Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center
    Volume 6 Issue 1
July 2002    
Do price and availability prevent consumers from buying T5 systems?

A T5 lamp is the newest member of the linear fluorescent lamp family. Newer products tend to cost more and have more limited availability. This section discusses the availability and cost of T5 lamps.

Are T5 lamps readily available to consumers?

T5 lamps are available from distributors that handle lighting products. As of December 2001, most lighting designers have no problems with availability of most T5 systems in most areas of the United States. Some lighting designers still find, however, that dimming ballasts are not readily available, especially for standard T5 lamps and T5 lamps shorter than 4 feet. Because T5 lamps are not presently available at retail stores, lighting designers often order extra lamps at the beginning of the project for their clients.

How do the prices of T5 lamps compare with those of T8 lamps?

The price of T5 lamps is still two to three times (or more) higher than that of T8 lamps. For example, in Troy, New York, in December 2001 a T5 high output (T5 HO) lamp cost approximately $8, while a T8 lamp cost approximately $2.50. T5 luminaires cost approximately 20% more than T8 luminaires when comparing similar type of luminaires. However, the price range of popular T5 luminaires is equivalent to T8 luminaires—$150 to $300 per 4-foot T5 luminaire and $120 to $300 per 4-foot T8 luminaire. To some extent, these price differences can be balanced by reducing the number of lamps in a luminaire and by reducing the number of luminaires in a room. With increasing sales and competition, prices are likely to drop over the next few years.

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