T8 vs T12 Fluorescent Bulbs…Let the battle begin!
T8 lamps or bulbs look very much like T12 bulbs in that they are both 4 feet in length, but they are smaller in diameter and run on less energy.
So T8 vs T12 – which is better?
And is it time to make a change?
Let’s take a closer look.
T8 Fluorescent Lamps Are More Energy Efficient
T8 fluorescent lamps measure the same length as T12 lamps but they are smaller in diameter. This characteristic, together with good engineering, allows for T8 lamps to run with more energy efficiency. T8 lamps run on 32 watts as compared with 40 watts for T12 lamps.
Even though there may be costs associated with retro-fitting current T12 fixtures to hold T8 bulbs, the savings in monthly energy costs will offset that rather quickly.
The topic of T8 vs T12 fluorescent bulbs has been a popular one in the last few years. Change is something that always take time to wrap our head around. But with times changing and government regulations encouraging the more environmentally friendly and energy saving T8, it may be time to finally make the switch.
T8 vs T12 Lighting
While T8 fluorescent bulbs run on less energy, it does not mean that they are less bright. In fact, studies have shown that they are slightly brighter than T12 bulbs. T8 bulbs were originally designed to shine just as brightly as T12 bulbs. In practice, this is found to be the case and even better. In one study, T8 was found to run at 2600 lumens, vs a sub-2600 level for the T12 bulb.
Another advantage is that T8 lights are found to maintain their brightness better than T12 lights over time. Most light bulbs tend to decrease in their light output over a period of time, whether they are T8 or T12 tubes. But T8 bulbs have tested to hold up better over time. T8s also last from 7,000 – 20,000 usage hours, which is plentiful.
- T12 Bulbs Are Being Phased Out
Probably the most important reason why it’s time to move over to T8 from T12 lighting is due to regulatory changes. Like it or not, T12 ballasts and bulbs are being regulated out of the picture. It’s only a matter of time before we need to make changes.
Already, the magnetic ballasts that powers most of T12 fluorescent bulbs are being phased out of production currently. In another 5 years or so, industry observers are predicting that T12 bulbs will also ceased to be produced.
So very soon, when the existing T12 magnetic ballasts wear out, you will need to replace them with new electronic ballasts. However, it may be more efficient to replace them directly with T8 electronic ballasts and bulbs at the same time.
If you replace them with T12 ballasts, you may still need to go through another round of upgrading to T8 ballasts later on, since T12 bulbs would have gone out of production.
Time For A Change?
In the comparison of T8 vs T12 fluorescent bulbs, it appears that T8 bulbs offer better lighting with lower energy costs. With upcoming regulations to phase out T12 bulbs, it is probably time to seriously consider making a change.