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Are you ready to upgrade your shop to LED shop lights? If your anything like me your house has probably already been upgraded to mostly LED lights for a while now but LED lights in your shop have yet to come.
This could have to do with the pricing of LED utility shop lights. For so long they have been a costly investment to you and me as the consumer on the front end.
Over the recent years, the pricing has become more affordable for the small shops and garages. So let’s get started on picking out the right LED shop lights for your garage.
What is LED Anyways?
I’m sure by now you already know what LED is, but maybe you don’t so hears the back story. LED is a recent advancement in technology to bed a more energy efficient lighting solution.
So what does LED actually stand for? ‘Light Emitting Diode’ What LED does is it uses a small semiconductor that converts electricity into light, in this case for your shop.
Why Choose LED
LED is a smart choice for shop lighting due to its energy efficiency. LED lights use roughly 85% percent less energy than normal incandescent or halogen lights.
Also, let’s not forget about the life span of LED with ranges of 24,000-52,000 hours we are talking about some serious savings. I know the upfront cost of this newer technology can be a bit pricey but the savings and return on investment are there!
Choosing A Utility LED Shop Light Style
When starting your search in choosing LED shop lights I like to start at the top of an imagery funnel and work our way down till we narrow our selection. Ultimately reaching the end of our imagery funnel. What do I mean by this? Below I put three categories of light styles they normally fall into.
There could be more but from my knowledge, these are the more common ones. Then you will work your way through choosing your ideal color temperature of bulbs. As well as deciding if we want to retrofit any existing lights we might have in our shop.
Hardwiring LED Shop Lights
Hardwiring a shop light means actually running electrical wire in a circuit with a switch and the whole nine yards. This is how my shop is set up and I prefer this method. I know the areas of my shop I need light and I wire the light to this designated location.
The only downfall to hardwiring is if you don’t have any electrical experience running circuits please seek an electrician out. Running a circuit improperly can cause damage to you as well as your shop. Be smart and don’t try to be a hero. Its ok ask for help with things you’re unsure of.
Pull Chain Style Shop Lights
I know we have all seen them the utility shop lights that have the pull chain. Love them or hate them the choice is yours. I have one above my workbench that I like to have to add even more light but just don’t need it all the time.
Pull chain LED shop lights could be just what you need if you have an outlet right by where you want to have the light. These can be hardwired in with a little electrical knowledge but commonly are just plugged in operated off the pull chain.
Linkable Shop Lights
Linkable LED shop lights could be just what you need if you have an available outlet but want to have more than one light handy. The way this scenario works is you plug your first light in after its mounted.
The manufacturer supplies a plug that will be connected to the end of your first light and the opposing end will go into the next light that you want to be mounted. Linkable LED utility lights are a great solution if you’re not handy with electrical work but want to have multiple lights connected in a series.
Choosing A Size
LED utility lights come in a few different lengths. This mostly a personal preference. What matters is if you shop has the proper amount of lighting for is square footage. This can be whatever combination of 4ft or 8ft light you choose.
These are the more common sizes that LED shop lights will come in. You can also purchase fixtures that have any number of bulbs 1,2,4,6 maybe even more. Those are just the ones I’m most familiar with. So you this calculator to help achieve the right amount of light for your workshop.
Choosing A Color Temperature
When purchasing LED lights there are a few different options you have available for the color temperature of the bulb. Why does color temperature even matter? Heck, what even is color temperature?
Let me explain…
Color temperature refers to characteristics of the light emitted. Either a warm light or a cool light. The proper way to measure the temperature of light is by using the Kelvin scale. Measuring light in units of Kelvin has been in place since Edison first created the incandescent bulb.
Warm LED Utility Shop Light
Warm light typically falls into the category of 2200-2700k. This range of light will almost generate a soft yellowish glow that can be almost relaxing. That’s why it tends to be suited for living rooms as well as bedrooms.
Cool White LED Utility Shop Light
With this classification of light, you are looking at a range of 3500k-4100k. The light of a cool white can be similar to the light you get off an incandescent light. Normally this range of light can typically be found kitchen, bathroom, security light and you guessed it, workshops!
Daylight LED Uitly Shop Light
LED shop lights in the daylight class are 5000k-6500k and on this higher end of that spectrum, a almost blue light can be seen. I’m sure we have all seen it before and I’m not a fan of it. If you can find a light that falls at the bottom of that range at 5000k I find this to be almost ideal for my shop and my woodworking projects. With a 6500k bulb, you really can start to see that blue hue that I don’t care for. Maybe it’s not as much of a concern for you.
What color temperature do you like the best? Any reasoning behind it? We would love to hear what your response below in the comments or on social media as well.
Cheap LED Lights For Your Garage
The final solution for people like myself that are on a budget and need an affordable approach for a lot of lights. Well, you could be in luck if your shop happens to be an already fitted with T8 fluorescent bulbs already at the moment. This gives you the ability to retrofit your existing fixture to be able to accept the update LED bulbs. When doing this method, however, there is some information you will be needed for updating your light fixtures.
You will need to determine what type of ballast your light contains. There are two different types of ballast that T8 light fixtures commonly have. One is an electronic ballast and the other being a magnetic ballast. The electronic being the more modern ballast in a technological sense.
How To Determine What Shop Light Ballast Type I Have
The most simple approach to determine your ballast type is to remove the cover on the light that contains the ballast. A lot of times if it’s an electronic ballast it will say electronic ballast. Another way to figure out your ballast type is to look up the ballast model number that’s visible after removing the cover of the light. All this can be simply done by removing a few screws.
Electronic Ballast Cheap LED Shop Light Solution
If the T8 shop light you already have in your shop contains an electronic ballast your job will be easy. You can purchase direct fit T8 led bulbs. This gives you the ability to upgrade your shop lights to LED shop lights at an affordable cost.
Magnetic Ballast And Cheap LED Shop Light Solution
Now if you opened the cover on your current T8 light fixture and determined that you have a magnetic ballast. We have a different approach we can take.
This method entails a little bit of rewiring of the fixture to bypass the ballast. In doing this your fixture will just have power at one end of the light bulb. There are some bulbs out there that claim the ability to run with or without a ballast. I feel like removing the ballast is always the best approach. Reson being there’s fewer points of failure as well as less power consumption is used to power a ballast.
LED Shop Light Wrap Up
When I first started this article I told you to think of choosing your lights as a funnel. Start with the widest point of the funnel and keep working your way down till you get to the narrow part and ultimately make your final decision. By simply choosing LED shop lights you already narrowed down your selection.
Then move to the light calculator to determine how much light you will need for your square footage. Anyways you get the idea now on how to choose your lights and what information you need to start moving forward. LED lights are a great choice and are by far the best bang for the buck out there so get to work and turn the sun on in your shop or garage and rid those dark areas.
Till next time go make some saw dust.