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Best LED Shop Lights

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 14 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 97 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best LED shop lights

    Last Updated June 2018

    If you ever spent time in your father’s or grandfather’s workshop, you probably remember what the lighting looked like … or, more appropriately, what it sounded like. The old fluorescent tube lights delivered a decent amount of light – at least when they weren’t flickering. But the buzzing noises they made were impossible to miss.

    Today’s shop lights feature a technology that leaves fluorescent bulbs in the dust. LED (light emitting diode) technology renders better-quality lighting than ever before. For those who work in a shop, LED technology can help with precise woodworking tasks and other activities that require a keen eye.

    At BestReviews, we take the time to perform extensive research in each product category we cover. This means we can give our readers the trustworthy information they need to make wise purchases.

    We never accept free samples from manufacturers, so our selections and product reviews are free of bias. You can trust the information we have gathered on the best LED shop lights to help you find the one that fits your needs.

    An overhead fixture is a valuable workshop addition, as this type of fixture can cast bright, even lighting over a workbench or other large space.

    Types of LED shop lights

    You can use a few different styles of LED lights in your workshop. No matter what type of lighting you want to have in your shop, you can count on the fact that an LED version will be available.

    Light bars

    If you need light in all of the nooks and crannies of your shop, consider an LED light bar that runs off rechargeable battery power. These lights are portable and extremely bright, making them a great option when you need extra light in an out-of-the-way spot.

    It’s better to hang your ambient lights before adding task lighting. That way, you can easily determine where you really need the light.

    Staff
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    Overhead lights

    Overhead lights are commonly seen in today’s workshops. You can hang an overhead light from a chain attached to the ceiling, dropping it as close as needed to your workspace. Or, if you need more headroom, you can mount it directly to the ceiling.

    Overhead lights typically stretch about four feet across. This width allows the light to illuminate a larger space, such as an entire workbench. Most overhead lights are fitted with tube-style light bulbs of the same size as the fixture.

    To make an overhead light work as efficiently as possible, make sure the fixture you are using reflects light downward. Additionally, you should avoid mounting an overhead light too close to a wall, as the obstruction might prevent the light from spreading evenly over the entire area.

    LED lighting emits a type of white light that makes it easier to see the exact shade of the stain or paint you’re using.

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    Track lights

    If you don’t like the look of the tube-style light bulbs in overhead lights, an LED track light might be more your speed. This type is made up of small flood lights attached to a mounted track, allowing you to aim the light source in a particular direction.

    Notably, the track should be mounted directly to the ceiling. This means that if you have high ceilings in your workroom, the bulbs might not be powerful enough to reach your work area.

    Under-cabinet lights

    If you have lots of cabinets for storage over your workbench, placing an LED light underneath can give you good task lighting. This type of light brightly illuminates a specific area of the workbench.

    You’ll want to mount these lights directly underneath the cabinets to give you as much room to work as possible. If a light is hanging beneath a cabinet, you could bump into it.

    EXPERT TIP

    Pick LED workshop lights with fixtures that have hoods or other hardware to reflect the light downward, where it’s needed.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Options to add LED shop lighting

    When adding LED shop lights to your workspace, you have a few different options. We’ll split those options into categories based on whether you already have lights – such as fluorescents – or whether you’re starting from scratch.

    Retrofitting

    If you have fluorescent tube lighting and ballasts already installed in your workshop, you may be able to just swap out those tubes for LED tube-style lighting, also called TLED. The ballast (which is the hardware that holds the light tubes) must be compatible with LED lights, however.

    LED shop lights can sustain exposure to chemical vapors without becoming a fire hazard.

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    Starting from scratch

    With a new installation, you can choose any of the types of LED lighting we described above. For general lighting needs, overhead LED lights are a good place to start. You can then add more types of lighting as you figure out exactly what kind of light and how much of it you need.

    Some types of light fixtures will require that you attach the fixtures directly to the existing wiring. Others allow you to plug the fixtures into a wall outlet. Some LED fixtures allow you to use either method. If you choose to plug the lights into an outlet, just make sure that you aren’t overloading a circuit.

    When you purchase a new fixture, it may have the LED light built into it, meaning you cannot swap out the bulb if it burns out. You just have to replace the entire fixture when it’s required. Because LEDs last so long, this type of fixture works very well for most people. Other fixtures allow you to replace the LED bulb, just as you would with a fluorescent-style tube light.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    An LED light tube emits nearly double the amount of light that a fluorescent tube does, yet power consumption remains the same. You get a lot more bang for your buck with an LED.

    LED shop light prices

    There’s not much variation when it comes to LED shop light pricing.

    • Most LED shop overhead light fixtures cost $25 to $50 per fixture. You can save some money if you need multiple fixtures, as you can buy them in multipacks of four to six. A multipack will give you a slightly lower cost per fixture than purchasing them individually.

    • Individual LED tube lights typically cost $8 to $12 each.

    • LED light bars and under-cabinet LEDs generally cost $10 to $30 apiece.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    To avoid glare, don’t hang a shop light directly over the area in which you’ll be working.

    Tips

    • To determine how many lights you need, consider your workspace. You may want more fixtures directly above your primary working surfaces. However, if you only need general lighting, you may want to situate your lights in other areas.

    • To help you better see the area near your workbench, consider installing additional LED light fixtures. If you cannot install more fixtures in a particular area to help you see better, consider picking up a light bar or two. You can use these portable lights as needed and where needed.

    • To prevent glare, don’t place a light directly over your work area. Instead, place it almost directly over the spot where you’ll be standing.

    • Consider placing fixtures near the entrance of your shop. That way, you’ll have ample light as you’re entering or leaving the room.

    • Some types of LED shop lights plug into an outlet, while others must be tied directly into your workshop’s electrical wiring.

    • You can adjust the height level of a suspended shop light via chains that hang from ceiling hooks.

    For the best illumination possible in your workshop, consider using a mixture of ambient lighting and task lighting from LED shop lights.

    FAQ

    Q. What advantages do LED tube shop lights have over fluorescent tube shop lights?

    A. LED shop lights carry significant advantages over other traditional lights, especially fluorescent lights. An LED light has over twice the lifespan and uses only about 60% as much power. So you’ll save money in replacement costs and usage costs with LED over fluorescent, and you’ll experience better light quality, too.

    Q. Is it worth replacing my current shop lights with LEDs?

    A. From a cost perspective, you’re probably better off allowing your current lighting to burn out before replacing it. If you’ve recently replaced the bulbs in your fluorescent shop lighting, for example, you still have hundreds of hours of performance remaining. It doesn’t make much sense from a cost perspective to throw away that remaining lifespan.

    However, if you want a better quality of light now, you won’t regret the investment in LEDs. You’ll spend some money upfront to upgrade to LED, but you’ll save big in costs over the long haul.

    Q. Should I wait for better LED technology before upgrading? After all, changes occur constantly.

    A. Although it’s true that LED lighting advancements are occurring quickly, that doesn’t mean you should wait to upgrade. It’s unlikely that LED technology will undergo a massive change in the next few years. Instead, the upgrades will probably be slow and steady. So waiting doesn’t make much sense, as today’s technology has already reached a high level.

    Q. What are the best places for task lighting in a workshop?

    A. The need for task lighting in a workshop has changed in recent years. In the past, you may have wanted a task light directly over areas where you had power tools. However, many tools now include built-in task lights. For this reason, it’s usually best to focus on evenly lighting your entire workbench area.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Chris
      Chris
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor