Updated June 27, 2019 by Karen Bennett

The 10 Best Shop Lights

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Little is more frustrating than trying to work in a poorly-lit environment, so if you need better illumination in your garage, basement, or warehouse, you should take a look at our selection of reliable shop lights. They’re available with a wide variety of outputs and designs that would be ideal for everything from a handyman's area at home to a large industrial space. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Sunco Lighting Linkable

2. GE Lighting 20402

3. Barrina LED T5

Editor's Notes

June 25, 2019:

When you’re in the market for a shop light, you’ve got many options as far as design and bulb type. Our selection has you covered when it comes to flush-mounted tubes as well as hanging fixtures, with a couple of floor models included as well. As for bulb type, there are plenty of old-school, fluorescent options on the market that’ll provide an abundance of bright light, including the Lithonia Lighting Heavy Duty (featured here), which is hung via chain links and features a traditional pull-chain power switch.

In addition, there are an abundance of energy-efficient LED choices available, including two new additions to our list. The Sunco Lighting Linkable comes in multi-packs of four or six, and each fixture can either be mounted to the ceiling or hung from it. They boast a simple, plug-and-play design and as many as four can be connected conveniently for a neat, clean effect keeps unsightly wires to a minimum.

For a model that's rated to last for decades, check out the newly added GE Lighting 20402, which provides 1800 lumens with a uniform light pattern. It’ll bathe your work area with plenty of cool white light, and can be attached directly to the ceiling or suspended from it. It’s made by a lighting company that traces its roots back to 130 years ago.

Leaving the list is the Hyperikon LED Linkable due to its lack of availability, as well as the Four Bros High Bay T5, due to its not coming with bulbs – a deterrent for those who prefer the convenience of one-stop shopping.

Special Honors

WareLight The Edge 8-Foot This 90-watt LED strip produces an impressive 11,400 lumens with an estimated lifespan of 50,000 hours. It works well with any application, be it residential, industrial, or commercial. Its sleek design makes it well-suited for size-restricted locations. You can select one that mounts directly to the ceiling, or one that's hung with either a chain or an aircraft cable. It’s UL listed for safety and comes with a lengthy seven-year warranty. warehouse-lighting.com

4. Luceco 3600 Lumen

5. Neiko 40464A Cordless

6. PowerSmith Dual-Head

7. Viugreum Industrial Chandelier

8. Hallomall HA-929

9. Lithonia Lighting Silver

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

10. Lights of America LED

The Importance Of Proper Workplace Lighting

Ensuring that all areas of a shop have equal and adequate lighting can prevent this.

Proper lighting is vital to any workplace, whether it be a factory, workshop, or office. This is because people receive roughly 85 percent of their information through sight. Most people know that dim lighting can severely hamper a person's ability to gather necessary information with their eyes, but the opposite is also true. Light that is too bright can be just as detrimental. Light also helps our body set its circadian clock. Overly bright lights and those in the blue spectrum, such as those given off from a computer screen or smartphone, can make it difficult to fall asleep, while dim lighting in the middle of the day can quickly make one feel sleepy.

Having the appropriate forms of lighting in the workplace has a twofold benefit; it can increase productivity and reduce accidents. Studies have found that adequate, high-quality lighting can increase productivity by anywhere from 10 to 50 percent. There are a number of reasons for this. Proper lighting helps to reduce eye strain, especially when working on small items that require complicated assembly. Excessive eye strain is associated with nausea, headaches, and even neck pain, since people often move their face closer to what they are working on, resulting in them adopting unnatural working positions. All of these things can hamper a person's concentration, resulting in less productivity. A well-lit workplace also often results in more cheerful employees, and everybody knows that a happy worker is a better worker. Good lighting decreases mistakes and errors, as well, resulting in greater efficiency.

In a workshop, where employees are often using sharp, dangerous machinery, adequate lighting is doubly important as it increases workplace safety in addition to productivity. Having a well-lit shop can great reduce the incidence of workshop injuries for multiple reasons. Momentary blindness caused by moving from a brightly lit area to a dimly lit area, or vice versa, is the cause of many injuries in workshops. Ensuring that all areas of a shop have equal and adequate lighting can prevent this. If an employee is using a sharp object, such as a circular saw or jigsaw, in dim light, there is a much greater chance of slipping and a higher potential for injury.

Warm Light Versus Cool Light

Light bulbs come in many different spectral ranges, and understanding what the different measurements mean is important, as each range is best suited for certain applications. Light spectrum is measured using the Kelvin scale and is typically described as color temperature. The Kelvin scale has an extremely wide range, but for practical purposes we will focus on the 1,000 to 10,000K range. The lower the number, the more red spectrum in a light source, and the higher the number, the more blue spectrum in a light source. The color temperature of candlelight is roughly 1,000K to 2,000K, with the color temperature of clear blue poleward sky being roughly 10,000K or higher. Direct sunlight at noon on a clear day is in the 5,000 to 6,000K range.

Commercially available light bulbs generally range from 2,500K to 7,000K. Bulbs that have a color temperature from 2,700K to 3,500K are warm white lights. These are best for living areas, such as bedrooms and dining rooms. They help create a cozy atmosphere for relaxation. Light bulbs that have a color temperature from 4,000 to 4,500K are natural white lights. This spectrum range is ideal for a home workspace, such as an office. It can also be a good choice for a bathroom or kitchen, where one wants to be able to clearly see for cutting ingredients or applying makeup. Bulbs with a color temperature range from 5,000 to 6,000K are cool white lights. This spectrum range is best for commercial applications, such as retail shops, workshops, and medical offices. It tends to exaggerate colors and make fine details in items easier to see. Since lights in this spectrum range are very bright, they also help to keep workers and shoppers energized.

How To Choose The Best Shop Light

As previously mentioned, choosing the correct type and spectrum of light has a huge impact on productivity and safety. It is important to note, that the correct level of lighting is dependent on the nature of the task. For example, intricate and highly detailed work, such as assembling tiny components, or dangerous work, such as using a band saw, requires brighter light than unloading a truck. Proper lighting levels are also dependent on the employees themselves. Older employees will generally require brighter lighting in their workspace than younger employees. Some people may be comfortable working in dim, warm light, as they feel it creates a cozy atmosphere, whereas others may prefer bright, cool lights.

The cost of entry to fluorescents is cheaper, but they will burn-out quicker than LEDs, requiring you to spend additional money periodically to replace bulbs.

Buying a workshop light for personal use is much easier than buying one for a commercial shop, as you know exactly what type of light you find most comfortable. When choosing one for a commercial shop, it is often best to follow OSHA's recommended minimum illumination guidelines.

If you are looking to illuminate a full workshop with task lighting, overhead LED or fluorescent fixtures are usually best. The cost of entry to fluorescents is cheaper, but they will burn-out quicker than LEDs, requiring you to spend additional money periodically to replace bulbs. For this reason, if you are installing light fixtures in hard to reach places, using an LED capable of 40,000 or more illumination hours is often the best choice, as you will rarely have to replace it. Fluorescents also have a tendency to flicker, which can be very distracting.

If you are looking for portable lighting that you can move from job site to job site, a single- or double-head, floor-standing halogen lamp is usually the best choice. They are capable of creating a high degree of illumination from a compact unit, and come in flood or spot beam options. Most are built with a focus on durability, often featuring a protective cage around the light, a hardened glass lens, heavy-duty handles, and a stable tripod base.

Karen Bennett
Last updated on June 27, 2019 by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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