Is Solatube so much better value for money?

We are often asked about the difference between daylighting systems that use flexible tube material rather than the rigid tubes used in Solatube Daylighting Systems. Are flexible tube systems easier to install? How efficient are they at transferring light from rooftop to the room below? Are they cheaper to buy?

Are sun tubes any good?

Flexible sun tunnel style systems are generally cheap to buy. If cost is the highest priority when purchasing a sun pipe system, then you or your builder may opt for a flexible system. But are you really saving money? 

Independent tests have proved that you would need 10 flexible sun tunnel systems to match the light output of just one Solatube Daylighting System

This was the result when the Building Research Establishment tested our Solatube system – size for size – against the flexible tube system of the most widely-known roof light manufacturer. Please contact us if you would like a copy of the independent report.

Ease of installation?

Every Solatube system comes with two 0-30 degree angles as standard to make installation easier (0-90 degree angles are available too) — so there is no need to compromise quality and performance for (perceived) ease of installation.

What about efficiency?

As already mentioned, a single Solatube sun tunnels can provide more than 10 times the light of a similar sized flexible sun tunnel. Tube material plays a large part in the superior performance of the Daylighting System; our rigid tubing use Spectralight Infinity 99.7% reflective tube material which transfers light evenly and efficiently down the tube to the room below. 

Unique to Solatube, this material loses only 0.3% of the light at each bounce down the tube. By contrast, a flexible tube, with its concertinaed foil lining, reflects light in all directions (including upwards!) resulting in very poor light output – see below.


So while flexible systems may be perceived by some as the easier, cheaper option, they will never match the quality, light output and efficiency of a rigid tube system. In continental Europe, flexible systems are shunned owing to their poor performance and quality. In the UK, however, while the professional community rarely specify them, some homeowners and builders are tempted by the big brand name or use them simply because they are readily available at builder’s merchants and are cheap.


If you want a quality, efficient tubular daylighting system that delivers high levels of daylight into your home, make sure you (or your builder!) steer clear of flexible sun tube systems!


For More Information please read our Ultimate Guide.

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