LED shop lights are widely regarded as the best option for several reasons. There is tremendous variety, so there’s something to suit workshops of all sizes and purposes. LED bulbs and chips are safer than traditional incandescents or halogens, many of which contain toxic chemicals. They are more energy efficient than alternatives so they save money on utility bills. They are also longer lasting, with LED lighting typically having a life of 40,000 hours or more.
The trick is finding the right LED shop lighting for your work space, and terms like color temperature, lumens, and kelvins can be confusing. This article explains the technology, discusses installation, and looks at a range of additional features so you know exactly what to look for. Below is our carefully compiled list of the best LED shop lights available right now.
- BEST OVERALL: Bbounder 4-Pack Linkable LED Utility Shop Lights
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Qimedo LED Garage Lights
- BEST LINKABLE: Barrina T8 LED Shop Lights
- BEST FOR HIGH CEILINGS: Phiwicsh 10-Pack 8-Foot LED Shop Lights
- BEST DURABILITY: VCMAG LED High Bay Light
- BEST MOTION SENSING: Craftersmark LED Garage Lights
- BEST WITH PULL CHAIN: Sunco LED Shop Lights
How We Chose the Best LED Shop Lights
If you asked half a dozen people to describe their shop, you’d likely get half a dozen completely different answers. Our main priority when putting together this collated selection of the best LED shop lights was to offer as much variety as possible. As a result, there should be something here to meet all needs.
There were two aspects to our research. First, there are things like brightness, color temperature, and energy consumption (each of which we explain below in our What to Consider section). These impact the environment created in the shop and how much the lights cost to run. Then there are the physical considerations: the size of the light, the type of housing, durability, how the lights are turned on and off, and how they are fitted.
Finally, there’s cost. Most LEDs of this type are very affordable, but there’s an obvious difference between what’s required for home garage lighting versus a large commercial workshop. We’ve included everything from single screw-in replacements to large multipacks.
Our Top Picks
The following are the best LED shop lights for a range of different purposes. Each has been assigned a category, which should hopefully simplify the shopping process.
With such a wide choice and so many different needs to cater to, trying to choose a single product as the best LED shop light is difficult. However, we consider these Bbounder 4-foot linkable utility lights the best overall because they satisfy a variety of purposes and provide the best benefits that LED shop lights offer.
These lights are easy to install and can either be mounted directly to the ceiling or hung from chains. They can be linked together so they all turn on and off at once. A 4.8-foot cord, which can be plugged into a convenient outlet, is included, yet you could also hardwire them if you prefer. Bbounder claims the D-shape tube offers added strength so they won’t bend easily if mishandled. Color temperature of 5000 kelvins (K) is a popular workshop choice, and the 40-watt rating means power consumption is low. They are also competitively priced.
There are four lights in the pack. Each provides 4,000 lumens of light. If 70 lumens per square foot for general-purpose lighting is considered adequate, then this set should be sufficient for a workspace of 228 square feet.
- Lumens: 4,000
- Color temperature: 5000K
- Watts: 40
- 4-pack of 4-foot lights with easy mounting either on surfaces or hanging from chains
- D-shaped light tube resists bending or damage from minor accidental impacts
- Has a 4.8-foot power cord for plugging into a standard outlet; can also be hardwired
- There are occasional reports of flickering or fading after a couple of years
Get the Bbounder LED shop lights at Amazon.
The Qimedo LED garage lights are a good choice for those on a budget who still want to provide top-notch lighting in their home work space. These could be an ideal choice for DIY mechanics, woodworkers, and hobbyists. The five deformable leaves allow them to deliver focused light if necessary, or to be flattened out for more general brightness.
Switching up from standard incandescents to this LED garage lighting couldn’t be easier as they screw into a standard E26/E27 fitting just like ordinary LED bulbs. The 6500K rating means they deliver almost natural light, though at 100 watts, they do consume more power than some competitors.
Assuming 70 lumens per square foot is adequate, then theoretically these produce sufficient brightness for 285 square feet. However, caution is needed if using them in large areas because of their tendency to create pools of light rather than the overall illumination provided by strip lighting.
- Lumens: 10,000
- Color temperature: 6500K
- Watts: 100
- A pair of deformable garage lights providing high brightness at a budget price
- The 5 panels can be adjusted to deliver either focused or wide-area lighting
- Installation is simple; just screw it into a standard E26/E27 lamp holder
- While feedback is generally positive, a few thought they weren’t as bright as advertised
Get the Qimedo LED shop lights at Amazon.
Barrina is one of the better-known lighting brands with a reputation for high-quality equipment. This 10-pack of 8-foot LED shop lights is designed to illuminate substantial areas, and Barrina’s own chart states that its overhead lighting is sufficient for around 1,000 square feet of space. Each strip provides 9,000 lumens of output at a comfortable working color of 5000K. The double row of chips at a 270-degree angle provides a good balance between light strength and coverage area.
Anywhere from two to five lights can be linked together, and five power cords with switches are provided. This offers plenty of versatility in terms of lighting layout and simplifies installation. The Barrina 8-foot LED shop lights can be hardwired if you prefer. However, they do need to be flush mounted and cannot be suspended from chains.
- Lumens: 9,000
- Color temperature: 5000K
- Watts: 72
- High-quality linkable shop lighting for large areas; from a leading brand
- Double row of chips at 270-degree angle ensures a good spread of illumination
- 2 to 5 lights can be linked in a row providing versatile installation options
- Comparatively expensive option
- Not designed to be suspended by chains
Get the Barrina LED shop lights at Amazon.
In shops with high ceilings, it’s important to get sufficient lighting down to the level where work is taking place. These Phiwicsh LED shop lights were designed to do just that, with an impressive 12,000 lumens per unit and 6500K daylight color. The chips themselves are set at 270 degrees, which most manufacturers believe is the optimal angle for providing maximum coverage. The chips have clear protective covers, and the lights themselves have an aluminum frame for added durability.
Up to four lights can be connected, either directly to form a solid strip or with the 5.9-inch flexible cords provided. There are also five switched cables for standard power outlets, with hardwiring also possible. At 70 lumens per square foot, the Phiwicsh LED shop lights can cover an area of over 1,700 square feet. They are intended for direct mounting rather than chain suspension.
- Lumens: 12,000
- Color temperature: 6500K
- Watts: 90
- Powerful LED shop lights provide good coverage in buildings with high ceilings
- Chips have clear protective covers and are mounted on a durable aluminum body
- Can be linked directly to provide continuous light bars, or with flexible cable
- Faults aren’t common, but occasionally a single unit has failed soon after installation
Get the Phiwicsh LED shop lights at Amazon.
Most LED shop lights are reasonably durable, but they could encounter problems in environments with lots of dust or where liquid splashes haphazardly. VCMAG’s LED high bay lights are a solution that offers powerful illumination while also meeting the independent IP65 standard for protection. They are completely dustproof and can withstand low-pressure water jets. They are also ideal for areas of high humidity.
Brightness is an impressive 14,000 lumens, with a color temperature of 5000K. At 100 watts, they do consume more power than some, but that number is competitive for this kind of performance. They are mounted individually via a hook ring and have a safety cable to prevent them from falling if accidentally dislodged. The power cord is 5 feet long. The aluminum body is hollow and designed to dissipate heat, so while the lights are generally intended for shops with high ceilings, they might also be used as task lighting. At 70 lumens per square foot, each light has potential coverage of 200 square feet, though higher density may be required to prevent light pools.
- Lumens: 14,000
- Color temperature: 5000K
- Watts: 100
- High-power illumination that meets independent IP65 standard for dust and water protection
- Durable aluminum housing also provides heat dissipation, which helps improve lifespan
- Simple fitting using a hook ring with safety cable in case of accidental knocks
- Problems are rare, though some buyers have reported overheating issues
Get the VCMAG LED shop lights at Amazon.
Motion-sensing LED shop lights prevent you from having to fumble for a light switch in the dark, especially when your hands are full. This Craftersmark LED garage light has a 10-square-meter (107-square-foot) range with 360-degree activation and will automatically turn itself off if there’s no motion after 30 seconds. It can also be used as a standard LED shop light using the switch fitted.
At 18,500 lumens, these lights are among the brightest on our list, plus they offer daylight color of 6500K. Given the performance, a power demand of 150 watts is not surprising. While not as economical as some LEDs, they are still more efficient than traditional alternatives. Deformable leaves allow them to be used for wide area lighting (up to 264 square feet at 70 lumens per foot), task lighting, or as a spotlight. Fitting couldn’t be simpler, as the lights screw into standard E26/27 sockets.
- Lumens: 18,500
- Color temperature: 6500K
- Watts: 150
- Dual-mode garage light can either be switch activated or used in motion-sensing mode
- Adjustable leaves allow for wide area coverage or spotlight effect to focus on particular tasks
- Fits any standard E26/27 socket, so installation couldn’t be easier
- A few found that the motion sensor either didn’t work or was too sensitive
Get the Craftersmark LED shop lights at Amazon.
Sunco’s four-pack of 4-foot LED shop lights is very affordable and offers the convenience of pull chains, which some shoppers prefer when switching lights on and off. At 4,100 lumens and 5000K color temperature, they provide good general-purpose lighting for garages and small home shops.
There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to fitting. The Sunco LED shop lights can be flush mounted to either walls or the ceiling, or they can be suspended from chains. All hardware is included. Additionally, up to four lights can be linked together with a single power source. At 70 lumens per square foot, these lights can illuminate an area up to 234 square feet.
- Lumens: 4,100
- Color temperature: 5000K
- Watts: 40
- The convenience of a pull chain, plus a linking option
- Can be surface mounted on ceiling or wall, or hung from chains
- Competitively priced and with low running cost underlined by Energy Star certification
- There are few complaints, though they aren’t well suited to large workshops
Get the Sunco LED shop lights at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing LED Shop Lights
Sometimes jargon can be confusing. It can be difficult to understand what impact lumens, kelvins, and watts have on specific lighting choices. In the following section, each of these specifications are explained in detail so you’ll have the information you need to make an informed decision. Ease of installation and additional features that may be of interest are also included.
Not so long ago, bulb brightness, particularly for incandescent lights, was given in watts. However, watts actually indicate power consumption. It’s a useful figure to check because a higher wattage means more power used and therefore higher bills, but it isn’t about brightness at all.
The specification that needs to be checked is lumens (not to be confused with the popular online lighting store of the same name). It’s sometimes written as LM. Higher numbers are brighter. The number of lumens required will depend on the work being carried out and is usually calculated as lumens per square foot. For general-purpose tasks like auto repair, a relatively low figure of around 70 lumens per square foot should be sufficient. For highly detailed tasks like working with electronic circuitry or engraving, 300 lumens per square foot or more would be appropriate.
Color temperature is measured in kelvins, usually just shown as K. 3,000K is at the lower end of the spectrum. It provides a white light often associated with halogen bulbs and is often found in offices. However, in workshop situations, it can be a little harsh.
5,000K is the most common color temperature for LED workshop lights. It is slightly blue so it is kinder on the eyes, particularly if the shop is being used all day. The most powerful lighting used for large spaces often measures up to 6500K. The blue in the tone creates an atmosphere that is close to natural daylight.
Most LED shop lights are relatively easy to install, though it’s important to give consideration to positioning in order to provide the right light in the right places. Bear in mind that cheap task lighting can be added if you require higher focus on a bench, for example. Some single LED shop lights can be screwed into existing fittings. Others can be mounted directly to the ceiling, or they can be hung from chains. The latter is useful in steel-framed buildings.
Some shop lights can be plugged into a standard outlet, though hardwiring is always an option. Those without the required knowledge should hire an electrician.
Safety is an important consideration. While installation may not be complex, fitting LED lights in spaces with high ceilings presents its own dangers, so it may be worth contacting a professional.
- The ability to link shop lights so they all come on from a single switch is a useful feature. Pull chains are another popular way to turn them on and off.
- Motion activation can be convenient, especially if you have your hands full. In some cases, sensors can be placed outside of the main shop area to automatically turn on the lights as you arrive.
- Multileaved (multipaneled) lights are practical in smaller shops and garages as they can be adjusted to spotlight a particular area or provide overall illumination.
- Some LED shop lights come in waterproof housings (look for the internationally recognized IP rating). This can be valuable in areas of high humidity or where there’s a risk of water being splashed on the lights.
The article above contains detailed information to help buyers assess the best LED shop light for their particular work space. You may have a few more general questions; those answers are provided below.
Q. What type of light is the safest option for use in a shop?
LED lights are generally considered the safest option for shop use for a couple of reasons. Fluorescent lights contain mercury, which is poisonous and can be released when they break. LED lights are usually less liable to breakage anyway, and they also run much cooler, so there’s very little risk of burns or fires.
Q. What color LED is best for working?
The best LED color for working depends to some extent on ambient light. In basement rooms where no external lighting is available, the color rating of 4000K provides cool white light suitable for concentration. That rating also works well for cabinet lighting. In more open areas such as garages and warehouses, 5000K is a popular choice, and 6500K is comparable to natural daylight.
Q. How many lumens are good for a shop light?
The number of lumens that are good for shop lighting will depend on the type of work taking place. Expert advice varies from around 70 lumens per square foot for typical garage lighting up to 300 lumens per square foot for task lighting or home office use. The more detailed the work demands, the brighter the lighting should be.
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