T8 vs. T5 Fluorescent Lamps

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T8 vs. T5 Fluorescent Lamps
Types of fluorescent lamps. (Fluorescent overhead lamp in office image by Alexey Kuznetsov from Fotolia.com)

Both T8 fluorescent lamps and T5 fluorescent lamps are improvements on standard fluorescent lamps. They were engineered to replace high intensity discharge lamps. However, T8 and T5 fluorescent lamps both have different practical applications.

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T8 fluorescent lamps were designed for use in ceiling fixtures to provide lighting for wide areas, while T5 fluorescent lamps are shorter and designed for smaller applications, like in desk lamps.


Both lamps require ballasts; however, T5 ballasts are less efficient than T8 ballasts. Sometimes, it takes more than two minutes for a T5 ballast to heat up.


T8 fluorescent bulbs are larger than T5 fluorescent bulbs, which contribute to their higher purchase cost, despite the fact T5 lamps are newer to the lighting market.


T5 fluorescent lamps have not undergone the extensive testing that T8 lamps have undergone. The ballasts in T5 lamps are prone to overheat and fail.

Operating Temperature

A T5 fluorescent lamp performs optimally when its temperature reaches about 35 degrees Celsius. T8 fluorescent lamps have peak light outputs at temperatures near 25 degrees Celsius.


Unlike T8 lamps, several types of T5 lamps are available to consumers. T5-HO lamps feature a higher light output that operates with increase efficiency.

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