Tube vs Panel Lighting: The Difference




Tubes and Panels become the best solution for the office workplace environment. They are cost effective lighting solutions, provide good lighting quality, last longer and contain or emit no harmful compounds while leaving an ecological footprint in each building. This article is going to explain the difference between tube fixtures and panel fixtures. They are both different, but often times get mixed up when talked about. Let's clarify any confusions you may have about the two fixtures.



Panels are installed in dropped paneled ceilings.


Conventional troffer fixtures contain fluorescent lamps. Typical sizes are 2ft x 2ft or 2ft x 4ft. These coincide with common recessed ceiling panel sizes. LED troffers can replace fluorescent tube light troffers. This is typically done by installing LED strips directly onto the aluminum troffer case. The aluminum troffer fixture acts as a natural heat sink thereby. By changing the number or density of the led strips, manufacturers can create numerous configurations of power and brightness (watts and lumens). A well designed LED troffer can replace a fluorescent fixture that consumes two times more energy.

An example: 3x T8 fluorescent tubes consume 108 Watts, the ballast draw included. A 40W Troffer can replace the same fixture. It is not unreasonable to achieve 40% savings on your utility bill and more when converting from fluorescent troffers to LED lighting at work and in offices.

Another possibility of going green is converting fluorescent tubes to LED.


Fluorescent tubes have been an effective and good lighting quality solution for decades. Replacing fluorescent tubes with LED is connected to reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs. LED emit more light and they use less power. 15W LED replace 32W T8, T10 or T12 lamps, making the LED 50% more efficient.

LED is the perfect replacement for expensive shatterproof fluorescent lamps. MyLEDLightingGuide LED Tubes do not contain glass and will not shatter if dropped. Fluorescent tubes contain mercury, some projects decide for LED versions because they want to remove mercury out of the building.

All LEDs use drivers that power the diodes. The ballast is converting the AC power from the utility company into LED’s DC power. Some manufacturers incorporate the drivers in the LED product. Some decide to use an external driver outside of the tube. There are some subtle differences between the two designs. Replacing with LED with internal drivers involves removing the ballast and rewiring the line source. Retrofitting external driver tubes involves removing the ballast, the line source gets wired to the external LED driver that is connected to the tubes.

More and more people ask for LED that can be just installed as a plug and play version into existing fixtures without removing or rewiring the existing ballast. While the installation of these tubes is simple, they are compatible with most ballast, but not all ballasts.

Contact the lighting experts at MyLEDLightingGuide.com to ensure the tubes will run properly.

Changing the light at work and in offices is easily done with LED. They are readily set up and use considerably less power. LED light sources offer smooth, stable and clear lighting conditions.



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