Shop lighting upgrades to LED?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by swirt posted 07-13-2010 05:24 AM 13684 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View swirt's profile


3311 posts in 3147 days

07-13-2010 05:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop lighting led

Has anyone upgraded their shop lighting to LED yet? After a close call with a board that was too long and one of my 4ft fluorescent shop lights, it got me thinking about swapping them out for LED varieties. I found that there are some out there that allow you snip out / bypass the ballast and install them. They have the advantage of less energy draw, longer life… and for safety reasons, no hazard if you accidentally hit them with a long piece of wood (no glass).

Anybody have firsthand experience with them?

-- Galootish log blog,

22 replies so far

View bigjoe4265's profile


52 posts in 3108 days

#1 posted 07-13-2010 05:39 AM

I only know they are around $75.00 ea. I’ll stick with flourescent for awhile.


View Ryan Brown's profile

Ryan Brown

72 posts in 3366 days

#2 posted 07-13-2010 05:55 AM

I was checking them out at the local fair we had over the last two weeks. There was a guy set up who was selling that kind of stuff. At about $50 per 4' bulb they are waaaaay out of my price range. Of course, they should never ever need replacement, and consume much less power, but it would probably be a decade or more to break even. Fluorescent tube guards are probably a much more economical choice until the price of the LEDs drop by about 500%.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem. Roanoke, VA

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#3 posted 07-13-2010 08:38 AM

You can buy a lot of plastic sleeve protectors for $50 to 75 :-)) They contain the glass when it breaks.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View swirt's profile


3311 posts in 3147 days

#4 posted 07-13-2010 04:51 PM

I did some ballpark crunching of the numbers. Compared to ordinary T-8 bulbs with plastic sleeves, the LED lights at $75 each would pay for themselves in half of the bulb’s lifetime (assuming it lasts as rated…. which it might not) At $50 each it would pay for itself in the lifetime of one Fluorescent bulb (~1/4 the lifetime of the LED bulb)

For me the savings would take many years to be realized (if ever) because my shop time is limited. The advantages I see would be the no waiting for the lamps to warm up. In the winter I can be in the shop for 10 minutes before the fluorescent lights are up to normal. I could also do without the flickering. And the safety of not having to deal with them braking. The protector sleeves contain the glass, but not the mercury vapor (I don’t think).

The part I’d like to know is how do they compare lighting wise. Is it a good light to work by? Does it cast funny annoying shadows? ...

-- Galootish log blog,

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3408 days

#5 posted 07-13-2010 05:15 PM

Another recommendation for the plastic sleeve tube protectors, they are cheap, readily available, and they work very well.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3422 days

#6 posted 07-13-2010 07:30 PM

Don’t most LED lights give everything a seriously blue hue?

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3101 days

#7 posted 07-13-2010 08:57 PM

I have also been looking at additional lights, here the T5’s are about $220 for a 4’ fixture with 4 tubes, but the light is more natural, and they are so much brighter than my old 8’ fixtures.

No hum, start right up, no flicker, I think I will try a couple before fall.

Sure would be nice to have in the dark winter days…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View swirt's profile


3311 posts in 3147 days

#8 posted 07-13-2010 09:18 PM

@KayBee I think that most of the flashlights and nightlights that use LED go with the bluer option so they look brighter. I think (though don’t know firsthand) that house lighting tends toward a warmer yellow. But that is part of why I asked this because I don’t know for sure.

@jusfine – The T5’s you are talking about are fluorescent or are you talking about LED?

-- Galootish log blog,

View Sarit's profile


550 posts in 3315 days

#9 posted 07-16-2010 11:42 PM

T5’s are fluorescent and they are overkill IMO. They are used in planted aquariums because some aquatic plants need lots of light and that light has to penetrate several inches of water given a limited amount of space for the hood.

Lots of less powerful lights will always be better than a few really strong ones. Intense lights are harsh on the eye and having only a few causes harsh shadows (makes it harder to see details). You will also get 4, 4 tube 4’ long T8 fixtures for about $220 which will cover a lot more space than a single T5 fixture.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3101 days

#10 posted 07-17-2010 12:27 AM

Yes, my mistake, swirt, they are not LED.

The electrician who is tying in my DC tomorrow is bringing 4 over so we can see how much better they light up my shop. His price is $170 for 4 tube 4 footers, including tubes.

I am interested to see the difference in my own shop.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 3505 days

#11 posted 07-22-2010 02:34 AM

I would be careful about the light output. Fluorescents are pretty hard to beat. Not fully comparable, but I looked at PAR 30 and PAR 38 LED replacements, and the rated light output was a fraction of the output of either the incandescent or the CFL bulbs. The sleeves are cheap, and they work. A suggestion—a little silicone adhesive at each end makes them more likely to contain the debris when one breaks.

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View Knothead62's profile


2598 posts in 3137 days

#12 posted 07-22-2010 12:44 PM

jusfine, is your electrician installing troffler lights in the ceiling? That seems expensive for a fluorescent light. I use the cheapo two bulb lights for about $10 at Lowe’s.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3376 days

#13 posted 07-22-2010 02:27 PM

justfine, I like your style. LED is the wave of the future. Technology has made vast improvements. The new warm white lights they have now look better than the fluorescents out there. I have never liked the fact that there is mercury in fluorescent tubes. Cool white fluorescents and led’s give off blue light, but I like the neutral white and warm white. I hate CFL’s, the instant on are not instant on. They still require time to get fully up and running. I expect also that like everything else the price will come down. Remember when Plasma TV’s came out for $5,000.00 for a 36” set.
I replaced the headlight bulbs in my car with LED. What a difference, I paid $150.00 for the pair, but they are well worth the investment. I see farther down the road and don’t turn my brights on half as often as before. Plus, bulb replacement for those Halogen was killing me. They go out twice a year and you had disassemble the front end just to change the bulb.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#14 posted 07-22-2010 05:18 PM

UnionLabel, What kind of car you have to dissamble the front end to change a light bulb? We had a Ford Aerostar that needed to have the bumper taken off. Frist time Ford told me it caot $150 to change the headlight, I couldn’t believe my ears :-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View swirt's profile


3311 posts in 3147 days

#15 posted 07-22-2010 05:41 PM

glassyeyes, thanks for the suggestion of the silicon, that’s a great idea.

-- Galootish log blog,

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics