Workshop LED Lighting

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Forum topic by redSLED posted 06-01-2013 03:17 PM 41141 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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790 posts in 3349 days

06-01-2013 03:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: led led lighting

Saw a similar thread today on general workshop lighting – but I want to focus here on LED LIGHTING for the workshop. Like some of you, I am planning to upgrade my workshop lighting. I’m using incandescent bulbs currently (was a fast setup initially) and have decided to bypass florescent lighting altogether (for personal reasons) and go straight to LED lighting by later this summer.

Since different LED bulb designs directionally emit light differently, anyone here want to share any LED lighting ideas, recommendations for the workshop? (e.g., LED lamp wattage per height, spacing from each other, low cost choices, etc.).

Just some Googled workshop photos below, suggesting workshop LED lighting setups.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

12 replies so far

View bbc557ci's profile


698 posts in 3531 days

#1 posted 06-01-2013 03:45 PM

Certainly not a lighting expert here, but I think placement of the lights/fixtures is probably just as if not more important than the type of lighting. My basement shop is full of florecsent fixtures and seems ok. Could always use a couple more though!!

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7935 posts in 4371 days

#2 posted 06-01-2013 06:11 PM

Glad you caught the other shop lighting thread. I suggest that color temperature of your LEDs be chosen to match you house lighting environment as well since matching your shop lighting temperature to your house, or at least a portion of your shop, will make your finish matching efforts much easier and with fewer surprises.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 4150 days

#3 posted 06-01-2013 06:30 PM

Mike your chart is very helpful.

-- See pictures on Flickr -[email protected]/ And visit my Facebook page -

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 4321 days

#4 posted 06-01-2013 06:44 PM

If I’m not mistaken, LED fixtures and bulbs are several times the cost of fluorescent. They are however cheaper
to operate as far as electric usage goes , I think. Not an expert, just throwing that out.

Like anything else, best to shop around for LED lighting supplies. Its definitely something worth doing some
research on before making the plunge. Not sure if there are any lighting experts on this forum, but you should
be able to get some decent advice.

Did you know that people over 25 are said to need twice the lighting luminosity as people under 25 ?

View rum's profile


148 posts in 4043 days

#5 posted 06-04-2013 08:59 PM

When I priced them ~1.5 years ago (so surely LEDs are cheaper now) the operating $/lux where about the same for T5/T8’s as for LEDs (actually cheaper to T5’s and only a couple % more for T8s) but the $/lux installed were closer to 10x the price for LEDs compared to T8’s. So… I ended up putting in T8’s because at around 40 I need more light than I used to for sure and the number of LEDs I was looking at the price ended up somewhat ruinous. I ended up using 5100k bulbs which are very nice compared to the old crappy T12’s (and crappy bulbs) I had before.

Certainly not saying to skip LEDs but the price threw them out for me so price it to see how it works now. Also consider the fixture type carefully LEDs are by nature very directional so you need some way to diffuse the light so that you don’t have a lot of hard shadows – that also tends to drop the “delivered” light as well (sorry if this is a bad explanation – not a lighting engineer.. I just figured out enough to really confuse myself :D)

Figuring out delivered light (how much light actually hits the work surface) turns out to be extraordinarily complicated. I did find somewhere a worksheet and used that – but can’t recall where now.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4428 days

#6 posted 06-04-2013 10:35 PM

Today LEDs are only about 4 times as expensive as T5 fluorescent tubes. They are getting cheaper all the time.
Couple of years ago they were over 10 times as expensive.

Nothing generates more light per watt of energy as sodium, BUT, and it is a BIG BUT, sodium produces light in only one very narrow band so color rendition is horrible. They are useless in a shop in my opinion.

One of the reasons fluorescent lights have less light output than an LED is that it radiates in all directions. Then the light radiated in the wrong direction has to be reflected back in the right direction. Then a good part of this reflected light hits the tube itself and goes nowhere. So, you only get about 30% of the light being generated.

The LED, on the other hand, only directs light in one direction. What it generates is all used. Unfortunately, because an LED is such a small pin point of very intense light it certainly can have a glare problem. This can be partially corrected with diffusers but they tend to waste light so it’s kinda like a dog chasing its tail.

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 4322 days

#7 posted 06-05-2013 12:11 AM

Home Depot had Cree light bulbs in 60W equilivant for about $12 each. Cree is the absolute best LED bulbs made, you can not tell the difference between their light and a regular old fashioned liight bulb.

CFL’s are nothing but garbage as far as I am concerned, had two catch fire.

The Cree LED bulbs are top notch!

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 3349 days

#8 posted 06-05-2013 09:43 PM

^ Can anyone here confirm if those Cree 60W LED bulbs are actually “equivalent” to the perceived light emitted by 60W incandescent bulb, or do they seem a bit brighter?

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 4322 days

#9 posted 06-06-2013 12:42 AM

It seems about the same to me. I bought a daylight one and a warm white one.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4888 posts in 3691 days

#10 posted 06-30-2013 01:13 PM

An issue with shop lighting not mentioned here is that since florescent “flicker” at 60 CPS, they can synchronize with blade motion on power tools making them appear stationary. This shouldn’t be a problem unless you are stone deaf or wearing strong hearing protection, but sometimes the eye input is stronger than the ear. Never the less, I have put incandescent lights near power tools to help eliminate the problem for me.

Does anyone know if LED light is continuous or does it cycle too?

-- DanK All my life I've wanted to be someone. I see now I should have been more specific.

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 3400 days

#11 posted 06-30-2013 06:00 PM

Horizontal Mike makes a very valid point. I used to work in the print industry. We used special light booths to evaluate color proofs before going to press. These were rated at either 5000K or 7500K. Even with this standardization, color evaluation could be difficult.

We even took proofs of food labels to several grocery stores to see how they would look in the final environment.

I recently saw LED lights being installed in a parking ramp. The hospital was replacing incandescent lights with the LEDs. If Aurora Health is doing it, it must cost effective.


View rum's profile


148 posts in 4043 days

#12 posted 06-30-2013 06:34 PM

Dan: the modern electronic ballast florescent lights don’t have the same dreaded 60hz flicker. I’m pretty sensitive to it and really hated the old T12’s but the newer T8’s even with the cheapest electronic ballast from HD ($20 or so per 2 bulb fixture – not that they’re optimal but they are cheap :D) don’t have any measurable flicker (I’m sure there is some but the frequency is at least a couple of orders of magnitude higher). LED’s don’t have any flicker either.

edit: They run at 20khz or higher (instead of 60hz), your eyes can’t really see that.
Link to document with frequency details: – see page 1-10
These are, basically (modulus different models) the same ballasts I ended up with.

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