Purchasing lighting for a large commercial outfit like an automotive dealership or warehouse is no small feat. Outfitting a commercial building is expensive and thus when looking at the options available, it’s important for purchasing agents to look both at the short and long-term costs and benefits of those options. The following is a look at two of the most popular types of commercial lighting: LED tube lights and fluorescent lights.

The Main Types of Commercial Lighting: Fluorescent Lights & LED Tube Lighting

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights, also known by the acronym CFL (which stands for Compact Fluorescent Light,) are a specific type of gas-discharge light designed to be more efficient and longer lasting than standard incandescent light bulbs. This type of bulb produces light when an electrical charge excites mercury vapor which then generates shortwave ultraviolet light that causes a glowing effect. The use of this lighting technology in long bulbs is highly effective at dispersing light in large areas such as warehouses.

However, while fluorescent lights are more efficient than incandescent at the onset, as they age, they require more voltage to produce the same amount of light. In other words, the older they get, the less efficient they become, until finally they burn out. So for those who keep track of electricity costs, it’s a good idea to replace all fluorescent lights at one time and then, when there’s a notable uptick in electricity costs, to have them replaced.

Led Lights

LEDs — or Light Emitting Diodes — are tiny chips that are incredibly versatile. What makes them different from traditional incandescent bulbs is that they don’t have a filament that will burn out, nor will they get overly hot when left on for long periods of times. Instead, they operate by using two semiconducting materials that have been cleverly arranged between electrodes. As an electrical charge flows through, negatively charged electrons move across the positively charged ones to create light.

The clever design of LEDs and LED lamps mean that they are fairly compact. However, simplicity here does not mean cheap. LED lamps have a significantly longer lifespan than fluorescent lights (upwards of 10 years/100,000 hours of use.) As such, in almost every scenario, residential or commercial, they save property owners significantly in electricity costs over their lifespan — but they do so with higher upfront costs than their alternatives.

Other Important Facts to Know in the Fluorescent Lights vs. LED Lights Debate

  • LEDs are better in cooler conditions. Because of how fluorescent lights are designed, they tend to be sensitive and prone to malfunctioning in extremely low temperature conditions. This makes them a poor choice for exterior lighting in colder climates or in situations like warehouse freezer bays. In contrast, LEDs have no issue and operate well in all weather conditions.
  • Fluorescent bulbs are cheaper upfront but have a significantly shorter lifespan. Fluorescent lamps can be had for under $1.00 a tube, but they also have about half the lifespan as LED lamps. Buyers can generally anticipate replacing fluorescent lights twice as often as they would LED counterparts (i.e. fluorescent lights will last 5 years vs. an LED’s 10 years).
  • LEDs are more energy efficient than any other commercially available lighting technology. Not only will LED lamps last twice as long as fluorescent lamps, but they also operate every day at a more energy efficient rate. This is due both to how their design uses electrical current to produce light and the fact that they emit light directionally for more effective use of that light.

Contact Us to Learn More

Have more questions about fluorescent lights or LED lights? Don’t hesitate to contact us directly. We’re always here to answer any questions you might have and get you set up with the best system for your business’s needs.


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