Linear Fluorescent vs Linear LED Pros and Cons.

Linear Fluorescent vs Linear LED Pros and Cons.

Linear fluorescent lamps have been a staple in the lighting industry for their efficiency, long life, and relatively low up-front cost but now the tide is turning and many of our customers using linear fluorescents are asking about opportunities to retrofit the lamps to LED.

Linear LED tubes come in a few varieties –– plug-and-play, ballast bypass and with remote drivers making it possible to go LED in linear fixtures designed for fluorescents, with ballasts and all.

So, are LED tubes the best option for replacing your fluorescents?

Most reputable manufacturers in the lighting industry have a whole range of linear LEDs that go from value-line to high-output, and nearly everything in between.

As a result, there is a good linear LED for nearly any application, though we still find situations when linear fluorescents remain a great lighting choice.

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of both linear LED and linear fluorescent tubes:

Linear led pros

Energy savings

Energy savings is perhaps the top benefit of LED lighting. A switch from linear fluorescent to linear LED could save you between 45 and 65 percent in energy costs. This is typically enough to get to a reasonable return on investment in most areas.

Long life

An average linear LED will last for around 50,000 hours, meaning it loses about 30 percent of its light output after more than 10 years. There are some value-line LED lamps that carry shorter life ratings, but you’ll likely still see an improvement over the average linear fluorescent, which lasts around 20,000 hours.

Environmental impact

LED lamps contain no mercury. This is one advantage, along with low energy usage, that makes linear LED tubes the clear environmentally-friendly choice.

Easy installation and low maintenance

While linear LEDs come in many different types, the ones we typically recommend work with the existing linear fluorescent ballast. When it comes time to converting from fluorescent to LED, that makes the process pretty easy. Furthermore, the average linear fluorescent burns out much more quickly than the average linear LED lamp. As long as the ballast is in good condition, installing a newer LED will reduce your need for lighting maintenance.

Strong warranty

Today’s LED manufacturers offer three-to-five-year warranties on their products, resulting in peace of mind, knowing you shouldn’t have to mess with the lighting for a few years.

Linear LED cons


High prices are the main drawback with linear LEDs. Today, prices are much more reasonable than they once were, but if up-frontcost for an LED retrofit is a sticking point, there are other ways to save a little money –– low ballast factor ballasts and high-efficiency T8 lamps, or get longer-life products.

Compatibility with Dimming and Emergency Fittings

As with all LED lamps and tubes, they have different needs to standard fluorescent and incandescent lamps when it comes to dimming and emergency versions. If you are looking for either of these options make sure to read all the information from the manufacturer to ensure compatibility.

Linear fluorescent pros


One of the top reasons linear fluorescents are so popular is the amount of light and relatively long life you get for a very low up-front cost. If up-front cost is important, you may want to seriously consider a linear fluorescent lamp.

Easy installation

It doesn’t get any easier than replacing an existing linear fluorescent with a new one. The retrofit is a direct replacement.

Long life

Linear fluorescents last, on average, about 20,000 hours. In the realm of lighting, this is still considered a long-life product, even though most LEDs will outlast most linear fluorescents.

Simpler product selection

Linear fluorescents are much easier to select than linear LEDs. In general, you select a reputable manufacturer, color temperature, and wattage, and you’re off to the races.

Linear fluorescent cons

Environmental impact

Mercury –– the environmentally toxic metal that’s found in every fluorescent tube –– is one of the most common concerns about fluorescent lighting. Levels of mercury have decreased in most fluorescent tubes, but the technology simply doesn’t work without some amount of mercury.

Energy usage

While linear fluorescents are more efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs, they aren’t as efficient as LED. If energy savings is your top priority, you should seriously consider linear LED.

Life rating

Although there are some ultra long-life fluorescent tubes, the average life rating is 20,000 hours, which doesn’t compare with the typical 50,000-hour LED.

Lumen depreciation

Fluorescent lamps almost always experience color variation and fading. So, at different stages of the lamp’s life, different light levels will be produced. This will eventually create dark corners and inconsistent lighting in your space.

We hold a wide variety of Linear Fluorescents
Control gear for fluorescents
LED linear tubes .
And if you need to talk to someone about the options available then please drop us a line on[email protected] or call 01279 442266.