Troffer Lighting

Posted by: Troffers Admin on Mon, Sep 23, 2019

As we discussed earlier, the term troffer classically referred only to recessed ceiling grid fixtures that use standard linear fluorescent tubes. But today that nomenclature has extended to mean just about any recessed (and even some non-recessed) lighting units for all types of applications.


Troffer Illumination Primer

All bulbs (a.k.a. "lamps" in industry jargon) generate light using heat provided by an electrical current:

  • Incandescence generates light by heating a filament, such as tungsten
  • Fluorescence generates light using photon emissions which create lower energy than they absorb

Below is a brief description of the general lamp types we carry on Feel free to browse further to learn more and see examples

Light Emitting Diode (LED) - these highly-efficient electroluminescent lamps use a solid state diode in place of a tungsten filament to generate light. This diode heats up to only a fraction of older incandescent lamps.


  • Most energy efficient light source on the planet
  • Generates almost no heat
  • Can last between 5 and 7 years!
  • Safe for the environment


  • Lower CRI produces a white light blowout effect
  • May cause temporary blindness if looked at directly
  • Very expensive 

Incandescent - bulbs create light using the emission of electromagnetic radiation which is visible to the eye in the form of heat. These bulbs typically use a filament which produces visible light when heated by the electrical current. However they are highly inefficient in many ways.


  • Cheap as dirt
  • High CRI does not distort the hue of nearby objects
  • Can light up in cold temperatures
  • Turns on the second you flip the switch


  • Energy-inefficient
  • Generates too much heat
  • Very short lifespan

Linear Fluorescent Lamps (LFL) - straight tubes that generate light using the natural fluorescence created by phosphor as it interacts with UV radiation. Like incandescent, an electrical current is made via a hot mercury ark inside the phosphor-coated vacuum tube. This UV light is actually invisible to the naked eye, but produces greater lumens than Edison bulbs with the same wattage.


  • Lower cost compared to LEDs
  • Very low operating cost
  • 3-5 year lifespan


  • Finding replacement ballasts can be very time consuming
  • Lower CRI than incandescent, creating a faint green hue
  • Don't fare well in cold weather

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) - any fluorescent lamp that is not linear is technically a CFL. There are a number of tube designs, shapes and sizes including household spiral-type, quad tube, 2D, U-bent and circline designs.


  • Very efficient - a 22-watt CFL can replace a 100-watt incandescent
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Small and versatile design - goes anywhere!


  • Frequently switching on-and-off reduces the lamp life
  • Contain Mercury, a toxic metal if the tube is broken

High Intensity Discharge (HID) - like LFL and CFL, gas-discharge lamps like metal halide and high pressure sodium create an electrical arc when gas and metallic salts are ionized in the tube. The ionization process inside these arc lamps is very powerful, and is often used in street and sports lighting.


  • High lumen-to-watt ratio
  • Long lifespan


  • Produces UV radiation levels that are harmful to humans in long durations
  • Take several minutes to reach full brightness
  • Requires heavy magnetic core-and-coil ballasts

Not sure what lamp type is the most efficient for your budget? Let us figure that out for you by calling 888-997-2618 today!



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