Product Review

Replacing Fluorescent T8s with LEDs: Is It Time?

CREE’s LED T8 sets a new benchmark for linear fluorescent replacements, but LEDs aren’t ready for all applications.

Linear fluorescents make up about 75% of commercial lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with billions of T8 tubes in use. Popular because of their low cost and energy efficiency, linear fluorescents also have some significant problems: they have poor color quality, they flicker, they emit small amounts of ultraviolet and infrared radiation, and they contain mercury, complicating maintenance and disposal.

LED T8 replacements have offered the promise of solving these problems, yet they have generally been expensive, and their overall performance in some cases has been worse than that of the fluorescent products they are meant to replace.

Published October 6, 2014