Workshop lighting options and opinions

Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
160
Location
Seattle, WA/ Jacksonville, OR
Hey all,

My garage lighting is seriously lacking. The previous owner of my place had put in 3 rows of (4) 72" tube lights. Sounds great right? well currently half of them are either burnt out or the ballasts are failing so they come on and off intermittently and their light output is extremely underwhelming. Simple answer is just to replace the bulbs and ballasts right? The garage is an RV garage and I don't have a ladder tall enough to reach the roof so a taller ladder/ scissor lift would have to be rented which cost a few bucks. I am not opposed to renting the lift, but I figure if I'm investing in the lift time, I want something better and more modern to replace them with. With the current bulbs being 72", I am not having much luck finding LED replacements or upgrades although I could just not have very good google FU.

I've watched a bunch of clickbait YouTube videos talking about various amazon lights and even bought some. I got the 10 pack of Barrina LED lights and put them around the perimeter of the shop at about the 7 foot level and it definitely helped visibility. My concern, is that these lights are not made to withstand the test of time, and if I had a normal height garage where I could pop up on a ladder and swap them out when they die would not be as much of an issue. But since I'd have to drop upwards of $300 on equipment just to do the repair, I'd prefer to get something that will last.

I am fully aware that I don't have to stick with the 72" fixture/ bulbs but have really not come up with a great solution and again, YouTube is just amazon/ harbor freight clickbait anymore where the cheapest thing that works long enough to make the video is touted as the greatest.

What have you had luck with or what do you use?
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
511
Location
Greenbow, AL
Had 2 rows of 4 double 8ft fluorescents in my old shop that were adequate but frequently had to deal w/ bad ballasts, bulbs, etc. Replaced all w/ 36w LEDs from Amazon (ballast bypass). Increase in light output was amazing and no more lighting issues on humid days. Looks like brand is not on Amazon anymore but there are others. Experimented a bit and settled on 5000k as best color for me. Plus cut power use in half from 1200w to 576w.

Just replace same amount/size of fluorescents in a pole barn at my new place. Hard part was they were the high output fluorescents and it was harder to find LEDS. Finally got these from Amazon (again 5000k & ballast bypass) Amazon product . Great light and they turn on every time.

And to round out - new shop had 10 T5 fluorescent fixtures w/ 6 54w bulbs each. Replaced with these 24w off Amazon Amazon product . No ballast bypass so occasionally have to replace one but the light out put is so much better that I was able to put two fixtures on separate switches and don't need often. Cut power consumption 64% (3240w to 1152w) and have much better lighting.

Moral of the story - find some LED replacements and don't look back. Have now replaced all fluorescents in shop and house (inc 100+ in basement) w/ LEDs and couldn't be happier. Never seen 72" fluorescents so that might be part of the problem finding LEDs. I normally wouldn't recommend Walmart but if you have any 4ft fixtures, their LED replacements are actually very good.

(not sure what's up w/ big spacing after line w/ link)


Best ebay purchase ever for dealing w/ shop lights!

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Last edited:
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
160
Location
Seattle, WA/ Jacksonville, OR
Need more information. Dimensions including ceiling height, how are the current fluorescents hung, type of ceiling (open or closed), etc.
I guess I don't know what I need so I didn't know what info you need, of that makes sense.

I was able to sneak out there tonight and take some measurements and photos. Building is 30x 30 with one half having a 15' ceiling and the other half has an 8' ceiling (there is a den above it) on the short half, there are 8' halogen bulbs/ fixtures installed. On the tall side they are what I believe to be 72" bulbs with the fixtures mounted to the ceiling. Also, that ceiling fan is worthless.

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WarDamnEagle

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Joined
May 20, 2007
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6,439
Location
Auburn
I would use some kind of LED high bay fixture in the tall side. Off the top of my head I would place them 5 feet or so off the wall oriented opposite to the fluorescent fixtures that are there. You could go with a linear high bay (e.g. Lithonia contractor select IBE) or UFOs. How many and what lumens depends on how much light you want at working height. To make the wiring easier, you could mount them where the current fluorescents are and adjust lumens to get the foot candles you desire.

I think you are pretty much stuck with a fluorescent tube type fixture on the 8' side. Change what you have out for 4', 2 or 4 tube LED fixtures. Again, how many depends on how much light you want.

Warning, I am not a lighting expert so take the above suggestions for what they are worth. There's a great thread or two on Garage Journal on this subject. Worth a look if you get really interested.
 

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