I thought I’d dialed in my garage lighting all when we built our house. I asked the builder to add four additional recessed lights in the ceiling to make everything a little brighter.
- 1 What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Lighting
- 2 Types of Garage Lighting
- 3 Finding the Top Garage Light: A Buying Guide
- 4 The Advantages of Owning the Best Garage Lighting
- 5 How We Selected
- 6 Can higher color temperature produce more brightness?
- 7 What is the most long-lasting type of light bulbs?
- 8 What is the difference between lumens, kelvins, and watts?
- 9 Does a higher color temperature bulb produce more light?
- 10 Are LED bulbs brighter than fluorescents?
- 11 Do LED lights lose brightness over time?
- 12 What type of lighting is best for a garage?
- 13 Are LED garage lights worth it?
- 14 What color temperature is best for garage lighting?
If you are looking for a way to brighten up your garage but don’t want to spend a lot of money, a three-leaf garage lamp is a great choice. Garage lighting fixtures can help to illuminate your work space and bring brightness to an otherwise dark area of your home. These lamps are easy to install and can be used indoors or outdoors. Whether you’re looking for task lighting, a shop light, or an all-encompassing overhead light, you’re sure to find an option that works for you. Garage lights also come in a variety of styles and colors to match your décor.
The best garage lighting will transform a dark space with potential hazards into a safer, brighter environment suited to getting the job done right. Fortunately, there are many quality products to choose from. Swap out fluorescent fixtures for energy-efficient LEDs; install a screw-in, multiposition light bulb, and otherwise—easily and affordably—upgrade illumination in the garage.
The 11 Best Garage Lighting Fixtures of 2023：Our choice
|BEST OVERALL||SANSI 300 Watt LED Light Bulb|
|RUNNER UP||Sunco Lighting LED Shop Light|
|BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK||2-Pack 3CCT LED Garage Light|
|BEST FLUSH MOUNT||TANBABY Garage Light LED Garage Light|
|BEST FOR WORKBENCH||Barrina LED T5 Integrated Single Fixture|
|BEST MOTION ACTIVATED||Kichler Lighting 10315WH Fluorescent Fixture Group|
|Best Budget||LZHOME 2-PACK LED Garage Lights|
|Best Fluorescent||360 Garage Light Deformable LED Garage Light|
|Best with Motion Sensor||Lithonia Lighting 40K SGLL 24 80CRI|
|Best Moisture-Proof||LED Shop Lights for Garage 4 Foot with Plug|
|Best Battery-Powered||AVANLO Flush Mount Light Fixture|
Proper lighting in your garage illuminates your space and helps you access tools and other stored items while preventing accidents and injuries.
With so many options in garage lighting out there, I sorted through a host of products and selected a variety for hands-on testing. I installed each one and evaluated its real-life performance to help you choose the garage lighting fixtures and bulbs that will be best for your garage.
1.SANSI 300 Watt LED Light Bulb
- Patented ceramic technology
- Reduces energy bills
- Flicker free
- Not a grow light for plants
Brighten up your garage and work on that project you’ve been putting off with the SANSI LED Garage Light. This light has 5000K daylight and 5500lm output that can light up not only garages but also basements, warehouses, and gardens, and can even help your small business. Sustainable LED bulbs also help reduce your energy bills long term, so five hours of usage only costs $11. That’s savings of up to $110 compared to if you have used incandescent lights instead.
The strong power supply won’t let you down when you need light most. The LED light is flicker-free as it has drivers that stabilize the light by varying the voltage for consistent use. It’s also weatherproof for outdoor use if you need to brighten up your backyard. All these features and more make this garage light from SANSI the best overall on the list.
2.Sunco Lighting LED Shop Light
- Type: LED
- Lumens: 4,000
- Color Temperature: 5,000K
- Lights wired in series work individually
- Simple installation with standard plugs
- Long wires for easy daisy-chaining
- Flexible installation options
- No mounting holes for flush-mount application
For industrial-grade garage lighting, check out this Sunco Lighting two-pack of LED shop lights. These 4-foot-long lights provide a 5,000K color temperature—ideal for garage settings—and produce an ample 4,000 lumens per light. Mount them to the ceiling surface or suspend them with the included hanging hardware and chain. Each light has an on-off pull switch with an included chain that can hold up to an industrial setting far better than string. Anyone who prefers to have all their lights on one switch can link a few sets and operate them off of a wall switch.
During testing, I found the Sunco Lighting industrial shop light to be absolutely top-notch. Even though the set of lights was wired together, each light was functional, meaning I could turn them on and off individually without affecting the lights before or after them.
These lights used standard 110-volt outlet plugs, whereas other systems may use proprietary plugs. This allowed for simple connections while the long wires make daisy-chaining a set across the garage easy. Also, I liked that this system can hang from a chain or mount flush to the ceiling. The only complaint is that flush mounting will likely require drilling holes through the backplate, as there are no obvious mounting holes elsewhere.
3.2-Pack 3CCT LED Garage Light
What We Like
- High kelvin and lumens
- Easy to install
- Five-year warranty
What We Don’t Like
- Too dim for some tasks
The best option overall is this LED tri-light fixture from Freelicht. Per Blashaw’s recommendations, it boasts 6500 kelvin and 6000 lumens, plus a CRI (color rendering index) of 80, which means the illumination makes colors look amazing.
Each flicker-free panel can be adjusted up to a 90-degree angle. We also appreciate that this deformable light doesn’t need to be wired. You just screw it into an existing light socket—no tools necessary. What’s more, you can expect to get a whopping 50,000 hours of illumination from the LEDs.
4.TANBABY Garage Light LED Garage Light
- Superior heat dissipation will keep your light’s from overheating.
- 85% energy saving for reduced electrical bills.
- Still uses slightly more electricity than a standard light bulb.
Concerned about heat buildup and electricity usage? This light is purpose-built to alleviate your concerns. This option makes a great shop light thanks to its angled leaves.
5.Barrina LED T5 Integrated Single Fixture
- Type: LED
- Lumens: 2,200 each
- Color Temperature: 6,500K
- Lots of flexibility
- Plenty bright for most garages
- Incredibly easy installation
- Jumper wires far too short
To light up an entire garage with plenty of lumens—without blowing the budget—this set of LED T5 single fixtures from Barrina is a smart choice. This pack of six delivers 2,200 lumens per light, which all wire together with simple plug-in jumpers. Just plug them into an existing outlet, clip in place, and an entire garage’s lighting system is complete.
Each Barrina light is 4 feet long, features a very cool 6,500K color temperature, and uses very little power (20 watts per section). And since they’re LEDs, they’ll work well in very cold environments—so no excuses for not tackling those jobs when chilly weather arrives!
I really liked installing the Barrina LED T5 system, as it requires simply screwing the clip to the ceiling and snapping each light in place. And with six lights in the pack, the flexibility to put a light where necessary is a welcome change from the norm. Also, I found the brightness to be more than adequate for most garages. My only complaint is that the jumper wires were far too short; I already had a similar system in my shop that came with jumper wires more than twice as long.
6.Kichler Lighting 10315WH Fluorescent Fixture Group
What We Like
- Suitable for humidity-prone spaces
- Flush-mount design
- Steel frame
What We Don’t Like
- Bulbs not included
Blashaw is a fan of Kichler lighting in the garage, and we can see why. Measuring 48 x 9 x 3 inches, the brand’s fluorescent Wraparound Light has a steel frame and a textured acrylic shade for ambient yet bright illumination.
The light, which is great for garages, basements, and workshops, mounts flush to the ceiling. “A flush mount sticks down maybe 3 inches, so you’re gaining room in your garage as well as a really broad spectrum of light,” Blashaw notes.
7.LZHOME 2-PACK LED Garage Lights
- The 6500-lumen rating provides superior visibility in large garages.
- Softer 5000k natural light temperature is easier on the eyes.
- Motion sensors to turn the light on automatically would be great.
Have a large space to light up and want the best visibility around? This one is for you. This light’s adjustable panels allow you to position it just right to illuminate all of your garage’s needs.
8.360 Garage Light Deformable LED Garage Light
- Type: LED
- Lumens: 2,000 per leaf
- Color Temperature: 6,000K
- Tool-free installation
- Customizable light projection
- Durable build quality
- Can create shadows and dark corners
For garages with screw-in fixtures, qimedo’s Illuminator is a great choice at a great price. This inexpensive 60-watt (total) fixture provides plenty of light: 2,000 lumens per leaf with a 6,000K color temperature. That means it’s a highly efficient light fixture capable of 6,000 lumens and a cool temperature—suitable for most garage settings. The aluminum body dissipates any heat buildup, keeping the LEDs operating as efficiently as possible. If an area of the garage requires a bit more light, simply position one of the leaves to shine in that direction.
I haven’t found a simpler, more effective way to install garage lighting than this screw-in fixture. I was able to take a garage from dim to lit in 30 seconds by screwing the Illuminator into a base. Also, I liked that I could position the leaves in any direction, increasing or decreasing light as needed. The Illuminator felt like it was of durable build quality. My only issue was that this product casts light from a central location, which can cause shadows and dark corners if there are objects in the way.
9.Lithonia Lighting 40K SGLL 24 80CRI
What We Like
- Motion sensor
- Mounting hardware included
- Includes end-to-end connector
- Adjustable light setting
What We Don’t Like
- Relatively expensive
If you’re installing a light on a high ceiling or another hard-to-reach location, Lithonia Lighting’s LED Garage Light with Integrated Motion Sensor is a great option. The hanging fixture features an integrated motion detector that’ll automatically illuminate when you walk or drive in the garage.
If you’re concerned about utility costs, this light has got you covered. You can also set it to turn off after no motion is detected for a few minutes, so it won’t light up too much. If you need extra lighting, however, you can easily connect multiple fixtures thanks to an included end-to-end connector.
10.LED Shop Lights for Garage 4 Foot with Plug
What We Like
- Energy-saving design
What We Don’t Like
- Short power cord
If you’re worried about humidity damaging your fixture or causing an electrical hazard, we recommend the Airand Waterproof LED Shop Light. It has a 66 IP (Ingress Protection) rating, meaning it’s impenetrable to dust, water, and other moisture.
The light is offered in two different sizes, with some sets including plugs and additional pieces. If you need additional lighting, the light can be connected to up to ten tube lights as well, so you can create your ideal lighting experience.
11.AVANLO Flush Mount Light Fixture
- Type: LED
- Lumens: 1,680
- Color Temperature: 3,000K to 5,000K
- Flush mount is tough to damage
- Installs in existing light fixture
- Fits a range of existing fixtures
- Not the brightest fixture in the bunch
When carrying lumber or other long materials into a garage, catching the end of a board on a light bulb or fixture can really slow things down. To avoid the scenario, consider switching to a flush-mount light like the AVANLO Super Slim LED Ceiling Light Fixture, which at 0.6 inches thick should be well out of the way.
While this light doesn’t include clips or hardware to hang it from the ceiling, it mounts to a standard electrical junction box. It can also retrofit to work with 5- and 6-inch lighting cans, hardwiring it into a lighting circuit. The AVANLO light is conveniently dimmable.
The AVANLO light is available in both a square and a round shape and in color temperatures ranging between 3000K and 5000K. While it doesn’t produce a ton of light at 1,680 lumens, installing a few throughout a shop will nicely supplement regular work lights.
I thoroughly appreciated its thin profile and that it’s designed to fit a range of existing fixtures, allowing me to give new life to an old fixture. My only complaint is that it isn’t tremendously bright, but it would be excellent in a dark corner or even over a workbench.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Lighting
While shopping for the best garage lighting, keep these important factors in mind.
Garages receive little or no natural light, so when upgrading a lighting setup, choose fixtures that put out a lot of bright light. The lighting industry measures brightness by lumens—a measure of light produced during a specific period of time. Bottom line: the more lumens, the brighter the lighting will be.
Lumens are not the same as watts. Watts measure energy used; lumens measure brightness. However, for the sake of comparison, a 75-watt bulb produces about 1,100 lumens. As a general rule, the ideal lumen range for workshop and garage lighting is around 3,500 lumens.
Color temperature refers to the color the light produces and is measured in kelvins (K). Temperatures range between 3500K and 6000K, with the lower end being warmer and more yellow and the higher end cooler and bluer.
Most garages tend to be gray and industrial-looking, so cooler lighting temperatures are usually the most flattering, while warmer temperatures can give the floor a dingy look. Aim for a temperature in the area of 5000K. The light produced by a 5000K bulb will be slightly blue but not glaring or harsh to the eyes.
Some fixtures come with adjustable color temperatures, allowing DIYers to bounce through the range and choose the color temperature that works best for them.
Regardless of the lighting system chosen for a garage, a modern fixture will use far less energy than older incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs can cut energy consumption by about 70 percent over an incandescent bulb producing the same amount of light. LED bulbs are even better, cutting as much as 90 percent of the energy consumption of a comparable incandescent bulb. Factor in that they last much longer (over 10,000 hours compared to an incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hours), and the savings are tremendous.
Installation and Connectivity
Installation and connectivity may play a large role in deciding on the best garage lighting fixtures. There are easy-to-install options that produce great results for DIYers without a lot of electrical experience. The easiest way to upgrade garage lighting is with screw-in bulb replacements. These aren’t just bulbs, but multipositional LED fixtures that screw into a basic light base. They don’t require any extra wiring or much effort on the part of the installer.
There are also plug-in systems that DIYers can string throughout a garage to produce a tremendous amount of light. These systems work through standard outlets: Simply plug them in and flip the switch. They often include “jumper” wires that will connect a set of lights together to illuminate an entire garage, and most times they install with simple clips.
Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, requires a bit more during installation. These lights have ballasts that regulate the voltage to the light bulb and require hardwiring into an electrical circuit within the garage. While not overly complicated, it is a more involved process.
An LED bulb can last 25 to 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb, all the while reducing the amount of energy consumed. A fluorescent bulb can last as long as 9,000 hours compared to an incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hours. The reason LEDs and fluorescents last so much longer than incandescent varieties is that they don’t have a sensitive, fragile filament that can break or burn up.
For unheated garages in areas that experience bitter cold winters, LED bulbs are the most suitable choice. In fact, LEDs become more efficient in colder temperatures. They don’t need to heat up, so they become bright immediately and produce consistent, energy-efficient light in very cold temperatures. By contrast, some fluorescent lights cannot operate if the air temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Those who live in areas where temperatures often dip below freezing will do best with an LED setup for the best garage lighting.
While upgrading an overhead lighting system, it’s wise to upgrade the workstation as well. Consider hanging a chain from the ceiling to lower a fixture or attaching an LED light below a cabinet—essentially, establish direct task lighting. There are plenty of great options, and systems can combine to create ideal conditions. While a general overhead fixture is fine, adding an illuminated, positionable arm (like those used by fly-tying fishermen) can make it easier to see small parts.
Motion sensors can make garage lighting safer and more convenient. Some LED systems have sensors that will turn the lights on when they detect someone walking or moving in the garage. Not only will these lights illuminate a garage without the user needing to fumble for a light switch, but motion sensors can also deter unwanted guests from helping themselves to tools and other belongings.
For those who prefer to replace incandescent bulbs with screw-in LED units, choose some with multipositional wings. These fixtures can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of garage lighting. When an area isn’t receiving enough light, simply position a wing in that direction to improve illumination. Since LEDs don’t get nearly as hot as incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, they’re often cool enough to touch bare-handed. This also keeps LEDs running as efficiently as possible.
Types of Garage Lighting
The heyday of the incandescent bulb is over. Even if you like those old-school energy suckers, they’re a lot harder to find now. If you do spot them for sale, don’t let the low price fool you; they’re sure to prove how inefficient they are when your electric bill comes. Instead, most people choose between LED and fluorescent lighting. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s important to pick what’s best for the space and work style.
LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” which is a fancy way of saying there’s a tiny component inside the bulb that illuminates when electricity passes through it. These bulbs are a popular choice due to their brightness, energy efficiency, and impressive longevity.
LEDs are popular in devices like flashlights and spotlights because they generate directional light—casting a very bright beam straight out from the diode that concentrates on a small area. That’s not ideal for garages and other workstations, but lighting manufacturers compensate for this in two ways: They make LEDs with multipositional wings and install reflectors to distribute the light evenly throughout a space. Both tweaks offer an excellent alternative to the wide-cast lighting of incandescent bulbs.
With fluorescent lighting, a mercury-vapor gas produces light instead of a solid filament (as in an incandescent bulb) or a diode (like an LED). The gas in a fluorescent bulb emits ultraviolet light when electrified.
The benefit of fluorescent lighting—in general, and for garage-type work specifically—is that it distributes light very evenly. The gas is enclosed in long glass tubes, so the light shines out in a 360-degree pattern. Although they’re long lasting, the trouble with fluorescents is that when they do burn out, they must be taken to a hazardous waste disposal center. Due to the toxicity of mercury gas, fluorescents aren’t convenient to throw away or recycle as LEDs are.
Finding the Top Garage Light: A Buying Guide
Why Do You Need Garage Lights?
Well, a garage is not just some place to park your car. Some people use it for storage, while some people turn their garage into a home gym, an extra bedroom, or a workshop. You don’t have to rely on high ceilings to bring a fresh sense of openness to your space. Depending on what you use your garage for, you will need to install the right lights so you can utilize your space effectively. This simple home improvement choice can truly transform the area you have to work with.
A garage makes for excellent additional space in your home, and people really like to make the most out of it. Whether you are using it to fix cars, do woodworking projects, or work on other crafts, you will need garage lights to make it easier on the eyes. Plus, utilizing a sufficient light fixture will also enable you to use the garage during the night. And that is great for night owls who are most productive at night time.
If you have a garage with a driveway, you can park your cars outside and use the garage as a spare room for anything you can think of—and that is a great way to become more productive in your passion. Here are some cool ideas for your garage if you haven’t thought about them yet:
You can turn it into an extra room
You can actually make your garage into a living space, especially if one of your kids needs an extra room as they get older.
You can turn your garage into a workshop
Whether you are a painter, woodworker, artist, sculptor, or you just love to do DIY work, you can utilize the space in your garage. You can transform it into a spacious workshop to get those ideas out of your head.
You can turn it into a man cave or she-shed
Depending on your garage’s size, you can transform it into a man cave, game room, or even a she-shed. You can put in a pool table, a couple of arcade games, a home theater, or anything you can think of that you don’t have enough space for in the house.
You can turn it into a gym
If you want to get gym equipment but don’t have enough space or a spare room in the house, guess what? You can transform your garage into your very own home gym.
You can turn it into an office
Your garage can be your safe place. You can turn it into a home office where you can get a lot of work done. If you are a musician, you can turn it into a rehearsal space or home music studio, and the possibilities are endless.
There are so many possibilities for a garage, especially if you will not use it for parking your car. However, you will need a lot of remodeling, depending on what you plan to do with it. The easiest way to start is by picking out the right lights! Before doing the actual construction work and adding an HVAC system, the lights can drastically change the look of the place without doing much work.
The Advantages of Owning the Best Garage Lighting
Being able to see what you’re doing makes a world of difference both while working on a project and with the end result. Poor lighting can be very frustrating, especially if you drop a small piece like a nut or bolt—good luck finding that tiny fastener against a dark floor!
Struggling to see what you’re doing can lead to some undesirable physical effects, such as eyestrain and headaches. Factor in the increased chances of a tripping accident, and you’ll be far safer and healthier with proper lighting.
The best garage lighting will also save you money. Not only are the best lighting products much more energy efficient than older models, but they also burn out less often so you’ll have far fewer bulbs to replace. Even with the higher price of LED and fluorescent bulbs compared to incandescents, you’ll save money in the long run on bulbs alone.
- Better lighting leads to a more enjoyable workflow and environment.
- Upgrading your lighting will reduce the chances of accidents and eyestrain.
- LED and fluorescent bulbs last far longer than incandescents, saving you time and money on bulbs.
How We Selected
When assembling this list, we did our best to include a wide variety of shop light styles and types, including the typical long, flat lights you’re used to seeing, as well as thin LED “stick” lights that take up minimal room but still produce an impressive amount of light.
We also wanted to make sure to include an adjustable version, with bendable wings that can be aimed at different areas of your shop. Since some users will have larger spaces than others, we wanted to include kits that included several units, so whether you’re looking for ten lights or just one, you should be able to find the best LED shop light for you.
Can higher color temperature produce more brightness?
No, the higher color temperature does not affect the brightness. An elevated color temperature can add a bluer tone, and that is just about it.
What is the most long-lasting type of light bulbs?
LEDs are the most efficient and brightest light bulbs that can last the longest. However, fluorescent light bulbs are better in brightness distribution.
What is the difference between lumens, kelvins, and watts?
These are by no means interchangeable terms. Lumens describe the brightness of a bulb. Kelvins describe the temperature color. Watts represent energy consumption.
Does a higher color temperature bulb produce more light?
No. A higher temperature bulb produces a cooler, bluer tone, but not more light.
Are LED bulbs brighter than fluorescents?
A bulb’s brightness is dependent on lumen output, not bulb type. When comparing bulbs of similar wattages, LEDs will be more efficient and, therefore, brighter.
Do LED lights lose brightness over time?
Yes, LEDs do lose their brightness over time. They don’t burn out like standard bulbs, but they will slowly become dimmer.
What type of lighting is best for a garage?
Whether you use your garage to store vehicles, as a DIY workshop, or home gym, it’s important that this windowless room be generally well-lit for safety purposes as well as include task lighting for DIY workbenches or other activities. While blaring fluorescent lights were once the go-to for illuminating the garage, bright, long-lasting, energy-efficient LEDs have become the new standard go-to. When choosing LED lighting for your garage, look for brightness of around 3500 lumens (the measurement for brightness) for the best result. You might also consider installing motion sensor lighting in a garage that will turn on and off by itself for convenience and safety.
Are LED garage lights worth it?
Yes. Energy-efficient LED lights cost more upfront, but they will save you money over time. LEDs are also better for the environment—a small, simple consumer choice we can all make to help reduce energy consumption. Because they do not need to heat up in order to light up, LEDs are also particularly well suited for unheated garages in cold climates.
What color temperature is best for garage lighting?
A garage should be well lit for safety purposes, whether you are driving in and out, moving between the car and your door, or using the garage for hobbies like woodworking, working out, laundry, or other activities. In the garage, you want a bright, white light rather than the warmer glow you would choose for interior rooms. Choose a cool temperature in the range of 5,000 kelvins (the measurement used for light temperature) to ensure that your garage is brightly lit and safe for multi-tasking.