Magnetic vs. Electronic Ballasts—An Easy Way to Tell Which You Have!

A Quick Way to Determine If Your Fluorescent Fixtures Will Work with Direct Drop-in LED Tubes

Ballast-compatible, "plug and play," or "direct drop-in" LED tubes make upgrading to cost-saving, long-life LED technology easy: simply take the fluorescent tubes out of your fixture and put the LED tubes in. However, direct drop-in LED tubes are compatible only with fixtures that have electronic ballasts. You can determine whether you have a compatible fixture in seconds. Simply turn the light on, then take a photo of the fixture using your smartphone or digital camera.

  • If there are no dark bands on the resulting image, you have an electronic ballast that will work with direct drop-in LED tubes.
  • If you see dark bands on the image, you will need to remove the ballast from the fixture (an easy task) and use our standard LED tubes.

Electronic Ballast

iPhone photo showing fluorescent fixture with electronic ballast. Fixture is compatible with drop-in LED tubes.

 

Magnetic Ballast

iPhone photo showing fluorescent fixture with magnetic ballast. Fixture is not compatible with drop-in LED tubes.