LED vs Fluorescent Tube Comparison Chart

Two primary options are available today if you have fixtures that require tube lights. You can purchase fluorescent bulbs or choose LEDs.


The first fluorescent tubes came from the minds of Edison and Tesla in the late 19th century. Although the experiments proved that the technology was viable, neither inventor could create commercially viable options. That's why credit for the invention falls to Peter Cooper Hewitt.


Even then, the vapor lamps from Hewitt are no match for what GE scientists created in 1934. This team took the research and knowledge from the previous decades to produce what would become the standard incandescent bulb. This technology would slowly take over the incandescent light bulbs people used for the next few decades.


The MAZDA lineup of fluorescent lamps reached the market in 1938. They offered different colors, including pink and blue.


The first LED light bulb came from the mind of a 33-year-old scientist named Nick Holonyak, Jr. Although others had produced similar technologies, he was the first to create a product that was both visible and practical. It became more popular to have them in light bulbs in the 1990s and 2000s as this technology evolved.


Both options provide potential benefits when installed. The following comparison chart outlines the various uses to consider with these technologies.

Comparison Chart of LED vs. Fluorescent Tubes


LED TubesFluorescent Tubes
Most LED products have a manufacturer's rating of at least 50,000 hours. Specialty products in this category are reaching six figures, with 200,000 hours a possibility for a state-of-the-art product.Most fluorescent light bulbs have a longevity rating that falls between 6,000 hours to 15,000 hours. The best products in the industry tap out at 35,000 hours.
When LED lights start getting deeper into their lifespan rating, the overall illumination quality can be dimmer than what it was when originally installed. The L70 and L50 ratings represent when 70% and 50% illumination is available on average.With fluorescent lighting, the brightness and capability of the product remain constant throughout the entire lifetime rating. That makes it a more reliable option in some settings, although more replacements are necessary.
LED products create illumination by electron movement that takes place through semiconductor materials.Fluorescent light bulbs generate illumination by sending electrical discharges through an ionized gas within the tube.
With LED tubes, you're receiving a product made with semiconducting materials dope with impurities to create different colors and p-n junctions. The materials used to create fluorescent tubes include tungsten, barium, mercury vapor, argon, and calcium oxides.
This technology is more energy efficient than any other tubes that are available in the marketplace today. The electricity used equals 60 watts of incandescent power at 6-8 watts. Fluorescent tubes are more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs, but they are less efficient than LED technologies.
LED tubes have applications in the automotive, advertising, aviation, and traffic movement industries. From stoplights to break lights, you'll find these options available throughout the world. The applications for fluorescent tubes include gardening, tanning salons, germicidal needs, and bilirubin elimination. It's typically used for stationary lighting needs in an indoor environment.
Switching the lights on and off does not directly impact the lifespan of standard LED tubes.Switching the lights on and off can directly impact the lifespan of standard fluorescent tubes.


What Are the Applications for Using LEDs and Fluorescent Tubes?


When evaluating the use of fluorescent tubes, the products are typically described by their longevity, emitted color, power consumption, and brightness. Several different options are available, including grow lamps that encourage plant growth and photosynthesis.


LED lamps provide an excellent combination of higher efficiency ratings and low power consumption. That makes them suitable for everything from solar-powered outdoor lighting to flashlights.


Colored lamps are even found in decorative products. If you purchase an LED with the correct color temperature, it can stimulate photosynthesis without the same energy requirements that fluorescent technologies require.


Both options provide a long-lasting result with fewer utility commitments when compared with incandescent types.


How to Choose an LED Light


LED stands for “light-emitting diode." When you want to use this technology at home or in a commercial building, it is crucial to review the different factors of this technology that can impact your decision.


Here is the information you'll need to know to choose the correct product for each space.


1. Review the Lumens Rating

If you're used to incandescent lights, you would search for energy ratings by looking at the wattage for the bulb. When shopping for LED alternatives, you need to look at the lumens rating on the package.


Anything in the 800 lumens range is suitable for most indoor environments. You could drop to 500 lumens for a warmer environment or go a bit higher if you want something closer to daylight.


2. Choose the Correct Temperature

Fluorescent tubes come in numerous color choices today. If you select a smart LED bulb, you might have access to over 16 million options. When you want standard lighting, the color temperature of the LED is something to consider.


LEDs come in warm and cool tones. You'll get reds, oranges, and yellows as you get warmer. A product with a 2,700 Kelvin (K) rating in this category is similar to the soft white found with a traditional incandescent.


If you want something with more blue tones, an LED light of 4,000K or more would be more suitable.


As you progress higher into the Kelvin rating, you're simulating direct sunlight. It can influence a person's circadian rhythm, especially at night.


3. Dimmable vs. Non-Dimmable

Most traditional dimmers remove some of the power sent to the fixture. It doesn't glow as much when the light has less to use. Some LEDs are not compatible with that structure, which means an update to the switch would be necessary.

Are fluorescent lights being phased out? Not necessarily, but LEDs can be a better option even if they are not.


4. Chip Structure

With LEDs growing in prominence, it's crucial to find products that have the durability and reliability you need for each application. When considering this technology, that evaluation starts with the chips used. A high-quality tube uses consistent electronics that achieve the illumination profile you want.


Are LED or fluorescent lights better? That's a decision that's better left to everyone to determine individually. That way, you can achieve the illumination profile that makes sense for your general needs.


When comparing LED vs. fluorescent tubes, each has some strengths to consider. Reference this chart at your convenience to ensure you can have your needs effectively met each time.​

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