3 Reasons a LED Ballast Bypass is Best For Your Business

We recently passed a local elementary school in the Skippack, PA area with new LED lighting surrounding its outdoor perimeter. We noticed that half of the lamp posts had bulbs that were burnt out. After taking a closer look, it would appear to us that the existing lamp posts could be utilizing the old high pressure sodium ballasts with the new LED bulbs. This prompted us to write an informational blog about LED ballast bypass tubes (also known as direct wire LED tubes). When converting your business or property from fluorescent lighting, metal halide, or high pressure sodium lighting to LED lighting (also known as a LED retrofit project), it’s best to use LED ballast bypass tubes instead of what is called “plug-and-play” tubes (also known as direct replacement tubes) for a handful of reasons.


led ballast bypass installation

LED Ballast Bypass Installation – Direct Wire LED Retrofit


What is a Ballast Bypass LED Tube?

First of all, let’s explain what a ballast bypass tube is. So right now you may have existing ballasts inside or outside of your property that help your lights function properly. If you want to learn more about ballasts, visit our ballast replacement blog. This will give you great insight on really how they function to make your bulbs illuminate.


To convert your existing lighting over to LEDs, there is really no reason for a ballast. LEDs have their own “driver” inside them that acts like your old ballast to control/regulate the power needed to illuminate the bulb/tube. So there really is no point to keep your old ballasts that illuminated your old fluorescent, high pressure sodium, or metal halide bulbs, for your new LED bulbs.


Which brings us to the definition of a LED ballast bypass tube. It’s literally how it sounds: it is a LED bulb that bypasses the need for your old ballast, and is recommended over the LED bulbs that do use your old ballast (plug-and-play/direct replacement tube).


3 Reasons Why LED Ballast Bypass Tubes Are Best

  1. No Ballast Maintenance Costs

With a LED ballast bypass tube, you don’t have to worry about maintaining any ballasts! Simple as that. When using a plug-and-play LED tube, you still have to maintain the ballasts like you did with your old lighting. That’s just extra money and nuisance in our mind!

  1. No Incompatibility Issues

With LED ballast bypass tubes, everything is directly wired into your existing light fixture with the elimination of your ballast. This means that there are no capability issues to worry about. When choosing the plug-and-play LED tubes, knowing your correct ballast is crucial. Only certain plug-and-play LED tubes will work with certain ballast types (i.e. electric or magnetic). Some older fixtures may not even have the correct ballast type for the option of a plug-and-play LED tube.

  1. Less Consumption of Electricity

Ballasts can actually waste electricity internally when in use because of the heat they create, and in turn, can wear out faster than the LED bulb/tube (which also goes hand in hand with number 1, ballast maintenance costs). When you have a LED ballast bypass tube, there is no ballast to consume electricity. The whole point of switching to LEDs is to SAVE on electricity costs and energy, so why go backwards by keeping the ballast? Using ballast bypass tubes maintain LED efficiency.



While the initial cost of installing LED ballast bypass tubes is higher than installing the plug-and-play LED tubes, it makes more sense in the longterm to go with the ballast bypass method: no ballast maintenance, no ballast maintenance costs, less energy costs to maintain LED efficiency, and no ballast compatibility issues. When you add up maintenance costs of keeping the ballast, it just wouldn’t be worth it.


If you need KB Electric LLC to help with your business’ LED retrofit project, give us a call! We will always recommend going with the LED ballast bypass option over the plug-and-play option. Longterm cost savings and energy efficiency is what the LED is all about!