Just a few years ago, LED light bulbs were coming onto the market at around $50 for common household applications. It took a lot to justify this cost when replacing an incandescent bulb. But prices have plummeted ever since, with name brand, long life (25,000+ hours) bulbs falling below $10 in the last two years.
Now we've reach the point where the energy savings of an LED in a frequently used location will typically cover the initial cost of the bulb within a year. And that's with bulbs costing $5 to $10.
But there's been a race for the consumer and small office setting where price is the driver of decisions. To compete in this price war, many companies have imported unknown brands with lower quality components. This has led to bulbs with shorter rated lives (5000 to 10,000 hours -- still 5 to 10 times longer than an incandescent lifespan). And since these generic brands don't have reputations they need to uphold, many of these bulbs have had problems with maintaining brightness and color temperature (visual warmth) as well.
Since we focus on commercial lighting and work with a lot of professional lighting / electrical contractors, quality is paramount to us. This is why we've chosen to be competitive on LEDs, but only on brands we can trust. Brands we believe will stand behind their bulbs because they've been around in our market a long time. After all, we want to be able to take care of our customers in the case of a poor product experience.
So we've let others sell the generic brands and $3 LED bulbs that we would never recommend. But that doesn't mean we haven't continued looking for every way to bring you trusted brands at great prices. And now we've been able to break the $3 barrier on A19 LEDs with the Satco brand, which has been around since 1966 and has a reputation to uphold. The bulbs are sold in a 4-pack.
Like other bulbs at this price level, the warranty is only 3 years and the expected life is only 10,000 hours. So we still recommend longer life bulbs in places that are hard to reach. But unlike most of the bulbs at this price level, they're backed by a reputation.
You can check out our Satco bulbs and other LEDs for home and office here.
Lighting terminology. You'd think it would be easy. We all grew up surrounded by lights so we should darn well know what to call them.
But if you've ever been bothered by someone telling you that you shouldn't have ended your sentence with a preposition, you know that common usage doesn't always meet the exacting language of a professional.
Light bulbs are a case in point. You know what a light bulb is -- it's a product that provides us with light through a glass (or plastic) outer surface. That seems obvious. Until a professional tells you that isn't a light bulb at all; it's a lamp.
Of course that's ridiculous because you know what a lamp is, and you're not going to fall for this tomfoolery. A "lamp" is something you put a light bulb into. Turn a switch on the lamp and the light bulb turns on or off.
But no, what you're calling a lamp -- like a table lamp or floor lamp -- isn't a lamp at all; it's a fixture, or luminaire. Fixtures can be portable or they can be stationary, like a recessed lighting can or a floodlight attached to the outside of a building. The fixture holds the lamp, which provides the light.
So what you thought was a bulb is a lamp, and what you thought was a lamp is a fixture.
Except that's like saying you cannot use a preposition at the end of a sentence. Yet it happens all the time, it's perfectly understandable, and most people don't even remember what a preposition is. In fact these days, asking "With whom are you speaking?" rather than "Who are you speaking with?" sounds formal and pretty out of touch with the rest of the world.
So should we call it a bulb or a lamp? A lamp or a fixture? Is the most important thing to be "right," or to be understood?
Here at Lighting Supply, we've been in the lighting business since 1983, and our goal has always been to meet the needs of our customers. So with our contractor customers, you may well hear us call a "bulb" a lamp. But our website typically uses the term "bulb" because we know this is the term most people use and search for today. We feel this is the right balance to meet the needs of others.
But now you know the difference if you didn't already. And if you're not in the lighting industry yourself, now you can speak like you are.
And what about lamps vs. fixtures on our website? Well we focus on commercial lighting supplies, so we don't sell table lamps or floor lamps. That makes it easy for us to stick with the term fixture for all our floodlights, wallpacks, high bay fixtures, and more.
Now if you can just tell us the shape, base, color temperature, wattage, and technology you need, we'll be happy to sell you any lamp we carry. Or bulb. Isn't lighting easy?
(At least we're here to help when you need a hand choosing the right product for your needs!)
T8 fluorescent bulbs -- also known as "lamps" in the industry, or "tubes" for their shape -- are one of the most popular lighting options in the business world today. This is because fluorescent lighting, which made its way mainstream in the 1940s, offered businesses an efficient lighting system that promised to slash lighting bills. And those systems are still largely in place today.
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!