T5 and T8 lighting fixtures have been the standard light fixtures used to brighten up offices, schools, industrial warehouses, and homes for years.
With their tube shape and decent length, they are most effective in lighting larger rooms.
Both the T5 and T8 fluorescent bulb sizes have been the backbone of office lighting, school lighting, and industrial lighting for a few generations but what is the difference between T8 vs T5 lighting?
What Does The “T” Stand For?
The “T” stands for “tube” and is a simple way to identify the lighting and separate it from other forms of fluorescent bulbs.
Different codes are made for different levels of lighting, depending on the levels of energy efficiency and the size of the bulb in diameter.
The “5” in the T5 bulb represents the size of the light. It is 5/8 inches (16 mm) in diameter.
The T8 represents 8/8 inches in diameter (1 inch) (26 mm).
Comparing T5 Vs T8 Lighting
|Size (Diameter)||5/8 inch||1 inch|
|Lamp Efficiency||104 lumens per watt||92 lumens per watt|
|Lifespan||20,000 hours||20,000 hours|
Typical Uses of Each Type of Tube
T8 lighting is most commonly used in more commercial areas:
- School lighting
- Factory lighting
- Warehouse lighting
- Office lighting
- Hospital lighting
T5 lighting is used in both commercial and residential areas:
- All of the above
- Kitchens (it was the best option for under cabinet lighting before LED)
- Living Rooms
- Construction sites
- Indoor Plant Growing (also known as grow lights)
Which Bulb Is Brighter?
The T8 light wins the brightness factor between the two bulbs. Coming in with an average of 2,950 lumens, it just beats the T5 out (2,900 lumens).
If you are needing something really bright, then the T8 will be your better option.
If, on the other hand, you want something bright, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the brightest light on the market, then the T5 light could be the best choice for you.
However, there are still a few more factors to consider before choosing the right light including efficiency and cost.
T5 vs T8 Bulb – Which Is More Efficient?
When it comes to the efficiency of the light, there are a few factors to consider.
The quality of light (lumens) is what determines the brightness. The quantity of light or lamp efficacy (otherwise known as lumens per watt) determines the efficiency.
Overall, when you put T8 vs T5 against each other, the T8 wins in overall brightness.
However, the T5 is the more efficient bulb with 104 lumens per watt compared to the T8’s 92 lumens per watt.
This means that the T5 is able to produce more light with less energy. Even though it isn’t quite as bright as the T8, it will be using less energy overall (which can mean savings in electrical bills).
You can work out your fluorescent tube running costs with an online calculator.
Which Bulb Costs More?
Before rushing into a purchase based on the efficiency factor, it is also important to evaluate the initial cost of the T5 vs T8 bulbs.
t is important to evaluate the application and determine the cost-benefit of T5 over T8.
A regular 4 foot T8 LIGHT costs on average $4.00 while a regular T5 LIGHT costs about $7.00 on average.
Because the efficiency, you may want to go right ahead with buying the T5 lamp. If you are energy conscious, this is definitely the better choice.
However, it also depends on how often you will be using the lights. If you will be running the lights for hours and hours every day, it may be worthwhile to invest in the T5 as it will be able to use less energy overall.
But, if you really aren’t going to be running the lights for most of the day, you’re probably better off going with the T8 vs T5 lighting as it is cheaper up front.
Plus, if you have a bigger area, those lights can add up. Even though it may be a difference of only about $3 more per T5 light, if you’re filling a 5,000-10,000 square foot space, it can get pricey.
That’s why you must carefully consider each factor before buying something. Otherwise, you could be spending nearly twice as much as you have to.
By factoring in how much you will be using the bulb, you can decide if the better efficiency of the T5 justifies the long term cost in terms of maintenance and upkeep.
Why Converting to LED Beats Fluorescent T5 And T8 Tubes
The T5 and T8 fluorescent bulbs have been the backbone of industrial warehouse lighting and residential areas for decades. It’s often hard to remember that as technology advances, there are newer and better options out there.
When it comes to looking at an alternative to the T5 and T8 fluorescent tubes, it’s important to look at overall efficiency and cost of converting fluorescent tube lights to LED tube lights.
The T5 fluorescent lamps used to be the best choice in terms of efficiency, brightness, and cost.
However, LED replacements save on average 45%-65% of the energy costs compared to fluorescent T5 and T8 lighting. You can see right away with the longevity factor how this is so:
T5 and T8 lighting last about 20,000 hours on average.
Compared to LED, you’re looking at 35,000 to 50,000 hours (some even go to 200,000 hours). This means you could be getting double the life span of LED tube lighting vs fluorescent T5 and T8 tube lights.
This means fewer replacements, less overall repairs, maintenance, and upkeep.
WIth LED lighting, you have more options with light efficiency. Because many LED tube lights can have dimming controls, you are able to lower the brightness (and lower the energy use if necessary), whereas, with fluorescent lights, you can’t.
LED tube lighting is more expensive up front compared to fluorescent T5/T8 lighting, but when you look at overall lifespan (and longer warranties), the LED light comes out on top, saving you more money in the long run.