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Shop lighting

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  • Shop lighting

    I am setting up a little shop in my 2 car garage. First thing I want to do is add circuits and install some more lighting. The garage is about 20 by 20 with 10 ft ceilings. The fixtures would be mounted flush to the ceiling and controlled by one switch. How many fixtures or watts do people recomend?

  • #2
    in my old shop (21x26)i had 9 2x4 lights they were placed in 3 rows of 3 trust when i say i had plenty of light.i also had each row on its own switch which you realy may want to consider as it makes it easyer to set up.
    9/11/01, never forget.


    • #3
      A few things I think you may want to consider. I'm moving from the Corning area (Painted Post) to Binghamton sometime in the next month or two. The new home will have a shop area off the garage as well as a basement area which I will probably use mostly in the winter months. So, here are some things that I've found to be a plus:

      Pay the few extra $$ and get low temperature-type ballast so you don't have to wait forever for them to start in the cold weather.

      I just remodeled the kitchen which is 12 x 23. I used those new thinner bulb fixtures (Lowes and HD has them and I think they are available with the low temp ballast). They cost a bit more, but put out significantly more light (36 watts instead of 40 watts, but the light temperature is close to 5,000 Kelvin. If you're going to be doing any finish work, staining, painting, etc.... the 5,000 Kelvin bulbs are closer to daylight and you'll get truer looking color.

      My wife likes a ton of light in the kitchen, so I put in three fixtures (high ceiling) each with four 4ft bulbs. Wow, almost too much light for me. I'm going to cut back and only put two bulbs in each fixture and see if she likes... if not, I'll have to wear sunglasses when I visit the kitchen! For the shop, 10 x 25, I think I'll probably use three 4-bulb fixtures because of the narrow area and the walls and ceiling aren't finished (yet!).

      Put your lights on two separate circuits and both separate from the tools, if feasible. If they can't be separated from the tools, then at least make sure you have two separate circuits. Last thing you are going to want happen is have your saw trip the breaker and leave you completely in the dark!

      Position your lights with respect to where you stand with the tools. While you don't want to cast shadows, you don't want reflections either. Florescent bulbs are of course best because the light is more even and not likely to cast sharp shadows. However, I still like the occasonal incandescent refector-type work light for spotting on my cuts.

      Hope this helps,



      • #4
        I agree with all that has been said so far, my last shop was 18X20 2 car garage with white painted drywall ceiling and walls. I had 8 2X4' fluorescents and the light was perfect.


        • #5
          I knew I was going to be moving later in the year when I set up my shop this past winter. I wanted easy, fast and cheap. I bought 8 lamp holders and those newfangled florescent bulbs that screw into incandescent sockets.

          I have plenty of light but it's probably not the most accurate. It might be my imagination but I think it's somewhat yellow. Fine for running saws and routers though.


          • #6
            Fact of Flourescent Lights

            Ok I am not sure if this is Fact but it made sense and I swear I have felt the Effects. It was a little tidbit shared with me that Flourescent light actually Flickers at a very high rate of speed so fast you dont see the Flicker. However your eyes do pick it up subconsously and this makes them work harder making you tired faster. When I said I have felt these effects I did so in a Sears Tool World so I know I was not tired of shopping with my wife. I mean who deos not love tool world. My point being they had some older lights and I guess their flicker gets worse with age but after about ten to Fifteen minutes of being in that Dept. I was getting drousy. I steped out side and in five minutes I was all energetic again! If your like me And just want to stay in the Shop rely on som traditional Incandecent Lights as well just so you can take a break from the Flickering Flourescents!
            "You see we are Dumb but we are not so Dumb. It takes great thinking and work to keep from working" (Bill cosby - Himself)


            • #7
              Same size garage, I did (6) 8' flourescents with daylight bulbs. Very nice light, and no annoying shadows. Pay the money for the better fixtures though, because you poor people in the frozen north have to deal with cold weather startup!