LED Lighting vs. T5 Technology

So you are considering your options for your relighting project.  You have learned that both T5 and LED fixtures are available, but are unsure as to which technology is best for your project.   While LED fixtures may be more appealing to the eye, there are several reasons why T5s are likely a better option.

Costs of T5 vs. LED

The reason most companies purchase T5 (fluorescent) light fixtures instead of LED fixtures is that fluorescent fixtures provide a more cost effective solution.  The upfront cost for the purchase of LED fixtures versus fluorescent fixtures is substantial.  LED fixtures cost about three times more than their fluorescent counterpart.  On average, LED bulbs cost about twenty-four times that of T5 bulbs.  LED fixtures also tend to dissipate more heat over the long run, therefore adding additional cooling costs in your building.

In addition, the Institute of Electrical Engineers (“IEEE”) performed a case study comparing these two technologies.[1] As part of the study, the source cost[2] of both T5 lighting and T8 sized LED bulb using the measurement of $/1000 lm were reviewed.  The results demonstrated that T5 bulbs performed at a source cost of approximately $3 per 1000 lm, whereas the best comparison rival single LED bulb cost more than $70 per 1000 lm.

Lighting Quality of T5 vs. LED

There is no doubt that providing better lighting quality in your workplace helps increase worker productivity and ambiance.   So which technology provides the best lighting quality?

The Color Rendering Index (“CRI”) measures a bulb’s ability to reveal small shade variations between colors on a scale ranging from zero to one hundred.[3] At least one report has demonstrated that T5 fluorescents lights have a significantly CRI rating than LED lights.[4] T5 lights obtained a CRI rating of 85, while the single LED received a CRI rating of 70.  This study also suggested that T5 bulbs may produce a higher quality light than LED bulbs.

Performance of T5 vs. LED

Several studies have found that T5 fluorescent tubes produce more light compared to the amount of power they consume in Watts.  The general consensus to most studies is that for general applications, LEDs are inferior to T5 lamps in terms of energy efficiency and efficacy.

One of the LED technology’s greatest benefits is its increased lifetime.  However, when comparing the costs of T5 and LED bulbs, increased longer hours seem trivial.

Relight Depot offers both T5 and LED fixtures and bulbs, many which are not on our website.  Please feel free to contact RelightDepot if you should have any further questions.  RelightDepot has Electrical Engineers on staff that provide free lighting layouts, and are happy to assist with your questions or concerns.


[1] Akashi, Yukio.  “T5 Fluorescent Systems.” NLPIP Lighting Answers 6.1 (2002): 3. Web. 4 Jan 2010.

[2] Source cost is expressed as the ratio of one dollar to every 1000 lumens (light) consumed. ($/1000 lm).

[3] Sanchez, Sydney, and Sweeny, Scott. “LED vs. T5 Technology: the Advantages and Disadvantages.” Lumiversal (2010). http://lumiversal.net/upload/T5%20v.%20LED.pdf.

[4] Burmen, Miran, and Franjo Pernus. “LED light sources: as survey of.”  Measurement Science and Technology 19.122002 (2008): 1-15. Web 28 Dec 2009. http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0957-0233/19/12/122002/mst8_12_122002.pdf?request-id=ee941ed-616b-41b3-9162-b7ce66f89ae5>.

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