Having proper lighting in your workshop is as important as investing in the right toolkits. Whether you want to get a better view of what you’re working on, shine some light on the mill marks or take pictures of your final product, high-quality lighting is a must-have.
One of the best lighting options are LED shop lights. Often, these fixtures are designed to hang from a ceiling using hooks or chains. In this article, we’ll look at more features of LED shop lights and recommend top-rated fixtures.
- A Lowdown on LED Shop Lights
- Ways to Install LED Shop Lights
- Benefits of LED Shop Lights
- Features to Consider when Choosing LED Shop Lights
- Top 5 LED Shop Lights
A Lowdown on LED Shop Lights
These are an improved version of the fluorescent shop lights. Are you familiar with the tubular fixtures that sometimes produce a humming or buzzing sound? Well, the LED shop lights are a more advanced design of these fixtures.
The most common application of LED shop lights is in garages and workshops (which is where they get their name from), where an individual needs to illuminate a small space like a tabletop or workbench.
The beauty about LED shop lights is that they’re suitable for both residential and commercial uses. Here’s an overview of the main types of LED shop lights:
If you’re looking for a way to illuminate every single section of your workshop, an LED light bar is your best bet. This fixture is powered using a rechargeable battery- an aspect that makes it lightweight and easily portable. Thanks to their portability, light bars are perfect for casting light on those out-of-the-way spaces.
These are the most common types of lights that you’ll find in workshops, basements and garages. As its name implies, it’s a fixture that’s suspended from the ceiling using a chain. You can mount it as far away from the ceiling as you want. In fact, doing so helps to illuminate your workspace more efficiently.
The majority of overhead lights stretch approximately four feet across. Designing them with this width enables them to cast light on a bigger space like a whole workbench. Another feature of the overhead lights is that they come equipped with tubular light bulbs which are the same size as the fixture itself.
If you want to make the most use of an overhead lights, experts recommend placing them in such a way that they cast light downwards. Also, avoid mounting the fixture too close to a wall as this will hinder its ability to illuminate the entire space.
If the tubular design of conventional shop lights doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to look into a LED track light. This one consists of several small-sized flood lights, connected to a continuous track gadget that contains electrical conductors.The benefit of using track lights is that they make it easier to shine light in a given direction.
However, you need to consider the fact that the track device will be suspended directly from the ceiling. What this means is that if your ceiling is too high up, the bulbs will be mounted too high to illuminate your work area effectively.
For workbenches equipped with a dozen cabinets, the under-cabinet lighting fixtures will come in handy. Since they’re mounted as close to your work area as possible, they’ll cast a decent amount of light. This makes them suitable for precision work.
Ways to Install LED Shop Lights
When selecting a LED shop light to install in your garage or home, you have two main techniques to choose from. This will depend on whether you have other lights already installed in the space where you’ll be adding the new set of fixtures.
If you’d been using fluorescent tube lighting in your workshop before you got to know about LED shop lights, then the installation will be very easy.
Instead of setting up the lighting fixtures from the ground up, all you need to do is replace your current tubes with the LED-style fixtures, which are popularly known as TLED. But before you do that, confirm that the ballast (the piece of equipment that supports the light tubes) is compatible with your LED shop lights.
Installing from scratch
The benefit of doing a fresh installation is the fact that you’re not restricted by the current ballast. Thus, you’re free to choose from the variety of shop lights we discussed above.
The installation approach will vary from one lighting fixture to the next. But in general, most of them need to be connected to the existing wiring system. Some need to be plugged into a wall socket and yet others allow for either connection.
Benefits of LED Shop Lights
LED shop lights confer multiple advantages over conventional lighting fixtures.
Contain no mercury
One of the complaints that customers have always had regarding compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) is that they contain mercury. While this does not affect the fixture’s performance in any way, it means that disposing the bulb will release mercury into the environment.
Manufacturers, on their part, have always argued that the amount of mercury in these lighting fixtures is negligible. But if you don’t want to have to worry about the mercury content in your bulbs, LED shop lights are the perfect alternative. They don’t have any mercury meaning they don’t need any special handling or disposal.
Provide instant illumination
If you’ve ever used the traditional CFLs, then you’re aware of the slight hesitation that occurs before the bulbs can shine light. Other lighting fixtures will flicker constantly either during the warm up or the actual operation.
But unlike these other options, LED shop lights give off instant illumination the minute they’re switched on. This is a key advantage over CFLs, especially if you consider those areas of your home where lights are switched on and off regularly.
Don’t contribute to heat buildup within your workspace
For individuals who live in hot climatic regions, finding ways to decrease the amount of heat generated within the home is a constant struggle. Fortunately, switching to one of the LED shop lights in our review is a good place to start.
While incandescent bulbs illuminate areas effectively- both in terms of the brightness level and quality of light, they also emit a significant amount of heat. Take a 100watt incandescent bulb for instance. This fixture consumes 100 watts of power, which also means that it churns out 100 joules of energy per second.
By comparison, LED shop lights are able to stay cool regardless of how much energy they are generating. In fact, some LED fixtures are equipped with heat sinks that serve to keep the operating temperatures low.
They are UV-Free
Another advantage of LED shop lights is that they don’t give off ultraviolet light, which attracts all kinds of bugs to your home. But just to be sure, you should check the label or manual for UV information.
Alternatively, you can look for specialty LED bulbs that are fitted with yellow senses or bulbs. These are commonly used in outdoor workspaces and they don’t attract insects that seem to cluster around typical white bulbs.
Features to Consider when Choosing LED Shop Lights
To get the ideal shop light for your garage, basement or retail store, there are a couple of factors you should keep in mind. These include:
The intensity or strength of brightness will be indicated using lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the lighting fixture.
However, this does not necessarily imply that a brighter bulb is superior. If you buy a bulb that is too bright for your workspace, you might end up with extreme reflections or blinding beams that will work against you. Thus, you should be careful when determining the brightness to go for.
Ideally, the average brightness for a LED shop light that will be used in a garage, workshop or other residential space is 4000 lumens.
If you have a very large space, you can choose a brighter lighting fixture. But keep in mind that using several fixtures instead of one that is extremely bright is a better option. The different lights help to distribute light more evenly within the space.
This and our first feature are the two most important factors you should take into account when selecting a shop light. While brightness is represented by lumens, the color temperature is represented using Kelvins.
This can range anywhere from 1500 to 12000 Kelvins. The lower the color temperature, the closer the resemblance of that fixture’s lighting to normal daylight. Usually, this means choosing a shop light with between 4000 and 5000 Kelvins.
For the majority of buyers, one of the most vital attributes of a LED shop light is energy efficiency.
Overall, LED lighting fixtures are more energy efficient than any other category of bulbs. However, no two shop lights will have the same level of energy efficiency so you should always compare their power consumption rate to their output.
A fixture that puts out 4000 lumens shouldn’t consume more than 40 watts of power.
There are two factors you should account for here. For one, the shop light should have at least one certification. ETL and UL are the most common certifications given to lighting fixtures that meet safety standards.
Secondly, you should think about the process of installation. How you install the LED shop lights not only impacts their performance but also their durability. Install it in the wrong way, and you could be creating a serious fire hazard.
Top 5 LED Shop Lights
Sunco Lighting 4FT LED Utility Shop Light
While the Sunco Lighting Shop Light may seem like the priciest of the bunch, it’s actually one of the most economical.
This is because you’ll be getting an immense amount of 10 bulbs for the same price that you’d pay for two lighting fixtures. If you account for the fact that a single bulb has a brightness of 4100 lm, it translates to a total of 41,000 lumens of light. This is enough to illuminate a commercial space.
According to Sunco Lighting, these bulbs have all the attributes you’d want for a workshop light fixture. For instance, each of the bulbs has a light span of 50,000 hours and they don’t emit UV rays. And unlike traditional fluorescent bulbs, they don’t contain any mercury.
- Lightweight fixtures; hence portable
- Energy-efficient: consume 50% less energy than similar fluorescent fixtures
- Backed by a 7-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Economical option
- The packaging of the lighting fixtures can be improved
BBOUNDER 1 Pack 36W LED Shop Light
At times, installing a fluorescent bulb on your walls or ceiling just isn’t possible either due to insufficient space or wiring problems.
This is why BBOUNDER provides a third option: a 4-foot lamp reinforced with one steel wire to mount it on the ceiling or underneath a cabinet. While the steel hanging wire looks delicate and flimsy, it’s stronger than any screws that can be used to support lighting fixtures.
Another reason that justifies incorporating the hanging wire is the fact that the lamp gets extremely hot when it’s on. For this reason, it’s not advisable to attach it to a plastic surface as the heat could easily damage it.
Furthermore, you can use the wire to adjust the height of the bulb. Speaking of the bulb, this fixture churns out at least 3600 lumens. While it’s not the most powerful option, it produces enough light to illuminate a home or office.
That said, choosing such a shop light with a lower power consumption rate means you benefit from significant cost savings.
- Since it’s a single lighting fixture, it doesn’t take up much space giving it a stylish design
- Reasonably bright: produces 3600 lumens
- Compact design means it can be installed almost anywhere
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Recommended for family or office use only; cannot be used in an outdoor setting
Have you been looking for an outdoor shop light that you can use in your garage or warehouse? If you have, the 48W Linkable by OOOLED is the ultimate solution as it’s designed to brave any elements that are thrown at it.
The 8-foot LED Lamp is made using a stain-resistant type of steel. This means that you can install it even in ceilings that are prone to leakage.
That said, take note that it has a width of eight feet, which means it takes up quite a bit of space. On the brighter side, the additional width means that it can cast light on a larger surface area.
While this shop light produces a whopping 4800 lumens, it only consumes 48 watts. This makes it a pretty energy-efficient unit. And if you doubt its performance, you can rest easy as it has a cETLus certification. This certification is only awarded after a product has been tested and found to conform to the safety standards of the United States and Canada.
- Provides up to 65% energy savings over a lifespan
- Simple installation: mounting hardware included in the package
- Offers versatility as it can be mounted to walls or ceilings
- It’s cETLus-listed certified
- Comes with 5-year warranty
- Lack of detailed instructions
Hyperikon 4 Foot LED Shop and Garage Lighting
Another fixture worth considering is the 4-foot LED Shop Lighting by Hyperikon. While it’s available in 1 and 4-pack, we recommend the 4-pack as it provides greater benefits relative to pricing.
Hyperikon produces at least 4000 lumens of light. This is enough light to illuminate a big domestic space or any working area.
Moreover, it has a simple and timeless design that makes installation a breeze. Speaking of which, you’ll have three mounting options to pick from. One, you can suspend it from the ceiling in the usual way. Two, you can connect it directly to the ceiling or you can attach it to other fixtures creating a continuous or wider beam of light.
- Versatile mounting options
- Shines light on your work area with 4000 lumens
- Simple installation
- Backed by a 5-year warranty
- Don’t last as long as other shop lights
Hypergiant Pack of 8 T5 Utility Led Shop Light
Have you grown weary of dealing with low-quality lamps that get fried anytime there’s a power surge? If you have, you will love the performance of Hypergiant LED T5 that boasts an operating voltage range of 85 to 265V.
With this shop light, you’re guaranteed that the fixtures will continue illuminating brightly regardless of how low the power gets.
Best part is: the lights offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to usage. You can either use each light independently or connect them together. If you choose the latter option, the maximum number of fixtures you can connect together is six.
The ease of installation is another reason why you should invest in Hypergiant T5 Utility Light. It has one of the simplest plug-and-play mechanisms. All you need to do is mount the fixtures using the snap joints provided. Next, insert the plug and you’re good to go.
- Has an extendable design; allows you to connect up to 6 bulbs
- Plug-and-play installation
- Ideal for a variety of applications: garage, under cabinets, basement, home
- The aluminum housing is not durable
While they may be confused for regular fluorescent lights, LED shop lights offer so much more value with regards to illumination, ease of maintenance, safety and installation. Most of these fixtures are bright enough to illuminate big open spaces like supermarkets and parking lots. They can also be used to cast light on a specific spot.
If you’re looking to buy one of these fixtures, the Sunco Lighting Shop Light is an excellent choice. It comes with multiple bulbs that can be installed in different areas, is energy-efficient and includes a 7-year warranty.