Starters in fluorescent lamp circuits on the one hand have the task of providing sufficient pre-heating of the lamp electrodes (the starter is closed). On the other hand, they have to open at the appropriate moment and thus initiate the starting sequence. This generates a high ignition voltage for the lamp in the inductive control gear unit by means of mutual induction. For this purpose, starters are equipped with bimetallic contacts which react when the electrodes are sufficiently pre-heated. In quality starters, both contacts are equipped as bimetallic contacts (bimetallic double contact), which achieves quicker starter opening and therefore extended service life as well as more preserving lamp operation.

Starters for fluorescent lamps with inductive control gear must conform to EN 60155 "Glow-starters for fluorescent lamps" (IEC 155) or EN 61347-2-1 "Lamp control gear – Part 2-1: Particular requirements for starting devices (other than glow starters)".