Choosing the Best Lighting Fixtures for Your Garage

The garage has several functions in a modern home. While its main purpose is providing a space to park your vehicles, it can also be used as storage space or even as a workshop. For this reason, having adequate garage lighting is very important. The two most common options are fluorescent and LED lighting: fluorescent lamps have a lower upfront cost, but LEDs last much longer while saving energy.
General Recommendations when Choosing Garage Lights

There are many types of garage light fixtures, and you should look for the following features to achieve the best results:

  • Garage lights should have a wide beam, to achieve uniform lighting and provide good visibility. If you use lamps with a narrow beam, only the area directly below them will have adequate lighting.
  • Garage light fixtures should be capable of switching on quickly. This is useful if you forget something in the car, or you must find a tool in the workshop.
  • Ideally, you should look for an energy efficient option such as LED garage lights, which can save up to 50% compared with fluorescent tubes.

Lighting quality is also important, especially if you have a garage workshop. Light fixtures have a performance metric called the Color Rendering Index or CRI, which indicates how well they reveal the true colors of objects and surfaces. The maximum CRI is 100, which describes a light source with the same quality as sunlight, and the recommendation is looking for a CRI above 80. Light fixtures with low CRI values cause color distortion, affecting visibility.

Types of Garage Light Fixtures

If you are looking for garage lighting ideas, there are many types of fixtures available,
in both fluorescent and LED versions. The following are the best garage lighting options to meet the needs of most homes

  • Strip lights
  • Wraparound lights
  • High-bay lights
  • Shop lights

These fixtures are normally designed to use light tubes, which can be fluorescent or LED depending on product specifications. High-bay lights are the exception: some of them use tubes, but many are designed for other lamp types.

Strip Lights
Strip lights are characterized by their exposed linear lamps, which emit light in all directions. Since the lamps are exposed and visible, they can be easily replaced when damaged or burned.
Wraparound lights are similar to strip lights, but they have an acrylic covering that wraps around the tubes, as their name implies. The covering protects the lamps, while also acting as a diffuser that produces a more uniform lighting effect.
High Bay
High bay lights are designed for tall ceilings, like those found in commercial and industrial buildings. However, these fixtures are also suitable for garage lighting when the ceiling is taller than 15’. High bay lamps are designed to provide uniform lighting when placed high above the ground - the best LED lights for high ceilings use this design.
Shop Lights
Shop lights are designed for work areas, and they have exposed lamps similar to those of strip lights. If you are looking for garage workshop ideas, shop lights have an adaptable and versatile design. They can be installed on the ceiling, hanged with chains, or attached to the underside of a shelf or cabinet.
When Do I Need Waterproof and Vapour Tight Garage Lights?

You will notice that some garage lights are rated as waterproof or vapour tight. Both fixture types have special seals that protect lamps from electrical damage in moist environments. However, there is an important difference:

  • Waterproof garage lights have been specifically designed to prevent water from entering the fixture, protecting the electrical components inside. If these fixtures are sprinkled accidentally when you wash your car, they will not be damaged.
  • A vapour tight garage light offers protection against liquids and vapours in general, which include steam and air moisture. In other words, these fixtures have a tighter seal than those rated as waterproof only.

Standard garage lights have a lower cost than waterproof and vapour tight fixtures, but their service life is reduced when exposed to moisture. If you wash your car at home regularly, or there is any appliance that may sprinkle water inside the garage, the lights should be waterproof. Garage lights may also be exposed to air humidity and vapour sources, such as the exhaust from a kitchen range hood, and they should be vapour tight in these cases.

Advantages of LED Garage Light Fixtures

Fluorescent lighting is an affordable and cost-effective option, but LED garage light fixtures offer several advantages:

  • Compared with fluorescent lamps, LEDs can achieve energy savings of 30-50%
  • LEDs also last longer: while a fluorescent tube normally lasts less than 20,000 hours, an equivalent LED tube will last 50,000 hours or more.
  • Fluorescent lights will last even less when they are switched frequently, while LED lights are not affected.
  • LEDs are also safer than fluorescent lamps, since they release less heat. LED workshop lights will not burn you if touched accidentally, while fluorescent tubes can get very hot.

If you need additional lighting for your garage, LED bulbs are an excellent option. They can be used with clamp-on lights or task lights, making them especially useful for garage workshops. If you are looking for bright LED bulbs for garage lighting, check their lumen output: as a quick reference, an LED bulb with an 800-lumen output has the same brightness as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

At Lumenco we offer a wide production selection for all your lighting needs, including some of the best LED garage lights in the market.