Garage LED light choices are tough. Finding the BEST LED light for your situation will be made easier with our Ultimate LED Showdown!
Most people are not interested in rewiring their garage to get better lighting. In this LED Light test, we go over many different styles of lights that will screw into the most common garage sockets on the market. Unfortunately, contractors who build homes do not put many light sockets in garages. This is true of more than just garages, it also includes Basements, Workshop Area, Porches and Pole Barns.
If you do like to work in your garage, basement or barn, you will most likely need to make some upgrades and LED technology has made this pretty easy for us. Below are the best LEDs we have found at a reasonable price, listed from least powerful to most powerful based on wattage.
1. SANSI 27W Omni-directional Ceramic LED Light Bulbs, 4000 Lumens, 5000K Daylight, Non-Dimmable, 5-Year warranty, $24.99: https://amzn.to/36qMXxO
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 113 Avg – 278 Max
These LED lights have a slight power-on delay that could be annoying to some users. Since these are a lower watt light, we recommend these for areas that have more fixtures. We have 12 of these lights in our 30′ x 32′ show and the lighting is amazing. We have had these for over a year without any issues. The 5000K color temperature is perfect for working on cars and wiring as the colors show perfectly. We would not recommend these lights if you only have 2 fixtures in a 20′ x 20′ space if you want more light than two standard 100-watt light bulbs would produce.
2. 60W Deformable LED Garage Light, 6000 Lumens, 6000K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, 2-Year warranty, $28.95: https://amzn.to/2uD9xG6
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 252 Avg – 734 Max
These LED lights have a slight power-on delay that could be annoying to some users. There is a good amount of light coming from the fixture with a slight amount of glare when you look right at the bulb. The light seems a bit bluer and that is explained by the color temperature rating of 6000K. There is a good amount of light here and good build quality.
3. SANSI 60W Deformable LED Garage Light, 6000 Lumens, 5000K Daylight, Non-Dimmable, 5-Year warranty, $44.99: https://amzn.to/2thM3WH
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 456 Avg – 1301 Max
These LED lights do not have a power-on delay and respond like a normal light. They are made out of plastic, but the design does allow the heat from the LED pods to escape upward. Light dissipation is amazing and we have been more than thrilled with these lights in both of our smaller garages for the last two months. Glare is not minimal with this style of light due to the design. These have proved to be brighter than some of the other deformable designs per the Lux LightMeter App and we feel the same way when we walk through the garage. They are on the pricier side, but worth the cost.
4. 60w Deformable LED Garage Light, 6000 Lumen, 6000K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, 3-Year warranty, $29.99: https://amzn.to/2U2OVls
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 266 Avg – 703 Max
These LED lights have a slight power-on delay that could be annoying to some users. They light up the room well in a brighter light that does not seem as blue as some other 6000K models. There is a slight amount of glare when you look right at the bulb. These seem to be a good light, but they did not perform as well as some of the other models of the same wattage per the Lux Light Meter App, but they seemed more comfortable if you might have a lower ceiling height.
5. 60W Deformable LED Garage Ceiling Lights, 6000 Lumen, 6000K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, “Lifetime Service”, $17.95: https://amzn.to/36uoWWD
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 231 Avg – 662 Max
These LED lights do not have a power-on delay and respond like a normal light. Out of all the lights we have gone over, if you are sensitive to any bright light or have low ceilings like in a basement, these are the light for you. They are not as bright as other lights, but you can look right at them and see the light fixture in its entirety. It comes with a stem to lower the bulb from the ceiling to keep the wings up a bit. It is made of plastic and the price reflects that. It is not the brightest light we have, but this will be the way for many people to go as price vs light output vs glare is top-notch.
6. 60W Deformable LED Garage Lights, 6000 Lumens, 6500K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, No warranty Listed, $26.95: https://amzn.to/38JZnCC
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 244 Avg – 816 Max
These LED lights do not have a power-on delay and respond like a normal light. Because of the light coming from 3 smaller areas, there is a slight amount of glare when you look at them. For a metal wing light, these are the best performers in a 60-watt class. They are rated at 6500K but we did not feel the blue light like we did in other models not rated as high in color temperature. If you are looking for an instant on metal winged LED light, this one is priced right and performs well!
7. 80W Deformable LED Garage Lights, 8000 Lumens, 6000-6500K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, 2-Year warranty, $37.99: https://amzn.to/37uDLty
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 303 Avg – 940 Max
These LED lights do have a very slight power-on delay and most would feel they respond very close to a normal light bulb. Out of the ones with a delay, this one is the least noticeable. As we moved up in testing, it was clear that our wattage bumped up. The area around the light was lit nicely but the amount of glare went up slightly as more light was produced from a smaller area.
8. 100W Deformable LED Garage Lights, 10000 Lumens, 6000K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, No warranty Listed, $39.99: https://amzn.to/3aIOxhP
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 435 Avg – 1322 Max
These LED lights do not have a power-on delay and respond like a normal light. There is more light than the light we list just above this one in the 80-watt form. The 6000K color temperature is not bad and does not feel blue. I would rate this light very well, but you need to look at #9 as the 4 wings produce a more constant amount of light. We also only had a sample size of 1, but we had some flicker from this light that was noticeable to the naked eye.
9. 120W Deformable LED Garage Lights, 12000 Lumens, 6000K Pure Daylight, Non-Dimmable, No warranty Listed, $36.95: https://amzn.to/38K1E0C
Lux Light Meter App Reading: 418 Avg – 1394 Max
These LED lights do not have a power-on delay and respond like a normal light. By far, this light outperformed the other lights as one would expect from the wattage. But it did not outperform our #3 light above by that much for the extra wattage used. This light is less expensive to purchase than the #3 above and really did an excellent job of lighting up the area around the light. There is less glare than one would think as the extra wattage and light is coming from 4 wings rather than 3. Overall, this is a very powerful light that is worth looking at, especially if you have high ceilings and need a lot of light in all directions.
Why So Many Numbers In LED Lights?
The above lights are arranged in order of least watts to most watts consumed during use. What does that mean to you? The lower the watts, the lower the electric bill. If you are shopping for LED lights in a store, you might see a Watt Equivalent. For example, a 7-watt LED might be equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb. All of the numbers used above are actual watt usage per fixture.
The next number we listed is Lumens. In simple terms, Lumens (lm) are a measure of the total amount of visible light from a light source. The higher the lumen rating the “brighter” the lamp will appear. In the video above we use a Lux Light Meter app on our phone to measure the amount of light. To keep it simple, know that the higher the number the more light.
After Lumens, we list the color temperature. Color temperature is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light source. This is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. Typically, Kelvin temperatures for commercial and residential lighting applications fall somewhere on a scale from 2000K to 6500K. You will hear the terms warm, soft, cool, and daylight. Indoors, most people feel that warm light is inviting and slightly tinted yellow. Many home lights are 2700 to 3000K. Garage lighting will range from 4000 to 6500K and they will appear more white than other lights. Color temperature is important if you are trying to determine colors as each light color can have a profound effect on trying to decipher between red and pink.
One of the easiest ways for most people to visualize color temperature is by watching lights on other cars at night. Almost all of the older cars on the road will have a yellow light, similar to our homes around 3000K. Many new vehicles with HID or LED lights will have a very white look and those are around 5000K. You might also see some older vehicles on the road with lights that seem blueish. Those are normally very bright, although the brightness has nothing to do with the color temperature. Those blue lights are closer to 7000K. Obviously, we want our light in working situations, and in cars, to be as close to a sunlight (daylight) color as possible. That will be close to 5000K or maybe a bit higher.
LED Light Glare
Some of the lights listed above are more than 10 times brighter than a normal 80-watt incandescent bulb. If the lights above are placed fairly low in a garage, some feel they see a large amount of glare. That is very possible if these lights are placed a foot or so above your line of sight. We have used many of these lights at the 10-foot level and do not find any glare to be an issue. That will all depend on your situation and layout.
Some people will also talk about shadows created by having a large amount of light come from very few places. For example, many 24′ x 24′ garages will only have two light sockets. While you would always have shadows, poor lighting will help to hide them. When you add brighter lights, the shadows become more pronounced and people will talk about the shadows these bulbs produce. The reality is that they are just more noticeable. Shadows will be reduced with higher ceilings and more light sources.
Power Up Delay With LED Lights
In our testing, we show any delay LED lights might have when switching them on for the first time. After flipping the light switch, we expect an LED lamp to light up immediately at full brightness. In some LED lights, there is a slight delay and that delay can be annoying to some.
An LED light consists of several components: One or more LEDs, an LED driver and a power supply. The reason for a possible switch-on delay is the electronic circuit consisting of a switched power supply and driver circuit.
The switching power supply transforms the 120V mains supply to a low voltage for the LED driver. This generates a constant current for the operation of the LED. Poor circuit design can cause some capacitors being slowly charged after switching on, before the driver releases the current for the LED. The result is the known switch-on delay of the LED.
LED lights are not the only type of light to see this sort of delay. This was very common in older style commercial lighting.
LED Cost Vs Construction
To dive completely into the idea of the quality of construction and comparing it to the cost of the bulb we have to understand that LED lights emit heat. Heat is created in LED lights when the crystal parts of the diode are affected by minor deformities. Since no all the electricity going into the diode is turn into lights, some of it becomes exhumed as heat.
Some LED lights run cooler than others, but they are all fairly hot. In our list above, you will see that the less expensive lights are made from plastic and the more expensive and higher watt lights have more metal. Beyond that, there is a web-like construction to many of the wings of the light that hold the LED. Those areas are not light that for looks! They are there to dissipate heat.
In general, the cooler you keep the light, the longer it will last. There are obviously other variables but that is a true generality. Plastic does not remove heat from the LED, in fact, plastic can be an insulator and help to hold heat in. That is why we see plastic in the construction of lights with smaller LED bulbs and with less power. The more power, the more heat will be generated and more metal will be around the LED lights. Since most of these lights are made in China, the metal quality and its ability to dissipate heat are hard to see until the light is in your hand. check out the video above to get a better idea of how each light performed.
Other LED Options
If you are looking for more portable LED lights that you can hang over your workbench, we would suggest the hanging LED light below.
► Onforu 100W LED Hanging Garage Light, 11000 Lumens, 5000K Daylight, Non-Dimmable, warranty not listed: https://amzn.to/2qgPYBX
If you feel the above lights might be too expensive or the possible glare created by a low ceiling might be an issue, check out the video below where we show you a very inexpensive way to add more lights to a fixture.
► LED Light Socket Splitter: http://amzn.to/2AqQuQe
Lux Light Meter App
Here is the app we used on our Motorola Moto Z for the testing: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.doggoapps.luxlight&hl=en_US
This app gives you an idea where your space is currently at and it will let you know what you should be able to expect after the upgrade. IMHO, this gives you an idea of how much of an improvement you will see before spending the money. We will go over how we used the app and give you some tips in the video above.
I have a 3 stall garage. 40’ x 26’. There are 6 light housings in the garage. 2 essentially in each stall. The ceiling is 10’. Since there are 6 lights it will be expensive either way, but I would like to keep cost down some.
Go with #3, the least expensive and best performing.