Lamp and Ballast Choices
If you look in a current catalog, there are over 50 types of 4-foot T8 lamps available as replacements (standard CRI, Standard CRI w/ extended performance, high CRI, high CRI w/ extended performance, high-lumen extended performance, energy saver, longlife energy saver) as well as the whole selection of colors. At this point, there are only two types of T5-HO lamps – a 28-watt T5, and for our purpose, the 54-watt T5-HO. Both lamp types are 45.8”. If you remember to specify the wattage of the T5-HO, then you only have to concern yourself with the proper color selection.
To get T5-HO performance out of a T8 fixture the high-lumen, high-performance lamps are usually specified. These lamps provide more lumens (approximately 15% more than standard 700 series lamp) without drawing any additional watts – providing the highest lumens per watt of any fluorescent lamp. Couple these lamps with a high ballast factor ballast to safely overdrive the lamp’s output another 12-15%. With this lamp and ballast combination, you will have a fixture capable of producing 3658 lumens per lamp.
The 700 series lamps are as common today as the T12 lamps were yesterday. Their price is very low and they can be found in most hardware and DIY stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.). The higher performance T8 lamps, and for that matter, the T5-HO lamps, are only going to be stocked by lighting and electrical distributors. Keep in mind, a well-stocked distributor may stock all of the lamp types we spoke about earlier, so be specific about what you want.