Should you change your garage light to an LED?

If you spend a fair bit of time in your garage, an LED garage light will pay for itself in a short time. You’ll have ample light for a fraction of the energy cost of halogen or incandescent garage lighting.

Since not everyone agrees on terminology, I’m going to cover two different kind of LED garage lights here – so whatever led you to this page, I hope to help you!

  • LED lighting for garages: LED lights (typically rectangular arrays of lights) that can be used to light up your garage brightly and more cheaply than incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes
  • LED work lights: Caged lights with a hook, typically used for car maintenance.

LED lighting for garages

If you have a workshop in your garage or do a lot of car maintenance, an LED garage light mounted on the garage ceiling (or hanging from the roof rafters if there is no ceiling) is a more energy efficient choice than fluorescent or incandescent lighting.

After a rocky start with issues of brightness and quality, LEDs have come into their own over the last decade, and are now the best choice from an efficiency and longevity perspective. They typically use about an eighth as much electricity as incandescent bulbs. They are ideal for lighting up large spaces inexpensively.

Regular old LED light bulbsare a good option for a garage light where you currently have good light levels with incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, but want to conserve energy. Just replace each incandescent bulb or CFL with an LED bulb. To decide whether it make economic sense to replace the bulbs, use my LED savings calculator. If you only use the garage a couple of hours a week, replacing the incandescent lights with LED garage lights may not be the best way to save energy.

If your garage is like mine – a single incandescent bulb in the middle of the garage ceiling – you may well want more lighting so you can use the garage for more than storage. It’s really hard to turn a garage into a workroom or auto shop with poor lighting. In that case, it makes more sense to replace your one or two incandescent fixtures with flood-type LED fixtures. These lights provide great light distribution and draw very little power.

If you really want to cut your electricity costs, or you want to use solar electricity to light up your garage, consider a solar utility LED light. These are a great choice if an area on or near your garage gets plenty of sunlight. The unit pictured comes with a rechargeable battery and a remote control. You can switch between motion-sensor and on/off modes, and it provides up to 1000 lumens of light (four brightness levels), with a charge life of up to 20 hours on a 6-8 hour solar charge.

The light is bright and it will last 3 hours on a charge. For the cost of a 10 watt panel, it’s like getting the light for just a few dollars.

LED work lights

If you spend a lot of time staring under the hood of a car, an LED garage light probably means a work light to you. There are a number of good-quality LED work lights available, such as the 110W work-light shown at left.

This model uses 110 watts of power – which is more than an old incandescent work light would have used – but produces a whopping 16,500 lumens of light output, which is equivalent to about twenty 60-watt incandescent light bulbs. It comes with a 14.7 foot power cord. This LED garage light has a safety hook for hanging, a protective cage around the lights, and on-off switch. This light provides 360-degree lighting, so no more fiddling with your garage light to get it to point in the right direction.

This light is great for getting a very clear view of the innards of your car or truck engine, but also helpful for whole-garage applications. Hang it from the ceiling and your garage will be brighter than the rooms in your house!

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