How to Convert 8ft Fluorescent Shop Lights to LED

How to Convert 8ft Fluorescent Shop Lights to LED

Are You Still Running Fluorescent Lighting in Your Shop?

How are those lights working out for you? Are dim or dark areas an issue? Is it a strain to see details at your workbench? Have you resorted supplementing your fluorescent lighting with more-expensive-to-run incandescent, halogen, or metal halide lamps like one of our customers had before he converted to LED?

Are buzzing ballasts and flickering bulbs a regular irritation? How often do you have to replace yet another failing fluorescent tube or ballast? (One of our customers upgraded his shops precisely because he was sick of changing bulbs.) Do you happen to have a stash of burned-out 8-foot tubes taking up space because your garbage collection service won’t haul them away? Because fluorescent tubes are considered hazardous waste they can be a chore to dispose of.

A lot of us get so used to "meh" lighting and how frequently we have to replace bulbs that we hardly think about it, but what a difference getting away from fluorescent lights can make for any workshop, repair shop, machine shop, or other workroom.

In addition to solving the issues above, a significant bonus when you replace your 8ft fluorescent shop lights with LED is how much you’ll save in operating costs over time. This is because LED lights can reduce the cost of running your shop lights by around 50%. This electricity savings quickly recoups the cost of the lights (just how quickly depends on how heavily you tend to use your lights), and from that point on your lights, which will still have years of use left in them, will put a monthly energy savings right into your pocket.

Two Options for Converting Fluorescent Shop Lights to LED

Now that we’ve got you thinking about new shop lighting, let’s think about what that entails.

If you don’t have any issues with your existing shop light fixtures—they look fine, they’re in good repair, they have years of life left in them—you can keep them right where they are. Ballast-bypass 8ft LED shop light tubes are compatible with fluorescent fixtures with only a minor wiring adjustment. We explain exactly how to do that wiring adjustment in the next section.

Alternatively, if you want to update the look, location, or number of fixtures, or if your fixtures are the worse for wear and you’re going to need new ones, you’ll find a lot of options available for new LED shop light fixtures. We’ll talk about those further down.

Retrofitting Your 8ft Fluorescent Shop Lights with LED

So, you want to keep your existing shop lights and just switch them over to 8ft LED bulbs. No problem: this is a simple wiring job that takes about five minutes per fixture once you get the hang of it. All you need to do is remove the ballast from your fixture (say sayonara to failing ballasts for good!) and wire the main power directly to the lamp’s sockets.

We have a quick video tutorial below. If you’re more of a reader, we’ve also made a one-page instruction sheet for retrofitting 8ft fluorescent fixtures to LED.

Ready to convert your shop lights to LED? Our most popular LED tube for shop lights is the high lumen 8ft LED Shop Light Bulb. It’s a great balance between increased light output and price and falls right in the middle of our line-up.

To see our other options, including a replacement for HO bulbs with R17D sockets, head over to our 8ft LED shop light tubes category. In-stock tubes usually ship within one business day from the warehouse nearest you. 

Replacing Your 8ft Fluorescent Shop Light Fixtures with LED

LED technology has offered lighting designers a unique opportunity to create integrated lighting fixtures that provide the same (or more) bright light as traditional fixtures but in streamlined dimensions. Additionally, the sealed housing keeps dead flies and other debris out of the fixture, which means one fewer maintenance task to deal with around the shop.

The slimmest, most cost-effective alternative to fluorescent shop lights is our Integrated 8ft LED Tube Shop Light Fixture. It’s about the same diameter as a fluorescent tube, yet those slim dimensions contain both the light source and the fixture. Also—hold onto your hat here—it puts out more light (7200 lumens) than even our brightest 8ft LED tube (6600 lumens).

These integrated shop light fixtures can be installed either flush against your ceiling (or wall!) or suspended from wires. Because you can connect up to three of them end to end, the amount of electrical work required is reduced: wire the first fixture to your power source, then simply plug the next two in.

At $55 (as of this writing), the Integrated 8ft LED Tube Shop Light Fixture will set you back less than a penny per lumen.

If you’re not tied to 8ft fixture lengths and don’t mind spending a little more money (1.2 to 3 cents/lumen), we offer a slew of great LED shop light fixtures, from basic standalone to end-to-end connectable, and from vapor tight for dusty and wet shops to high-style modern lights for engineering and high-tech shops that want to leave an impression on visiting customers.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more traditional—say, something that looks like your old fixtures and, like your old fixtures, uses tubes that you can change out—yet you still want to take advantage of LED energy savings and longevity, we offer LED-ready 1- and 2-lamp 8ft shop light fixtures. These ballast-free fixtures don’t need any retrofitting to work with LED tubes; you simply pop the tubes in like you would with your old fixtures. You can find these on our LED Ready T8 Fixtures page. What’s more, when you purchase 8ft LED shop light tubes from us at the same time as the fixtures, you also save an extra 5% on the tubes.

We’re Here to Help

If you have specific shop lighting problems you’re looking to solve or have questions about upgrading the lighting in your specific situation, ELEDLIGHTS is here to help. Reach out to us at (215) 355-7200 or email