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Lighting in new shop?

Joined
Apr 17, 2019
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Location
Afton, TN
I am planning to build a new woodworking/turning shop in the coming months and am curious what others have found to be the best lighting. In my past shops, I have used 8' fluorescent fixtures, but with LED out now, I am planning to go that route. I have seen some of these UFO led lights, but don't have any experience with these. They seem bright as far as lumens go per fixture. I may just go with 8' LED strip lights but wanted to ask for suggestions first. Also, how about color temps as well. 4000l or 5000k?? Ceilings will be around 10' Thanks in advance..

Robert
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
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Cleveland, Tennessee
Harbor Freight sometimes has 4 ft. LED lights on sale at $19.95. I have five in the basement and shop. My ceilings are only about 7-1/2 feet.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
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TN
I built a new ~400sqft shop four years ago with 9ft ceilings. I put in drop panels and used 2x2ft led panel lights. I have 14 of these in the shop (4000 lumens each, 4K color). This provides a nice bright shop, but still requires task lighting at the lathe (I also use individual task lighting on a few tools like drill press etc) and am thinking of adding additional task lighting at the workbench. Best pricing I could find back then was from prolighting.com
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
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Location
Florissant, MO
My suggestion would be to convert existing fixtures.

I had one fluorescent fixture in my shop and immediately added 3 2-tube cheapo fluorescent shop lights when we bought the house 30 years ago. I converted all of them to 4' T8 tube-LEDs, even the $9.00 shop lights from the Big Box stores. I prefer daylight color, but cool white is also a good option for a shop. Converting them is a lot less expensive than buying new, and it isn't difficult for folks with a modicum of mechanical talent - just read the instructions. This is counterintuitive for guys, I know, but there are two ways to wire 'em up and you can't swap one type tube for the other.

Although usually marketed as flood lights, the UFO lights are great spot lights, but not so good for area coverage when attention to detail is required.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
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virginia
Seems I always need more light when examine stuff....just couple 60 watt bulbs with a hand held work light that's mobile/portable. works for me.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
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Larimore, ND
I have filled my shop with 4' florescence, changed them to LEDs, have them hanging just over my head over the lathe, in front of, beside, behind and was never happy with the results. While it does light up the area well (still use one over the lathe), it was not good enough for my aging eyes. I read about on here a magnetic base light. It has a nice long neck. I can easily move it where I need the light, it makes a huge difference! I'm not associated with this company but do recommend them highly albeit a spendy little thing.

Nova
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
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Lebanon, Missouri
IMO a moderate amount of general shop lighting is enough, and then use task lights at machines and when needed elsewhere. I prefer 4000k color but 5000k is ok. Above that is too blue for me. My shop is 24' x 28', and I use 5 x 4' led shop lights, 3700 lumens each. One more wouldn't hurt, but its ok as is. I use task lights at grinders, band saw, drill press, router table, and have 3 for the lathe. I also have the aluminum reflector clamp on lights to use as needed, especially when prepping a surface for finish and need raking light. You can install a huge amount of general lighting and still need task lighting. I added a couple of these a few months ago for the lathe and really like them. The magnet holds on horizontal surfaces, but not quite strong enough for vertical if the lathe moves much, at least painted surfaces.:

 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
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Lummi Island, WA
been using led strip lights in my 500sf shop since we built it 5 years ago - the light is even and bright in work areas. I still use task lights as noted above on individual machines as needed.
The additional brightness and full spectrum of leds over flourescents is really nice, but more important to me is the color temp. What passes for daylight is way too blue for me - feels like working in a fishbowl. A warmer light is way easier on my old eyes. I spent over 50 years performing color checks under very controlled lighting and just won't tolerate "daylight" color temps anymore - I keep all lighting below 4000k and prefer 3200k for work lights.
 
Joined
May 4, 2010
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Bozeman, MT
When you shop for your LEDs, be aware that seemingly identical fixtures can have different stated light output. 4' strips can go from 3200 to over 5000 lumens. (Actual light output may not match stated, so there may be some cheatin' goin' on, too)
 
Joined
May 6, 2004
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Location
Sonoma, CA
New shop lighting............put in about twice what you think you should have. Much easier when building from scratch. If you have different circuits, you can turn on only what you need.
I replaced all to LEDs. Better light I think.
I would almost put in some cans above where I have the lathe and run LED spots in them.
As one gets older......more light is better.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
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Location
Soddy Daisy, TN
Here is what I used in my shop, the ceilings are at 8ft and it is 20x30 and I have 4 rows of them running the length of the shop. Most people that come in say it is well lit, I have also used some of their other lights on the outside and some as supplemental work lights as needed.
I am just a very satisfied customer.. You can pick from the color balances available. I do prefer the frosted version. After typing all of this see they are currently out of stock but if you look through the site you may find something else.
https://greenlightdepot.com/collect...t-40w-led-integrated-tube?variant=33524633412
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
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Location
Roulette, PA
Website
www.reallyruralwoodworks.com
Agree.. I recently got a 4-pack of BBounder LED shop lights at amazon on sale ($49) - almost tripled the amount of llight in the shop , retiring a couple of old ballast type flourscent (still use the other 3) .. just as a test to see how much less electric they used, I hooked up my Kill-a-watt meter .. and the LED lights barely register any consumption at all at 13 watts (as opposed to the 85 watts of the flouescent) so I expect it may lead to some energy savings (I would guess around $25 a year in savings.. a penny saved is a penny earned and all that..) So, I plan to invest in another 4-pack soon (maybe 2 of them) and replace ALL of the old shop lights .. which might get me up to $100/year in energy savings..
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
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Location
Martinsville, VA
Website
www.GrattanCreek.com
When we bought our house a couple years ago, it had two bare bulbs on the ceiling of the 22x20 garage - not workable.
I put seven of these 4' LED lights that we picked up at Homey's Depot. I would have hung a couple more but the roll up doors are too close to the ceiling. They were about $20 each and they daisy-chain together so they just plug into adapters in the light sockets in the ceiling.
It would be nice to have some spot lighting I could aim at the lathe and bandsaw but it's workable for now and it was cheap (like me).

We are going to have to pull down the ceiling fairly soon for some plumbing and electrical so I will upgrade or at least add some recessed lights where the garage doors cover at that timeGarage.JPG.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
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Location
Lummi Island, WA
Jeff, just curious what the lumen rating is for the led strip lights you use? I think they rate them lumens/ft? How many feet of lights in your 500 ft2?
My shop is 550sf, the lathe arrea is in front, about 250sf with a cieling that angles from 12' to 9' the lighting is separate - four suspended led strip lights 4' long with three recessed led spots. The back section is 300sf, has 9' ceilings and uses 6 led strip lights.
I don't have the lumens handy, but its comfortably bright.
 

Roger Wiegand

Beta Tester
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
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Location
Wayland, MA
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www.carouselorgan.com
Tube type lights are great for general illumination but over the lathe I also install fixtures to give me strong raking illumination. I put up a track over the lathe and use LED spotlights at an angle. I find he shadow lines created are very useful to help me see profiles and sanding imperfections. In addition I have two moveable lamps with LED spotlights to highlight areas of interest or see inside bowls that are otherwise in full shadow.

Basically I don't think you can have too much light!

For general illumination I went with T5HO fluorescents. The are almost as efficient as LEDs on a lumens/watt basis, but much brighter so I could get away with fewer fixtures. At the time I installed them high CRI LEDs were prohibitively expensive. They still aren't cheap-- most of the inexpensive fixtures still have very poor CRI. PAR type LED bulbs come in any desired color temperature and CRI so can be used in any screw-in bulb fixture.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
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Cleveland, Tennessee
Hear ye! Hear ye! Just got an email from Harbor Freight. The have different lights on sale. LED can come in single unit or a double unit. Wish I knew that as I would like to have two double units in my shop.
 
Joined
May 6, 2004
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Location
Sonoma, CA
Robert,
I am going to get a bit off the light problem.
Since you are building your new shop........put in twice the number of outlets as you think you should. Put them everywhere.
I had outlets put into the ceiling and love them. Put in 220V above where I was going to put the lathe. No cord on the floor. Goes straight up....out of the way.
I am off my soap box for now.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
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Location
Nebraska
I worked in the lighting industry for several decades in the commercial and industrial markets, office, warehouse, retail, hospitals, museums, roadways, airports, factories, etc.
Color of the lighting is important if you want a proper rendering of the item being produced to match the real world.
Lamps and LED's are usually available in different Kelvin colors (Soft White, Bright White, Cool White, Daylight) and color rendering efficiencies 70%, 80% 90%
Depending on the task being preformed the IES Illumination Engineering Society has a minimum level of Foot Candles or Lumens recommended for various activities.
If you spend 8 hours or more under artificial lighting you want the quality of the illuminated area to be comfortable to work under.
A poorly designed lighting system can cause headaches and eye fatigue if you ignore basic lighting design fundamentals.
An exposed direct light source can be an irritant to your eyes throughout the day.
Modern LED's can be very bright and if not diffused by a lens or reflected by the fixture these intense light sources can cause eye strain.
There is quality and quantity, what you want is an evenly illuminated work space with indirect or diffused light sources.
Cheaper fixtures use a reflector or the design of the fixture cuts off exposure to the bare light source.
A bright task light can be positioned to illuminate a work space where you don't look directly at the light source.
If you install a large number or intense luminaires on the ceiling no matter where you stand in the work space you have the glare of these LED's hitting your eyes from various directions. A luminaire with a reflector can cut down on some of this glare, a luminaire with a lens will diffuse the light and spread it evenly in the work space.
Reflective colored walls, ceilings and floors can help spread the illumination in a work space. Unpainted surfaces tend to absorb the light and lowers the illumination levels.
Better quality lighting usually means more fixtures putting out a comfortable amount of light for the area the fixture is designed to illuminate.
I could install a 1500watt HID fixture in the middle of your shop and call it good and save you lots of money. That would be horrible.
Smaller wattage fixtures mounted end to end down the length of your work space would provide even lighting and reduce wiring in between the fixtures.
Depending on the RCR Room Cavity Ratio of the work space, this determines the optimum row spacing and the wattage of fixtures needed to achieve the foot candles desired.
You can always switch every other light fixture to have a low light level or high light level depending on the tasks being performed.
They also make dimmable lighting systems which can be adjusted to any level you desire.
I have occupancy sensors installed on a number of my luminaires which turn on automatically when i enter the room or work space and shut off automatically when no activity is observed in the room or work space. These are great if you have children in your home, the lights go out when no-one is in the room.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Messages
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Location
Hot Springs, AR
I am planning to build a new woodworking/turning shop in the coming months and am curious what others have found to be the best lighting. In my past shops, I have used 8' fluorescent fixtures, but with LED out now, I am planning to go that route. I have seen some of these UFO led lights, but don't have any experience with these. They seem bright as far as lumens go per fixture. I may just go with 8' LED strip lights but wanted to ask for suggestions first. Also, how about color temps as well. 4000l or 5000k?? Ceilings will be around 10' Thanks in advance..

Robert
4ft Honeywell lights at Sam's are awesome. My shop is 24x24 and I have 8 of them and 4 regular floresents. I will be switching out the last 4 floresents at some point
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Messages
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Location
Springdale, Arkansas
Website
www.copassawmill.com
I have 16 four bulb LED fixtures in my 1,500 square foot shop. I also use task lighting over some of the machines. These were all T8 fluorescents that I converted to LED. When I started the conversion I tried different color temperatures and found I preferred daylight. I also tried clear lens and the diffused lens. The clear lens are far to bright when I glance at the ceiling so I went with diffused lens.

I like the LED's much better over the T8's. I'm semi retired and spend lots of time in the shop with all the lights on. I figured the payback period on the conversion and it was a fairly short time.

I bought all my bulbs at greenlightdepot already referenced. Good prices, good shipping, and a good product. I started my conversion about 4 years ago and have yet to replace a bulb. With the fluroescents, it seemed like I was climbing a ladder once a month to replace a bulb or ballast. Doc says ladders are bad for old farts.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
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Location
Sebastopol, California
There was an article not too long ago in American Woodturner that does a good job of exploring this as well. For my 12 x 18 shop, I finally swapped out the fluorescents with LEDs, and am really glad I did. 8 footers, 1 on each side and two in the middle. Much more even, brighter, no flicker, no hum. Got them at greenlightdepot.com. Good price - had to figure out the ballast/ bypass business (I ended up removing the ballasts - I forget the rest.) Also a 4 foot LED panel above the lathe. Then task lights, as mentioned by virtually everyone above. You absolutely need a source of raking light. My wife said it looks like a surgery suite in there now.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
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Location
Vancouver,WA
I bought six 4', 5000k, 40watt, 5000 lumen 'Barrina' LED fixtures for $80 and they light up my 400sqft garage/shop space very well. The entire place is basically daylight. I daisy chained them off the two pre-existing ceiling (bulb) fixtures and capped the junction boxes. They all turn on with the light switch this way. I've had them a year now and haven't really felt the need for more.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
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So Mike, May I ask what type of light fixture, what kelvin color, how many fixtures, what spacing, etc., you have in your shop?
Glenn,

In my metal shop area I have some low-bay induction luminaires, these are great for high ambient temperatures and high vibration areas.
An induction luminaire has a glass envelope filled with inert gasses, a high frequency coil is inserted into a hollow void in the center of the glass envelope, the high frequency coil
excites the gasses inside the sealed glass envelope generating the illumination of the fixture. Unlike a conventional incandescent or HID bulb the inert gases that create the color
of the light will not be consumed by an electrode in the induction lamp, there is no electrode in an induction luminaire "bulb", these bulbs can last a very long time under extreme conditions.
In my woodworking area I have recessed lensed troffers with mostly T8 daylight bulbs and a few LED task lights at the different machines. I have several of the T8 fixtures lamped with the retrofit LED bulbs that can run off of a ballast in the fixture, these seem to work just fine with no failures yet after several years.
 

Steve Worcester

Admin Emeritus
Joined
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Plano, Texas
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I have LED fluorescent replacements, ballast bypass because i don't want to have to replace a ballast ever again. And I went with 5000K.
5000K and 6500K are both daylight which is how I want to view my projects, a much more natural light
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
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Lummi Island, WA
Steve - Ave daylight at noon is 5600k - from an hour before sunrise it goes from 3000k to the noon color temp of 5600k; from noon to 1 hour after sunset it goes from 5600 to 3000k. In effect, there is no daylight. 5600k was chosen as a standard for those who need to be agreeing on critical color over great distances and time zones. In reality our eyes adapt to whatever circumstances were in. Save your eyes, reduce the uv component, but just go with whatever is more comfortable.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
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Vancouver,WA
If you go to extremes you can have more of a blue or yellow tint, which is why I settled on 5000k, myself. My understanding was that too much on the 'blue' spectrum would feel harsher to the eyes. Too much yellow/green: annoying.

Some notes/facts:

"The brightest HID (auto headlight term) color temperature is 5000K, emitting perfectly white light. 4300K and 6000K will be just as bright but will have a very light tint of yellow (4300K) or blue (6000K)"
--
"First and foremost, the difference between 5000K and 6500K can be thought of as the relative amounts of "yellow" vs "blue." On a relative basis, 5000K is yellower than 6500K, and 6500K is bluer than 5000K"
 
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