What Kind of Ballast Works Best for a T8 Fluorescent Light

A t8 florescent light is an efficient and effective lighting option when evaluating the lighting needs of your home, office, or industrial building. Florescent lighting works similarly to neon signs in that the lighting tube is filled with gases that are charged. The ballast ionizes the charged gasses, through electricity, illuminating the gasses. The gasses themselves do not emit light waves, but the tubes are coated with another substance that reacts with the gasses, emitting light waves. The term t8 refers to the diameter of the tube. A t8 tube is one inch in diameter. The ballast is that actual fixture that the tube fits into, and creates both the ionization, but also controls the voltage that is supplied to the fixture and tube. There is a wide variety of options available in ballasts meant to use t8 tubes, and are frequently used in both residential as well as commercial applications. Here you will find some of the more popular ballast sizes that work with t8 florescent tubes.

24-inch Ballasts

A 24-inch ballast is a great option when lighting a small space, such as a closet or powder room. There are a variety on the market such as ballasts that can be recessed, and that can accommodate anywhere between one and four bulbs for customized lighting. These smaller ballasts can be used in combination with many smaller ballasts in larger areas, and will create a much brighter, well-lit environment.

36-inch Ballasts

This size of ballast is better used in rooms about the size of a bedroom. These too are offered to accommodate anywhere from one to four bulbs or tubes to further customize the level of lighting. These can be found in a variety of styles for varying voltage needs, and can be used in both decorative residential applications as well as more industrialized applications, such as in an office.

48-inch Ballasts

These ballasts are pretty long, and thus should be used in larger areas where lighting is needed and there is space to accommodate them. These ballasts are also offered to accommodate anywhere from one to four tubes, and are best used in either very large living areas such as a garage or den, or in larger commercial areas such as communal work spaces, cafeterias, or break rooms.

96-inch Ballasts

These are some of the longest ballasts, and are generally only found with a two tube configuration (though ballasts that can accommodate four tubes are usually two ballasts put together). These are best used in large warehouse type environments, as the simple length of the tubes used in them are difficult to manage in smaller spaces. Too, these are considered high output ballasts, and you should ensure that there is adequate voltage to supply to the ballast before installing them.

There are other sizes of ballasts available, but which is the right for your particular situation will depend on two primary factors: space and voltage. As with any electrical project, ensure that you have adequate power for any electrical addition, and if needed, hire a professional for the installation.