For the first time ever, retrofitting your troffers with LED T8 tubes is cheaper than fluorescent!

tl;dr: Hyperikon LED tubes are pretty awesome.  Non-affiliate product link:

If you've been frustrated by the lack of options for LED tube lights, worry no longer.  Hyperikon has the answer.  They don't require a ballast*, they're affordable, they're cUL-listed, and perhaps most importantly, they look great.

*Some models are dual mode internal driver and work with or without a ballast.

The glass tubes contain the style of LED strip that's quickly becoming more and more popular for both residential and commercial uses.  At one end is a tiny driver.

The other end is not connected to anything.  Its only purpose is to secure the tube in the troffer.

The tubes come with tombstones.  Chances are the tombstones in your existing troffer will not be compatible because both contacts will be tied to the same conductor.  Hyperikon's LEDs are single-end powered, hot on one contact, neutral on the other.  Polarity was unimportant with the tubes we received.  The wires were too short, but some scrap wire and a couple of wire nuts solved that.

Note: wear gloves when removing older ballasts that may contain PCBs.

Here's how the tubes looked installed.  This troffer had its tombstones mounted at a 45 degree angle.  We tested the LED tubes angled both out and in, and found that angled in produced a very pleasing light pattern with the light diffused by the interior of the troffer.

We wanted to see how much light was directed at the ceiling, so took an underexposed picture.  Looks about the same for both.

The end result: LED tubes illuminating the left side and old T12 fluorescent tubes with magnetic ballast illuminating the right.  The LEDs look brighter, even when diffused.

Now for some numbers.

2-tube T8 Ballast (Westburne)$14.46
2 Philips T8 fluorescent tubes (Westburne)$6.00
Initial cost, T8 fluorescent (2-tube troffer)$20.46
Replacement set of fluorescent tubes$6.00
Total cost, T8 fluorescent (2-tube troffer)$26.46
The above numbers do not include the labour cost of replacing the fluorescent tubes one time.
2 Hyperikon T8 LED tubes ($17.70
Total cost, T8 LED (2-tube troffer)$17.70
For perhaps the first time ever, retrofitting a 2-tube troffer with T8 LED is CHEAPER than with T8 fluorescent.  As a bonus, the LED tubes have a longer rated lifespan and they consume 1/3 less power.  There is no reason not to upgrade to LED.
4-tube T8 Ballast (Westburne)$16.53
4 Philips T8 fluorescent tubes (Westburne)$12.00
Initial cost, T8 fluorescent (4-tube troffer)$28.53
Replacement set of fluorescent tubes$12.00
Total cost, T8 fluorescent (4-tube troffer)$40.53
The above numbers do not include the labour cost of replacing the fluorescent tubes one time.
4 Hyperikon T8 LED tubes ($35.39
Total cost, T8 LED (4-tube troffer)$35.39
Retrofitting a 4-tube troffer with T8 LED is slightly more expensive, but based on our rates for power, we'll break even in under a year for lights in high traffic locations.  Also, the LEDs' lifespan is nearly double that of the fluorescent tubes.

If you need to replace some fluorescent lights, we highly recommend Hyperikon T8 LED tubes.


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