Electricity Saving Tips For Homes And Offices

Are CFLs replacements for Tube lights?

By on April 22, 2016

We have all known that CFLs are great electricity savers as compared to incandescent bulbs. Years of campaign and successful marketing by the government have led to good penetration of CFLs in Indian market, which is great. Although it is good that we have adopted CFLs so well, but CFLs were supposed to be replacement of incandescent bulbs. Are you using it to replace tubelights?

Fluorescent Lamp Technology

Both CFLs and Tubelights use the same Fluorescent Lamp technology to produce light. It contains mercury and phosphorous, particles of which get excited to produce light when current is passed through it. It requires a ballast or choke to pass current through it.  Traditional incandescent lamps waste 90% of electricity they use as heat and convert only 10% to light. Fluorescent lamps do not waste electricity as heat

Difference between CFL and Tubelight

CFLs are point source of light where light originates from the center (or point) and radiates outside in circles as shown in the diagram below:Point Source

The light is stronger at points closer to the center, but points farther away from the center get much lesser light. So closer you are to the bulb, brighter you will feel, but farther you are from it, you will feel less light.

Tubelights on the other hand are line source of light. Their light radiation pattern is cylindrical in nature as shown in diagram below:Line Source

Tubelights cover more area with bright light as every inch of a tubelight acts as a point source. This makes one feel that a room with tubelight is brighter than a room with CFL.

So if you compare a 28 W CFL with 28 W tubelight in a bigger room (with wider area), you will feel that the room is brighter with 28 W tubelight. The reason for it is as explained above.

So where should you use CFL and where a Tubelight?

CFLs are great for smaller areas like puja room, kitchen (if it is small), bathrooms, etc where the light requirement is less.  For bigger rooms like drawing rooms and bedrooms, a tubelights are better. Tubelights are also better for tasks like reading, studying and sewing that require much more brightness.

Is it better to use multiple CFLs instead of a tubelight?

It depends. If you use all the CFLs at same time then the total wattage may be more than the wattage of a tubelight. But if you use only one CFL at a time, then the total wattage will be less than a tubelight. Also please note that to get the brightness equivalent to a tubelight, 3 or more CFLs will be required in the room, which will make the wattage requirement more than a tubelight.

Which tubelight is the most electricity efficient?

Tubelights come in 3 variants:
T-12, T-8 and T-5 with diameter of 38 mm, 25mm and 16 mm respectively. The table below gives a comparison of all these variants:


Power Rating

Ballast Type available

Power Rating with Ballast


40 Watts

Electromagnetic (15 Watts)

Electronic (3 Watts)

55 W (electromagnetic)

43 W (electronic)


36 Watts

Electromagnetic (15 Watts)

Electronic (3 Watts)

51W (electromagnetic)

39 W (electronic)


25 Watts (for 4 ft long tube)

13 Watts (for 2 ft long tuble)

Electronic (3 Watts and 1 watt for 4ft and 2ft tubes respectively)

28 W (for 4 ft long tube)

14 W (for 2 ft long tube)

T-12 is the most inefficient version of tubelight and is being phased out in many countries. But it is still most commonly available in India.

T-8, which is slimmer than T-12 has been used as a replacement of T-12 for quite some years now. It can be installed in the same fitting as that of T-12.

T-5, which is the most efficient one is the latest and best tubelight available in Indian market currently. It is very slim and cannot be fitted in a T-12 or T-8 fixture. It comes along with it’s own fixture. So if you plan to replace your tubelight with T-5, then you will have to change the complete fixture to this slimmer one.

Below are the 2 types of ballasts that tubelights use:

Electro Magnetic Ballast

Electromagnetic Ballast with a choke

Electronic Ballast

Electronic Ballast

How to choose the right CFL?

Always look for the size of the room before choosing a CFL. Choosing a 28 Watt CFL for a very small room is wastage of electricity if you use that room only for storage. At times a 5 watt CFL is also sufficient for a bathroom and by using 28 Watts CFL you are putting a strain on your electricity bills and increasing units consumed. You are the best judge to evaluate the brightness required in a room, so please make sure that you choose appropriate CFL. You can also check our article on task based lighting and CFL buying guide to get more information.

Where can I get a T-5 tubelight?

The best bet is your closest electrical store. Ask for a T-5 tubelight and you should get it. In bigger cities they are also available in bigger retail stores like Home Town, etc. Phillips, Havells, Osram and Surya are some of the big manufacturers of T-5 tubelights. A T5 tubelight costs around Rs 450 and can payback for itself (by saving electricity) in a year or so. T5 tubelights have a life of 4-5 years and come with 1-2 years replacement guarantee.

The intent of this article is not to take away merits of using CFL. CFLs are great electricity savers. What we want to highlight is that it is important to choose the right kind of lamp to make sure that you needs are met and electricity is saved. Keep watching Bijli Bachao as we are in process of creating a calculator that can help you evaluate different types of lighting options with money savings.

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Can are write a new article mentioning which technology to use, Tubelights, CFLs or the new LED bulbs? And to use which lighting equipment where (room, bathroom, etc). Can LED bulbs be replaced with tubelights?


Can I use CFL tube lights on light boards?? can i know how much it will consume per day??
other thing can i use it with LED tube light ??

i want to put a light board(6/4 feet) for my company which would be productive, long lasting and less power consumption(bijili bachao and paise bachao type). If you and any idea which is more productive please share with us. That would be more helpfull

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

Hi Sivananda,

I did not understand your question properly. CFLs are "Compact" Fluorescent Lamps, the small ones. Tubelights are long and there are Fluorescent tubelights (the regular one) or LED Tubelights.

There are multiple variants of CFLs of different wattages. Similarly there are multiple variants of tubeligts (again of different wattages). Also there are LED tubelights. The electricity consumption will depend on the wattage of the bulb you buy.

A lot also depends on the task that needs to be performed in the lighting. If you need to do precision task, then you need high lighting. If you need to do simple task, you need low lighting. There are lot of parameters that need to be evaluated to make a suggestion.


Hi Abhishek Jain,

Thanks for your quick response
I want a light board which people keep when they business in front of office Which is 6/4 feet.
Everyone put tube light which is more expensive in power consumption so i want something which consume less electric power and has good Fluorescent, i mean light. If you know anything about it. That would be more helpful.



Abhishek Jain (Mod)

You can go for two numbers of 16 Watt LED tubelights.


Hllo. How i connet two 18 watts tube in a 36 watts choke

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

Hi Dinu,

I did not understand your question. How are you trying to fix the tubes?



I have some confussion to choose proper size of choke....

If I have to run two philips tube lights (T8) of 15 watts...so give me advise to select proper size of choke...

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

Hi Chirag,

What size tubelights are these? 4 ft? Also it would be easier to take it to an electrical shop and they would be able to easily tell you the size of choke you need.

Prasanna Kumar


I am bit confused on the wattage to be used for electronic choke . Need advise.. I have purchased a 40 Watt electronic choke (Crompton Greaves) to light up two T5 tube lights ( each measuring 2 ft and of 14 watt rating ). When I connect these two tubes in serial the total wattage comes up to 28 watt which is much below the choke rating of 40 watt. So need a advise if my current set up will burn the tubes if I go ahead or shall I add one more tube in serial which increases the total wattage to 42 watt . I am not able to decide whether this is a good idea or shall I have to go for another choke with alternate wattage rating ( if available in the market ) Please advise.


Prasanna Kumar

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

When you connect 2 nos. 14 watt 2ft tube light in series, the voltage across each T5 will be half as compared to 230 V rating mentioned on the fitting. In that case it will not work. Don't confuse voltage with wattage. You have to connect these FTL in parallel (not in series) and each T5 will need its own choke to match 14W rating. One can connect two T5 in series when rated for 110V AC when supplied with 230V AC.


Thank you for the clarification. Yes I was confused between wattage and voltage , let me put this way .... Can I run a single 14 / 18 watt tube on a 40 watt electronic choke ? Both tube and choke are rated to run on 220 volt. Please let me know.



Abhishek Jain (Mod)

Which electronic choke are you talking about? Most tubelight electronic chokes consume 2-3 watts.


what is the difference between 8watt cfl electronics ballast & T-5 fluorescent tube 8watt electronics ballast. if 8watt cfl electronics ballast use the T-5 fluorescent tube run but how to effect after one year use this ballast.

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

Hello Mr Dinesh,

T5 tubelight does not use 8 watt electronic ballast. It uses a 2-3 watt electronic ballast.



yesterday i went to local repair shop.... i saw one T5 tube light fittings ..... GM brand ...... 1 year 6 month old...... he shown circuit to me ..... he didnt recommend T5 tubes.......


wat is the difference between electric choke tube and electronic chokec tubes? which is effective?


i think 2 types of electric chokes are available ..... one is available for 75Rs around and another one is available for 125Rs..... i had installed two 20W tube with electric choke ( 2ft ).... last year i checked waattage with the help of inverter ( lcd display ) ..... one tubeis showing 80w and other is showing 100w.... then i replaced both with 20W CFL.....

problem is most of people dont know about electric items and their effeciency ... they look for price only ....

Abhishek Jain (Mod)

There are electronic and electromagnetic ballasts available for tubelights. More details on it are as shown below:

But Tubelights measuring 80W and 100W is quite high, they should not. Old T12 tubelights measure about 55-60 W. T5 is the most efficient.



no problem with tubelight .... problem is ballast .... when i checked same tube ( 2 feet T12 -20W ) with electronic ballast it consumes around 25W..... so my suggestion is dont go for electric ballst which is available for around 60 to 70Rs..... also dont go for electronic ballast which is available for 200Rs( philips brand ) ..... dont come for 1year ..... got replacement ...... they lasted for another 3month..... now i have installed bajaj tubelight fitting ( T8 ) ......... choke comes with 2year guarantee..... no problem at all....... also choke is repairable.......


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