LED lights for a workshop / wood shop?

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LED lights for a workshop / wood shop?

I’m thinking of getting some LED shop lights for a basement workshop I’m about to start on. What do people recommend? The ceilings are only about 8’ tall. I have been looking at some of the deals on Amazon, Costco and Harbor Freight. Are the really cheap less than $20 lights worth it in the long run? My fear is that those inexpensive lights will crap out after a short while. What about linkable light strips or T8 led bulbs in florescent fixtures? This person lit his garage with strips https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/63000lm-maybe-garage-lightin.... I really like that idea but would that safe much money in the long run? Any suggestions would be helpful.

Superstocker's picture
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Joined: 11/28/2018 - 21:22
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Location: United States, Virginia

Welcome to the forum! I’m not an expert and I hope someone more experienced than me will be along to help you. In another thread someone mentioned this company (here’s a link to the t8 style led bulbs) https://www.hyperikon.com/led/garage-shop/led-tubes/
I think their prices look good and I like that they have warm white and hi CRI. I would look at getting some cheap fixture from one of the places you mentioned above and putting those bulbs in it. I hope that is helpful.

Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: 05/08/2017 - 02:31
Posts: 1025
Location: Queensland Australia

In my Garage. (2 car) Caravan and 2 sheds. Plus Ute tray and workbench.
I’ve gone to the mid price LED ““STRIP LIGHTS”.
5M lengths, cut to suit.
and have small 1a Power packs plugged into wall switches.

They give good clean LENGTH of light. Not just a reducing circle.
Use no power.
and running lengths along hallway toeboards. and passageways. Safe for missus in dark.
Movement sensors linked to those.
She move in bedroom.
Kitchen, Hall, and dunny. Lights. come on.

They cheap as. stick to walls. ceiling etc.
Can use adhesive or tacks as well.

I Have a length inside Ute canopy roll out.
It gives a good clear 10ft radius all round white light.
Mate has yellow for mossies. But… Yuk.

Yep. they good and don’t need building in.

I have mix of ceiling lights in Kitchen. Lounge. and strips elsewhere.

I,,, Prefer the strips.
Missus says NO. Aesthetics in lounge etc. PROPER???? lights.

goshdogit's picture
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Posts: 1194

If you have Menards stores in your area, I can recommend this model of their house brand ‘Smart Electrician’ shop lights. My friend and I have over a dozen of them that are still working great in detached garages after 2+ years. They come with a 5 year warranty.

I was recently not in Menards territory, and needed shop lights. I was unimpressed with the offerings & price in Home Depot, etc. I spent a couple hours digging through Amazon reviews and settled on this six pack made by Hykolity.

They are daisy-chainable without the need for proprietary cords like other models. Each fixture has a six-foot power cord on one end and a two-prong electrical outlet on the other.

They’ve been up for a month and I’m very pleased with them. They also have a five-year warranty, and the company website gave me some confidence that the warranty could be worth something, since they have a physical presence in the USA.

FWIW, the six-pack is very nicely lighting a 35×15 foot area with 8-foot ceilings.

If you go with LED ‘tubes’ for existing fluorescent fixtures, you may need to re-wire the fixtures to eliminate the ballasts. This depends on your existing fixtures and the LED replacements, so do your research if you go that route.

Please report back to let us know what you end up choosing, and how you like them.

Good luck with your search!

Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 07/26/2019 - 14:20
Posts: 2

I may go with shop lights from Lowes, Costco, H.D., H.F. or Amazon. I definitely have been having a good time researching and learning about this.

The fixtures kind of confuse me. With florescent tubes understand that they need to reflect light back down. When it comes to LED lights in this form factor I think the reflector is mostly cosmetic. I wonder if it could be done away with? I understand that the heat sink function of the fixture is important. Do the LED T8 tubes have built in heat sinks?

Anybody know how to use the LED tubes without a fixture. There’s some tubes that take DC directly I see. What sorts of minimal holders/fixtures are there? This person 3d printed some clips – https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2247658. He just has the tubes spliced to some wire it looks like. No tombstones at all. There’s also this sort of install kit.

Vegas LED Fan
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Joined: 11/05/2017 - 14:51
Posts: 150
Location: Nevada

You don’t need reflectors for LED lights. Unlike fluorescent tubes which cast light in all directions, the light from LED sources shines down in about a 120 degree arc. I’ve seen a few pictures of the T5 LED tubes and it is nothing more than an LED strip and associated electronics. All of the LEDs face the same direction. Why buy the tube when you can buy the insides for just a couple of dollars and not need the container.

The LEDs are mounted on a thin aluminum strip which acts as a heat sink and in some cases the strip is mounted in an aluminum housing. It is called a bar light. The ones I used for lighting my garage and for under-counter lights are 50 cm (20”) long. If you already have lights you want retrofit you can glue magnets to the back of these bar lights and mount them directly on the existing steel fixture. I think it still makes more sense to mount them individually spaced around the ceiling for more even lighting. The weigh very little so can be screwed directly into wood or wallboard and will not come loose. They require 12V DC so you do need a converter. You can buy new ones or scavenge old converters from discarded electronics.

You can get these naked (no case), with a case and open front, or with a case and clear or milky cover. You also have your choice of white, cool white or warm white LEDs. Then there is the choice of LEDSMD 5050. SMD 5630, or SMD 8250. The difference is how many lumens and the corresponding increase in watts – about 7-12W for a 36 LED, 20” bar. A 36 LED SMD 5630 bar light puts out 1080 lumens. That compares to 2600 lumens for a 32W T8 Philips fluorescent tube but some of those 2600 lumens go toward the fixture, not the room. These just snap apart into individual strips. The price for 10 of these was a bit over $10 including shipping from an overseas vendor on eBay Ten of the bar lights with cases was $18.

This shows how you can wire them in series or parallel. My garage setup uses seven SMD 5630 LED bar lights. Two rows of three and a seventh mounted above my workbench. They operate on one 60W LED driver. I looked up the same driver I used and it is now under $8 from a US seller on eBay. It’s the one pictured above.

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Joined: 07/17/2016 - 19:49
Posts: 2179
Location: PA, USA

I did a lot of research before I bought and installed my LED Tubes.
I would not buy lights with non serviceable tubes. I also went with no ballast tubes to save more on electric.
As mentioned earlier, I also bought the Hyperikon brand in frosted 3000K and one ended power, NO ballast.
Over 36 tubes installed between me and a couple friends shops and not one bad tube out of the box and 15 months on mine with no bad ones yet.
Order from them direct and sign up for email to get 15% off.
They are on Amazon too but you will get a better deal direct with discount.

Edit: I have 36 4ft of these tubes in my shop alone.
I’m closer to 60 total intalled.
And use the Frosted ones so you don’t see lines of Spots if you happen to look into the light.
Essential if you work under a car, looking up.

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Location: Canada

Hello mvidal01. Welcome to BLF!

I’d recommend a high CRI LED strip with an aluminium heatsink for good heat dissapation.

I’d recommend these:

They have been amazing to work with in general.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

Last seen: 2 days 10 hours ago
Joined: 10/28/2018 - 18:42
Posts: 344
Location: Ohio

I put these in my garage replacing old fluorescent lights. HD bought. Not the cheapest , but easy to install and just plug into existing outlets . I love em .

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Joined: 10/21/2019 - 06:23
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Location: Houston

4ft led light fixtures will be good enough I think.


DavidEF's picture
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Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

Hey guys. I was going to start a new thread. Then I saw that this one from a few months ago already existed, so I’m resurrecting this bugger!

My Brother-In-Law has a shop that needs some lighting. He’s an auto-body tech and had the shop built in order to start his own body shop business. He wants to use 8ft LED fixtures, because there’s already one 8ft LED light installed near the personnel entry door to satisfy the electrical inspection requirement. I’m thinking he needs relatively high CRI and as much concentrated light as possible. But I don’t know how much CRI he actually needs, or what’s available that will meet his needs and be reliable.

Can any of you comment on the CRI of LED shop lights? Also, the shop is big, and the roof/deck is high. So the more lumens each light can output, the better.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

Cereal_killer's picture
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That’s odd, where did my reply from this afternoon go…

 RIP  SPC Joey Riley, KIA 11/24/14. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

Lightbringer's picture
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Cereal_killer wrote:
That’s odd, where did my reply from this afternoon go…

Wellp, if you’re like me, you probably hit [preview] a coupla times to edit something, then forgot to hit [save] before quitting out. Tired

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DavidEF's picture
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Posts: 7699
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

So… any ideas?

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 02/19/2016 - 02:30
Posts: 641

I have a fair amount of Workrite Ciglio strip lights and they are extremely versatile. They run off a 120V wall outlet inverter and are daisy chained together with factory cords. They are offered in different strip lengths and have motion sensors or not. I put them up in the perimeter of my workshop roof with industrial double sided tape. The control strip is over my door with a motion sensor. When I open the door they all come on. It’s really slick set-up. They don’t protrude down either like a typical bulb fixture or fluorescent hood. the light output is impressive and a nice tint.


If you’d like to PM me an email address I can send info. I have many new ones for sale.

light addict....yeah I've got the bug.

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Last seen: 3 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: 04/15/2017 - 11:46
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Location: Detroit (Rock City!)

Late to your party but since I can't justify any more flashlights I don't spend time here any longer.   I bought these for my extra-large (20x30) 2 car garage last year.  Had 4 dead out of the box but the company replaced them very quickly.   I personally like very cool lighting and these deliver in spades.   My GF came out as I was admiring my work and exclaimed, "Damn, it's like a K-Mart in here!"   That's what I wanted.

Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/10/2020 - 04:29
Posts: 2
Location: United States

I really liked your work I think I can also glue my garage with varnish

pennzy's picture
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Location: United States , Pa.

These suckers work great with existing light sockets

I also retrofitted my wifes grow lights with LED tubes. They were cheap 4” florescent shop lights originally. Removed the ballasts and hotwired the sockets. Led tubes have been great. The electric bill went down as these are on a long time when she is starting seeds for the garden. I imagine they would be a cheap option for shop lights also.