The earliest fluorescent lamps were T12 fluorescent tubes, which still had the tubular shape of T8s (which are 1" wide) but were larger at 1.5" wide. These early bulbs also operated on inferior ballasts to those we have today, which is what caused the familiar flicker and buzz of old fluorescent lights.
Over the years, T12 bulbs have become more efficient, and they now operate on electronic ballasts that not only run lamps more efficiently but also eliminate the old flickering and buzzing problems.
But T12s have largely been replaced by T8 bulbs (especially 32 watt, or F32T8 lamps), which are even more efficient and use less mercury in their operation, which has environmental benefits. So on the one hand, you still have many T12 bulbs in place, because upgrading to T8 fluorescent lamps also means changing the ballasts. But T8 lamps have been around long enough by now that many businesses have upgraded.
Of course there are even narrower lamps in today's highly efficient T5 bulbs, which are well used when replacing high bay metal halide lamps. For instance, when replacing a 400 watt metal halide, you might see a 6-lamp T8 fixture used when the lamps are less than 25 feet off the ground; at 25 feet and above, you might use 4 to 6-lamp T5 fixtures, depending on just how high the fixture is. Wherever you use T5 lamps, however, upgrading from either T12 or T8 lamps to T5s means changing both the ballast and the fixture.
Now we titled this blog "T8 Bulbs - Low Prices" because Lighting Supply really does have one of the widest selections of fluorescent lamps online, coupled with some of the best prices you can find. But to understand this, it helps to understand how fluorescent lamps are changing.
You see, fluorescent lamps are still improving in terms of mercury content, efficiency, and color rendering. Legislation wants to encourage these improvements by phasing out older lamps; as a result, some quality bulbs that have been used for years are no longer manufactured. If you can find them, you can get a tremendous deal on your lighting. And Lighting Supply has many of them still in stock. So when you look at our lamps, you're sure to find some at exceptionally low prices.
But even when it comes to newer T8 lamps, we are established enough to buy well and pass the savings along to you.
More than anything, though, we hope that low prices aren't the only reason you'll look to Lighting Supply for all your lighting needs. We hope you'll love same business day shipping on in-stock orders and customer friendly terms designed to make all your experiences with us positive. We know that, for many of our customers, lighting is a matter of business, and we want to help you succeed!