Opinion: Tubes Led, Are Worth?

Being fashionable replacing the fluorescent lifetime (that last years and years), by the new fluorescent led (led tubes) to ensure last much longer and consume half of power or less.

In this comparison will take into account the technical data provided and compare them with different fluorescent are on sale, taking into account that my criterion to make it an ideal substitute is that the same amount of light with lower consumption as they claim, for which I will liken the lumens indicating.

When you get some led tubes I can do tests in person, I will take the measures in Lux gives each and publish the results of the tests.

It must first be taken into account that consumption of a fluorescent necessary to add “hidden” consumption of the ballast (electromagnetic ballast or coil or inductance) and choke (starter or Starter) that have it may be somewhat less than 10W, therefore if we have a fluorescent of 120 cm 36W approximately consume a few real 45W. These are theoretical data from what I’ve read, because I have not been able to measure the consumption personally.

It must also take into account that a fluorescent lights in all directions (360 degrees), while led tubes typically shed light only on 120 ° – 150 °, although there are some models that instead of having a single strip of leds have 3 strips with what they get to shine in all directions and some even suggest up to more than 300° opening.

According to where you go to install the fluorescent can be sufficient, for example in a high ceiling of a garage that does not matter to not light the walls or ceiling with the 120 °, but if installed it in a low ceiling you will notice that the feeling of light is less to be dark ceiling and the upper part of the walls.

Real cases that have replaced all the fluorescent lights of a community parking by fluorescent led with a cost of €2000-3000 that say they are happy, illuminate much more and turn on instantly without the typical initial flashes of fluorescents, have told me but not be the exact model you have installed your specifications.

I can say that in my community parking they have changed some fluorescent led tube, that you see the leds and is noticeable at first glance he shines not the same and looks darker than before.

With respect to the duration, the fluorescent affect them continuous ignitions and extinguished, but I will put as a real-world example that we had to change the fluorescent kitchen after living 15 years working with some few turned on/turned off a day and each costs about €3-4 and what is last last enough.

Some say that the tubes led unaffected them by ignitions, but in my opinion do not cease to be a led bulb “elongated” with its driver internal electronics that will have a limited number of power cycles (in the specifications of the manufacturer indicates the number of cycles of on which they hold, for example in the Philips gets 50000 cycles of power and some “Chinese” dare to tell that he endures more than 100000 ignitions).

And as regards prices, we can find everything, from some cheap (of dubious quality) up to the brand name that can cost more than 10 times the cost of a normal fluorescent.

In short, you could say led tubes:


-“theoretical” longevity, which leads to less spending on maintenance especially if installed in very high ceilings or difficult to access.

-lower consumption.

-non-polluting (although generated e-waste). If breaks a fluorescent Phosphors and gases of mercury containing are toxic.

-not flashing, although not being noticed, fluorescents Flash at 50 Hz (cycle of alternating light), what has just been fatiguing view industrial machinery in motion could make the “strobe” effect and give the feeling that something does not move when in reality if it moves with the danger involved.


-they usually have an angle of 120-150 degrees instead of 360 ° light

-they are much more expensive.

-may be required to make “DIY” to make the change: remove the ballast, capacitor (to avoid surges), rewire or change the choke by a fuse.

-If they are transparent, look directly into the leds bothers to view and if they have a diffuser Matt (opal) something reduces the intensity of the light.

Converting from fluorescent to led

The traditional fluorescent carries an electromagnetic ballast (coil) and a primer ignitor (which do not have electronic ballast). In addition between the phase and the neutral are usually a capacitor to compensate fluorescent electronic ballast power factor, and I think that also makes that first turns a fluorescent and then the other (with two fluorescent luminaires)

To place the tube led must be removed both and the condenser that is connected to the input and rewire until the led tube fed directly to 230V cable on each side (if perhaps review instructions for installation of the led tube is not the case that connect the two wires for the same end).

From what I’ve seen there are several ways to connect a led tube, so if we adapt a fixture and then change the brand of led tube must check that it is correct, lest we load it to us.

The easiest way seems to be leaving the ballast as is and change the choke by a “fuse” or “led starter” that comes with the tube in those led tubes that are entering N and L the same end (the other end is connected 2 pins, so take one of the power leads through the fuse to the other PIN on the other end of the tube).

In the other tubes that have the N input at one end and L on the other, you must not install fuse(cross two 230V cables) and the tube may be placed directly by only removing the choke.

Not be the effect that has on the led tube that it between current passing through the ballast, or if the ballast consumption is really appreciable + capacitor, although some websites recommend removed to further reduce consumption.

The luminaires with electronic ballast it should remove everything and connect the tube directly to the 230V (unless the tube indicate that it is compatible with electronic ballast)

Anyway check the led tube assembly instructions in particular that explain how it must be connected.

And besides, as fluorescent fixture that you have or if we have it placed on the wall instead of the ceiling, if the fluorescent is inserted horizontally (first image) instead of vertically (second image), will need to install a pipe led that can rotate up to 90 degrees to be able to direct the light down already that if not all the light will go sideways.

I put here the link of a youtube video showing the conversion of a luminaire led:

Examples of fluorescent:

Then I put some examples that I found on the Internet or seen in both stores fluorescent led and fluorescent “normal”:


60 cm Osram 18W led tube 1300 lumens (72 lumens/w)

Price: €29.95

Other manufacturers without brand for the same W and measure put 1700 lumens, coming out to 94 lumens/w.


Tube Microluz XPoweMAX 120cm 18W 1700 lumens (94 lumens/w)

Duration: 50000 hours

Price: €34.95

Direct lamp

Philips TL-d Super 80 36W 840 3350 lumens (93 lumens/w) 120 cm

Length: 20000 hours

Price: €3.50

OSRAM T (L 36W/865 Lumilux Daylight 3250 (90 lumens/w) lumens)

Length: 20000 hours

Price: €3.62

Philips LedTube T8 Corepro 20W 1600 lumens (80 lumens/w) 120cm

Duration: 30000 hours

Price: €20.73


Led tube T8 120cm 18W 1200 lumens

Duration: 30000 hours

Price: €9


Led tube T8 18W 1780 lumens 120 cm

Duration: 35000 hours

Price: €13.19

Leroy Merlin

SevenOn tube led T8 120 cm

Price: €24.95

This same tube at Carrefour costs 10-12€ less.


Tube led T8 18W 1766 lumens

Price: €39.95

A price an exaggeration for a tube similar to those that cost less than €20


Ledsoleil believes T8 20W tube 2340 lm Driver Mean Well

Price: €42.62

A tube with leds create and driver of brand quality Mean Well priced passes of €40 and indicate more than 50000 hours

What is common to almost all is that they say save approximately 50-55% in consumption of lightwith respect to the traditional fluorescent. And the normal thing is to see led tubes of 120 cm and 18W which ensure replace fluorescent 36w.

By the different fluorescent and tubes leds that I could see, the amount of light that is approximately about 90 lumens/w, while led it is normal that we can find from 70 to 90 lumens/w (discard the unbranded indicating 120 lumens/w)

In my opinion, do seem to save more than 50% in light if we change a fluorescent 36w by one 18W led, but according to the technical data I’ve read, also give less lumens.

In other words, we need to compare:

-fluorescent 36w of about 3000 lumens 360 ° which costs around €3-4


-some 1200-1700 18W led tube lumens at 120 ° which costs between 17-€40

Savings in electric consumption, take into account savings of 18W means for every 1000 hours:

18W * 1000 hours = 18000W = 18 kWh

that at a price of €0.1646 1Kwh, leaves a savings of €2.96 per 1000 hours.

In theory Yes out numbers if we assume that they really last hours that indicate (must last at least 10000 hours to start saving) and if they light up really equal to (that do not have to install 2 led tubes for each fluorescent) provided not pay too high a price on your purchase.

Example of amortisation

To give a more precise example I put the numbers that come with the calculator amortization of bulbs, with data from the normal fluorescent vs led philips listed above and assuming a fluorescent electromagnetic ballast with total consumption of 45W:
Led tube saves about €3.5 per year (over 30 years) in these terms of use and we amortizaríamos after 5 years.

I have not put the number of cycles of on which endures a conventional fluorescent because I have not found it anywhere but in the Philips led tubes indicate 50000 ignitions. So if we put them on the calculator will see as in theory lower the length of tube led to little less than 7 years:

In this case no I would be interested to change led by the little savings that represents and because surely in the 5 years that will take to repay it safe that they will come new best performance led tube models and cheaper.

If we took him to the opposite end, and are to be lit 24 hours a day, then things change:
Then put this tube led Yes represents a significant saving of €31 per year and they are amortized in just over 6 months.

That each do their own calculations to see if it comes to account according to the use that you will give.


All this tirade continues to be my personal opinion based solely on published data.

Not I could test still no led tube T8 from 120 cm to compare them with a fluorescent 36w’s life.

From here I encourage those stores or dealers who have led tubes that are put into contact me at the email: blogbombillas@gmail.com so send me a sample for testing them and publish the results on the blog and see in practice if they really are worth or not.

And I’ve also seen suspicious as happened with bulbs is that leading brands such as Philips or Osram led tubes indicate a duration of 30000 or 40000 hours (by installing them in open luminaires) and cheap “Chinese” tubes directly indicate that they last 50000 hours.

And for more opinions, here is an article that recommended to not change the fluorescent led in industrial environments since the luminous flux is decreased and here another article which is to say something like that.

As far as I can see so far fluorescent led tube change only seems to be cost effective if you have many lit hours, so can pay off in not too long and not breakage by reaching the limit of power cycles.

The the coming weeks will begin testing this kind of lighting and will publish the results obtained so that everyone becomes an idea of what we can expect from the led tubes.

Opinion Of The Tubes Led After Analyzing Them

For several months I have been buying and doing tests to different led tubes that you see on the blog.

The major drawbacks I have found in the majority of led tubes are:

-indicate higher than the actual performance or incorrect, for example indicate 10W 1000 lumens (when really should have even less than 800), power factor of 0.95 when I have measured 0.60 or less, consumption of 8W 9W when they really are 10W, etc.

-Although less and less, many are still feeding at both ends without using the led”starter”

-rotating tubes can move the selected angle because the position is not fixed.

-the electronics mounted tends to produce interference, it has very low power factor or even is not insulated casing and can be “enrampar”, above all in those tubes whose ends are very short and driver is in the gap that remains between the pcb of the leds and the aluminum heatsink.

-transparent tubes that cause discomfort to the view can still be found.

-the angle of light is smaller than the fluorescents and can leave part of the ceiling in darkness.

-Although the feeling of “dazzle” makes it look that they illuminate more than a fluorescent, actually almost any led tube gets to overcome in brightness to a new (taking measurements with luxmeter) fluorescent and rarely exceed a luminous efficiency of more than 80 lumens/Watt, but begins to see some tube “high lumen” which Productores de 120 lumens/Watt or even more.

-Although they are lowering prices, they are still more expensive than fluorescents and only be amortized within a reasonable time if they are to be turned on for many hours a day.

-can have a large performance difference between tubes that look the same.

-in a tube led on continuously 24 hours a day I have noticed a significant loss in light intensity a few months (loss of 20% of light intensity in only 4 months).

-glass tubes lacking aluminum heatsink have a lower operating temperature range and it is only advisable to install them in open luminaires and where ambient temperature does not exceed 30 ° C, which are also much more fragile and they can break during the transport or if they fall to the ground.


-switched on instantly without flicker or hum of reactors or contain toxic gases or mercury.

-most are compatible with electromagnetic reactances and no need to rewire the fixture (only remove or change the choke).

-If we got led tubes with a “real” power of 0.95 factor can reduce as well as consumption part of the reactive in large installations energy bill as for example community car parks which have rate electric 3.0

-are few led products which usually do not have problems of reaching high temperatures.

-tubes can be found with sensors built-in, adjustable, movement of all hues of light, rgb, or even with a built-in battery for use as emergency lighting.

After all tubes led that I have bought and analyzed can assure get one that actually have benefits that indicates it is a lottery and that a lot of light how to replace a fluorescent without noticing a loss in light intensity.

The unique led tubes that have stood out above all others are Philips and Osram indicating certain characteristics that seem to correspond to reality and mounted electronics which seems to be of quality.

Light indicated benefits of these tubes in many cases are lower than that indicated “other brands” led tubes but in reality when it comes to the truth outweigh them.

You only have to see the ranking of bulbs to see for example how a pipe led from Osram who claims to have only 1500 lumens gives more light than others who say give 1800 or 800 lumens 9W Osram led tube that gives more light than 10W who say up to 1000 lumens.

Led tubes that yes I can recommend as the best that I have tested to date are the Philips of the range Ultra Output (Ultra flow), exceeding to same consumption in more than 60% to any other tube led light.

As a second option would be the Osram led tubes, somewhat more expensive but of good performance and quality.

And as mark “low cost”, Vtac tubes that have a relationship quality/price higher than that of most other led tubes although not reaching the Philips or Osram the benefits.