They’re sleek. They’re cool. They’re getting cheaper. But do LED tubes deliver on the energy savings they promise? The answer: it depends.
In informal testing, CSU found some surprising results when comparing various 4’ linear LED tube lamps (T8s) to one another and to 4’ linear fluorescent T8 and T12 lamps. Fluorescent T8 lamps are commonly found in commercial settings such as offices and are usually run with electronic ballasts. Fluorescent T12 lamps are older, less efficient, and are often run with magnetic ballasts. LED T8 lamps are now being used to replace fluorescent T8 and T12 lamps. Our results are listed below in order of power consumed (watts).
- LEDs run with fluorescent electronic ballasts drew less power than LEDs run with LED drivers.
- LEDs run with fluorescent magnetic ballasts drew significantly more power and put out significantly more light than T12 fluorescents run with the same ballasts.
- There was significant variance in power drawn between LED T8 brands run with fluorescent electronic ballasts, even though nameplate wattages suggest otherwise.