Building your dream garage may seem easy at first, but wait until you start to scratch your head about things like lighting. Even in the best garages there never seems to be enough lighting, especially when it comes to finding smaller things, like a screwdriver for example. Sure, lighting can be improved easily, but we think it’s always the best approach to make it work from the get-go.
That said, the market today is flooded with different garage lighting options which makes the task at hand even harder. Thanks to the advancements in LED lighting, today you need to worry about several different things such as light dispersion, lumens, temperature, etc. Jump just ten years ago and choosing the best lighting was just a matter of determining the best “wattage” for your needs. Today, though, the power a light bulb consumes only determines how much electricity it will consume, and it’s only loosely connected to the amount of light it produces.
Fluorescent vs. LED: Which One is the Best Light Bulb for Garages?
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that we should leave incandescent bulbs in the past because they consume a lot of electricity. For garage use, the best types of bulbs are fluorescent and LED. These bulbs consume much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, can be had in many different color temperature ranges, and they’re also more durable.
However, there’s also a clear winner between the two, and it’s LED garage lights. There is a reason why it becomes very hard to find fluorescent bulbs – they’re worse in almost every department. More precisely, here are all of the advantages of LED bulbs over fluorescent bulbs:
- LEDs are more efficient and produce more light for the same amount of energy consumed. For example, to produce from 1450 to 1700 lumens of brightness you’ll need an LED bulb with 14 – 20W or fluorescent bulb with 23 – 30W. The difference may not seem that big, but remember that for garage lighting, you’ll be using more bulbs or tubes.
- LED bulbs are more durable than fluorescent bulbs. Usually, LED bulbs last around 25,000 to 50,000 hours, while fluorescent bulbs last from 80,000 to 15,000 hours. Also, LED tubes are much more resilient – of the glass on the tube cracks, the bulbs will continue to shine, as opposed to fluorescent lights.
- LEDs have more modern features. For example, they can be made to be dimmable, which can save on the electricity when you don’t need that much light, like during the day. Also, you can change the temperature of the light in LED bulbs, but not on fluorescent bulbs. Some smart LEDs are also smart and can be managed from your smartphone or personal assistant.
- LED bulbs produce less heat, which makes them a great option for use in the summer and for further cutting on the electricity bills (less AC energy needed).
- LEDs are environment-friendly and don’t contain heavy metals like Mercury which means that you can dispose of them in your normal trash.
Brightness vs. Temperature: What’s More Important for Garage Lighting?
If you didn’t already know, brightness and temperature are two different things. Brightness measures how much luminosity a bulb can produce, while the temperature is a measure of the warmness of the light. Brightness is easier to understand, for sure. It is measured in Lumens – the higher the number, the more a said bulb illuminates its surroundings.
The temperature is a bit different, though. Like other things, the temperature of light is measured in Kelvins – the lower the number, the warmer the light. Usually, 2700K is considered to be very warm, almost orange-like light, while bulbs over 5000K have a much colder appearance that ranges from white to blue.
But other than the fact that they look different, is choosing one better than the other? For garage lighting, the best option is bulbs with 4000K and more. This is because the colder the light, the more contrast it gives to the scene. It’s the same in nature – during sunset the light is very warm, and subsequently, the contrast is lower, as opposed to when the sun is on the horizon. A higher contrast means that it will be easier for you to distinguish different tools. However, your eyes also get tired very fast when the light is very cold so going to far up should also not be an option (that’s why warmer lights are better for the living room for example).
LED Garage Ceiling Lights vs. LED Hanging Lights: What is the best lighting for a garage?
It depends on the type of garage you’re building. Auto services, for example, almost always have garage ceiling lights due to the fact that they also have car lifts. Hanging lights might get in the way of car lifts, and that’s why the ceiling option is much better. If you plan on installing a car lift into your garage, then this is the best option.
However, hanging lights are a much better option if you don’t have a car lift in your garage. They’re cheaper, easier to install, and easier to maintain. Also, due to the fact that they’re closer to the ground, they will illuminate the garage more with less energy.
How much lighting do I need in my garage?
It always depends on your needs, but it is generally accepted that 20 lumens per square feet are enough for the average garage. Of course, it is always best to use several bulbs or tubes to achieve that in order to disperse the light through the garage better.
What is the brightest garage light?
There are several LED garage lighting tubes that produce 4000 Lumens of brightness. It may seem low for bigger garages, but remember that you can always combine more bulbs and tubes for a higher luminosity output.
How do I choose a light for my garage?
If you followed this article closely, there are several things you need to consider when choosing garage lighting. The first and most obvious one is choosing between LEDs and fluorescent bulbs. Then, you need to choose the type of lights – ceiling or hanging lights. In the end, choose the right luminosity for your needs (in Lumens), and you will be good to go.