Do LED shop lights work in near to below freezing temps?

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Forum topic by AM420 posted 05-26-2017 07:04 PM 8525 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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287 posts in 1163 days

05-26-2017 07:04 PM

I am working out of my 1 car garage. IT’s a tuck under, but not insulated or heated, so it will get below freezing in the winter. The old florescent shop lights finally gave out and I planned to switch them out entirely for some new LED shop lights.

I assumed LED fixtures would be a great replacement, but I read some product reviews on Lowe’s website that say they work very poorly or not at all in temps close to or below freezing. So it sounds like they may not be any better than traditional florescent lights. Or maybe it’s just the brand of the light fixture that doesn’t work well in low temps and others work just fine.

If anyone has any experience with LED shop lights in low temps and can vouch for them, please let me know and also what brand you’re using.


10 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6402 posts in 2990 days

#1 posted 05-26-2017 07:09 PM

LED’s themselves love cold temps, that is one reason why you see them in coolers in grocery stores. Also think about all the Christmas lights that are now LED with no problem. Heat is what kills them.

I have no clue why the Lowe’s reviews you read would be reporting issues with low temps. It has to be something else in the fixture (possibly the driver?) not the LED’s themselves.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6254 posts in 3273 days

#2 posted 05-26-2017 07:16 PM

Well, I’ll make this as short as i can. My shop was just built last fall, and I spent the winter (when I could) wiring/insulating/other stuff inside. My lighting will be LED, and I bought enough of these from Costco (on sale) to do so. While I was out there over the winter, I didn’t work in freezing temps, but I did go in and out a lot in sub freezing temps. I had 6-7 of these fixtures up and they would always light up instantly, and at what i perceived to be full output. So for what it’s worth, they seem to be fine for that type of service.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View splintergroup's profile


3801 posts in 2002 days

#3 posted 05-26-2017 07:26 PM

LEDs should do fine in cold temps, but the power supply may or may not be happy. Complete fixtures should have a “operational temperature” rating.

I use replacement LED tubes in my old fixtures since they are recessed into the ceiling. The replacement tubes can work with the old ballast transformers (A “drop in” replacement bulb) or you can quickly bypass the ballast and directly wire the fixture sockets to the line voltage. This will save about 5% in energy for a few minutes more work.

I have had no issues with low (freezing) temperatures.

Another advantage is the LED tubes are now down around $6 each (usually free shipping).

Something to note is that not all the LED replacement tubes will work with all older ballasts and once you rewire to bypass the ballast, you cannot put traditional florescent tubes back in without restoring the original wiring.

View AM420's profile


287 posts in 1163 days

#4 posted 05-26-2017 07:26 PM

Thanks for the information. I didn’t think LED lights themselves had issue with cold temps, but then reading those reviews got me second-guessing myself. It must be something to do with the fixture build or wiring of that manufacturer. I’ll check out some other brands to buy to be on the safe side.

View Kelly's profile


3025 posts in 3723 days

#5 posted 05-26-2017 10:13 PM

I installed them in my wife’s walk in freezer. They stomp ALL over florescents. No more flickering or dull lamps.

View MrUnix's profile


8100 posts in 2978 days

#6 posted 05-26-2017 10:51 PM

Yup… LED’s are solid state devices, so heat is their enemy, not cold… in fact, the colder you get an LED, the more efficient it becomes. I guess there may be a point where you can get them too cold, but I imagine that would be well below what a human could endure :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View AllenD's profile


31 posts in 1149 days

#7 posted 05-26-2017 11:19 PM

My last shop was an unheated 10×10 shed on the ridge of a ski mountain. Winter lows were -20 to -30F. Had no issues with the LED lights over 3 seasons. I didn’t work much when temps got below 20 but had no issues with the light or fixture.

If you want to geek out. Most electronics parts have detailed spec sheets including performance specs at various temperatures.

-- - Allen (Marietta, GA) In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View them700project's profile


245 posts in 1798 days

#8 posted 05-27-2017 07:21 PM

I run lithonia High bay 12000lumen panels and they started with no delay in my garage. it barely dipped below freezing for me though as the door from garage to house does leek a little

View mlipps's profile


122 posts in 1894 days

#9 posted 05-27-2017 09:42 PM

That’s why I use them.

View Ger21's profile


1099 posts in 3910 days

#10 posted 05-27-2017 11:24 PM

Not sure of the brand, but I have a few from Sam’s Club and a few from Costco.
The ones from Sam’s are a bit brighter, and I prefer them. And yes, they both work in the cold, far better than the fluorescent lights they replaced.

-- Gerry,

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