Skip to main content

What is a Tubular Skylight? Tube Skylight Review

My kitchen skylights on a rainy day. On a sunny day, the whole room is bright, while you don't even notice that the skylights are there.

My kitchen skylights on a rainy day. On a sunny day, the whole room is bright, while you don't even notice that the skylights are there.

Add Natural Lighting to Your Home

One of the best decisions I have made in home improvement was to install tubular skylights to let natural light into my kitchen. These lights, also called tube lights, are a way to go green as they will make a huge difference in how often you have to resort to using your electric overhead lighting.

My kitchen has only a small window to the north, so it gets very little direct sunshine at any point during the day. Since I had my skylights installed, I no longer have to turn on my kitchen lights every single day in order to see what I'm doing in my kitchen.

Before my skylights, I frequently had to change my overhead light bulbs. Since the light covers are totally enclosed, I could only use incandescent bulbs, which seem to burn out much more quickly. So out I would come with the stepladder to change those pesky bulbs. Well, no more!

When I first broached the idea of installing skylights to my handyman, he suggested tubular skylights as opposed to regular skylights. He told me of the many advantages over traditional skylights, and I have learned them to be true firsthand. I am now saving time, money, and energy.

A kitchen before and after installing tubular skylights. What a difference!

A kitchen before and after installing tubular skylights. What a difference!

Before and After Photos

You can see what my skylights look like on a dark and rainy day. (See above photo.) On a sunny day, the room is totally bright.

Unfortunately, I failed to take a before picture in my own kitchen, but the difference in the before and after was just as dramatic as the ones of the kitchen to the right. There are even more great examples of before and after pictures on the Horizon Energy Systems website where I found these photos. The lights can be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, dark hallways and closets--virtually anywhere!

The first photo reminds me exactly of my kitchen, how dark it was before and how bright afterwards. The differences are astounding. I no longer need any other lighting during the daytime unless it's a dark, dreary day outside.

Grow plants indoors with tubular skylights!

When I contacted the site owner of Horizon Energy Systems to ask permission to use his before and after photos, he said that he also is "pioneering indoor growing of vegetables and fruits using tubular skylights." What a great idea! I now am already able to give live plants the light they need in my kitchen--something I couldn't do before installing tube lights.

Diagram of how a tube light works from roof to ceiling

Diagram of how a tube light works from roof to ceiling

Other advantages of tubular skylights

  • Tube lights emit more evenly dispersed light, as it comes through highly reflective tubing.
  • Tube lights block harmful UV rays.
  • There is no fading of furniture as when the sun hits through traditional skylights.

Tube skylights are more flexible

When first contemplating what kind of lights to install, my handyman conveyed to me that the tube lights would be easier to get through my roof, my attic, and to the spots they needed to be. There is no major construction, no cutting through shingles and beams and ceilings. Unlike a traditional skylight which would have to shine straight down, the tube-shaped hose can be moved to get through to the ceiling.

After sunlight hits the globe on the roof, it goes through a tube down to the diffuser on the ceiling, where the light is distributed into the room. The light that comes through, too, is just as bright as what comes through larger skylights, even though it passes through a much smaller area.

Tube lights are leakproof

Not leaking is another advantage that my handyman pointed out to me. The way these tubes are inserted on the roof under the shingles with a globe on top makes them virtually leak-proof. Going through a round instead of square hole requires no need for seams that must be tacked as on traditional skylights.

Tubular Skylight Kit on Amazon

Tubular skylights are cheaper!

Okay, handyman, you’re got my attention now. Sure, he gave some great reasons to go with his idea, but when he told me that the tubes were cheaper, I was sold. I paid him a total of $700 for installing two of these little green wonders in my kitchen. That’s only $350 apiece (labor included) as opposed to what might cost a couple of thousand dollars just for one traditional skylight.

If you can install them yourself, the cost would be even cheaper than what I paid for the parts plus labor. Another money-saving benefit is saving on the electric bill and stash of replacement light bulbs--all while enjoying natural sunlight.

DIY Video: Installing Tube Skylights--in just about 2 hours!

I love my tubular skylights!

A brighter kitchen

Since my tubular skylights were installed, I rarely have to turn on my regular lights during the day. As a matter of fact, it was some time before I got over reaching for the light switch to "turn off the light."

Only on dark days when I really need to see what I’m doing do I flip on that light switch. I am loving not having to get out the stepladder frequently to change out my overhead bulbs. Natural light fills my kitchen during daylight hours and offers a faint glow on a moonlit night. I am absolutely thrilled with my decision.


Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on October 24, 2015:

Kristen, I'm glad, too. This isn't a traditional skylight in that I can't see outside. The tube just brings in the light, which is wonderful. I like a bright kitchen!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 22, 2015:

Victoria, I'm so glad they worked out that way for you. I love skylights.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on October 21, 2015:

Kristen, I agree. I thought it was well worth it. It has made such a difference with bringing in light. I love them!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 13, 2015:

I think so, Victoria. But it's pretty cool.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on October 12, 2015:

Kristen--Did you mean inexpensive? I thought it was very reasonable. I've really enjoyed the improvement! I used to change my kitchen lightbulbs all the time. Now I rarely do!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 02, 2015:

Victoria, great hub. It sounds so cool and expensive. Thanks for sharing this review!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 10, 2013:

drpennypincher--It is great! One of these days I may invest in more for some of my other darker rooms! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dr Penny Pincher from Iowa, USA on March 09, 2013:

Interesting product- you get free lighting, at least during day time. This seems like a great idea for rooms that don't have windows. Thanks for the review!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 25, 2013:

Thanks, teaches! It's great in my kitchen. I would really like one in my bathroom, laundry room, and hallway, too. One of these days, perhaps! I'm sold on tube lights!

Dianna Mendez on February 25, 2013:

I would love to have one of these in my kitchen. Very nice share and well written.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 19, 2013:

Yes, Eddy, these tube lights are VERY useful! Thanks for reading!

Eiddwen from Wales on February 19, 2013:

Interesting and useful.

Thanks for sharing.


Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 18, 2013:

random--You're welcome! I hadn't heard of this option either until my handyman mentioned it. I love these lights and am seriously thinking about getting more to brighten up my house!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 18, 2013:

Howard--I've really thought about getting skylights in a couple of dark bathrooms. We'll see. I'll take that plug for your related article. :-) I'd love to check it out. Thanks!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 17, 2013:

Thanks for the detailed overview of this lighting option! I'd never heard of it before, but I'm intrigued now.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 17, 2013:

Thanks, prasetio! I am so very pleased with my skylights. These things are amazing. Thanks for the compliments!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 17, 2013:

mary615--Do you have the tube ones, too? I love them!

Mhatter--You are so welcome!

Howard S. from Dallas, Texas, and Asia on February 17, 2013:

In my remote 12-volt solar powered house (plug for related article), we had a skylight over the bathroom. The bathroom had no window, so this provided light without draining our precious batteries. It was not tubular, however, but corrugated like the rest of the roofing.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 17, 2013:

ktrapp--Yeah, I had never heard of them before. I think they're amazing little things! They are pretty bright. I love them and have thought about having more installed. They would be great in bathrooms. Natural light is great for really being able to see how things really look--like makeup! :-)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 17, 2013:

Wow...I really enjoy this hub and I think it useful for us. I learn something new here about Tubular Skylight. I also enjoy the video as well. Nice review, my friend. Good job and voted up!

Best wishes, Prasetio

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on February 16, 2013:

Thank you for this fascinating product review.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 16, 2013:

I love skylights. I have two in my kitchen, too. They have never leaked which was my biggest fear.

Voted UP, etc.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 16, 2013:

These are fantastic, Vicki. In fact, they almost seem brighter than electric light fixtures. How nice to not have to turn on the lights on most days - good for the environment and your wallet. I'm was shocked when I read that they are flexible. I can see how that makes installation much easier and more cost effective than traditional skylights. Voted up and useful.

Related Articles