacity over time. LEDs lasting longer over time means you won’t have to change the lamps as often which cuts down on maintenance costs and time.

Color Rendering and Color Temperature

Color rendering is important because it allows the eyes to pick up on different colors without strain. LED offers a better color rendering index over fluorescent. Color temperature is how warm or cool the lamp is in terms of the appearance of the glow. LED offers a better scope of warm to cool so you can find the right choice while fluorescent tend to be more limited in the color temperature department.


While both lamps types are technically dimmable, fluorescent has a hard time maintaining quality when dimmed. This is partly because they operate on a ballast whereas LED operates on an internal driver. When fluorescent dim, the light may flicker more or the quality of the light output may be less appealing. LED is dimmable in more levels of brightness than fluorescent without compromising on light quality.

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