How To Replace Fluorescent Tube Light Bulbs with LEDs

The gradual phase-out of fluorescent lighting has been ongoing for some time as companies, individuals, and government agencies increasingly prioritize energy costs and savings. Now LED tube lights have emerged as a promising solution, offering energy efficiency and longer lifespans compared to traditional fluorescent bulbs. This guide covers how to replace fluorescent tube light bulbs with LED tube lights that are compatible with fluorescent ballasts (Type A) and compatible with bypassing a fluorescent ballast (Type B) operation.

Understanding T5 and T8 LED Tubes

Before diving into Universal Hybrid LED tubes, it's helpful to understand the T- designations you might encounter when replacing fluorescent tubes. The "T" refers to the tube's diameter in eighths of an inch. Here's a quick breakdown:

T8 Tubes (1 inch diameter)

The most common fluorescent tube size, offering a good balance of brightness and affordability.

T5 Tubes (5/8 inch diameter) 

These are slimmer and more energy-efficient than T8 tubes, and they are often used in task lighting applications or where space is limited. They may also provide a wider range of color temperature options.

Measuring the diameter of your existing fluorescent tube can help you confirm compatibility with the chosen LED tube.

What are Universal Hybrid LED tubes?

Universal Hybrid LED tubes are a type of LED lighting designed to replace fluorescent tubes in existing fixtures directly. They offer two methods of installation, including:

Plug-and-Play (Type A LED)

Directly install your LED tube light into the existing ballast. It's a quick and easy upgrade that takes seconds. This operation has some minor downsides, such as the ballast consuming power, which cuts into energy savings. Technically savvy people avoid this drawback by replacing their fluorescent tubes with Type B operation.


  • Easy installation process, no rewiring required
  • Quick and convenient upgrade without the need for an electrician
  • Lower upfront costs compared to Type B installations


  • Limited compatibility with certain ballasts 
  • Potential performance issues if the ballast is not compatible or malfunctions
  • Less overall energy savings compared to Type B due to ballast power consumption

Ballast Bypass / Direct Wire (Type B)

Once a fluorescent ballast reaches the end of its lifespan, the fixture can be rewired to bypass the ballast; this is also known as direct-wire mode. You may also want to override the ballast so that it does not draw any energy.


  • Lowest cost of ownership
  • Maximum energy savings as ballast power consumption is eliminated
  • Flexibility to choose LED tubes based on performance rather than ballast compatibility
  • Reduced maintenance costs over time due to simplified wiring and fewer components


  • Requires electrical expertise or professional installation for ballast bypass
  • Higher upfront costs for rewiring or hiring an electrician
  • Potential compatibility issues with older fixtures or wiring systems
  • No dimming and control capabilities

Single and Double-ended Bypass

There are two main methods of ballast bypass in Type B installations: Double-ended bypass and single-ended bypass. A single-ended configuration only uses two pins on one side of the tube, while double-sided configurations use both. This guide provides instructions for a double-ended bypass. 

Compatibility Considerations for LED Tubes

Ensuring compatibility with your existing fixtures is important to avoid any surprises during installation. Here's a quick guide:

Ballast Compatibility

Not all LED tubes seamlessly work with existing ballasts. Choose tubes labeled "Type A+B" or "Universal" to ensure compatibility with electronic or magnetic ballasts (Type A) and direct-wire operation (Type B) after a ballast bypass.

Power Connection

Traditional fluorescent tubes can have single-ended or double-ended power connections. Ensure the LED tube you select is compatible with your existing fixture's configuration (single or double-ended). Some Type B tubes may require replacing the existing tombstones (wire connectors) with non-shunted ones for proper installation.

By considering these factors, you can choose the ideal Universal Hybrid LED tubes that ensure a smooth and hassle-free upgrade for your existing lighting fixtures. 

Safety First

Important safety precautions must be followed before starting the LED tube installation process. Ensure you’re aware of these guidelines to complete the installation safely. 

Preparing your workspace

  • Avoid installation in any areas where there is a risk of strong mechanical loads
  • Keep away from children
  • Do not cover ground contact
  • Do not cover the Luminaire or hang/fasten anything from it
  • Do not connect to a temporary electricity supply

Inspecting the Luminaire 

Visually inspect the Luminaire and do not proceed with the installation if you notice any of the following:

  • Visible damage
  • Water ingress
  • Signs of overheating
  • Smoke, steam, or cracking noises

In case of any of the above, replace the damaged product immediately.

Handling the Luminaire

  • Take care when handling as the product may heat up
  • Do not place any material over the lens of LED diode/chip
  • Do not pull any cables connected to the product.
  • Do not direct the luminaire into a person's eyes, as this unit may have an intense light output that may cause eye damage
  • Do not touch the surface of the LED module
  • Do not clean using any solvent-based abrasive
  • Do not insert objects into the Luminaire 

How to Install LED Tube Lights: Type A Ballast Compatible

Here are the steps to follow on how to change fluorescent light tubes to LED with type A compatibility. 

Turn off power to the Luminaire

    Remove diffuser (if provided)

    Remove the existing Fluorescent Lamps from the Luminaire

    Install the LED Tube Lamp

    Install diffuser (if removed in step 2)

    Switch on power

    Before installation, check the specifications for the most current ballast compatibility list. If the ballast is not compatible, install the LED tubes according to the Type B instructions. 

    How to Install LED Tube Lights: Type B Ballast Bypass

    These steps will outline how to wire LED tube lights without a ballast, otherwise known as Type B ballast bypass. 

    1. Disconnect power to the Luminaire

    Start by disconnecting the power to the Luminaire or Circuit. Use a Voltmeter to ensure all power is off before proceeding. 


    1. Remove existing tube lamps

    Next, you will remove the existing tube lamps. 

     2a. Remove Troffer Lens, if present 

    2b. Remove existing Fluorescent Tube by rotating one-quarter turn and sliding lamp(s).


    2c. Remove the Ballast Cover- it may be secured with screws or tabs.


    3. Retrofit Luminaire

    The following steps will explain how to retrofit the Luminaire depending on its number of lamps and/or ballasts and the type of ballast. 

    3a. Retrofit Luminaire with Inductive Ballast


    3b. Retrofit luminaire with Electronic Ballast


    3c. Retrofit Luminaire with Two Lamps and One Electronic Ballast 

    3d. Retrofit Luminaire with Three Lamps and One Electronic Ballast:


    3e. Retrofit Luminaire with Four Lamps and One Electronic Ballast:

    4. Insert LED Tubes

    4a. Ensure both ends of the LED Tube are aligned with the socket, then insert the LED Lamp by inserting pins into sockets and rotating a quarter turn until the LED Tube locks in place.

    4b. Your LED tubes are now fully installed.

    4c. Replace Troffer lens, if present 

    4d. After installation is complete, attach the replacement marking and cautionary label to a visible place on the Luminaire.

    5. Restore power to the Luminaire

    The last step is to restore power to the Circuit or Luminaire and test the light. If necessary, adjust the position of the LED Tube. Otherwise, enjoy your new LED Tube! 

    How to Choose the Right LED Tube Lights

    To get the best results from your LED Tube lights, purchasing only the highest-quality products is essential. Lower-quality LED Tubes may break more easily or provide less optimal performance, so make sure and fully vet the manufacturer before making your purchase. Here are the features you should look for during your search:

    • Type A+B Compatibility: Hybrid A+B technology allows LED Tube lights to work with most electronic ballast fixtures, eliminating the need for rewiring during installation.
    • Single or Dual-end: Compatibility with both single or dual-end connections increases compatibility with existing ballasts.
    • Universal 120-277 VAC: This provides a future-proof solution by ensuring that bulbs will function regardless of whether the voltage is 120V or 227V. 
    • G5 mini bi-pin base: This feature ensures that the LED Tube can be used with or without tombstones. 
    • High Brightness 3200LM: This brightness level ensures superb visibility for settings like hospitals and clinics. 
    • Fluorescent Replacement (F8T5CW LED replacement): You can replace obsolete fluorescent tubes with long-lasting LED tubes. 
    • UL Listed: UL-listed bulbs are rigorously tested to ensure they are safe from fire risks like electrical hazards and shorting. 
    • Damp Location Rated: This ensures that the bulbs are safe to use in damp locations where moisture and water are present. 
    • 50,000-Hour Lifetime Rating: NuWatt lights have a remarkable lifespan of 50,000 hours so that you can enjoy superior lighting for longer. 
    • 5-Year Limited Warranty: NuWatt stands out with a comprehensive 5-year warranty and unwavering customer support for a hassle-free experience.
    • Shatter-resistant lens polyester (PET) film covering: This provides peace of mind, knowing that the bulbs are durable and resistant to shattering from heat expansion or damage. 
    • 4000K/5000K daylight light color: This balanced illumination is ideal for tasking lighting in workshops, garages, commercial buildings, and more. 

    Final Thoughts & Tips

    Making the switch between fluorescent lights and LED Tubes can seem daunting, but the process is well worth the effort for superior lighting when it matters the most. The guide above shows how to replace fluorescent tube light bulbs with modern, energy-efficient LED Tubes. NuWatt’s LED Tubes offer a seamless blend of form and function, making it easy to enhance any environment. Discover the ideal lighting solution to brighten your surroundings with a touch of contemporary elegance.