What is the Difference Between Direct-Fit & Direct-Wire Installation?

Energy Focus Blog

What is the Difference Between Direct-Fit & Direct-Wire Installation?


Direct-fit LED tubes are the easiest type of tube to install. This type of installation can also be referred to as “Plug-and-Play”. These LED tubes are a direct replacement for fluorescent tubes and work with the existing fixture, wiring, and most ballasts. They can be installed in 4 easy steps:

  1. Turn off the power source
  2. Remove the existing fluorescent tube
  3. Install the new Energy Focus direct-fit LED tube
  4. Turn on the power source

The Intellitube® works as a direct-fit installation and is a quick fix for those who want to begin saving money for a retrofit installation, but may not have the immediate funds to begin a total lighting restructure. The amazing thing about the Intellitube® is it can also be used as a direct-wire installation, should the ballast fail!


Direct-wire LED tubes are installed without a ballast and instead requires a direct connection to line voltage. If you read our previous post about the difference between fluorescent and LED lighting, you already know that a fluorescent tube needs a ballast in order to illuminate and that ballasts can eat up an additional 5 Watts of energy. Energy Focus direct-wire LED tubes do not need a ballast, which allows them to be more energy efficient and cost-effective. You will need to remove the ballast before you install direct-wire LED tubes, but it’s not as hard as it sounds:

  1. Turn off the power source
  2. Remove the fluorescent tube
  3. Cut the wires leading to the ballast
  4. Remove the ballast
  5. Install new lampholders (tombstones) that create a direct connection to the line voltage
  6. Cap any loose wires
  7. Install new Energy Focus LED tube
  8. Turn on the power source

Ballasts inevitably fail, long before a new LED tube will, so a direct-wire installation is a more cost-effective and efficient choice when switching from fluorescent to LED lighting. It does take a little longer to install and it may require an electrician, but it is worth it for future investment. Our 500D series LED tube is the perfect solution for offices, schools, retail spaces, and more! It requires a direct-wire installation and has amazing benefits such as Energy Focus flicker-free technology, 150lm/w efficacy, and a 10-year warranty.

If you would like to learn more about which installation would work best for your lighting upgrade, please use our contact form and a Customer Service Agent will help you!

Direct Wire vs. Direct Fit TLED Installation Video