5 Tips for Choosing the Right Lighting Ballast

Tips for Choosing the Right Lighting Ballast

Put simply, ballasts do two main things in regulating and maintaining the performance of fluorescent and high-density discharge (HID) lamps: they start lamps and control lamp operations.

But before choosing a ballast, it’s important to know about the different types.

  • Magnetic ballasts: Traditional and robust, these ballasts are commonly used with older fluorescent lighting fixtures. They tend to be less energy efficient than other types of ballasts, however, and can produce flickering and humming sounds.
  • Electronic ballasts: More energy-efficient and offering better lamp performance than magnetic ballasts, these are suitable for a wide range of applications. They’re often used with newer fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) fixtures.
  • Digital ballasts: The most advanced type, these provide superior control and efficiency, especially for high-intensity lighting applications.
  • LED Drivers: If your building has LED lighting fixtures, you’ll need LED drivers instead of traditional ballasts. These electronic devices regulate the power supply to LED lights. They’re energy-efficient, have long lifespans, and offer dimming capabilities. LED drivers come in different types, such as constant current drivers and constant voltage drivers, selected based on the specific LED fixtures you have.

Next, it’s important to consider energy efficiency. Look for ballasts with the ENERGY STAR® symbol, as they meet internationally recognized standards for energy efficiency. Ballasts with this symbol consume less energy, emit less heat, and have a longer lifespan than ballasts without. You can also select ballasts that are compatible with energy-saving lamps, such as LED tubes, to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Before choosing ballasts, check your lamp types. Different ballasts are designed for different lamp types, such as T5, T8, or T12 fluorescent lamps and HID lamps. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for recommended lamp types and wattages. Using the correct ballast enhances lamp life, reduces flickering, and maintains consistent lighting levels.

Many ballasts are compatible with dimming systems. So if your residential or commercial building has advanced lighting control features, select dimming ballasts that meet these needs. Dimming helps save energy, creates ambiance, and improves occupant comfort.

Your ballast is only as good as the brand you source it from. Here at Albrite and E.B. Horsman & Son, you can trust that we only supply ballasts from outstanding manufacturers like Signify, Philips, Lutron, Leviton, and others. 

Choosing from a well-known, reliable brand makes your work easier by keeping maintenance and longevity in mind. Once you pick your brand of choice, look for ballasts that offer easy installation, have a long operational life, require minimal maintenance, and offer warranty options.

Here is a guide for Philips Lamp, (LED & Traditional), Ballasts and Drivers.

Common FAQs

Our customers often need ballasts for their specific use cases. If you’re a property manager for a residential or commercial building or a purchasing agent for a nationwide chain—like many of our customers—here are some additional factors to consider.

Choosing the right ballasts for your building depends on several factors, including the type of lighting fixtures you have, your energy-efficiency goals, and your budget. 

But in general, electronic ballasts are a great choice for energy-conscious residential buildings. They provide better light quality, reduce flickering, and eliminate humming noises, keeping your residents happy.

Many of our customers are purchasing agents for commercial chains. If this sounds like you, make sure to:

  • Understand your building’s requirements: Consider the type and quantity of fixtures, wattage requirements, and any specific features or compatibility requirements.
  • Research and compare: Learn about the different lighting ballast options, and compare their specifications, features, energy efficiency ratings, and pricing. Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry—our team can help you narrow it down!
  • Comply with regulations: Ensure that your ballasts comply with electrical safety standards, environmental regulations, and energy-efficiency requirements in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, or wherever your building is located.
  • Consider future building expansions or upgrades: To accommodate future expansion or upgrades to your buildings’ lighting systems, consider ballasts that are flexible and compatible with a range of lighting fixtures. This can help save money down the road by streamlining future retrofitting projects and minimizing compatibility issues.

Still Unsure? We're Happy to Help

Still need guidance finding the right ballast for your commercial or residential building? Get in touch with our team of lighting experts. Lamps and ballasts have been Albrite’s bread and butter for over 50 years—with brands like Lutron, Philips, Fulham, Intermatic, Crouse-Hinds, EcoSystem, Nova T.

We’re more than happy to help you find the perfect ballast for your lighting needs!

Get support with all your lighting needs