Best bang-for-the-buck LED shop lights?

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Forum topic by CTWith3 posted 11-11-2015 07:34 PM 2288 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 350 days

11-11-2015 07:34 PM

I have two hard wired twin tube T8 fluorescent shop lights in my garag and need to replace the basic hard wired bulb with something better, so I am thinking LED. I don’t want to a pens a fortune.


38 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 906 days

#1 posted 11-11-2015 07:47 PM

Good luck. Led tech isn’t cheap in the short run. They make led t8 lamps for 30$ a piece I think. T5HO flour lamp are also a great option. They put out a ton of light.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View HokieKen's profile


1523 posts in 559 days

#2 posted 11-11-2015 08:01 PM

Good luck. Led tech isn t cheap in the short run. They make led t8 lamps for 30$ a piece I think. T5HO flour lamp are also a great option. They put out a ton of light.

- TheFridge

+1. LED is a long-term investment, at least in the current state of the technology and with patents that are still in affect. You’ll re-coupe the cost over time in energy savings and bulb replacement cost. But, if you’re looking for a low $ initial layout, I’d stick with Fluorescent.

If you want to spend a bit more, you can get LED replacements that work with Fluro. ballasts now in a variety of color temps and brightnesses. Exactly what to choose with those options depends on your reasons for wanting to change over.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View CTWith3's profile


17 posts in 350 days

#3 posted 11-11-2015 08:38 PM

What are you folks using to light your shop?

View Quanter50's profile


270 posts in 1716 days

#4 posted 11-11-2015 08:39 PM

The main part of my basement workshop is 22’ x 22’. I just replaced all my swirly bulb lights with these LED lights from HD. I couldnt be happier! I have 8’ ceilings. I put 7 of these units in “Commercial Electric” is the make. 4000 lumens each. I can pull chain any one of them off if I don’t need them. I think they were around $55 each. Plenty of light now.

View felkadelic's profile


212 posts in 1960 days

#5 posted 11-11-2015 08:54 PM

I got some 4ft LED bulbs that were a plug-and-play retrofit into my existing T8 fixtures. I believe I paid $20 from

They shine a really bright, white light and 8 bulbs sufficiently illuminate my 1-bay garage shop.

View poospleasures's profile


542 posts in 1904 days

#6 posted 11-12-2015 01:09 AM

Thanks to my LJ friend Recycle 1943 who told me about lighting I have replaced all my regular florescent tubes with their LED tubes (Thinklux 5000K) at 13.49 each w/free shipping. You have to cut out the ballast from your old lamp and just wire these direct to the power and neutral existing wires. You will need a new tombstone end (about 1.50) for each new tube. Go to the site and there is plenty instructions. Takes about 15 minutes per fixture. You will have more light than you ever had before. Probably 50 percent better. Sure does help these old eyes. PM if you like.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1410 days

#7 posted 11-12-2015 01:46 AM

I bought 6 of these from Costco for my 24×28 shop. Plenty of light, correct color, no bugs in the summertime. $80 for 2 lights.

View IHRedRules's profile


89 posts in 896 days

#8 posted 11-12-2015 03:28 AM

I just purchased 9 of these from Lowes for my new workshop. I haven’t installed them yet, but the reviews I read gave them a good amount of praise, and for the price, I felt they were a good buy.

View clin's profile


485 posts in 416 days

#9 posted 11-12-2015 04:09 AM

Looking at the specs, I was surprised to see the LEDs are not that much better than T8’s. Something like 10% better.

Now, T8’s send light radially in all directions. Therefore, much of this light has to reflect off of the light fixture to be sent down. So I don’t know how these actually compare in terms of lighting a surface.

I think the LED lights are focused down to start with so perhaps the difference is greater than the brute lumens per watt specs suggest.

However, while there no question LEDs are cost effective to replace incandescent lighting, T8 florescent are pretty good themselves. So I don’t think LEDs are necessarily a significant improvement over T8’s.

-- Clin

View NoSkippy's profile


5 posts in 347 days

#10 posted 11-12-2015 04:41 AM

anyone have any ideas about LED lights that are powered by a USB plug?

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2296 posts in 1829 days

#11 posted 11-12-2015 04:46 AM

I am currently experimenting with LED strip lights run off computer power supplies. With a single power supply you can run 48 feet of lights. I have some sheetmetal 12 feet long bent on both sides like a typical florescent style lamp. Putting two strips down the middle and one on each wing pointed to the sides sheds a good amount of light. Cost per 16 ft run is $9 and a power supply runs about $25. Brings total to $53 for 12 feet of running lights. The strips can be cut and can easily solder them together with some time. As others have pointed out we have no idea how well these will hold up over time. But I have several smaller fixtures I have used inside and out that after 3 years are still working.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View robscastle's profile


3315 posts in 1624 days

#12 posted 11-12-2015 06:08 AM


I had incandecent and T8 fluroscent lights in my home, I replaced most of them (see Note 1) some years ago with T5s and CFLs.
As a result I reduced the lighting power consumption by 45% This was great for a while until the T5 kept failing at an alarming rate and I grew tired of the CFLs taking time to get to max brightness.

Then along came effective LED lights so again I decided to replace all the T5s with LEDs first up.
The cost as reported is not cheap however the imediate light increase in the work area and zero failures are a long term benefit,

Whats the Note 1 is all about.
I have a touch sensitive dimmer light which at the time the LED lights were not dimmable so it stayed and the CFLs above the dinning room table remained, along with the bunker style security lights around the paths of the home.
Maybe when they require replacement I will go with LED lamps but not before the fail.

These days I would not recommend T5 electronic lights or CFLs as apposed to LEDs mainly due to reliability issues

Here is a 12x unit LED light system I installed for an under house workshop.

-- Regards Robert

View isotope's profile


144 posts in 1045 days

#13 posted 11-12-2015 02:06 PM

I have LED strip lighting, which I like a lot. Reasonably priced too, since you don’t need to buy fixtures.

View Julian's profile


1010 posts in 2111 days

#14 posted 11-12-2015 04:07 PM

Haven’t changed to LED in the shop/garage yet. LED lights are getting cheaper but I use 2 bulb T8 fixtures in the garage. They cost about $17 at Lowes. I purchase the “daylight” tubes which are 6500K. These put out a lot of light and last a long time. I do use a LED light in one of my portable spot fixtures.

-- Julian

View CTWith3's profile


17 posts in 350 days

#15 posted 11-12-2015 04:28 PM

Wow, lots of great information. Thank you.

My shop/garage is the only room in my house that I have not changed over to LEDs. I have seen a good difference in my electric bill, especially since I have three kids under 18 who love to leave the lights on.

I have some really major vision problems, problems with contrast being one of them, so bright light is a must. I don’t have a Costco near me, the closest one is a good 45 minutes to an hour away, so I am not a member, otherwise I would just jump in the car and run over and pick up a few of those LED fixtures they have for just under $40.

The 4’ twin T8 fixtures that were on my ceiling used to be pretty good, but my vision continues to deteriorate so I would need 2 more of those same fixtures to achieve the amount of light I seek. I will have to look at the motion sensors again to see if prices came down and the technology has improved, because my kids are busting my chops about leaving the lights on myself.

I have thought about using motion sensors light switches to address the problem of leaving the lights on, but I don’t want to have to wave my hands around to trip the sensor if I don’t move around enough for 15 minutes; besides, the cost of those motion sensor light switches are still not cheap.

I am pretty bad at leaving the lights on because I have memory problems, so because LEDs use the least amount of energy they would be best for keeping the cost of my monthly utilities down. I do love the idea of the lights automatically turning on when I enter the garage/shop, it is pretty cool.

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