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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

What should I do if I have 8-foot fluorescent lamps?

Posted by Ron Pilner on


8-foot fluorescent tubes are a popular lighting product for many of our customers. They're commonly used in warehouses, industrial and commercial settings, and in some large retail and grocery stores.

While 8-foot fluorescent lamps are functional, they can be a challenge to replace. When the ballast starts to buzz or the light starts to flicker, the tricky process to change out even just one lamp is enough to stress out a maintenance team.

Now that there are more replacement options than ever for fluorescent tubes, we are starting to offer new, more convenient products for our customers.

First, we'll explain why you may want to replace 8-foot fluorescent tubes. Then, we'll take at a look at the best replacement options.

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Why should I replace 8-foot fluorescent tubes?

If you've used 8-foot fluorescent tubes for any length of time, you've likely run into problems with them at least once.

Here are some of the top reasons to replace them:

  • They have high breakage rates. Fluorescent tubes are glass. Keeping a glass tube that's 8 feet long in tact is no small feat. Tubes can break during shipping or during installation.
  • They're expensive to ship. Because they are fragile and longer than standard sizes, eight-foot fluorescent tubes are expensive to ship. You've probably paid the high price only to be disappointed when you open the box and find a cracked tube.
  • They're a pain to store. Are your ceilings at least eight feet high? If not, you're likely finding unique solutions to store long fluorescent tubes, and the solution is not always an easy one.
  • They're energy inefficient. Many of the existing 8-foot lamps are still as energy inefficient as T12s. Consider upgrading to LED to save on headaches and on energy costs.
  • They have to be recycled. Fluorescent tubes contain mercury and should never end up in a landfill. If you use 8-foot fluorescent lamps, you have to recycle them.

Lighting calculator: calculate energy savings on lighting projects

Replacement options for 8-foot fluorescent tubes

Instead of dealing with breakage and storage issues, consider replacing 8 foot fluorescent tubes with other options. LED tubes are less fragile, or you can retrofit a fixture to two 4-foot tubes.

1. Replace with 2-piece lamps. LEDVANCE offers a product that connects two four-foot pieces into one eight-foot tube. The two pieces snap together, combining into one lamp. Because the two LED lamps are shipped in two four-piece sections, shipping costs are low and there is minimal risk for breakage.


The kit includes a bracket and screw to support the middle of the lamps, and some of the lamps also include base adapters so you're sure to have a product that plugs into the old sockets without a problem. 

Shop 8-foot 2-piece ballast-free lamps

2. Install LED retrofit kits. LED retrofit kits allow you to keep the same fixtures you already have. The new parts fit into your existing fixture, and typically include all of the necessary parts to change out the fixture, like sockets and brackets. Instead of fluorescent tubes, the retrofitted fixture holds LED components, so you get the benefit of energy savings and a more sturdy lighting product.

Shop 8-foot LED retrofit kits


3. Install LED retrofit kits to 4-foot tubes. Another option to get rid of 8-foot tubes completely is to use an LED retrofit kit for 4-foot tubes. This method may be the best if storage and savings are the top priorities and you want to stick with the tube design. This also gives you the option of direct-wire tubes and eliminating the ballast if you desire.


4. Install fluorescent retrofit kit to 4-foot tubes. If up-front budget is the main concern, using a fluorescent retrofit kit is the lowest cost option, although there are not a lot of benefits to this method. You would still pay higher energy costs, have mercury in the fluorescent tubes, and be facing higher breakage rates than most LED tubes or components.

Read more: Why you shouldn't use those fluorescent tubes before upgrading to LED


5. Replace fixtures with new LED fixtures. This is the highest cost option, but it may also come with the biggest payoff. New fixtures can help save on energy costs as well as lower the need for replacement products. Plus, with possible rebates and warranties, this may be the best long-term solution.


If you currently use single-pin, high output 8-foot fluorescent lamps, we recommend a custom upgrade to LED to ensure that you get the light output that you need. Contact our team of experts to find a solution that works for you.

In most cases, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to a lighting retrofit. Our team is here to help you find the best solution.

LED Buying Guide to find the best pricing and right specs for LED lighting products