www.pacificeventlighting.com is a participant in the Amazon affiliate program,As an Amazon Associate, we earn from the qualifying purchases of recommended product links. Learn more.  

T5 vs T8 Tube Lighting:Amazing Explanation![2022]

Fluorescent tubes come in various sizes and with different attributes. Buying one is not the goal but getting one that matches the need. A comparison of the T5 vs T8 tube lighting is necessary as they are the most common fluorescent lamps.

When getting a light tube or bulb, several factors are considered to ensure that one gets the best. Hence, knowing the basics of these fluorescent tubes is very important if you don’t want an expert.

What Does The “T” Stand For?

The T letter in the name of these bulbs serves as a representation the size of the fluorescent bulbs. T means tubular, hinting at the shape of the bulb.

T is equivalent to 1/8-inch and in the case of T5, it is a 5/8-inch bulb.

01. T5 Fluorescent Bulbs:

T5 lamps are the newer model of fluorescent lamps with a 5/8-inch diameter. Having a size 40% lesser than T8 bulbs, it is lighter and smaller. The pin base of T5 bulbs is different from that of the other bulbs

Unlike T8 and T12 bulbs that are interchangeable, T5 bulbs are different. T5 ballasts differ from the previous models and must be fitted before the bulb can be used.

Various models of this bulb exist, and you can find any in the market between 4-54W bulbs. Also, these bulbs are applied in several places like industries and warehouses.

T5 bulbs can reduce energy consumption by up to 65% and this makes them suitable for these large units.

T5 lamps come in one of two versions: the low-power and high-power versions. Their version determines the efficiency of the bulb. Low-power bulbs are more energy-efficient and vice versa.

Powering T5 lamps is done using only electronic ballasts and their energy-saving capability makes them widely accepted in the market. In terms of color rendering performance, they have the same as T8 bulbs; a capacity of 85 CRI

02. T8 Fluorescent Bulbs:

A T8 bulb is an example of a linear tube that uses low vapor mercury gas to provide lighting. It is an improvement from the previous model, T12.

When electricity hits the tube, the mercury vapor is energized, which in turn produces frequencies of UV light.

The reaction of this ultraviolet light and the tube’s phosphor coating leads to visible light.

T8 bulbs are thicker than T5 bulbs having a diameter of 1-inch and can have one or two pin (s).

Also, these models have a lifespan between 7000 and 46000 making them reliable for use in indoor gardens and as growers.

However, some high-energy T8 bulbs have a higher life span, and they are sought after as they help reduce cost. They are mostly used by businesses, large projects, etc.

In contrast with T5 bulbs, T8 and T12 bulbs are interchangeable due to their similar length and ballasts.

So, if you are upgrading from T12 bulbs, you don’t have to worry about changing ballasts.

What are the Difference Between T5 & T8 Tube: T5 vs T8 Tube Lighting

Before choosing to upgrade your lighting, system or install one, you should know the differences between a T5 and a T8 bulb. Some of these differences are discussed below and should convince you on which one to get.


Cost is one of the top considerations when buying any material, it is important to check the cost of the bulbs. Variation in prices is a common reason for this consideration.

T5 bulbs are more expensive than the T8. T5 bulb market price could be as much as double that of T8. This brings to question whether you need to spend almost double for the bulb.

Depending on the use of the bulbs, getting a T5 may not be necessary as the price is more. However, due to its energy-saving capability, it is a better option for long-term use.

The T5 is a newer technology compared to the T8, but this does not explain the huge price difference. So, while they are of differing prices, they both have their good and bad.


In terms of efficiency, T5 bulbs are the most efficient and this is proven. Not only are they newer technologies compared to T8, but they save you about 12.5% power consumption.

Although the bulbs are costly, you can recover the expense from the energy bills they save. T5 bulbs are lighter than T8 and are most suited for light ceilings.

In terms of energy output or light intensity, T5 bulbs produce 100 lm/W compared to T8 at 90 lm/W. These differences don’t seem much, but it means you will be saving at least 10% on your energy consumption.

Although T5 bulbs are more expensive than T8 bulbs, the difference in performance is not very wide. An individual using T8 bulbs does not need to upgrade as there might not be much difference.


T5 and T8 bulbs vary widely in their size, they are visibly different and easy to identify. Naming the bulbs is related to their sizes in diameter.

T5 bulbs are known to have a diameter of 5/8-inch which is 16mm, while T8 has a diameter of 1-inch (8/8), which is 26mm.

T8 bulbs are thicker in size but T5 bulbs are thin and long making them lighter. Despite the smaller size, T5 bulbs have better luminous efficacy.

Are T5 and T8 bulbs interchangeable?

Although many people expect that these bulbs will be interchangeable, they are not. The gaps between the pin of these bulbs are different and so are their lengths.

The distance between the pins of T5 and T8 bulbs is 5mm and 13mm respectively.

T5 vs T8 Bulb – Which Has Higher Energy Efficiency?

In terms of energy efficiency, both bulbs are outstanding and more efficient than T12 bulbs.

Although T5 bubs are a newer technology, a T5 vs T8 tube lighting comparison shows close efficiency in the two products.

A minimum of 30,000 working hours is expected for both models of these bulbs. These show that if not compulsory or necessary, the energy efficiency of T8 makes it a worthy adversary to T5.

T5 bulbs are more energy-efficient and can save maintenance and energy bills in the long term. Hence, T5 bulbs have higher energy efficiency but not by a lot.

Typical Applications of T5 and T8 tube Lighting

Application of T5 and T8 tube lighting differ in some cases and the most distinguishing factor is cost. Places requiring lots of light bulbs are better fitted with T8 bulbs because of their cost-effectiveness.

It is ideal to use T8 bulbs in places like Industries, Hospitals, Warehouses, etc. because of the need bulb number needed.

Costs can be saved this way since the effectiveness of T5 vs T8 tube lighting are similar.

T5 bulbs being light, and durable are more fitting for homes and places not requiring as many bulb units. Application of T5 bulb is common in places like Kitchens, Dining rooms, and generally for home décor.

T5 and T8 bulbs are also widely used in aquariums and indoor gardens because of their long lifespan.

Also, the light intensity in these models makes the best choice and the right investment.

What Color Temperature is the Best?

When choosing a light bulb, the color temperature influences the light that is seen. Usually, a higher kelvin will give a light that is bluer in color, while a lower temperature will give yellow.

Also, the environment where the bulb is needed is of importance as the lighting can affect the general appearance. For offices or formal environments, a lower or warmer temperature is most convenient.

Generally, a temperature of about 4000K is proper for office or formal settings, while industries and warehouses can have bulbs between 5,000 Kelvin and 6,000 Kelvin.

Once the color temperature, budget, and required lumen output have been picked, the remaining choice is easy.

Choosing the Right Fluorescent Bulb

Picking the right product in any purchase can be tough, especially when faced with similar products.

A few important features are worth your consideration when picking the right fluorescent bulb for your home, office, warehouse, etc.

To make the right decision is while this T5 vs T8 tube lighting article exists, here are the features below:


Cost is a general evaluator when buying or purchasing items. First, there is a budget planned for the purchase of the item, it will influence the unit or model purchased.

T5 bulbs are more expensive when compared to T8 bulbs and are not as cost-effective. So, T8 bulbs are better options when dealing with tight budgets.

The initial cost of getting T5 bulbs makes many individuals stick with using T8 bulbs.


Both bulbs are efficient and consume minimal energy as possible depending on the Watt of the product. T5 bulbs are regarded as the most energy-efficient because they give more light at the same Watt.


When observing T5 vs T8 tube lighting, it is noticeable that these units are not interchangeable. They both have different pins and a person upgrading from a T8 to T5 will need a new ballast.

Whereas, changing from a T12 is not a problem when changing to T8 bulbs because they use the same ballast. Hence, T8 bulbs are more dynamic and can be easily interchanged with the old model while T5 bulbs cannot.

Color Temperature

In a T5 vs T8 tube lighting comparison, one of the most ignored features is the color temperature. As unimportant as it may seem, the color temperature of a bulb can help improve the outlook of the room.

For large spaces or storage rooms, having a warm or high color temperature bulb is ideal i.e., 5,000 to 6,000 kelvins. Office spaces require a lesser color temperature of about 4,000 kelvins for a comfortable experience.

LED Bulbs vs Fluorescent Bulbs: which one is better

LED bulbs are a generation of newer technologies and serve as a competition to fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs like T5 and T8 tube lighting have a cheaper initial cost when compared to LED bulbs.

Notwithstanding this cost advantage, there are a lot of other reasons that make LED bulbs preferable. Some of these reasons include

Energy efficiency: powering a whole house or facility can save your energy consumption by up to 60% which is a lot. In terms of energy efficiency, LED bulbs are more efficient.

Safety: Unlike fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs do not contain mercury gas and are much safer. Mercury is known to be dangerous if inhaled or spills on a person. However, the absence of this gas in LED bulbs makes them the better option.

Instant On: Flickering is a common feature in fluorescent bulbs when turned on. LED bulbs do not do this, and they turn on immediately without any delay.

Life span: Another important feature of LED bulbs is their extended life span. They are the right investment for your home, office, or warehouse. Their initial cost may be high, but they are worth it in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a T5 Light Work on a T8 Ballast?

No, a T5 bulb has a different length and ballast, it is shorter than a T8 bulb and cannot be fitted unless the ballast is changed.

However, multipurpose ballast can be used as it is easily adjusted to fit either a T8 or T5 bulb. Otherwise, a T5 light will not work on a T8 ballast but a T12 bulb will.

Which one is cheaper? The T5 or T8?

Depending on the model or type you choose to acquire, the prices can vary in markets. It is advised that you look up the best distributor in the market before offering your money.

The price of a T5 bulb is usually double the price of a T8 bulb although no wide gap in performance is noticed. If you are already using a T8 bulb, it is advised to not switch as you won’t gain much performance.

How many watts do T5 and T8 light use?

T5 and T8 come in several watts, which depends on the amount of lighting required. If you want a brighter light, the higher Watts are most suitable, especially in large stores and warehouses.


Considering the amount of money spent on lighting, getting the right unit is very important. T5 vs T8 tube lighting is a common controversy as these two units are the most popular among fluorescent bulbs.

Conclusively, the cost of the unit, lumens produced, and their efficiency are some of the features examined in this article. T5 bulbs have advantages that make them exclusive but so do T8 bulbs.

In many of the cases, it was noticed that an upgrade from T8 to T5 bulbs is not worth it.  However, T5 bulbs are exclusive in energy-saving but only in the long run.

Leave a Comment