I have been needing proper garage workshop lighting for a while. But – how many lights do I need, and where do I install them? I could never settle on an answer, and so I kept putting it off.
I updated the garage a couple of years ago with switched outlets in the ceiling, anticipating that I would install some ceiling lights. Early on, I brought out one of my wheeled light stand and mounted several lights to it, bouncing the light off the ceiling.
A Ryobi garage door opener test sample also provides some light when it detects my presence, but the opener has always been a nuisance and I plan to replace it this year. This is one of those “great in theory” products that has been very problematic in execution.
So, there has been an *okay* mount of light, and I kept running into a wall when trying to determine a lighting solution. Plus, the garage floor has been clear maybe 20% of the time and too cluttered up 80% of the time, making full workshop installations difficult.
I have too much work to do, and so the garage workshop will now be clear no matter what. It’s time to do better with my lighting.
Finally, Some Decisions Were Made
Back in October, I settled on 8 light fixtures, 48″ long, each with 2x LED bulbs. I placed the order and and now it’s finally time to work on installing them.
Each fixture delivers 5,180 lumens, and the bulbs output a color temperature of 4000K, which is a warm-neutral light. Compared to fluorescent and daylight, it’s slightly yellow, and so it shouldn’t be harsh.
The lighting supply shop provided me with some suggestions and guidance, and I only strayed from it just a little bit.
This space is about ~21″ x 21″, but with cabinets and other obstructions. There are garage door opener rails, the garage door openers, wall shelves, an air cleaner, and an attic door with drop-down ladder.
Rather than 4×3, 6×3, or 6×2, with the first number being the fixture count and the second number being the bulb-per-fixture count, I ended up settling on 8 fixtures. The way I see it, having more lights will allow me to reposition around obstructions, and there shouldn’t be doo many dim spots or dark shadows.
Tools like the Acuity Visual Interior Tool can help with general lighting planning. My goal was more than 50 and less than 100 foot-candles or light.
One of the recommendations was for 6×3, with the option to remove a bulb from each if needed. That would have been 18 bulbs. I went with 8×2, which will be 16 bulbs. If it proves to be too much, I can always remove a bulb or two, or move lights around and convert one into an over-bench task light.
I still don’t have the layout perfected, but I realized I can start with the placements that won’t be changing, and then extend the layout from there.
Hard-Wired vs. Plug-in
There is also one big complication – I want to be able to plug the lights into the switched ceiling outlets. I’m not ready to commit to hard-wired installations, which would involve a junction box at each placement.
Part of what kept delaying my decisions has been the fact that there aren’t a lot of high quality plug-in lights. There are a lot of basic quality shop-style hang-down lights, but I didn’t want that.
Most better quality and featured lights are designed to be hard-wired.
(I did order two wire support kits, just in case I needed the lights closest to the garage door openers to hang down a little to avoid harsh shadows.)
The lighting supplier offers power cords and an optional accessory and confirmed that the lights could be wired as plug-in lights if hard-wiring wasn’t an option.
(There’s also the option to add a 3rd party motion sensor, something I plan on considering eventually. Or, I could always replace the toggle switch with a “smart” switch and faux 3-way or voice-command.)
Decision Number 1: Which Cable Clamp?
I ordered the recommended power cords, 16 gauge SJTOOW cords, which should be well-rated (and even over-kill) for a garage workshop environment.
I also ordered cables from an electrical supplier with grey-jacketing, hoping they’d blend in better against the white ceiling. But, all I could find was 18 AWG SJT wire. The fixtures’ connectors won’t fit 18 AWG stranded wire, only up to 16 AWG. That’s not a big deal, but I like the idea of the weather resistance of the SJTOOW cable.
The grey cable also didn’t feel as sturdy, and so I’m sticking with the black 16 AWG SJTOOW power cables for now. I will need to use cable clips or can cover it up with cable organization accessories. But, that’s something to think about after everything is installed.
Regardless as to what power cable I’ll be using, I need cable clamps.
Also, I know many of you are more experienced with this type of project. Any suggestions or corrections would be very much appreciated!
Cable Glands vs Clamps
This is a cable gland, which tightens around a cable as it enters into an enclosure. I often use these anytime cables are going into an enclosure.
This is a cable clamp. You’ll normally see this attached to metal junction boxes, and I was told it should work for this application too.
Still, I wanted a more finished look, plus better sealing.
I went with the cable gland. I removed one of the knockouts, and passed the cable through.
Here’s what it looks like on both sides. It feels secure, and I didn’t want to risk over-tightening the connection.
The fixture was mounted to a ceiling joist with 1/4″x2″ lag screws with washers. I also have toggle-style drywall anchors, in case some of the other fixtures don’t line up perfectly over the joists.
I cut the built-in connector off. This is my test setup, and these connectors are one-time-use. The device connection is 18AWG but the supply connection is limited to 16AWG. If I want to use my grey-colored 18AWG SJT power cords, these connectors will have to removed anyway.
I should be able to use these as-is in the other fixtures. But for this one, where I anticipated one or more adjustments, I needed to use something a little more flexible and reusable.
More on this in a moment.
Figuring out the ground also has me a little troubled. Here, I secured the stranded wire under the grounding screw. I considered getting a pigtail or crimping on a ring or spade connector, but there’s a special washer designed to trap the ground screw and a crimp-on connector won’t fit.
What I might do is use some 14 gauge THHN wire to splice to the power cord wire and then connect under this screw. But unless stranded wire under a ground screw is against code in any way or otherwise advised against, this seems like a secure ground connection.
I have to shorten the length of cable, and when I do so I’ll ensure a slightly longer loop under the screw.
(From this angle it appears that the insulation extends under the screw, but from the right it’s clear that there’s only copper wire under the ground screw.)
Since this was my test setup, I went with Wago 221-series Lever-Nuts. This will make it easy to shorten the wire and reconnect, rather than try to source the correct lighting fixture connector.
Wago 221 Lever-Nuts are rated to 20A and are more than enough for this application. They can be used with 12 to 24 AWG wires.
With this type of product, you need to be very careful about wire stripping length. I use a Knipex automatic wire stripper with length gauge.
Here’s the final wiring.
There’s too much cable jacketing inside the enclosure, but I wanted to get a feel for the process before I trim the cable to its final length.
One thing I might do is reverse the position of the wired connectors, moving them to the right side.
The ground cable reaches a little more than half the length of the fixture, but there’s no reason for the hot and neutral to be so long. If I plan the placements so that the single-end LED bulb power connections are closest to where the power cord enters the fixture, I can trim the power cord wires down to size.
But, if I have to trim the jacketing quite a bit to expose enough of the ground wire to reach to the ground connection, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Will it matter if I trim maybe 6″ off the length of the wires? I wouldn’t trim the fixture wires though, in case I need the length if or when I ever reposition or hard-wire them.
Here’s the light, connected, plugged in, tested, and working.
I’ve got some optimizations to do, and I am most definitely open to suggestions, corrections, and alerts to any potential safety issues.
Having 8 power cords connecting lighting fixtures to outlets is not going to be a very pretty sight, and so I’ve been trying to give some thought to how to tidy everything up.
I have not had an easy time finding molded right angle plugs, which might have helped a little. I have also given up on finding suitable cords with light grey jacketing.
It seems like a good idea to shorten the cords to where there’s only enough slack to avoid strain. The remainder could possibly be covered with cable organizational accessories, although that makes the added oil and weather protection of these cables largely redundant.
And then I thought – what about the use of PVC conduit? It doesn’t scream “look at me, I’m conduit on the ceiling” in the same way as EMT conduit.
The use of conduit between light fixtures could allow multiple fixtures to be connected to a single outlet. This is also something I could do eventually – convert one of the ceiling outlets into a junction box and contain all the connections with conduit entirely. Junction boxes can be added for every light, but that adds a level of permanence I’m not ready for yet.
Conduit would require everything to align perfectly, although light placement around obstacles makes perfect alignment and symmetry a bit of a challenge. But, it’s something to consider.
Basically, would I rather have 8 plug-in devices or fewer (maybe 2-4) with conduit connecting some of them? I figure that a male terminal adapter, plus locknut, wire (THHN?), and straight PVC conduit would do the trick.
Another idea is that maybe one or two lights can be connected with a motion sensor and to one of the always-on garage door opener outlets. But, this can always be done later.
Here’s the first light, above the garage door opener rails. The bulbs have 120° illumination angles, and experimenting first with a portable LED underhood work light showed me that there would be considerable shadows. Having the light perpendicular to the rails ensures less shadows.
Am I Doing Anything Wrong?
I’ve consulted with a local electrician and checked every Google-able resource I could find. This is also what led to delays. Anything related to AC electrical work, and I tend to self-doubt a lot. Here, there’s room for optimizations, but I’m hoping there are no glaring concerns that I’ve been oblivious to.
When everything is said and done, the next writeup will have a little more detail and hopefully brighter better-lit photos. After that, my attention turns to airlines and dust collection.
Tidily installed BX cable is an option and, to me at least, looks like it belongs in a garage/shop.
Todd Reed Litke
It should be Mc cable not bx.
I used 4 similar 4′ LED fixtures, but with the built-in LEDs rather than the replaceable fluorescent-style bulbs, about the same ~4000 lumens each, and with white walls/garage door/ceiling and light gray epoxy floor, it is really bright. I feel like having four more lights would be way too bright and/or just a waste of energy with either little benefit or the adverse effect of blinding you when you turn on the lights in the dark. Of course, depending on the layout it might be nice to have individual lights placed over workbenches and stationary tools. I’ve just learned with LED bulbs, even when they are rated at a certain amount of lumens, a quality LED bulb with a lower lumen rating will often be a LOT brighter than a similar size fluorescent, even with a much higher lumen rating.
As for the power cords, since there is usually plenty of room in the housings due to the LED tubes beiing below them, I would have suggested using a hole saw to make new gland holes closest to where the ceiling sockets would be, and perhaps white/off white sheathing on the wire, and maybe even right angle plugs if you wanted it to be as inconspicuous/flush to the ceiling as possible.
To make do with what you’ve got and not go overboard and redo more than functionally necessary though, I’d say whatever keeps the wiring up and safely out of the way of both the garage door and anything tall you’re moving around is fine, whether that’s some PVC or plastic tubing or just sticking cable holders to the ceiling.
I looked at some options with built-in LEDs, but this setup wasn’t any more complicated. The end connections snap in and the lights are replaceable if/when needed.
Right now the bulbs are rated to 80+ CRI. If need be, I can change then to 90+ bulbs (albeit much less bright) down the road.
If you do painting or other finishing in the space you might want to go with the higher CRI bulbs for the improved color rendering. I installed ~100 lumens per sq ft in my garage using 10x 48″ T8s (90 CRI) and am happy with it.
I would not worry about the appearance so much but, as a professional painter, I would recommend painting your wires with 2x spray paint prior to install. You could paint the plug end as well and then use cable staples(the kind you nail into suface) that are white to attach the wire to the ceiling. Another idea to improve the appearance of your garage is to paint the bare wood around your garage doors. We always do this when hired to paint a garage. Caulk it first to fill cracks and nail heads. Just an idea to help provide a more finished look. I think you selected a good layout for your lighting. Should be nice and bright!
Thanks! I might do that, but if it’s not perfect a painted surface can look worse than bare.
I thought that at the least I can use screw-in cable supports, one or two per cord, with the screw-in drywall anchors if needed, or maybe even the adhesive kind.
The supports by the doors will be hard to paint and cover, and the ceiling by the fireplace bricks also has rough gaps. But it is a garage, and so I’m not worried too much about that. That’ll be a later project once all the functional aspects are tackled.
Don’t take electrical advice from a painter! You will void the Listing of the cable and plug if painted.
Thank you! I’ve seen low-voltage wires painted before, but AC power cords seemed odd. I do plan on painting the exposed studs – eventually.
You could of simply invested in adjustable led lighting to get the brightness you desire, mine come with a remote to adjust accordingly. As far as my lower lighting needs I used LED strips which also can be adjusted to fit my brightness needs. You made your job to hard to say the least.
Todd Reed Litke
As a electrician I recommend Do not Paint wires plugs ect.
I would say, great choice on going with replacable bulbs. I don’t like any of the cheap or premium fixtures with fixed leds, and I don’t want to hunt down other fixtures should one fail, etc.
My tubes are natural / warm white and dimmable, should they need it.
8 double fixtures in a 2 bay is going to be pretty bright.
Four doubles in a 9ft high single bay with fresh paint on walls, ceiling and light floor; and it is seriously bright.
I have 4 doubles in a single line in a 3 bay away from the garage doors. Not my layout, but part of an existing pro setup, that included two lines of doubles around the perimeter. Those were not needed for general purpose use, so I eliminated those. Debated with / without baffles and the baffles help aim light down and overall look more finished.
As far as your surface lines. Ideally you would want to hide the lines in the ceiling. But that can be a nightmare in a finished ceiling with floor above. Nothing wrong with neatly surface mounting the wire. I’d go in series, with a section of paint primed line going from one fixture end to the next … neatly stapled up. If you have two of those outlets, you can do two circuits.
Then the wire and staples can be painted with the ceiling, if need be, to blend in further.
Having baffles may help aim light down and minimize highlighting of said wires.
I totally agree that we at this time shouldn’t casually support none replaceable LED light “bulbs” of any style. Too much down the road labor and trash waste.
Especially as three Kelvin color consumer adjustable ones are already hitting the market.
Like 2700, 4000 and 5500K all in ones.
The cable glands are usually use to water seal exterior boxes. They are overkill for interior boxes. A regular wire clamp is what you need. The metal ones work but I prefer the plastic ones. They are faster to install and you can put them inside the box so they are less visible.
Look for 1/2 in. PVC Snap-In NM Connectors.
these gland connectors are an excellent choice for this application, the romex connectors are not. these are designed to compress a round cord style wire, not flat romex.
dont paint it either.
on layout, remember if its going to be a car repair garage, you need more around the perimeter of a car than over the roof.
perimeter layout also lights workbench areas
maybe clip cord to outside of fixture to hold up the slack
The total cost wasn’t too much – the glands were 90 cents each, still UL-rated.
I was under the impression that the snap-in NM connectors were 1) only used in in-wall applications, and 2) optimized for flat cable and wouldn’t work as well for the 8-9mm power cord I’m working with here. Will be worth consideration next time.
You used the correct connectors for the cable you have. The NM connectors are for NM only.
I’ve just stuck a bunch of Milwaukee plug in lights around – I move them as necessary and slowly determine where I want my light to come from.
For right angle plugs I just buy cables from mono price and just the computer end off – might have to deal with stranded wire but there are procedures for that – and then I adjust to length either by cutting or by storing the extra cable inside the fixture.
I tend to get lost in the details, and so I kept my focus on the style of plugged cord available at the supplier, and a brand I’ve used in the past – Volex.
Paul E Hacker
Looks fine it’s a garage not your living room. The lighting you need and want is the most important thing. Yep you got a little over kill on some thing things but you are getting the looks and positions you want all that is important. Your doing it safely most important thing for you and your family.
I put recessed cans in our garage, with LED inserts. No cabinet doors will bang into them, and the cabling is in the attic space. Lots of light, is (& will stay) clean, too.
The best “upgrade” was replacing the plain switch with an occupancy switch. Even tied the outdoor light over the trash cans to it (replacing the dead sensor light there).
Ended up with lots of light, easy now to see into all the cabinetry, automatic when going into there on foot or by car.
That is/was always an option as well, but that would also lead to a lot of lights. Recessed lights can be a little directional, and so I wanted larger and softer lights here, which meant flush-mount. There’s always the option to go with them in case I change my mind.
Have you seen the snap in recessed lights? They’re retro fit and are super easy to install with adjustable colors as well.
I just built my garage and was criticized by my wife that i was going to have too many lights…. so i scaled back. So now, we both agreed that there isn’t enough light…. I think i’m going to just go HAM with the clip in recessed lights lol. One every 4′ on a grid should do the job
The LED inserts are thin and have a good diffuser on them, so the light doesn’t seem to have any directionality beyond being overhead.
I have an LED shoplight that had a pull chain. The chain came completely out. Didn’t feel like taking it apart so I plugged it into a little remote outlet that we used for our Christmas tree lights. Now I can turn it on and off with the little remote control. Those little remote sets are invaluable.
If you do painting/finish work you may want a section of the shop with bulbs that can change from soft white to bright white (Hue white ambiance for example) or just with two sets of lights you can switch between.
I agree with you on the Ryobi garage door openers, I have two I picked up on clearance, and they are problematic and were a pain to get everything working. I see why they were discontinued.
The idea of the ryobi is awesome but… it didn’t pan out.
I just went with a side mount garage door opener. love it. No center track/belt in the way.
Yeah, next time I stick with a garage door opener from a garage door opener company. Maybe side mount.
First time commenter, long time reader.
My garage is two bay with tall ceilings (11 foot). I went with 2 rows of 3 4000 Lumens, 5000K lights, hard wired. While I love the bright light, I still put a 2200 Lumen, 6500K light over my work bench.
I also used one of those online calculators before ordering the lights to make sure I was getting the amount of light I wanted.
You can get LED lights from Amazon for like 12 bucks each when ordered in a pack. Then they Saw It chain together. These are very bright.
I ment to say they daisy chain together.
Why would you need junction boxes at each location for hardwired lights? Seems to me you could two romex directly into each fixture and splice there. Based on work I’ve seen from others, this is perfectly fine. I mean, you’re already going to have a box for a receptacle… and if the lights aren’t frequently being unplugged, I’m not sure I’d have gone that route, mostly for aesthetics.
I am curious how the LED lamps hold up in the hot/cold swings if you have them.
I tend to prefer 5000k light almost everywhere, but that’s me. 4000k isn’t bad but can be a bit yellow.
Most places’ building codes would require a box anywhere something electrical mounts or where the run of Romex is interrupted.
Not true. In the case of led light, most receptables can act as a junction box and be daisy chained.
My house was built in ’92 in Delaware and I have several fluorescent fixtures and the Romex is just ran through the drywall with a clamp NM connector secured to the fixture. I assume this is all to code at least in ’92… not sure if that has now changed but I did the same in my garage. I mean, putting in a junction box doesn’t seem necessary since you’re not mounting the fixture to the box either.
In commercial buildings, I believe they do the same exact thing with MC.
If Stuart was doing electrical, I’d say hardwired would be less work, it’s cleaner, less connections.
In my garage, I put a PIR motion detector in the middle and then wired that to a 3-way switch on the wall which acts as a “motion detector bypass”. I absolutely love the setup. The day to day walk through the garage turns the lights on for a couple minutes and then turns them off. If I’m in the garage working, I flip the switch and the motion detector is bypassed and the lights stay on indefinitely. It’s a tricky schematic to wrap your head around.
Man I like this idea!!
Assumption from conversations and internet research?
I could be wrong, but either way I’d hire an electrician to do the hard-wire. If it’s an easy job, it’s a good and not too expensive opportunity to chat and learn. And if it’s not, then I’d be glad I’m not trying to tackle it and meet code myself.
That’s a lot of lights to plug in. Why not just get ones that daisy chain?
I couldn’t find any strongly recommended ones.
Ultimately I went with a USA-made fixture and popular T8-style bulbs.
I was following up until this line:
“I’m not ready to commit to hard-wired installations, which would involve a junction box at each placement.”
I’m not an electrician, but this is false. The light fixture is the junction box. You can run nm cable between the light fixtures and chain them together.
Running nm cable inside your finished drywall ceiling is another matter…
Yeah, that is what I did with mine and connected them with a box couplings.
That could be wrong, but it’s based on what I was told and tried to research.
As mentioned in the other comment, if it came to hard-wiring, I’d leave it to a licensed electrician either way.
Costco has 48″ 6500k up to 6 linkable led fixtures for 19.99 each.
Built in motion detection timer dimmable and remote
That’s fine, if you want 6500K, motion detector on each light, and bulbs you cannot replace.
I was looking at a Costco lights (Feit brand) a couple of times, and there were always reviews about radio interference and other quality concerns.
I wanted a step-up in quality given the amount of time I spend and type of work I do in this workspace.
Somewhat related, my garage lights are on a motion-activated wall switch. I like it quite a lot. Very handy to have the lights come on when you drive the car in at night and unload things.
I have mine set to a 5 minute automatic turnoff timer if no movement is detected. If I’m in there working and they turn off on me, I know I’ve been sitting around looking at Toolguyd too long and need to get back to work!
My switch is by the interior door, and so it’d be too far away to sense me when I’m in there working. That’s why I’m thinking of a lighting-attached sensor.
I put a presence-sensor light switch in the hall half-bath near the back door and garage, because my kids were in the habit of using the facilities in darkness in winter. Now I sometimes expect other bathroom lights to turn on automatically. They can be very useful!
Some motion sensing switches allow “external sensors” and/or can be wired in a three way / four way setup allowing for more coverage.
There are lots of light level phone apps available. I don’t know how accurate they are but the one I use seems to at least be consistent. Gives you more than just the “eye test” to go by.
I have two light meters I plan to use – one photographic and one meant for data measurements. =)
interesting – did I read it right that each light has it’s own control switch?
I was planning something similar I have 1 switch that covers the 2 lights in the garage now – those 2 are going to become the main 4. Right now they are 3 bulb 60w dome lights – and I will make them 4 – 48 inch light bars of some sort. I’d like replaceable led.
The other 2 lights I plan as purpose task lights with their own switches. Not sure what i plan to use.
The lights I have picked out don’t use internal connectors though so I will be twisting wires under a wire nut for those – and running the cable in I will probably use those plastic glandnuts like oyu show. And I plan on painting my extension cords white and pinning them to the ceiling with white small j-hooks.
I have 3 light switches in the garage. One controls all the ceiling outlets except for 2 double-gang outlets right above each garage door opener, another for those 2x 4 outlets, and another for the exterior flood light which I might want to turn off for stargazing.
At the time the wiring was done, I figured I might want one switch for lights, and another for other devices, such as photo/video lights, a retractable cord reel, or what-not.
The garage door openers are always-on, and I can plug a light or two into there along with motion sensors, although generally the opener’s built-in lights are good enough for simple in and out purposes.
That seems like a lot of light for a 2 car garage. 2 or 3 years ago, I put 2 outlets in the ceiling and used four 3000 lumen led lights in two L-shapes plus a 2800 lumen florescent in the middle. I used both led and florescent to get closer to a full color spectrum, and it keeps metamerism to a minimum.
I hooked them to a smart z-wave switch, and the watt draw is very close to the max of 150 watt (that’s the max for led and florescent on all the regular and smart switches I could find). The switch actually makes a slight buzzing sound in the wall,but the manufacturer stated it was normal for the amount of led wattage.
For wiring, I used some cable mounts and screwed them to the ceiling so the wires were not hanging down.
“metamerism” – I had to look that up.
“Metamerism is a phenomenon that occurs when two colors appear to match under one lighting condition, but not when the light changes.”
Thanks for teaching me some new vocabulary.
It could be, in which case one or two of the fixtures would be used as task lights or in the basement to replace cheap “for the time being” fixtures I’m using.
Part of my intent is also woodworking, precision tasks, and maybe photo and videos with or without additional portable accent or fill-lights.
This is a working space, and so i was going for higher foot-candle illumination.
You mention in your post that you may want to install an automation switch. When you do, make sure to get one rated for the total wattage of LED lights you have. The huge majority of those switches have a non-resistive max load of 150 watts. I dont’ see a wattage that you called out on those lights but a decent rule of thumb is 1 watt per 100 lumens for LED or florescent lights. That means most automation switches will be limited to around 15,000 total lumens. If you put all 8 fixtures on the same circuit, you are going to be around 400-450 watts steady state, which is into commercial territory.
The reason for the limit is that LED’s have some pretty big capacitors in them, which charge up the instant the switch is flipped. That inrush current can be up to a hundred times the normal wattage, but is only sustained for a very brief period on the order of perhaps 10 or 20 milliseconds based on cap size and resistance of the cap. I can’t find a spec sheet for your lights, but assuming the small end, That’s still perhaps 10,000 amps. At 20ms, it’s going to be for just over 1 full flip of the AC sine wave (which is 16.6ms).
The mechanical light switch won’t appreciate that much amperage, and the contacts will degrade pretty quick. I would suggest getting a commercial mechanical switch and not the 50 cent home depot residential ones. They fit in the same outlet box.
I also looked for a datasheet for a square-d breaker, which I found as 0730CT9801R1/08 (miniature circuit breakers) The datasheet graph says that the breaker should magnetically trip if the amperage exceeds about 25 times the rating for any more than 1 cycle. This is the maximum, with anything higher than 7 times the rating being ‘allowed’, That means even on a normal mechanical switch, you will probably have the breaker being tripped intermittently, as the breaker is required to trip if more than 375 amps is pulled for more than 1 AC cycle (16.6 miliseconds). Even under 1 cycle, the breaker is allowed to trip at any amperage over 105 amps for any length of time. The only breakers I can find that would allow more than 1 cycle of that amperage are ‘normal’ commerical ones that have a small computer inside the breaker that can be programed to trip in a huge amount of different ways.
note: I am not an electrician, but I had a similar problem, and I do custom coding for home automation. If anyone reads this, check your own stuff and run it by a certified electrician 🙂
Thanks! Makes sense. If anything, maybe 2 fixtures would be connected to a motion sensor. I wouldn’t want to concentrate in a corner of the room and then run over to wave my arms at the light.
The one recommended/promoted by the supplier is the Leviton OSFHU-ITW, and their spec sheet says the load rating is “800VA @ 120VAC Ballast”.
18W/bulb x 16 bulbs = 288W.
The electrician that wired the kitchen and bathrooms cheaped out and I had to replace some devices already after just 5 years. They also wired the garage, and it appears the devices are of mixed quality. I’ll eventually replace everything with the spec-grade outlets and slightly better light switches that are now in most other rooms, but there’s time for that.
I appreciate all the details you provided about your light install Stuart. I’m in the process of adding lights to my garage and workshop too. While I’m not going to follow your project exactly, it’s great to read about your installation considerations.
In my case I ordered six LED fixtures for the garage which, similar to yours, are capable of either being hardwired or plugged-in. Mine are a bit different though in that they can also be daisy-chained.
Currently my garage has two fluorescent-bulb fixtures. The garage is unheated and the fixtures don’t turn on past about -10 Celsius. No bueno. That just means they don’t work at all most winter mornings.
Since I already have two junction boxes with the current light setup, I’m debating whether to hardwire the first fixture in the series and daisy chain two more LED lights from it – or to just convert to an outlet and make the first one plug into it.
I imagine hardwiring is better to avoid overloading the circuit if someone tries to use the extra unused outlet – but on the other hand, unless connecting a table saw or some other high-draw device, it would probably be fine given the low power requirements of my lights.
The shop gets all the leftovers, so it’s going to be a bit of a hodgepodge. It will still be a lot better than the worklights and extension cords I have strung through the rafters right now though. 😛
I’m curious as to what you end up doing.
Technically these are hard-wired lights I was told could be converted to plug-in use, and so they weren’t designed with that in mind.
I decided to buy 4 Harbor Freight 5k lumen shop light and slap them up .. then you go and post something like this.
My thought would be to never hard-wire an LED if you can avoid it. They certainly have not proven to last for the ridiculously long periods they claim, whether from defects or maybe they’ve always been full of it? Sure it’s easy to change out if it’s hard-wired for me and the people on this website, but I know my spouse would never attempt to if I’m not around. I’ll save her the electrician’s bill from the grave.
The bulbs are a standard T8 size wired for single-end or opposing end connections. 4000K, 48″, 18W.
In that case, I’d be fine with it, I just know the blue and orange stores sell them cheap where you can’t swap out the bulbs and must have missed that distinction. I’m confident my wife could either change out a T8 or, more likely, employ my sons for that task and they are not unionized. 🙂
That’s one of the reasons I went with what I did.
These fixtures were $45 each, including bulbs. Replacement bulbs look to be $8.49 each. The fixtures are also sold separately, this was more of a bundle arrangement.
What bothers me a little – and which is why I won’t link to the supplier yet – is that the fixtures are buried on the site and priced at $19 each. The bulbs are $8.49 each. Unless I’m missing something, that comes out to $36. But the bundles are $45?? Maybe the difference is in shipping. Convenience tax?
I’ve a 2500 sq.ft shop w 18″ sidewalls built in 1993. At that time I did 4′ florescent 2-tube lights plugged in to outlets on the ceiling–30 lights, each plugged into one side of 30 duplex plugs each in their own junction box attached to a ribbed metal ceiling. 5 rows of six lights each on 5 separate switches. They burn out and before that they get dim….and not that much light to begin with.
Became dissatisfied and had a lighting company come and they wanted me to do some sort of high-bay lights for over $3500.
Home Depot had some 3′ LED lights normally $15 or so on sale for $10 maybe 3-4 years back, and I took down my old fluorescents and installed 60 of theses HD LED’S ( did 15, then 15 more, etc and decided to change them all out) and it’s like high noon on the 4th of July in my shop if I switch all 5 rows on at the same time (which we always do–you just can’t have too much light in a shop. Lights are all on 6 or 7 days a week and all those little Cheapie LED’s are as good as the day they were installed. They had 4 or 5′ cords and all we had to do was hang them and plug them in. They draw exponentially less power than half as many of the original lights.
You can’t have too much lighting, especially if you have several separate circuits.
Install a few circuits with ceiling-mounted duplex receptacles/duplex outlets (whatever you like to call them) and just plug in an inexpensive LED light. Anything else is indeed overthinking it.
BTW, orientation makes a huge difference if you have a lower ceiling , meaning E-W vs N-S. A HUGE difference……….
I’ve been trying to plan carefully with respect to aiming, assuming most of the light is going to be emitted radially out from the bulbs with only a little spill beyond their 4-foot lengths. That’s one of the reasons I wanted more lights rather than fewer.
It’s creating some tough decisions. Does the light go perpendicular to garage door opener, or parallel with the wall? I can always add under-cabinet lighting, or if the wall cabinets change I can always add task lighting under them.
Do I let some of the light be blocked by the air cleaner, or angle the light more towards a shelving rack? Will that shelving rack be there 2 years from now, or will it be replaced with an air compressor, table saw, or benchtop milling machine or lathe?
You know, I did say in the title that I was overthinking things. =)
When I added on a 20×45 office/breakroom w an 8′ ceiling to the rear of my shop, I went to a local electrical supply house and told the counter guy what I was doing. He sent me to an office in the rear where a guy used a computer program to figure out the lighting–I balked at first but the counter guy said it would only take 5 min and there was no obligation.
It took maybe 10 minutes, but what I remember the most was 2 things:
1) The orientation and placement of the lights made a huge difference on where the best light output would fall (“Where will the desks be? Where will the kitchenette counter be? Will you have a couch and tv? You don’t want a glaringly-bright light above the couch” and so on…) And then he printed me the best layout. His program even showed how things would look at night–it made an unbelievable difference which way the lights were oriented.
2) There’s a LOWE’s next door and I’d already been there, and the electrical supply place was within a buck or two a light. Bought from the supply house and followed the layout and couldn’t be happier.
If you REALLY want to know, go to a lighting supply place with your sketch and they’ll tell you how to orient the lights. And if your experience is like mine was, it’ll cost you pennies to do it right compared to guessing.
The tool I linked to in the post goes according to brightness. There are other photometric tools out there, but my setup is constrained by obstructions. For instance, I can’t put a 4-foot light right on top of a garage door rail, just above my air cleaner, or on the drop-down attic door.
But I agree – proper planning can really help.
My workbench, cabinet, and machine tool layouts will likely change, and so for some areas I will likely add more lighting rather than rely on perfect ceiling light placement.
What I’m after is a setup that works but also allows for evolution and change.
Go between your door rails, either way … My primary four garage light fixtures with two led tubes each, are perpendicular across the three garage bays over where the engine compartments would be.
I really think you are over thinking it, between parts and layout.
I eliminated half the fluorescent lights in this 3 car garage of a custom home, spec’d a couple decades ago … that would be bright enough to do surgery in if I kept 8 dual bulb fixtures with led bulbs at this point in time.
Is my garage bright enough for any given DIY project? 100% yes.
For YT / … video recording? Well one better set up a few light boxes, because overhead light is not what you want to depend on. Doesn’t matter 4 sets or 8 sets on the ceiling …
Honestly Stuart I’m just glad one of my best friends and an in law are big electrical contractors. Plus my dad was very good at explaining this stuff to me at a very young age.
AKA I’d hate to be looking on the internet or depending on retailers advice.
I did something similar in my garage (~24’x22′). I added 4x 8′ light fixtures (comprised of 4x 4′ LED tubes each). Each fixture is installed in the middle of the wall roughly 3 feet from the wall. I had one ceiling mounted light fixture and not an outlet, so that part is slightly different.
What I did was extend the in-wall junction box and run conduit to the first fixture, then used each fixture as its own junction box, running conduit into and out of each fixture. I used pre-bent conduit corners and simple couplers to put the whole thing together.
I generally think surface mount conduit looks the nicest in a garage/work space. You could also use plastic conduit and glue it together.
Right move on number of lights. I was on the team that changed over our church education building, storage areas, kitchen, hallways & more, with T-8 LED’s. We quickly found that in classrooms 3 lamps per fixture were too many. Two per fixture was just right. Long term benefit at 2 years was a 41% reduction in overall electricity bill.
To semi-hide the cables and eliminate the slack you might rip 3/4 inch pvc pipe in two and apply these over the cables and secure with 1/2 inch cable tie-down clamps. Alignment won’t be so much of a problem. And using a power strip mounted sideways to either right angle braces or a strip of 2×2 would work like right-angle plugs in ridding the loop at the plugs.
Go with can lights. 4-6″ are typical. You can get “pancake” lights that are only about as thick as the drywall with a quick connect cord and box tethered to it. Spend the extra few bucks for the color temperature switchable ones. Extremely easy to replace if one goes bad.
Also, load up and go overkill on the amount of lights. You can always install dimmers to get your lighting “just right”.
If you go with more than one dimmer, you can create “lighting zones” for different areas (like over cars or a particular bench) saving you electricity costs in the long run (depends on how much you use them).
Check the angle of the lighting and go with a “flood model” to eliminate the light concentration effect.
You might not even need to get above the ceiling if you just fish the wire from one to the next.
Probably go with a grid pattern of 6 or so over each bay and that leaves you with room to expand or add dedicated lights over workstations to eliminate shadows.
One of the best things I did was adding a pair of Eaton/Cooper LED nightlight “outlets”. The better unit has a LED with diffuser that fills a decora single gang hole.
Nice job Stewart! Like the gland nuts. I always say overkill is underrated.
Local strip mall was being torn down when I moved into my house years ago. Ended up scoring about 50 2’x4’ 4 bulb t12 fixtures. They were the ones that are made to fit in a drop ceiling. Would have preferred the more efficient T8’s but I paid 100 bucks for everything. Came with extra bulbs, extra ballast, pieces of Romex, clips. Basically everything I needed except two wall switches and some drywall screws.
I have 19 screwd to the ceiling in a horseshoe shape in my 22×34 garage with 11’ ceiling height. Fixtures are butted up against each other lengthways about 2’ off the wall right over the work benches. Lots of light for my shoe string budget back then.
Down sides are my garage doors cover some fixtures when open, they are fairly inefficient, bulbs flicker in the cold, some of the ballasts are quite loud, lighting color is meh. All the neighborhood men are jealous of my brightly lit shop when they walk by the house at night…wait is that a bad thing haha.
I’m going to start experimenting with LEDs. Still in the early stages and this is a low priority. Like you I would prefer to have a removable “bulb”. Just not sure I will need four “bulbs” with the amount of light output a 4 foot LED strip provides. At that point no use in having a half empty fixture. I did just sell about 20 of the fixtures for $100 bucks ( yay my lights are “free” now lol) so there is a market for these things if I decide to tear them all down and start from scratch.
I’ll be interested to see how your set up works after you get them all installed. You said it was a US supplier of the LEDs? That’s another issue. I have little faith in these eBay no name lights not burning down my house or letting the magic smoke out the first time I fire them up.
Note some led lights interfere with your garage door control. I had to unhook the one over wife’s stall cause she didn’t like having to be almost against the door for it to work
One comment on hardwiring the fixtures. Since mine were butted up end to end and the fixture itself had a wiring chase I just used Romex and considered the fixture a receptical box. Not sure if this is up to code or what.
But if I was spacing them apart I don’t think you can use exposed NM cable? Personally I don’t think it would hurt a thing but I think it’s a code no no.
Most instances I have seen this they run MC cable to bridge the fixtures.
If for no other reason it would make a tidier installation. Bonus points if you spray the metal clad conductor with white paint to match the ceiling. Not a licensed electrician and I realize codes are different everywhere so take this with a grain of salt.
In an open ceiling, maybe? I don’t believe NM is allowed outside of a closed ceiling, one would have to go with conduit. MC cable might be permitted, but that gets into “lots more research ahead of me” territory.
If I can line things up now, I’ll try to go with conduit. If not, power cords for each to avoid delay. I can always tweak, tidy, and improve later on if needed.
Call for the input of an electrician?
Whole houses, any given wall, ceiling, attic and garage walls & ceilings are full of cloth woven wiring and regular romex, from the panel in the garage or basement throughout the whole house, between the fixtures, …
I have two homes that are 100% full of romex, that licensed electricians installed at the time the homes were built. If you are worried about newer work, ok, get armored … but it seems overkill.
Sorry, I meant outside of a finished ceiling or outside of a finished wall since we’re specifically talking about exposed NM/romex.
No electrician I know would do that. I’ve seen armored cable in some areas, and conduit on flat surfaces, but never romex.
Ok, that was not clear.
Expose, you can butt multiple fixtures together, or a few feet of armored cable to daisy chain the fixtures … or use the interior cable covers.
Unless you can install the fixtures in line with the rafter bays and fish the jump wires.
Is the space above open (not living space)? & accessible at all?
Because the cleanest look will always be hidden wiring.
Butting multiple fixtures together doesn’t work for placement considerations, and I ‘d likely avoid armored cable.
The ceiling is accessible via the unfinished attic, but that introduces another level of planning and research that would delay me quite a bit.
I’m okay for a clean layout, even if it’s not the cleanest. Whether I use individual plugs or conduit, if I decide this is the final placement for all the lights, I can disconnect and remove the external wiring, plug up the knockouts, and wire from the ceiling. If I use conduit, I’d have to use threaded adapters rather than glue-to-coupler box adapters.
334.10(A)(1) allows Type NM cable to be both exposed and concealed in normally dry locations. A garage would most likely be considered a damp location (verify with the AHJ), so the NM shouldn’t be exposed.
This isn’t what Stuart wanted, but others may be interested. Menards has 10,000 lumen LED lights on sale for $19.xx Four foot long and linkable, which is how I installed them (one ceiling outlet per run of lights). I also have some of their 12,000 lumen lights which I got two weeks ago for $29.xx and installed in a high-bay barn. Let me tell ya, that really brightened up the barn! For appearances, I got some white split loom from Amazon and covered the black power wires with loom. Then, I tacked the white loom/power wires to the ceiling with 7/16″ RG staples from HD which fit right over the loom. I spaced the fixtures, so the power wires/loom goes right up to the ceiling, across, and straight down to the next fixture (for neatness). Bright, inexpensive, and looks pretty good. When one fails, I can replace it easily and cheaply in about 2 minutes. The Menards ones have a 5 year guarantee.
It’s not white, but would this cord with an angled plug work?
Power Supply Replacement Extension Cord, 16 AWG, 3-Conductor Grounded, 3′, Gray Jacket, 125 Volts, 13 Amps, 1625 Watts, NEMA 5-15P, Right Angle Plug, Type SPT-3, UL Listed https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N46N3G1/
I am not a fan of daisy chaining electrical cords and adapters, but outlet savers or 90 degree outlet adapters can be used to get a normal plug parallel to the wall or ceiling.
Cable Matters 3-Pack Grounded Power Cube 3 Outlet Adapter in Gray https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01LY5WZVT/
Electrical cable raceway is a nice, neat way of running surface mount electrical.
HD stocks a pretty good selection.
I did a similar project last summer. I used four 8 foot LED strips from Menards and installed two rows with two strips butted together and a U shaped conduit at one end. I don’t care for exposed flexible cables only because of appearance (I don’t think it is unsafe). It turned out great — bright, even, shadow-free light throughout my garage, but I have doubts how long these fixtures will last. If I had to do it over, I would install 8 or more cheap bulb holders using conduit and receptable boxes. Then I could upgrade the bulbs over time. It seems that cheap, sophisticated bulbs that use standard medium screw-in bases come out all the time (with Wi-Fi, white color tunable, etc.) For example, Philips Wiz at Home Depot.
I have redone a few garage & basement storage & infrequent use DIY spaces with 14 gauge wire and old fashioned screw lamp bases. Cannot beat it for the cost, I think, versatility of positioning, fixture price and $1/bulb warm white LED. If a bulb fails, you’re just out a bulb. Vs $$ integrated fixtures that you will never find an exact mate for down the line.
If extra brightness is desired, buy a few brighter $2 bulbs.
For task lighting in the center of the space, or near a work bench, I add a dual 4 ft fluorescent box with two LED tubes in it.
My shop is just over 13 x 22 wit 8ft ceilings . I have 6 4ft 4bulb 5k led fixtures with defusers and never thought it was too bright. Sometimes I would like more light.
I think new defusers would make it brighter though
Stuart, a little off topic but sticking to lighting, do you or anyone have experience with the Tri-lights?
I’ve been considering these but want sure if they’re worth the money
I haven’t. The most I’ve used outside of standard bulbs was a bright LED bulb with built-in reflector from Lee Valley.
Mick, I’ve had three of the 60 watt “trilights” in use for about 18 months with no issues. They are very bright. They tend to have somewhat of a focused beam from each LED panel. But having 11 foot ceilings in the garage/shop these lights are high enough to let the beam spread out plus their adjustability. At 60 watts you can’t hardly look at them. I can’t imagine what the 80 or 100 watt versions would be like. I’ve found nothing brighter for that kind of money, ease of use and they are coming down in price. These are the ones I bought.
I tried one of the motion activated ones but returned it. Stayed on to long.
Your cable is too small, only rated for 13 amps. I would assume that you have either a 15 or 20 amp breaker protecting this circuit. The cable could burn up before the breaker trips. The “built-in connector” is actually a disconnect, that is a code requirement in fluorescent luminaires now. They allow the power to be removed from a ballast for replacement without exposing the electrician to an energized circuit. They can be reused.
16 gauge is not enough for LED lighting?
99% of the stuff we have had fail (traditional bulbs, LEDs, appliances, motorized stuff, etc) did so without tripping a breaker or burning one of its internal lighter than 14 or 12 gauge wires.
And, he is installing this as plug-in / end of run; so this is not a pass through circuit that will see any kind of load. There are no integrated receptacles in the light fixtures and there is no mention of downstream receptacles behind the lighting circuit.
One 4ft LED tube light uses about 16 Watts & 0.13 A.
Stuart’s 16 tube bulbs will be 256 Watts & 2A combined.
The conductor has to be able to handle more than the breaker, not how much the load is. If there is a short, there could be more than the thirteen amps that the wire is rated for but less than the breaker of fifteen or twenty amps. It is explained in the NEC.
The requirements for a plug-in conversion like this would be different than a consumer plug-in flush-mount light? Those tend to have 2-wire 18 gauge cords.
The manufactures follow different rules than us and have been tested by laboratories sick as UL. You have to follow the NEC when installing the fixtures or ask the testing lab for certification of your field modifications.
The branch – with that 14 gauge requirement – stops at the receptacle. After that, the fixture and plugin whips can be 16 gauge or 18 gauge ( 18 being smallest allowed )
He is essentially making his own light fixtures, and duplicating whatever set of plug- through / daisy chain led sets that you can buy retail.
The internal wiring is 18 AWG. Wouldn’t that fail under unexpected high current before the 16AWG plug-in cord?
If I’m daisy-chaining any of them together – which I’m not – I’ll likely go with 14 AWG THHN and a 14 AWG power cable – OR I’ll have a local electrician wire it to the ceiling and ensure everything is proper. I have 12 AWG in the ceiling and 20A breakers. Is that what you mean? I can see that if the lights are daisy-chained with conduit then higher gauge power cord would be advisable.
I understand that’s a disconnect. It’s supposed to work with stranded up tp 16 AWG, but I tested the connection with the second fixture and wasn’t happy with it. Pulling out the wires showed me that some of the strands were pushed aside and only some made partial contact with the conductor.
I’ll see if I can find some alternate solid-stranded connectors that work a little better than the Lumi-Nuts, but I have not had good luck thus far. If a disconnect is absolutely required, would it be permitted to go from stranded power cord to lever-nut to thhn wire to disconnect?
Surface-mount plug-in lights don’t provide access to the internal wiring, and so I assumed that as long as these are treated as plug-in lights a disconnect isn’t required as long as the wire connections are properly rated.
There is no ballast in these fixtures, and there is factory labeling on the housing informing any future owners/users as such.
The manufactures follow different rules than us and their wires stay inside the fixture. Your wires don’t fit in the disconnect because they expected you to use the correct size that would fit in them properly. The code requirement for a disconnect only applied to florescent fixtures as stated above, so you can take it out. You just didn’t need to.
The Wago 873-902 disconnects can handle solid up to 18 gauge and stranded up to 16 gauge. There could be a strand count limit on the stranded though.
There are lighting connectors such as 224-201, but that doesn’t have a quick-disconnect feature, and so it wouldn’t provide any added functionality over the lever-nuts.
I have end ferrules I could crimp onto the stranded wire, but there’s no clarity if that’s an approved use with these disconnects.
I realized that I’m right over joists for some of the light placements. Direct hard-wiring will likely require moving some of them and the use of toggle bolts, which I tried to avoid where possible. It might just be as simple as moving from the centered mounting holes to the offset ones.
I have a box of the disconnects on the way if these can’t be reused.
Or, if/when these get switched to hard-wiring, I figure I’ll go with a 14 gauge cable, and 14 gauge THHN to daisy-chain via conduit.
I do like the idea of plugging then in. One light is in a spot where I might want it turned off on occasion, and plugging it in allows for use with a smart plug – https://toolguyd.com/kasa-smart-plug-2-pack-deal-07192020/ .
If you hardwire permanently, go 14 gauge in wall / ceiling for lighting on a 15 gauge circuit. Otherwise continue to just create your own “ fixtures “. You are in effect re-creating some commercial daisy chainable lighting, use the 16 wire and plug the first one into one your ceiling receptacle. Done. If you are allowed to rewire a chandelier with a lamp cord, install residential light fictures, … you are allowed to put a light fixture on a whip and plug it in.
The two ceiling circuits are 20A with 12 AWG wiring.
If it’s hard-wired, I’d need 12 AWG and 12 AWG THHN in conduit.
Based on Joe’s recommendation, I also ordered some 12 AWG SJEOOW cable. Even if a higher gauge, it *should* be more flexible than the SJTOOW cable. I also ordered some right angle plugs as per Jim Felt’s recommendation.
I’ll add these 16 AWG cords into my supply box for future use.
If if I want to plug in one light and connect others with conduit, I can.
I also can’t find exact code requirements. If hard-wired, I would need to use 12 AWG here. If connected as a portable light, it would be suspended via chains or removable via keyhole slots.
IF the flush-mounted is to be treated as a permanent hard-wired light, then Joe would be right about having equivalent-gauge wire as if they were hard-wired.
Rather than try to figure out what exactly applies here, I’ll wire up the rest with the 12 AWG once it comes in.
And if my electrician gives other advice at the next service call, I can change things in a different way.
My understanding now is that maybe the 16 gauge would be okay if the lights were suspended and removable.
Hard-wired lights or suspended shop lights would have been easier directions to go in, but wiring hard-wired fixtures with portable cords seems to be the best path for me.
If or when I want to change things, I can. With hard-wired I’d have to get the planning done right the first time, and with portable-style shop lights it wouldn’t be as neat, the light quality might suffer, and any change would have required buying everything new.
Yes, sorry, 12 if you have 12 in that ceiling and effectively extend that circuit with hardwiring.
I am used to doing only 14 for lighting circuits exclusively.
Slap some cheap LED’s up and move on. If you don’t like where they throw the light, rehang them.
My main mantra: time spent on a decision should be based on the consequences if you’re wrong. I get it that this made a good post for toolguyd, but your already waaaaaay past the time this warrants.
Cheap lights would drive me crazy and I’d end up spending more time, effort, and money in the long-run.
Multi-LED panels and tube lights cast many numerous distracting shadows.
Light quality on cheap lights casts odd color hues.
Plus, selecting the lights was the easy part – properly installing the ones I selected, and in the proper locations around obstacles, is the hassle. Even with cheap lights, installation would require thought and planning.
Well for me, BUYING is always the hard part as my funds come hard and I have the bloody knuckles to prove it.
Installation is the EASY part- if not as you want, just change it.
You knew from the start you were overthinking it………..good thing you have the time to do so.
Out of curiosity why did you go with those lights rather than the single 4′ long LED tubes which are linkable? I have 8 of them in 2 rows in my garage running in a line from front to back . They’re very low profile which is nice because I plan on using ceiling space for some storage.
I have seen a few of those that hang down on wires from the ceiling. That would be simplest to satisfy code, but he wants more control over the light output, color and replaceable bulbs.
Light quality, quality perception, and the ability to change the bulbs in the future if or when needed or wanted (such as with higher CRI).
I tried looking for reputable-brand plug-in fixtures, but there weren’t many. Some were reported to have radio interference problems, others buzzed a lot, and a couple of interesting prospects were a lot more expensive.
I got tired of the back and forth between options and had to make a decision.
My garage already had a few light sockets in the ceiling for single bulbs that were controlled by a light switch.
I just got three Hyper Tough 5000k lumen shop lights for $13 each and mounted them to the ceiling. I plugged them into some light socket AC adapters for the existing sockets and there you go.
Not the prettiest, but my garage already wasn’t. It’s completely reversible, super bright, switch controlled, and best of all, less than $50.
I’ve already said it, but I am not at all a fan of multi-emitter LED lights light that, or at least without sufficient diffusion to eliminate the multiple shadow effects.
Replaced two 4 foot fluorescent fixtures with two 8 foot CREE led lights.
Great upgrade. 8000 ANSI Lumens each, 3500K (warm) with over 90 CRI.
Very nice light in a tandem 12 x 40 garage, no glare. 20% off and free shipping from Zoro helped keep the price down.