Fluorescent bulbs do an amazing job of spreading bright, clean light over large areas. There have been several noteworthy innovations in the past few years, and chances are good that you have heard of T12 and T8 bulbs. T12 is the older generation of bulbs and T8 is newer. At American Lighting, we upgrade T12s to T8s, a service that is important because T12 bulbs have been legally phased out.

Gain a full understanding of these bulbs and why you need to upgrade your T12s to T8s!


  • The number 8 or 12 refers to the diameter of the bulb (eight eighths of an inch vs. twelve eighths of an inch). Despite their width, both bulbs come in standard lengths. T12 bulbs are bigger than T8s.

Light Output

  • The T8 makes about 2600 lumens and the T12 produces about 2520 lumens. This may not seem like a huge difference, but when you consider the rate at which each bulb loses brightness, the T8 again becomes the best choice. While T8s lose 10 percent of their brightness in 7,000 hours, T12s lose 20 percent (double!) the brightness in the same amount of time.

Energy Usage

  • The T8 uses 32 watts. The T12 uses 40 watts. Clearly, the T8 is more efficient, and this is one of the biggest reasons the government created the Federal Minimum Energy Standard, which requires buildings to use energy efficient lighting like the T8 rather than the T12.


  • The bulbs are similar in this area. If they run up to 10 hours daily, they can last up to two years before showing signs that they need to be replaced.

Contact American Lighting today to learn more about how your warehouse and manufacturing buildings can be taken to the next level!