T8 bulbs (also known in the industry as lamps) are perhaps the most popular type of lamp in the business world, and historically these were fluorescent bulbs. Though they come in various lengths, the most common is the 4 foot lamp. The "T" stands for "tube" and the 8 stands for 8/8 of an inch, or one inch wide. You see these lamps in fluorescent troffers or in hanging fixtures almost everywhere in commercial settings.

T8 fluorescent bulbs are a tried-and-true technology with 4-foot 32 watt (F32T8) lamps that can often be had for $2-$3 each while providing a solid combination of quality color rendering (relatively high "CRI"), efficiency, and longevity. And when it comes time to replacing a lamp that's gone out, not only are equivalent lamps generally easy to find, but fixtures and ballasts are already in place that traditionally made it easiest to stick with these familiar lights.

But that brings us to T8 LEDs.

While fluorescent lights are an easy and reliable option that we still support and encourage, the world is quickly adopting LED technology. LED is even more efficient, its lamps are rated to last even longer, it doesn't require the use of mercury, it offers better dimming capabilities where needed, and it doesn't lose meaningful life from frequent on/off cycles -- that makes LED great for saving money with occupancy sensors.

But what's the cost of upgrading to T8 LEDs? How quickly can the upgrade pay for itself in savings? And how easy is the upgrade?

The answers to these questions vary depending on the system you're upgrading, but we can provide some ideas:

1) Today's T8 LEDs can be chosen to work with fixtures and ballasts that are already in place, making them as easy to install as a fluorescent lamp would be. Just make sure that they work with the type of ballast your current lamps use. Some of our TCP T8 LEDs, for instance, only work with instant start electronic ballasts. Others may work with rapid start ballasts as well.

Meanwhile, other T8 LEDs can be direct wired without a ballast, which is useful when installing an entirely new lighting system. Or you can disconnect current ballasts in order to do this. This is obviously more work in the beginning, but it means that you don't have to worry about ballasts going bad in the future.

2) Depending on the T8 LEDs you'll need for your upgrade, you may be paying as little as a $5 premium per lamp compared to the cost of a fluorescent lamp.

3) A T8 LED could save you 15 watts or more per lamp for similar lighting. At just 10 hours of use per day, only counting Monday through Friday, that could save you $5 per year in energy. So within a year, it's possible a T8 LED could pay for itself in energy savings. And in this example, that T8 LED would last more than 10 years, saving you well over $50 in energy compared to a similar fluorescent. This ignores other savings from things like ballast and lamp maintenance.

So as you can see, in the world of T8 bulbs, there's good reason why T8 LEDs are becoming such a popular upgrade option. And we carry plenty to meet your lighting needs. Make sure to check out the spec sheets with any lamp we carry to ensure your needs are met, or call our friendly customer service team if you need a hand ordering the right products.