Shop Lighting

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by greatview posted 02-11-2016 12:34 PM 1575 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View greatview's profile


135 posts in 4079 days

02-11-2016 12:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lighting led

A couple of years ago I switched over to T8 from T12 fluorescent bulbs (4 foot) with new ballasts. The light is fine but the life of the bulbs is far too brief. (I bought a case of Phillips so they should be good??) Now I wonder if I should move on to LED. But I am mystified as the best way to go. I find direct replacement bulbs that you can simply switch and they will wok on the existing ballast. But then you still have a ballast. Then there are retrofit kits where you remove the ballast and do some simple rewiring maybe adding non shunting tombstone. Of course I could replace everything.

I’d really like to find a definitive source for looking at the alternatives.

-- Tom, New London, NH

19 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3436 days

#1 posted 02-11-2016 12:52 PM

I’m kind of in the same boat, but had the benefit of still working in manufacturing when we made the switch from T8 to T12 in one of our large factories. After skyrocketing costs and a lot of lost time changing bulbs, I actually had the president of the company ask me if one, could we go to LED, (way too expensive at that time), or could we go back to T8? Neither was a reasonable option, and when I left in 2010, they were still living with them.

We did find that the Phillips 32 watt T8 seemed to last the longest, (green end caps), but we ALWAYS had a pile of used T8 bulbs in the recycle bin for bulbs. To be honest, we did a lot of checking, and our voltage was running about 121-124VAC on the lighting, so pretty stable. Finally, we were making furniture, and color issues with both fabric and wood were worried about, although the T8’s seemed OK.

That is why I am still on T12, have one more case and one extra fixture until I make any change.
My biggest hits on LED are obviously cost – (I’m 67 in June, how many years will I be a regular woodworker). The wavelength, you really have to be careful. Some daylight LED’s don’t come off as actual daylight. Too blue.

And the last is not really tangible…LED’s are just sort of sterile to me. We have them in one bathroom above the sinks, and in our kitchen above the sinks in row lighting. (The round ones) There is no warmth to the light, although they are doggone bright with almost no amperage pull.
In the end I’m sure I will choose an LED and change out one fixture at a time. I’m thinking more of changing back to round fixtures, and not the tubes. I’m thinking of trying to take one small section of my shop and trying to locate a strong LED flood above each machine, and see how much ambient I get out of them. That is because I also want the ballasts gone. I don’t care if I get a few darker spots in places where I never do woodworking, like in a walkway. As long as I can see, I don’t need the brightest where I don’t do actual work.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View greatview's profile


135 posts in 4079 days

#2 posted 02-11-2016 01:16 PM

I’ve got the Phillips 32 watt green end caps. I’ve got eight two bulb fixtures and it seems as if every week or two another bulb is gone. Maybe it’s three or four weeks but still all too often.

-- Tom, New London, NH

View johnstoneb's profile


3163 posts in 3094 days

#3 posted 02-11-2016 02:14 PM

I am using T8’s in my shop. I am going on 3 yrs and just now having to start changing some. I am starting to look at LED replacement primarily on cost savings over the life of the product.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Woodchuck2010's profile


745 posts in 1780 days

#4 posted 02-11-2016 10:14 PM

I recently bought some led shop light from Rockler. 4500 lumens! very bright and for less than I paid for my florescent light. $50 for a 4’ led shop light. I liked the first one so much, that I ordered the second one. They weigh next to nothing also and have a relatively shallow profile.

-- Chuck, Michigan,

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 2375 days

#5 posted 02-11-2016 10:45 PM

Check out, they have dropins and new with most any option – multi channel remote wifi, etc.

-- Madmark - [email protected]

View Woodchuck2010's profile


745 posts in 1780 days

#6 posted 02-11-2016 11:02 PM

Heres a pic of one that I just put up. For $50, it’s hard to beat.

-- Chuck, Michigan,

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2997 days

#7 posted 02-11-2016 11:54 PM

Just got these installed. 4000 lumens. Lithonia. Unbelievable the light they throw off. I didn’t have florescent before however, just some old school light bulbs.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View roofner's profile


145 posts in 3205 days

#8 posted 02-12-2016 05:00 AM

You won’t see the shadows that appear with florescent .

-- Gary New York

View greatview's profile


135 posts in 4079 days

#9 posted 02-12-2016 09:09 PM

Has anybody tried this from Home Depot? $9.97 and is a direct replacement for a T8.

-- Tom, New London, NH

View hotbyte's profile


1007 posts in 3897 days

#10 posted 02-12-2016 09:13 PM

Heres a pic of one that I just put up. For $50, it s hard to beat.

- Woodchuck2010

A friend gave me 6 (5 usable) 4-bulb T8 fixtures he had removed at work to me. I used 5 of them in my 13X23 shop. Does free beat $50? :)

View soob's profile


271 posts in 2130 days

#11 posted 02-13-2016 03:27 AM

T8 bulbs at present are as efficient (or a little less or a little more) than LEDs, last about as long, and are much easier to replace when they go bad.

Personally I think you should stick with them unless you have some specific application where you need LED—shatterproof, cold start, no UV, lots of cycling on and off, etc.

Instead of getting LEDs buy four times as many T8 fixtures and bathe yourself in light.

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3907 days

#12 posted 02-13-2016 04:01 AM

I am slowly buying the Fein LED shop lights at Costco. For about $30/fixture, it’s about the same cost as fluorescent, plus instant on, no humming, and less bug attraction. I really like them. The newer ones they carry also have pull chains built in. I will eventually replace my fluorescents completely with them.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View roofner's profile


145 posts in 3205 days

#13 posted 02-13-2016 09:07 PM

If you have T8 you can put LEDs in for $22 a 2 bulb fixture earthled $10.99 a bulb no sales tax or shipping.
No balast to replace anymore instant on brighter than florescence.

-- Gary New York

View Ger21's profile


1099 posts in 4053 days

#14 posted 02-13-2016 09:14 PM

I did the same thing last year, swapping ballasts in my T12 fixtures for T8’s, and am seeing the same short bulb life, probably due to the cold.

I’m now throwing the T8 fixtures away and switching to LED’s.
$35 for 4ft fixtures from Sam’s Club, and right now Costco has them for $25.
I’ve found the ones from Sam’s a little brighter, and will probably get a few more of those.

-- Gerry,

View ocean's profile


217 posts in 1755 days

#15 posted 02-13-2016 10:52 PM

Where I used to work we replaced all our T11’s with built in ballast T8 LED’s. We had to cut out the ballast (you can leave in place or remove). Most if not all LED’s are powered from only one end (two pins) and it is worth noting that there are LED’s that do not have built in ballast (cost a lot more as you will have to replace the existing ballast with proper type for LED’s). Electrical saving was unbelievable only 2 amps. per bulb. Having said all of the above, if you are like me you are only replacing 4-6 bulbs and at $25-$50 each it will be long time to realize a savings. We replaced 100 bulbs at work and dealer sold them for $15 each. I’m afraid useless you are buying a large lot, they are just to expensive until your old ones die for good. Also look for as high a Kelvin temperature range as possible for the truest color to daylight. As mentioned by others, no flicker and no buzz. Well that is my two cents.

-- Bob, FL Keys

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics