What Color Temperature is Best for Garage Lighting?

If you are planning to overhaul your garage, then playing around with the lighting helps yield satisfactory results.

Choosing the right color temperature for your garage depends on how you want it to look. But it all boils down on its kelvin range. Ideally, a range between 4000 to 5000 kelvin is best suited for garages in today’s time.

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There are plenty of ways to light your garage. If you are looking for tips and tricks about all things garage lighting temperature, then this article is for you. That said, continue to read on. 

Why is it so important?

So what’s the deal of lighting temperature, you ask? We all know that it sets the mood and ambiance for an indoor setting. And in the case of a garage, it helps you to do some workspace stuff efficiently during night time. 

The warmer the temperature, the easier for you to look for things because it doesn’t contrast too much in your garage. Colder temperatures also work well depending on the environment, especially for offices.

What is Color Temperature?

Okay. So what is color temperature?

Color temperature is a way to measure the color of the light source on the visual spectrum (from infrared to ultraviolet). You don’t really discuss color temperature when talking about fake greens or purple lights, because it just doesn’t really make sense.

Lights that have a reddish or yellowish hue are said to be ‘warmer’ while lights that have a blueish hue are said to be ‘cooler.’

As the color of the light reflects off of the thing they are working on, that thing is going to look different colors.

Here’s an illustration with the same room and the same set of furniture with different color temperature lights. In some takes on a more yellowish hue and into cooler lights it takes on a brighter white hue.

Color temperature makes a difference

From your own experience you know that different colored lights make you feel different ways.

We’re more alert with natural, bright light then we are with candle light. Studies have shown that brighter lighting with cooler color temperatures caused noticeable increases in attention and memory. By contrast, warmer lighting caused subjects to feel more relaxed.

In fact, warmer lights (around 3000K) actually increase your chances of dozing off. (source)
As we move towards cooler color temperatures, lights take on a more bluish hue and bring things into sharper focus.

Natural daylight is the equivalent of 6500K. Higher than 6500K and that sharpness actually begins to hurt our eyes.

If you’re setting up a garage workshop that you’re going to be in for long lengths of time, try to find that happy medium between lights that make you fall asleep and lights won’t hurt your eyes.

So what should you choose for your garage?

With all these different color temperature measurements, choosing the right color temperature is no easy feat. But we highly recommend going for the 4000 to 5000-kelvin measurement because of its balanced nature. 

This setting is crisp, clear, and doesn’t feel too straining for the eyes. This enables you to be more productive in your garage workspace even during nighttime without hurting your eyes. However, you can also experiment too depending on how you want to use such lights. 

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For example, if you are working in your garage on a stormy afternoon, a warmer 4000-kelvin temperature will do best to keep you going. This is because it complements the weather outside is dark and gloomy. 

If you are working early in the morning, opt for cooler temperatures to match the mood and the ambiance of your surroundings. Whatever it might be, you have the freedom to adjust the temperature as you see fit. As long as it doesn’t hurt your eyes, then you’re good!

Recommended Garage Lighting Color Temperatures

It’s a big investment to upgrade the lighting in your garage – both in time and in money.

It’s easy to tell lights have the wrong color temperature, but harder to tell what the right color temperature is.

What I mean by that is, you’re going to know instantly that you’ve got the wrong lighting.

Something will just be…off.

I’ve compiled some advice from experts and weekend warriors alike to make sure you’ve got the right color temperature lighting, no matter how you use your garage.

General Recommendations

In general, a color temperature between 4000-5000 Kelvin is ideal, depending on your personal tastes.

When I was a kid, we used incandescent lights in my house, so lights around 3500K – 4000K ‘normal.’ Through the years, home lighting has gradually moved towards cooler, whiter light. Those cooler lights will probably seem out of place.

If you’re just using your garage for storage, you can get by with any color temperature. Although, it’s worth noting that a brightly lit garage helps keep the bugs and critters out.

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Your car’s in the sun a lot, so it makes sense that’s the kind of light you want to detail it in. You want to be able to see any smudges or imperfections clearly so you can take care of them.

Here’s a catch 22: The best light source you can get for detailing your car is natural sunlight, but all the experts say you should never wash your car in direct sunlight.

The same way that we wouldn’t want to be outside for hours on end, we also don’t want to be working in a garage with high color temperature lighting for hours either. It just puts too much stress on our eyes.

Experts recommend between 5000K and 6000K color temperatures for detailing your car. If you’re a professional detailer, then go with the 6000K lights. If you’re just a weekend warrior, go with the 5000K lights overhead and some smaller, 6000K lights for detail work.

Not only do you want something that has a high color temperature so that it mimics natural daylight when you want something that has a high color accuracy as well.

The placement of lights is also a major factor here. You want something that has full body coverage of your car.

However, there’s more to getting great lighting for detailing your car than just picking the right color temperature.

Tips In Buying Garage Lighting

Color Temperature Best for Garage Lighting

Setting temperature measurement aside, choosing the right lighting for your garage also plays a vital role too. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Buy based on your garage size

The larger the garage, the more light it needs. Don’t just settle for single overhead lighting to light up the entirety of your garage. You may need to buy more so don’t be afraid to stretch your budget a little bit.

2. The price tag is not what it seems

Should you opt for cheap lighting or expensive ones? This is the greatest dilemma one can face when choosing the right lighting, especially for garages. So don’t be fooled just by its price tag alone. 

Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean some of them are high-quality. The same thing can be said for affordable ones where some of them are compromised to fit the price.

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3. Choose a brand you can trust

This tip is connected to the second one above. Instead of buying garage lighting based on its price, choose one by its brand. So make sure to opt for a lighting brand that is already known and trusted by a lot of users no matter the price.

And this is why research plays a vital role when buying garage lighting. Not only will it make you a smart buyer, but you’re also doing your garage a favor by picking a light source that will last longer. 

4. Energy-saving lights are a must

If you don’t want to be bombarded with skyrocketing electric bills, then choose lights for your garage that are energy-saving.

It’s easy to spot which lights save more energy. More often than not, manufacturers will put a label on their packaging saying that it saves more energy compared to its competitors. 

What’s best is that these energy-saving lights are also good for the environment too. This means you will reduce your carbon footprint while keeping your garage well-lit at the same time. Don’t you just love sprucing up your garage while saving our mother earth while you’re at it? 

5. Functionality

And lastly, the functionality. Different lights have different functions. Aside from its ability to change the temperature, some lights also have automatic timers too. This means these lights only turn on when there’s a person inside the room. 

Color temperature for woodworking
To really bring out the natural hues of the woods, you want lighting that mimics the light in your home, but with some additional lighting for detail tasks.

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As more homes shift to cooler lighting, shop lighting has shifted as well. Woodworkers have moved from 2700K incandescent bulbs to cooler LED’s, so look for lighting between 3500K and 4000K.

Lighting is very much a personal preference, especially for woodworkers. He recommends seeing different lights in person to try to get an idea how they’ll look in your shop.

“If you can’t find a display and don’t already have a preference, 4000K is somewhat neutral and not a bad place to start. “

Color temperature for garage gym

Think about the last time you went to the gym. Was it bright or dark?

Every gym I’ve ever been to has had so many lights it feels like the treadmill is on the surface of the sun. Come to think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing a dark gym.

The reason for that is that our bodies respond better to exercise when we’re awake and alert. Good lighting helps push us and get the most out of our workouts.

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Puts it simply. If you can’t get sunshine inside your gym, you should have one overarching goal: “To use lighting that is as close to sunlight as possible in amount, direction, and color.”

That means using lighting that has a color temperature of 5000K, which is as close to the mid-day sun as possible. Avoid lighting that is either yellowish or blueish in hue because it will adversely affect your workout performance.


We all want our garage to be a place we can go work, play or workout. Choosing the right garage lighting can make all the difference in the world.

Its hard to get good color temperature recommendations when researching garage lighting. I wanted to know, in simple terms what the best lighting was for whatever I wanted to do with my garage.

I hope that this article makes your journey a little easier.

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