Lack of adequate lighting in your garage can make work problematic both during the day and at night. Whether you are detailing your vehicle, overhauling an engine, or other garage worthy tasks — you want to be able to see what you are doing.
There is a myriad of garage lighting options to choose from, and you need to consider several factors before making a purchase. First of all, what is a lumen and how many do you need? More importantly, how significant is light color temperature?
You should also take into consideration the type of mounting options available to you. You also shouldn’t overlook the energy saving ability and initial costs.
The Best Garage Lighting
1. Hykolity Linkable LED Shop Lights
This light fixture is suitable for lighting up large areas such as barns, warehouses, and factories as well as comparatively smaller garages, and basements. The package comes with all the hardware needed to mount the lights. You can hang them with chains from the ceiling, or you can surface-mount them.
The four fixtures come with built-in connectors that you can use to link them together. These fixtures are best installed 8 to 16 feet above the floor.
Since there is a pull cord, it's easy to switch the lights on and off. You can also wire the lights to make them work from a wall switch. In that case, however, the pull cord switch will need to remain “on” at all times.
The LED has 42 watts of power, 3700 Lm of luminosity, and a color temperature of 5000K. Thanks to these specifications, it can efficiently emit a bright white light suitable for all kinds of work. Installing the four lights in the pack will banish dark areas and shadow patterns from your garage.
2. Hyperikon LED Garage Lights
You can install these lights in two ways — surface-mount them on drywall or wooden surfaces or suspend it with a chain from the ceiling. The package also includes the mounting hardware.
The light fixture’s built-in series wire connector allows you to connect it to other fixtures in a daisy chain arrangement. Also, the fixtures come with a sturdy steel casing that makes this lighting system the best possible option for garages, workshops, and recreation rooms as well as for outdoor installations.
There is a pull chain that makes it convenient to switch the light on and off. The color temperature of 5000K ensures that it provides a bright white light akin to daylight. This feature is crucial if you do fine-detail work like soldering circuit boards and painting things. LEDs are energy-efficient, emitting 4000 lumens of light with just 40 watts.
3. Hyperikon LED High Bay Light Fixture
Two feet long and made of brushed metal, this bay fixture's main purpose is to illuminate warehouses. It is, however, also well suited as a lighting system for your garage or other work-spaces with a high ceiling.
However, what we love the most about it is that it comes with an optional infrared sensor to detect motion. If you install this sensor, it can detect your presence within a range of 80 feet. As soon as you are in this range, the light will turn on instantly. In addition, it will go dim if the sensor fails to detect any motion for ten minutes.
The LED has a color temperature of 5000K and emits a bright white light. You can tone down the brightness to the one to ten volts range and experience practically no glare issues. Thus, this adjustment suits our lighting needs, and you can avoid eye strains and headaches while you work.
Finally, we ought to note that this light fixture is quite easy to install and comes with a mechanism for mounting with a chain or a cable. You can also adjust the chain or cable to pivot the light at an angle and change the light direction if you want. Since the light is projected directly under the fixture in a 120-degree arc, you can install it to light up only specific areas.
4. PrimeLights LED Garage Lights
This light fixture is mostly suitable for industrial buildings where the ceilings are higher than 15 feet. However, it can also be installed outdoors if the location is well sheltered from the weather.
Depending on your lighting requirements, you can have the light fixture chain-mounted or surface-mounted. The fixture has non-shunted tombstones that ensure that its bulbs light up to full brightness in an instant.
These 18-watt LED bulbs have an integrated driver. Thanks to this driver technology — which is known as direct wire or ballast-bypass — the bulbs work without requiring an external ballast (a ballast regulates the current and supplies the needed voltage). Since we don’t need ballasts for the new fixtures, we save on overall costs.
The 2850 lumen bulbs have a wide field angle and come in a 20-gauge steel bay casing with mirrored aluminum reflectors. The bulb's color temperature is 5000K, which makes the bulbs give out a white light that is similar to daylight. Furthermore, the light contains blue spectra that can improve your mood and keep you awake and productive.
5. Hyperikon Linkable LED Shop Lights
This LED light has a color temperature of 5000K and emits a cold white light. Along with being energy efficient, it is also ideal for working in your garage.
Whether it be for car repairs, welding, or woodworking, the bright illumination will not strain your eyes or induce a headache. Even though this type of light is more common in commercial buildings, you can also install it outdoors in areas that are not directly exposed to rain or sunlight.
Using wall anchors and screws, you can surface-mount the light on drywall or wooden surfaces. You can also suspend the light using height-adjustable steel cables that come with attachment anchors and loops. The pack includes the hardware for this, but for corner-mounting of the lights, you will have to get your own 45 degrees angle brackets. Still, the integrated fixture has end connectors through which you can connect other light fixtures to form a series.
What to Look for in Lighting
Incandescent, Halogen, Fluorescent, or LED?
LED lights are replacing incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lights as the preferred choice for garage lighting. They might be a bit pricey, but in the long term, they prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Their popularity lies in their longevity and energy efficiency. They can provide up to 50,000 hours of service, which far exceeds what we would get from incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lights.
LED lights are also 30% brighter and consume 60% less energy. In addition, they don’t become hot if we leave them on for a long period of time, and they don’t emit mercury or UV radiation. Also, it helps that they are easy to recycle.
Major Factors that Affect Lighting Decisions
Before buying any type of lighting, we want to know how much light it is capable of projecting. We measure the brightness of light in lumens, lux, and foot-candles. The light bulb emitting the brightest light will have the highest number of lumens, while the light bulb emitting dimmer light will have fewer lumens. For reference, also remember that one lux and one foot-candle are equal to one lumen per square meter and one lumen per square foot, respectively.
While it can be tempting to get the brightest available light, we need to consider if it will suit our purpose. We want good visibility in the workplace rather than lighting that is harsh or blinding. Thus, if you are going to have ceiling-mounted lights, you can safely go with 4000 to 6000 lumens. Anything higher than that — 8000 lumens, for instance — might end up being too bright and too reflective.
The light’s color temperature tells us if the bulb will emit a cold or warm light. Different bulbs have different color temperatures, and we measure these in Kelvin units.
With a higher color temperature, we will get a cold, white light that takes on bluish tones as we go further up. In contrast, bulbs with a lower color temperature will emit a warm, yellowish light.
If possible, you should look for a color temperature that corresponds to natural light, which is around 6000K. LED and fluorescent lights that are in the 4000K to 7000K range are similar to it and produce a cool-lit environment. In any case, these lights are closer to natural light than incandescent and halogen lights.
The garage temperature is an important consideration since it needs to be within the tolerance limit of the lights you install. If the garage temperature exceeds this limit, the lights might end up burning out long before their warranty expires. So, check that the lights can tolerate high temperatures.
In general, to make our investment worthwhile, the lighting should last us at least 50,000 hours. We can get this output from LED lights. In comparison, fluorescent lasts around 14,000 hours, halogen lights around 6000 hours, and incandescent lights for around 900 hours.
To save on energy costs, we want lights that will consume less energy. In this regard, LEDs save more energy than other option available. They use at least 60% less energy.
Are the Lights Easy to Setup?
Unless you’ve done it before or know how to work with electric circuits and power supplies, it might be best to let a professional electrician handle the light installation. They can tell you if the new lights will work on the existing circuits, or if rewiring is necessary.
The garage ceiling height is an important consideration when installing lights. It’s not a good idea to install hanging lights if the ceiling is too low. You don’t want to risk colliding into them as you move around the garage.
Also, in case you want strip lights on the ceiling, you should consider the maximum height of the vehicles that will be parked underneath. You also need to take into account the height you'll reach if you have to lift up the vehicles for any under-body work. Ideally, the lighting should be at least three feet above this maximum height.
The garage lighting that you choose to install can affect overall visibility and garage safety. However, you may need to buy several light units to get the required level of brightness, which would certainly make a dent in your budget.
So, it’s important to choose carefully and never shop in a hurry. You don’t want to end up with expensive lights that are too dim for your needs. To avoid that, it will help to consider the factors we discussed like lumen output and color temperature.