When it comes to lighting up a work area, office, warehouse, or garage, fluorescent light bulbs tend to be the ones chosen more often than other types of bulbs. When compared to incandescent lighting, fluorescent lights are longer lasting and use much less energy. There are several kinds of fluorescent bulbs; newest of these is the T5 bulb. The letter 'T' indicates the shape of the bulb (tubular) and the '5' represents the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch (5/8 inch). These are some pretty thin fluorescent bulbs!
T5 bulbs are highly developed and technology-ridden bulbs that are designed to maximize the light output of the bulb, while using less energy than previous T12 and T8 models. They are mainly used in commercial applications, as the initial investment in fixtures and bulbs is significantly higher than its more common cousins referred to above.
Since these bulbs are so thin, the fixtures made for them can be smaller than you would think. There are many places that could not support a full T12 light fixture, but could easily accommodate the T5 models. The bulbs can also be made shorter; they range from 6 inches to 60 inches.
The color temperatures available in common T5 light bulbs are 3000K (warm white), 3500K (warm/cool blend), and 4100K (cool white). They are available in two basic types: the standard and the high-output. Standard T5 bulbs have two pins on each end of the bulb. They provide a normal fluorescent light level for general applications. They should not be used in very cold areas, as they may fail to light up when temperatures get below 32 degrees. High Output T5 bulbs have one oblong black plastic piece on each end of the bulb. The provide a higher level of light output than Standard T5 bulbs and use more wattage to do so. They are used in cold temperature locations, such as garages, outdoor signs, and freezers.
At this time, Osram Sylvania of North America manufactures the most popular T5 bulbs. Sylvania Pentron light bulbs surpass GE (General Electric) and Philips, as well as other brands, in scope and distribution. A full line of ballasts is also available to compliment the Pentron bulb line. As popularity for this type of bulb grows, look for more color options as well as for more manufacturers to follow Osram Sylvania's lead.