Fast forward a few years, and Transcend Lighting sends me an email, wanting me to check out their new T5 LED replacements bulbs. I was skeptical for the reasons stated above. Luckily, though, I had some T5 fixtures running and was actively seeking ways to cut my wattage draw. It's because I live in Hawaii where electricity is $.35 a kWh, which is CRAZY. Plus, I wanted to add some flowering lights and was maxing out my circuits. If these new bulbs could work, they'd be the perfect solution because, for the same light output, the wattage gets cut in half.
My order came within 3 days of placing it, and much to my pleasant surprise, the tubes are actually plastic covered, meaning no more breakable light tubes. Yay! They actually bend a little bit with no problem, and I have permanently removed all traces of toxic mercury from the room now that those pesky fluorescents are gone.
They cost $70 each, including shipping, and considering the wattage draw reduction, pay for themselves in about a year, depending on your local cost per kWh. So the buy-in cost is a bit heavy, but the benefits are definitely there to make it totally worthwhile.
How's the performance? Excellent! Here are some pics of my clone moms grown under them for a few weeks:
They provided a link in case anyone wants to check them out. They said you can type in MARTIN during checkout and get 10% off. (Note that this is not an affiliate link, and I don't make any money on products found on this website.) https://www.transcendlighting.com/store/p5/T5_LED_Tube_%28free_U.S._shipping%29.html