While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.
In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
Not to alarm you or anything, but that fluorescent lighting setup is burning a hole in your pocket. The longer you stick with this outdated lighting technology, the more money you stand to lose.
The only issue is that converting your lighting network to much more efficient, durable, and enduring LED technology can be a daunting task, but I’m going to make it as easy as possible for you.
Here, I’ll be detailing 5 of the best methods for making the LED conversion from fluorescent lights.
Which of these methods you go for depends entirely on the specifics of your situation, such as your budget, your wishes, and the location of your lights.
But one thing’s for sure; there’ll be something here for you that’s going to make your life a lot easier.
First, let’s take a look at a few pure conversion options
Converting Your Existing LED Fixtures To LED
Method 1. LED Retrofit Tubes
One of the best things about this method is the price tag. It costs next to nothing to simply switch out a fluorescent tube for an LED one, although it does require a bit of rewiring, so those without experience in this area may have to look for help.
It’s the ballast of the fixture that will need rewiring, as it needs to be bypassed. However, if you can do it, you’ll shave off the 10% energy draw of the ballast, which leaves you with a very efficient fixture. To diminish that energy bill even further, invest in high efficiency tubes.
You can also expect your fixture to be much brighter with an LED tube. In some instances, you may end up with a setup that’s four times as bright as your original fluorescent fixture, so you could even drop a few bulbs and retain the same luminosity.
But the big win with this exchange is the 20,000 extra hours of service light you’ll get with LEDs (30,000 fluorescent vs 50,000 LED).
If this sounds like the right move for you, then I’d recommend checking out these LED tubes.
Method 2. Magnetic LED Strips
As was the case with method 1, replacing your fluorescent tubes with magnetic LED strips cuts out the hassle and expense of replacing the entire fixture, and you can remove that pesky 10% ballast draw from your energy bills for good.
Strips also utilize a dedicated external driver. This makes for better thermals and airflow, and therefore, a longer service life when compared to the LED tubes discussed above, all of which use a mini internal driver.
Furthermore, LED strips are just about as easy an installation as you could imagine.
They arrive with a strong adhesive back, and all you have to do is stick them in place like a length of tape. It takes a matter of seconds. Some may also be magnetic, making removal even easier.
Strips tend to be a little brighter than tubes as well, so if it’s ultimate illumination you’re after, strips are the way forward.
They can be DLC listed too, meaning if you use them, you may be eligible for a rebate from your utility company.
How does this method sound? Pretty good, right? If the answer is yes, I’d recommend checking out these strips by Jimwhen.
Replacing Your Fluorescent Fixture With A New LED Fixture
Method 3. LED-Enabled T8 Fixture
This is the standard fixture you’d get if you wanted to keep the tube thing going. You’ll likely need them wired in by a professional, but from then on out, replacing the tubes couldn’t be easier.
They should work with pretty much any LED tube, assuming the tubes are an appropriate length.
These fixtures are known for being extremely versatile in this way. They can handle pretty much anything you throw at them.
Want a brighter light? Invest in an LED tube with higher lumens; it will work. Want a tube with lower power consumption? Low watt LEDs should work just fine, too.
Granted, having the fixture installed can be a little costly, but it’s always nice having a fresh unit — we all know how hard these things are to keep clean.
If this sounds more like what you’re after, check out this T8 fixture.
Method 4. LED Panels/Troffers
If you’ve got more of a panel thing going on, you can find specialist LED fixtures to take the place of your current setup.
These kinds of designs are perfect for dropped ceiling grids, but a flat ceiling is no reason to disregard this option — surface mounting is a possibility.
Typically speaking, you’ll get about 7800 lumens for a 2x4 installation, which is bright enough to create a crisp, store-style luminance, should that be what you’re after. And, as is the case with a lot of LED lights, you’ll get up to 50,000 hours of service.
This LED troffer light is a particular favorite of mine!
Method 5. A Straight Trade For A Linear LED Fixture
Linear LED fixtures are incredibly versatile and they make the switch very easy indeed. They can be mounted on surfaces the old fashioned way, or you can hang them from cables… whatever works best for you and the intended application.
These tubeless fixtures are often more liberal with their light spread than those with tubes, which is definitely another feather in their cap, and get this… their all-in-one design tends to bring extra dust and moisture protection to the table.
There you have it — you have plenty of options for replacing your fluorescent lighting with LEDs, giving you the chance to save money and the planet.
And remember, just because an LED light has a lower wattage than your old fluorescent bulbs, doesn’t mean it’ll be dimmer.
The luminosity of LEDs is measured in lumens, as they can emit a much brighter light without using anywhere near as many watts.
So, what are you waiting for? Every second you put the conversion off is another penny down the drain. The sooner you make the switch, the sooner you can get those lights working for you!