Best Lights For New Shop?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by rustynails posted 12-04-2016 11:18 PM 1862 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rustynails's profile


963 posts in 3982 days

12-04-2016 11:18 PM

We just purchased a new property on the lake which will eventually be our retirement home. The property has a newer 1200 sq.ft. pole barn with 10 ft ceilings that I am currently insulating and starting to ruff in for electrical. I am trying to get the barn ready this winter as the house will need a lot of work and we plan on starting that in the spring. My current shop has 4ft florescent fixtures. (T-12’s/ old school). What is every one using these days for their shops? I am looking for something that is energy efficient but still is cost effective.


32 replies so far

View Kelly's profile


3899 posts in 4397 days

#1 posted 12-04-2016 11:42 PM

I’m switching out to four foot LED’s I picked up at Costco, since they were the same price or cheaper than florescent lights. So far, I have about ten or twelve and about fifteen more to go.

All my machines (band saw, drill press, polisher, grinders, etc. ) are now LED’s.

I had been running four foot plasma devices (florescents) because everyone had them and they could be packed in the car on the hour trips to town. Since going to eight foot LED’s would break the bank, I stayed with the four foot with them too.

It’s nice coming out to a cold shop and not having to deal with flickering lights.

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 2022 days

#2 posted 12-04-2016 11:55 PM

LEDs, but do not get “cool light” spectrum over your finishing area, get “warm/sunlight spectrum” for there other wise you finishing/dye/stain will not look the same in natural light.
I just bought 2, 48” LEDs bright as heck.

View JAAune's profile


2133 posts in 3770 days

#3 posted 12-05-2016 12:03 AM

If I’m not mistaken, daylight spectrum bulbs are considered cool (around 5500K or so). CRI is an important quality as well and low CRI bulbs may cast off an odd-colored light.

If high quality lights are too expensive to outfit the entire shop with them, consider using a few fixtures in the location that will be used for finishing.

-- See my work at

View bigJohninvegas's profile


1197 posts in 2915 days

#4 posted 12-05-2016 12:47 AM

I have a 3 car size garage/shop that has 3-8’ fixtures that use 4-4’ bulbs in each fixture, with 4000k T8 bulbs. It’s not quite enough light. I have not switched to LED yet. A friend has the same fixture as me that has been retro fitted for LED. I think they are 6000k bulbs, and I thought they would be to much. However now that I have seen them in action, I will be going to them myself.

-- John

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 2044 days

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

LEDs, but do not get “cool light” spectrum over your finishing area, get “warm/sunlight spectrum” for there other wise you finishing/dye/stain will not look the same in natural light.
I just bought 2, 48” LEDs bright as heck.

- mrbob

Daylight is 5500k or 6500k which is equal to cool LED lights. Warm light is about 2700k and resembles incandescent bulbs. So on contrary you should use cool lights in the finishing area.

View dclark1943's profile


270 posts in 3640 days

#6 posted 12-05-2016 03:28 AM

Hello Rustynails ! I just converted my shop to LED’s. I purchased “LED2 Lighting” bulbs that go into the 4 foot florescent fixtures – - just throw out the ballasts, use the same tombstones, and direct wire them. They are 5000K with a CRI of >80. the Light is “Bright as heck” as Carloz said! These bulbs cost me $12.84 per tube. But – they are brighter, cooler, quieter and cheaper to run then florescents. I’m definitely glad I made the change. Here is the website of the company that makes them: Hope this info helps – - Happy Holidays

-- Dave, Kansas City

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10889 posts in 3862 days

#7 posted 12-05-2016 04:54 AM

I am with the LED crowd, converted two units this spring and have been pleased with the results.

When you do your install wire an outlet to every light. Then you only have to wire the light on the ground and install it and just plug it in. Makes mounting alot easier and no need to be on a ladder fooling with hardwiring the unit. Nice bonus is if you have to change it you have only to unplug it. Or if you add something else you have a spare outlet.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View bdresch's profile


156 posts in 3061 days

#8 posted 12-05-2016 05:04 AM

rather than the plug in variety I would buy cheap T8 4’ 2 bulb hardwire fixtures and use the retrofit bulbs. The all in one plug in variety like Costco sells are basically disposable. If you buy a real hardwired fixture you can replace the bulbs as technology gets better or if you have a bulb fail. If you have a Menards near you they have 10 packs of Sylvania 4’ LED on sale for around $60. If you pair that with the $22 direct wire fixtures you are at under $35 per fixture.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24538 posts in 5129 days

#9 posted 12-05-2016 06:05 AM

Florescent are being phased out. Go LED. Conversion kits in the future are not a good option when the lamps are all gone. You have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve now ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 2022 days

#10 posted 12-05-2016 06:16 AM

Just buy LEDs forget the retro fits. Keep life simple and easy.

View Ripper70's profile


1379 posts in 2362 days

#11 posted 12-05-2016 06:33 AM

+1 for the Costco LED shop lights.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View SweetTea's profile


478 posts in 2113 days

#12 posted 12-05-2016 10:27 AM

I have the 4 foot fluorescent fixtures that I purchased from Wal-Mary for $11 each. They run the typical fluorescent bulbs. What would be required to convert them to LED? Can I just purchase some LED bulbs and simply install them in place of my fluorescent bulbs? Or does something need modified?

Mine are not hard wired in, they are simply plugged into the nearest outlet.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10253 posts in 2035 days

#13 posted 12-05-2016 11:36 AM

I’ve been using the Feit corn-cob LEDs in standard (screw in) light fixtures. A 40W warm white LED (not 40w equivalent, but actually draws 40w) puts out 4000 lumens, and two of those eight feet apart light up my shop very nicely.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View hig789's profile


39 posts in 2294 days

#14 posted 12-05-2016 12:13 PM

I have been debating switching to leds also from my t8 fixtures. The only thing I really don’t like about leds is that unless you get quit a few of them you can get a really bad shadowing effect. Now I don’t have experience with the 4’ fixtures though, I’m just going by the fixtures n our house and the ones on my saltwater aquarium. I’m sure the 4’ fixtures will put out a nice wide spread of light. Just something I thought I’d mention.

View Holt's profile


280 posts in 4082 days

#15 posted 12-05-2016 01:25 PM

I changed ballasts and converted to T8 for my last shop. Since moving, when I eventually get to the shop on my to-do list. my plan is to go with LED lighting. Assuming my time is worth something and the way the prices have been moving, it may turn out to be cheaper!

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

showing 1 through 15 of 32 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