Garages often lack windows, and even those that have ample openings won’t have much light for nighttime projects. Installing garage lighting around your workspace will brighten up your area, making it easier to see the details that matter when you’re making repairs to your car, playing with your tools, or working on your latest project.
We’ve tested 19 products and come up with a list of the 8 best garage lighting. The Sunco Lighting won our Editor’s Choice nomination. On the list, you’ll find only LED lights as they are more energy efficient and last much longer (50,000 hours) than other types of bulbs (2,500 – 8,000 hours). Plus, they emit harmful UV rays, which can damage your belongings. Most products on the list also have either ETL or UL certifications, which means they’ve been tested for quality and safety.
For the price and quality, it’s hard to beat this two-pack of LED lights from Sunco. With a brightness of 4,000 lumens and a length of 50.5” each, these lights are more than adequate to light up most household garages. And for those looking to light larger spaces, the wiring for these lights can be daisy-chained across up to four lights. The LEDs don’t have any flicker when turning on, even in wintertime temperatures, and reduce energy consumption by as much as 65% compared to traditional fluorescent bulbs.
One of the great things about these lights is how easy they are to set up. Although some customers felt the light weight made the lights feel cheap, that complaint is easily overlooked when it comes time to hoist them up to the ceiling. The chain hangers are easy to attach to the ceiling and allow you to easily adjust how far down from the ceiling the lights hang. Plan to purchase an extension cord, however, since the included plug-in cord is only five feet long.
Despite their low cost, these lights will last years – they are rated for 50,000 hours and have a five-year warranty in case of an early outage. However, note that the lamps themselves cannot be replaced separately from the entire light.
With an output of 4,800 lumens, the Linkable light is a step up in lighting power from many of the lights we reviewed. This can be great if your garage is particularly dark, but be sure that the light will be sufficiently high overhead to avoid a blinding glare. However, that extra brightness comes at a significant cost – the lifespan of this light is only 25,000 hours, and at a per-light purchase cost that is higher than many comparable lights the lifetime expenditure on this light may be more than double a 4,000-lumen light.
One feature of this light that many customers appreciated was the easy mount system. The light can either be mounted flush to the ceiling or hung on an adjustable chain, and the simple screw-in system can be interchanged easily between the two. However, the chains themselves are of poor quality and have failed in certain cases, so it may be worthwhile to buy a cheap chain from the local hardware store to hang the lights on.
Another nice feature of this light, especially for people with large garages or warehouses to light, is that the AC inputs on the ends of each light make it easy to connect multiple lights. Up to 20 lights can be connected in series, either nearly flush to one another or up to 44” apart (the length of the power cord).
If you only need light in your garage occasionally, but find yourself working outside or on the move frequently, the New Craft flood light from Lepower is a great option. Unlike most of the other garage lights we looked at, this light can be used either as a permanent fixture or as a portable light. The rear handle has points for mounting directly to a wall or ceiling with several screws (mounting kit not included), or it can be used as a built-in stand if you leave the light on the ground. Best of all, the light can be used outside since it is fully waterproof – and customers report that it truly stands up to the weather as advertised.
This light is extremely bright, rated for 8,000 lumens – enough to turn nighttime darkness into near-daylight. Plus, the warm 6500 K temperature of the light this emits is closer to daylight in temperature than many of the cooler LEDs commonly found in garage lights. The scale-like design of the interior reflector, somewhat unique among flood lights, was a favorite feature because it does an excellent job of spreading the light while also reducing blinding glares. The light boasts a 120° spread angle, so one light shines widely enough to light an entire project area.
Note that because this light is portable and high-output, the warranty period is significantly reduced compared to fixture-style garage lights.
For those looking for a bit more brightness than the typical 3,800- to 4,000-lumen light, this light from Hykolity is a perfect choice. The light is similar to the Linkable LED Utility Shop Light, but with double the lifespan and at a lower per-light cost when you buy four lights. In addition, because the total wattage is the same compared to less bright LEDs, you won’t see an increase in your electricity bill compared to a dimmer light.
The light is designed primarily to be hung from the ceiling on an easy-to-install chain. However, users looking to mount the light flush with the ceiling or to mount it directly into the wall will find it easy to drill screws through the aluminum fixture into a wall anchor.
The primary complaint that customers had about this light was the packaging from the manufacturer, which is repeatedly poor quality and partially destroyed upon arrival. Many customers have received lights with bent aluminum fixtures. Although this is covered under the five-year warranty, it creates an additional hassle.
This light from Brightech is another great choice for people whose lighting needs are fulfilled with a 4,000-lumen light. The LED has a long lifespan of 50,000 hours, so it will likely never need to be replaced. Compared to most of the other lights we reviewed, this LED is cooler in color and uses a frosted rather than a clear tubing over the LED bulbs. As a result, the quality of the light produced by this light is slightly different than many other lights on the market.
One thing that may or may not be an issue for some customers is that this light is available in both linkable and non-linkable versions. The linkable version includes an AC input on each light to wire them in series, but costs slightly more than the non-linkable version. In addition, whereas most other lights have a five-year warranty, Brightech offers only a three-year warranty.
The suspension system is easy to use, but unfortunately only allows for hanging from the ceiling rather than mounting flush to the ceiling or to a wall.
The Shop Lights from Hyperikon are another quality garage light at a price only slightly higher than the Sunco light. The light provides 3,800 lumens of brightness, more than enough for most lighting needs. However, most garages will require two lights for even light coverage, so plan on purchasing a second light.
The LEDs themselves are great for reducing light flicker – they turn on instantly even in freezing temperatures – and have a pleasant color temperature of 5,000 K. The lifespan is 45,000 hours, meaning that most users will never have to replace the lights.
These lights are extremely easy to install and come with brackets required for installing into drywall ceilings, which is a plus for many household garages. If you need more than one light, up to four can be connected in series and turned on all together or one-by-one using the attached pull-cords. Unfortunately, many customers report issues with broken light components, which appears to be a problem during manufacturing and packing, and have to go through some extra hassle to replace broken lights (this is covered under the five-year warranty).
The LeonLite Shop Light is one of the most versatile lighting systems we’ve found, and as a result are perfect for large garages that require multiple lights. First, up to five lights can be connected in series – but unlike other garage lights, these can be seamlessly connected end-to-end using included linkers. They can also be spaced out up to five feet apart using the power cord, but this requires hard-wiring the lights together since there is no AC plug input on the lights themselves.
Second, the mounting system is flexible enough to work not only for hanging the lights from the ceiling but also for mounting the light flush against a wall or workstation. That makes this light perfect for shining an extra light right on your workbench where you need it the most. However, users did find that the hardware for mounting was more complex than other lights and did not allow for mounting flush to the ceiling.
With all those features in mind, the LED itself is comparable to many of the other lights in our review. It boasts a 4,000-lumen brightness, more than sufficient for most garages, and a 50,000-hour lifespan so that the light will last dozens of years while reducing energy consumption relative to old fluorescent lights.
For the price, the HyperSelect light offers a ton of lighting. Each light has two strips of LED bulbs with a total brightness of 3,800 lumens, comparable to many of the other lights in our round-up.
One of the unique features of this light is the hanging system, which uses a wire suspension rather than a chain to hang the light from the ceiling. While some customers found this system easy to install, others felt that the suspension cord was awkward to set up. In either case, the cord allows a significant amount of leeway in adjusting the hanging height of these lights, and the mounting system also enables installing the lights flush with the ceiling. However, they cannot be installed flush into a wall.
There are two major flaws to this light that might push people not on a tight budget towards other lights. The first is that the lights, which are available in a four-pack, are not able to be connected together in a series. The second, more frustrating flaw, is that the on-off switch for the light is in line with the power cord rather than controlled by a pull cord hanging from the light. This means that in cases where the power cord is being run along a high ceiling or high along a wall, it is difficult to reach the on-off switch without hard-wiring the lights into a household circuit.
Now that you’ve read our reviews of our eight favorite lights, getting to know the factors that go into a quality garage light can help you decide on the right light for your needs. Here, we’ll cover some of the most important factors.
You may have noticed that all of the garage lighting options we reviewed used LEDs rather than fluorescent lights. LEDs are a newer technology with a number of significant advantages. First, LEDs do not have dangerous chemicals like mercury in the bulb or emit harmful UV rays, unlike fluorescent lights. Second, LEDs are much more energy efficient and safer to run in an enclosed space because they give off very little heat. In fact, LEDs can result in energy savings of 60% or more compared to fluorescent lights. Finally, LED lights last significantly longer than fluorescent lights – up to 50,000 hours versus less than 15,000 hours. This can make a huge difference in the actual cost of the lights, since a light with a shorter lifespan will have to be replaced more frequently. However, note that LED lights often do not offer replaceable LED strips, so the entire fixture must be replaced when its lifespan is reached.
One of the first numbers that pops out when looking at garage lighting is the brightness, measured in lumens. Many lights are around 4,000 lumens, but lights with outputs of 8,000 lumens or more are available. However, brighter is not always desirable, since the light can be blinding or cause excessive reflections, especially if it will be hung from a low ceiling or mounted directly over your workstation. Finding the right brightness for your garage takes some trial and error, but it may be easier to add additional lights than to buy a single light that is too bright.
In addition, LED garage lights are available in a variety of color temperatures, although 4,000 or 5,000 K temperatures are most common because this temperature is most similar to the color of natural daylight. Lower temperature lights give off a bluer light, whereas higher temperature lights give off a more orange light.
Before settling on a garage lighting system, be sure to carefully consider how you plan to set up your new lights. If you need a light for directly over your workstation, consider whether that is better served by a light hanging from the ceiling or one mounted flush to the wall. In addition, think about the height of your garage when looking at whether lights can be mounted flush into the ceiling or how height adjustable their hanging mechanisms are. Don’t forget to measure the dimensions of the existing constructions attached to your ceiling, whether it’s a garage door opener, an air conditioner or a garage fan. Finally, if you need multiple lights, is it important to you that they can be wired together in series? If so, make sure that the light you choose has this capability and that the series will support the number of lights you plan to connect.
When buying garage lighting, look for lights that are UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Edison Testing Laboratory) certified. These certifications indicate that the light design meets minimum safety standards for electronics established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Compared to fluorescent lights, all LEDs use up significantly less energy to put out the same amount of light – 60% less or more. However, if you’re interested in comparing the amount of energy that two garage lights will use, be sure to check the wattage of the lights – a higher wattage light will use energy at a faster rate. While most 4,000-lumen lights are in the 40-watt range, a significantly brighter light may have a significantly higher wattage.
A well-lit garage can make a huge difference in your ability to see the details of your projects and to make your garage a true working space. While there are a huge variety of garage lights available, we think that these eight lights offer the best bang for your buck and represent an array of options for different lighting needs. Plus, our Buying Guide gives you the critical information you need to make a choice about the best garage lighting for you.