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LED T5, T8, and T12 - UL Type A Ballast Compatible Tubes Lights Explained

LED T5, T8, and T12 - UL Type A Ballast Compatible Tubes Lights Explained

Posted by Patrick O'Connor on Mar 6th 2018

What is a ballast compatible LED tube light?

Ballast compatible LED tube lights are LED tubes which are designed to operate on an existing fluorescent ballast, in place of conventional fluorescent tubes, allowing for the conversion/retrofit of a fluorescent fixture to LED without any tools, wiring, or modification of the fixture required including changing the sockets.  Ballast compatible means the tube is plug and play so all that needs to be done is to remove the fluorescent tube and replace it with the LED tube.

Since ballast compatible tubes are as simple to install as a normal fluorescent tube they are often the first choice of homeowners and residential customers.

What kind of ballast will LED tube lights work with?

Electronic Fluorescent Ballast

To determine if the ballast compatible tubes you are considering are compatible with the ballast in your fluorescent fixture you will need to reference a Compatible Ballast List published by the manufacturer of the tubes you intend to use.  You will also need to open up your fluorescent fixture housing and notate the model number listed on the ballast inside.  Once you have your ballast model number and can confirm it is on the compatibility list for the tubes you want you can proceed with confidence knowing you made the right choice.  This part is non-negotiable.  You wouldn't purchase an alternator for your car without making sure it was designed to fit your vehicle and likewise you shouldn't buy a ballast compatible tube without making sure it is approved for use with your ballast.

My fluorescent ballast is listed as compatible but my tubes won't work!

While it is entirely possible to have a defective tube from time to time the more common culprit in this scenario is an aging fluorescent ballast that is approaching End Of Life.  The easiest way to check is to swap the tube in question into another known good fixture and see if it works.  Often when a fluorescent ballast ages it will fail when new tubes are installed whether they are fluorescent tubes or LED.  If you purchased a  dual mode tube then all you'll need to do is bypass the ballast and move on but if you bought a ballast compatible only tube then your only option is to replace the fluorescent ballast.

Will ballast compatible tubes only work with a T8 ballast?  What about T5 and T12 fluorescent?

We carry ballast compatible tubes for T5, T8, and T12!  T8 is just the most common size and by far has the most choices available due to it's popularity.  Find  T5 ballast compatible tubes here and T12 ballast compatible tubes here.

Does it matter what base type my fluorescent tube has?

In our selection we currently have only G13 for T8 and T12 ballast compatible tube lights and G5 for T5 tubes so if your tube is not a G13 or a G5 then we will not have selections available.

G13 base type for T8 and T12 tube lights:

G13 medium bi-pin base for T8 and T12 LED tube lights

G5 base type for T5 tube lights:

G5 miniature bi-pin base for T5 tube lights

Why would someone choose a ballast compatible LED T8?

  • Ease and speed of installation - Type A ballast compatible tube lights require no modification of the fluorescent fixture to work.  They can be installed quickly by anyone capable of changing a tube without any tools needed.
  • Safety - no relabeling of the fixture is required since the current delivered to the socket is still the same as what was delivered for fluorescent tubes.
  • Lighting Rebates - Some energy rebate programs may require a DLC Certified ballast compatible tube to qualify so in those cases its a no brainer.
  • Lowest initial cost retrofit - due to the minimal labor involved in swapping fluorescent tubes to ballast compatible LED T8 this is often the lowest up front cost for available retrofit options on the market.  Consumers need only purchase the tube to take advantage of significant energy savings.
Questions or comments?  Sound off in the comments below!  We'd love to hear your feedback!