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Skylights vs. Solar Tubes: Which is Best?

skylights vs solar tubesSkylights or solar tubes? That’s the question of the day. The feeling of natural light in your home or office can make the difference between an open, airy, inviting space and a room that feels like a cave. No matter how big the space is, it can feel small and claustrophobic if there’s not enough light. So what’s the answer to adding light if you can’t add windows? It’s time to consider the benefits of skylights vs. solar tubes. Here’s what you need to know about both.


The Truth About Skylights


Skylights are like windows installed in the roof that let light down directly into a room. The ones manufactured today are not the same as the skylights of long ago. They’re sturdier, safer, and easier to install. They let in light through the roof, brightening up spaces from kitchens to bathrooms in your home and offices to workshops in your commercial building. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to this type of home addition.


Skylight pros:


  • Adds natural light to rooms without large windows or to rooms that face north.
  • You can see the stars, the clouds, and the weather through the roof.
  • They can increase circulation and airflow if the skylight opens.
  • Adds appeal to certain buyers by adding light to an otherwise dark space.
  • They make rooms feel bigger and more expansive by adding a slice of the sky and extra light.


Skylight cons:


  • Roof damage can occur during installation if not done properly.
  • Due to installation, skylights can only go in rooms directly under the roof, meaning lower-floor rooms in multiple-story buildings aren’t an option for skylight installation.


The Lowdown on Solar Tubes


Solar tubes, also called sun tunnels and sun tunnel skylights, are like traditional skylights in that they let light from above into a room or space with few or no windows. The difference between skylights vs. solar tubes is that where skylights come in a range of sizes and installation is directly in the ceiling with a clear view of the outdoors, solar tubes are much smaller, usually 10” to 14” in diameter. They consist of a tube made up of metal sheets with a plastic dome on the outside and a light diffuser on the inside. Here are the pros and cons of this type of lighting.




  • You have flexibility with installation location due to their small diameter and design, allowing for natural light in smaller spaces.
  • Sun tunnels are low-cost with quick installation due to their smaller size and easy mounting.
  • They allow natural light into spaces with few or no windows.
  • They’re budget-friendly due to the size, material, and reduced installation cost.
  • The light is brighter than that from a skylight because the dome captures the sunlight, and the interior component diffuses it.




  • Sun tunnels have limited design options due to their size and function.
  • Because of the materials, the interior conducts heat which can lead to condensation.
  • You can’t see out through the sun tunnel skylight. They’re not like windows but instead are a light source and diffuser.


Knowing whether a skylight or a solar tube is a better option for your home or office can come down to location, budget, and desired effect. Talk to a professional for guidance on which is right for your needs by contacting Premiere Roofing, a certified installer of both VELUX® Skylights and VELUX® Sun Tunnels, for a free estimate.

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“My experience with Premiere Roofing was great from the inspection with Russ to installation with Lawrence and his team. The level of customer service, communication, and materials were superior. I highly recommend their roofing services!”
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