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Garages tend to be darker than other areas of your home because they don’t typically have windows to let natural light in. To make your space functional for DIY projects, the This Old House Reviews Team created this guide on the best garage lighting ideas.
Keep reading for our lighting recommendations.
Top 5 Garage Lights
- Best Recessed: Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light
- Best For High Ceilings: HYPERLITE LED High Bay Light
- Best Slimline: TALOYA Flush-Mount LED Ceiling Light
- Best Plug-In: hykolity Linkable LED Shop Light
- Best Wraparound: FaithSail LED Wraparound Wrap Light
Compare Top Garage Lighting Ideas
|Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light||12||Recessed||6.8 x 6.8 x 0.4 in.||5 years|
|HYPERLITE LED High Bay Light||1||Ceiling Hook||13 x 13 x 8 in.||5 years|
|TALOYA Flush-Mount LED Ceiling Light||1||Flush-Mount||12 x 12 x 0.94 in.||2 years|
|hykolity Linkable LED Shop Light||4||Pendant or Flush-Mount||47.7 x 6 x 3.5 in.||5 years|
|FaithSail LED Wraparound Wrap Light||24||Flush-Mount||48 x 5.4 x 1.8 in.||5 years|
Best Recessed: Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light
What Customers Are Saying
This 12-pack of thin LED recessed lights received primarily four- and five-star reviews from satisfied customers. These customers valued the brightness of the lights, as well as their easy installation and attractive looks when the lights were turned off. Conversely, other customers found that the diameter of the trim rings was too small, leading to various complications with installation.
Best For High Ceilings: HYPERLITE LED High Bay Light
What Customers Are Saying
The majority of customers who reviewed these LED high bay light were happy with its brightness and ease of installation. They also liked the coverage of the light, as well as the instant response turning the light on and off. However, some unsatisfied customers said that the light flickered after using it for a while, and others stated that the light was too powerfully bright without a globe to cover it.
Best Slimline: TALOYA Flush-Mount LED Ceiling Light
What Customers Are Saying
Happy customers highlighted the overall brightness, ease of adjustability, painless installation, and entry-level price in their positive reviews. On the other hand, critical feedback included the color of the lights, which some customers said was beige rather than the advertised white. Additionally, they said that the lights were too cold in their coloration to support a warm and cozy ambiance in their home.
Best Plug-In: hykolity Linkable LED Shop Light
What Customers Are Saying
Highlights in positive customer reviews centered around the shop lights’ light weight, simple installation, bright light output, and efficient energy usage. Alternatively, some users reported that the lights felt too cheap and produced a blue-like hue in their workshop.
Best Wraparound: FaithSail LED Wraparound Wrap Light
What Customers Are Saying
Customers who gave this set of LED wraparound lights in their garage mentioned that they were an easy and cost-effective upgrade to traditional fluorescent lights. Being modern LED lights, they were brighter and significantly more responsive to the flick of a switch compared to old fluorescent lights. Critically, some users thought that the lights didn’t last as long as they should have, even given their entry-level price. Additionally, some customers wished that there was a cover for the wiring of the lights, which made them look unattractive.
Types of Garage Lights
There are five main types of garage lighting fixtures:
Similar to wraparound lights, flush-mount lights are mounted directly to your ceiling. They have a circular shape and are usually more decorative, making them great for other common spaces around your home, such as hallways, patios, or offices.
High Bay Lights
As the name suggests, this type of lighting is meant for garages with high ceilings, usually over 15 feet in height. They can be suspended from the ceiling by a hook, pendant, or chain or mount directly to the ceiling.
Recessed lights have a circular shape and fit directly into holes cut into the ceiling. These are hardwired to your electrical system and can be turned on and off using a wall switch. They concentrate light in a downward direction.
Shop lights have a tube-like shape and can be hung from a chain or rope from the ceiling, or they can be mounted directly to the ceiling. They typically have a cord for plugging into a wall outlet, preventing you from having to figure out how to hardwire the lights to your electrical system.
Wraparound lights are in the shape of a semicircle. The flat side sits flush against the ceiling, and the circular side hangs from the ceiling, pointing light in a variety of directions.
Tips on How To Improve Your Garage’s Lighting
Here are a few tips on how to get a well-lit garage.
Consider Other Types of Lighting
In addition to the lighting options mentioned above, consider ambient, task, and accent lighting. Ambient lighting creates a soft overhead light for a large area, allowing you to find tools and see what you’re working on. Task lighting produces a bright light that’s directed at one particular area, giving you light for detail-oriented work.
Accent lighting is meant to show off a certain area and is less common in garages. However, you could use accent lights to illuminate the tools hanging on a pegboard to help you easily select the items you need.
Determine How Much Light Your Garage Needs
The amount of light your garage needs depends on the size of the space, the number of windows in the space, and the type of lighting you want. Light output is measured in lumens, and, in general, you’ll need 50 lumens per square foot for ambient lighting, 300 lumens per square foot for task lighting, and 75 lumens per square foot for accent lighting.
After determining how much light you need, choose light bulbs that have enough energy to deliver that brightness. For example, let’s say you have a 360-square-foot two-door garage and you want to install ambient lighting in one half of the space and task lighting in the other half.
If you use the guidelines above, you would need 54,000 lumens on the task side and 9,000 lumens on the ambient side. Using a lumen-to-watt conversion chart, you can decide on the type of light you need, the number of lights necessary to brighten the space, and the wattage you want for your bulbs.
For example, 38-watt LED bulbs produce 3,000 lumens each, so you could use three of those for the ambient side, or you could use three 200-watt incandescent bulbs to produce that same amount of light.
Choose Bulbs With a High CRI
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) tells you how closely the light produced by a bulb resembles the light produced by a naturally occurring source, such as the sun. A bulb will have a rating on a scale of zero to 100, with higher numbers indicating a more natural-looking light. For your garage light, choose a bulb with a CRI of 85 or higher.
Consider the On-and-Off Mechanism on Your Lights
Garage lights can be turned on and off with a switch on a cord or they can be hardwired to your electrical system and turned on and off with a wall switch. Corded lights are easier to install, but they have to be close to a wall outlet. Hardwired lights require more work up front, but they’re more convenient to use.
If you don’t want to use either method, you can install lights with motion sensors. This requires hardwiring the lights to your electrical system, but you don’t have to find a switch to turn the lights on or off and the lights are more energy-efficient, as they automatically turn off when you leave your garage.
Incorporate Light in Other Ways
Installing a skylight or window will increase the natural light in your garage. You could also repaint your garage in a white or eggshell color to make the room brighter or hang a mirror to open up the space. Additionally, consider replacing your existing garage door with one that has windows to brighten the room.
How We Selected Garage Lighting Ideas
To provide our readers with the best product recommendations possible, we rely on several key sources of information to help guide our selection process.
Initial Research: Our research process began by generating a list of garage lighting ideas with a significant number of verified-buyer reviews and an average customer review rating of 4-5 stars. We looked at positive and negative reviews alike, focusing on information from both satisfied and critical buyers.
Expert Insights: Through our years of experience, we’ve learned that listening to what others have to say is key to building accurate, well-rounded articles. To complement our in-house expertise, our team looked at reviews from trusted publications as well as subject matter experts, and drew insights from reader contributions.
Final Product Selection: We then began fine-tuning our list by replacing older models with the latest versions and eliminating any discontinued models. From there, we pared the list down further by comparing each model’s feature-set and selecting the best-in-class options for a variety of buyers, budgets, and scenarios.
Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team
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The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content. To date, we’ve published over 1,600 reviews on products in the home improvement space, from garage floor coating and gutters to doorbells and backyard fencing.
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