T8 and T 12 are both fluorescent bulbs. They’ve been in the news for a long time. The T in T8 and T12 bulbs stands for “ irregular, ” and the number that follows T represents the diameter or size of the bulb. What is the difference between T8 and T12? Here are the answers.

What Is A T8 Bulb

T8 bulbs were launched back in 1981. They’re expensive compared to the rest of the tabular models. Back in those days, T8 lights were great as a choice. The T8 bulbs used new phosphor technology, which made them popular in the request. T8 bulbs consumed less wattage and were relatively effective. They work veritably well in cold temperatures and don’t bear a long time to start. They also have good and advanced color statistics.

They’ve good color retendering indicators as well as great output. These lights are carpeted with rare earth phosphors rather than traditional halo phosphates coating. But this rare phosphors coating is precious to the halo phosphates ones and eventually can make the bulb precious as well. Hence, the cost of this bulb was reduced by sheeting the tube with a mix of rare-earth phosphors and traditional halo phosphates.

The retendering color index of a bulb is determined by the coating of the lamp. T8 lights are available in numerous color temperatures similar to warm, neutral, cool, and veritably cool. The ballast that we installed in the institution is responsible for starting the bulb originally.

What Is A T12 Bulb

T12 bulbs work on the principle of electromagnetic induction, which isn’t veritably effective. It generally uses glamorous ballast. One can use the same institution for The T8 and T12 bulbs.

A T12 bulb is about 6 percent less bright than a T8 one. T12 bulbs consume further energy but release less output than LED. A typical T12 bulb consumes a wattage of about 172 watts which is 71 percent further than an ultramodern LED. This huge difference between these two screams for the replacement of T12 bulbs.

T12 bulbs are about 80 years old. In history, they may have been a great choice, but now they surely need to be replaced by new incoming ultramodern bulbs. T12 bulbs have been stopped from their manufacturing in numerous countries.

Main Differences Between T8 And T12

Brightness And Compatibility

You may not be suitable to distinguish the light output difference between a T8 and a T12 fluorescent lamp visually. Indeed though they’re of similar wattage, the T8 uses lower power than a T12 lamp. There are also no fresh expenses that you’ll incur if you’re going to switch to T8 since it’s compatible with the institution that’s used for a T12. This includes the ballast which is the motor that centrists the electricity going to the lamp.


At present, there’s still no conspicuous change in the price of these two types of lights but it’ll change as soon as the T12 is phased out by its manufacturers. This is because T12 technology is now considered to be outdated.

Other Differences

The T8 bulb has a longer life than a T12 bulb.

The T8 bulb is about 1 inch in diameter, whereas the T12 bulbs are about1.5 inches in diameter.

T8 bulbs work with the help of electronic ballast, whereas T12 bulbs work with the help of glamorous ballast. Still, both these bulbs can be used in the same institution.

T8 bulbs take less time to glow initially. They also work veritably well indeed in low temperatures, whereas T12 bulbs take time to glow. They can go dim or indeed stop working during cold weather.

Can I Replace A T12 Fluorescent Bulb With A T8?

The easiest and lowest price option to replace a T12 is a T8 linear fluorescent. They’ve become the go-to option for pre-existingT12s. However, switching to a T8 will bear a ballast swap, if you still have glamorous ballasts. Another option is to move forward with an LED retrofit.

Can I Use A T8 Led Tube In A T12 Fluorescent Fixture?

In an effort to make LED tube lights compatible with the internal confines of utmost fixtures, you’ll find that utmost LED tube lights to feature a T8 or 1-inch diameter. They can indeed be used in T12 fixtures.


 Both T8 and T12 bulbs are fluorescent bulbs. They were constructed during the late 20th century. They both were great inventions back also. T12 is older than T8. T8 was considered to be a great replacement for T12 back also. Still, the arrival of LEDs has changed the lighting industry to a whole another position. LEDs have all advantages over typical fluorescent bulbs and can also save the environment from poisonous mercury present in the bulbs.

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