Best LED Garage Lights for Home Workshop

When you’re making home improvements, you want to make the changes the best they can be. Installing new lighting in your garage can be an uncomplicated task–if you know what you’re looking for.

The best lighting for a garage will allow high visibility for your projects. If you don’t need to move your lights around, a bright overhead system is best. Look for lighting that has a temperature of 4000K or more. This will keep you focused and help you to see the true color of your materials.

In this article guide, we will go over the basics of a work light, and the more nuanced characteristics you should look for when purchasing one. We will also examine the different kinds of lights and their general applications.

What Is a Work Light?

Most likely, you will want a work light in your garage. A work light differs from a regular indoor light in a variety of ways. A work light is specifically designed to allow the user to accurately light their project in a way that their work efficiency is undisturbed. This is achieved by the following.

Providing Even Light

Lights that create really bright “hot spots” are not ideal for working on most projects. Lights that create extreme hot spots also create very dark shadows.  This can make your project hard to focus on due to the extreme contrast between the highlights and extreme dark points.  Plus this extreme lighting can play tricks on your eyes and your perspective of what you are viewing.  Your eyes will struggle to decipher the hot spots and reflections from the dark shadows. Hot spots in lighting will also blow out any detail of the material you are working with. It is better to have even lighting that does not have an extreme hotspot or harsh decay on the edges of the light that is being cast.  Modern C.O.B. and S.M.D. LED’s can achieve this with or without lens designed to diffuse the light, however be sure to avoid lenses designed to focus the light if you are looking for a good diffused and even worklight.

Emitting Bright Light

While dim lighting may be cozy for an intimate dinner, it is a safety hazard when working with tools. Work lights need to provide bright light, which allows you to safely use power tools without straining your eyes.

Using a Cooler Light Temperature

When we say temperature, we aren’t referring to heat, we are referring to the color of the lights.  Warmer lights tend to be more yellow in color and cooler lights tend to be more blue in color.  We will go into more detail of light temperature in the following section, as it is important for work lights to provide the proper light temperature. Indoor lights are often warmer lights to create ambiance, but work lights need to be more neutral than indoor lights.

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Onestudy showed that cooler temperature lights also increase concentration. This study says that cooler light temperatures provide stimulation to the non-visual receptors in our eyes that respond to changes in light temperature because of our biological programming. IE; we are programmed to be more alert during the brightest times of the day.

Using neutral or slightly cooler temperatures in your garage will allow you to see more detail and put in longer, more productive hours on your projects.

What to Look for in a Work Light

As we’ve learned above, work lights have different criteria for them than your average indoor lighting system. Certain features are necessary, and more attractive, in a work light.

Strength and Brightness

When looking for a light for your garage, the most important feature may be the strength of the light. Light strength, or brightness, is measured inlumens. Lumens measure the entire amount of light emitted by a single source visible to the human eye. Lumens are mostly used when discussing the brightness of artificial lights.

The average indoor 60w lightbulb produces about 800 lumens of light. This is a good amount of light when doing daily tasks and chores, but when you’re working on a detailed project, you will likely want a brighter light. If you are purchasing work lights, look for products with 1000 lumens, or more. However, don’t be tricked by inexpensive, no branded lights claiming unbelievable lumens.  They are often not honest with their performance specifications.  Buy your lights from quality and reputable brands instead of just buying the light that claims the most lumens.  

Light Direction

Another important feature of garage lights is the direction you need the lights to project in. For overhead lights, you will probably want a wide dispersal of light to better fill the room. 

When working in small areas, like under a car, you may want a combination of lights. A floodlight to better illuminate the entire engine bay, as well as a more direct light to illuminate the area you’re focusing on. 

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The direct light is best to illuminate pinpoint areas, like aiming the light at a bolt tucked under an exhaust manifold.  Take your tasks into consideration when buying a garage light.


Depending on what tasks you are most likely to perform in your garage or workshop, you may or may not need a mobile light. Overhead lights are often fixed, but you can find light fixtures that allow their bulbs to be turned and directed to specific areas.

Lights on stands, like spotlight and floodlights, are great for bringing from one area of the garage to another. They are also great lights if you have work to be completed on other sites, as you can easily pack up and move these lights.

Some lights can be mounted on a pole or shelf via a clip or magnet on the light’s base. These are handy for providing brighter light on a tabletop project or when your work often moves around the room.

Handheld lights, or typical flashlights, also have their place in a garage. They come in handy for areas left shadowed by your overhead lighting.  For example, under a car or workbench, you’re most likely going to reach for a flashlight.  The only challenge with a traditional flashlight is the ability to accurately aim the light while also leaving your hands free to get the job done.  That is where we recommend a handy flashlight worklight combo style light that can be aimed and used hands-free, like theFLEXiT line of flexible flashlights bySTKR Concepts.

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Of course, another thing to consider when considering the mobility of a work light is whether or not the light is wired. Handheld and mobile lights are often battery-powered, which means having batteries on hand, or the light always charged is important.


As with all tools in a garage, durability is an important factor when it comes to lights. Consider the quality of the materials used to build the lights. LED lightshave a longer lifespan than regular incandescent bulbs–by a long shot, and aren’t as susceptible to drops and abuse. 

The average incandescent bulb lasts one year, while LEDs can last up to 25 years. CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent lightbulbs, are also a good option and can last up to 10 years, but have mercury inside of them.  If they break you should have a chemical cleanup.  Because of this, they are not recommended in a garage or work environment.


Price is always a factor when it comes to any home purchase. Ensuring you’re getting the best quality for your dollar is also important. In the product recommendations below, we take price into consideration.  As mentioned earlier, be aware of cheap products offering outstanding performance claims.  Buy on quality and you will get honest performance and durability on the back end.  Not to mention a company that will honor their warranty.  

Energy Usage

Not only does lighting cost you money to purchase, but it also costs you money to run. When purchasing lighting, it’s easy to save money with certain types of lightbulbs.

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Traditional incandescent light bulbs, which last the shortest length of time, also cost the most to run. The average 60W (watt) incandescent bulb costs $4.80 per year to run, while the average 12W (watt) LED costs $1.00 per year. Add this up over 25 years, and you can save thousands of dollars by using LED lights throughout your garage.

Ease of Installation

When it comes to home improvements, ease of installation is always something in one’s mind. If you’re installing your lighting yourself, look for simple lighting. Ceiling fixtures are more complicated to install, while handheld or surface mount lights are the easiest.

The ease of upkeep should also be considered. Perhaps the ceiling fixture is a bit more complicated to install, but the service of the light is simple. On the other hand, a halogen work light becomes a burden to maintain as the bulbs are fragile, hot, and incorrect replacement will lead to more frequent failures.  Even the oils from your skin can make these bulbs fail.  

Color Temperature

What is color temperature? Traditionally, it is the quality of light that different temperatures of incandescent materials produce. The hotter the physical temperature of the material, the cooler the color temperature.

Doreen Becker best explains this inColor Trends and Selection for Product Design. She says, “The basis of color temperature measurement started withWilliam Kelvin in 1848 when he heated a block of carbon and noted the color changes as the temperatures increased. Initial colors detected were a slight glowing red that changed to yellow and finally reached blue shade white at its highest heat.”

Named after concept creator William Kelvin, color temperature is measured in Kelvins.

We often use warmer color temperatures for our indoor lighting. This produces a cozy atmosphere, like that of a fireplace. Restaurants and bars often use this lighting as well, to help the rooms feel more intimate. The average indoor lighting schemes usually register between 2700K and 3000K. Bedrooms may use around 2700K, while bathrooms and kitchens are usually closer to 3000K.

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Cooler color temperatures are used in workspaces and factories where it is important to see clearly. Cooler light temperatures help our eyes to see the contrast. This is especially useful when reading or working on creative projects. The average horizon daylight is measured at 5000K. This is a bright, slightly bluish light that helps complete tasks.

Look for a light temperature of 5000K or higher for your garage.

Extra Features

The final criteria to consider when shopping for lighting for your garage is any special features the products may have. These could include timers or motion sensors, both useful in a garage. They could also include an auxiliary port that could be used to power other electronics, such as a security camera.

When it comes to battery operated lights, rechargeable or built-in batteries are a nice feature. These will save you money on batteries in the long run.

Other lights offer the ability to change color, so you don’t have to stick with one single style or color temperature. They may also have flashing or strobing abilities, which can be handy in an emergency.


Now that we’ve looked at many different lighting types, you can decide which is best for you. Probably, this will be a combination of a few different types of lighting.

Having bright overhead lighting is key to a garage that is conducive to work, but you should also combine this with some bright handheld or spotlights for more detailed projects.

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