How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Garage

Lighting in your new garage

Wondering what type of lighting would be best for that new garage you are building? Or, are you frustrated by the lack of lighting in your existing garage, and finally ready to fix the problem for good? Choosing the right lighting for your garage can be a little tricky when you consider all the options, so here are some tips to help you narrow down the options and finally illuminate your garage space.

Start with a Good Workflow

If you are building a completely new garage, it’s best to start with a plan so you can see the workflow in your garage. Some spaces where you may need lighting include:

  • The workbench area for DIY projects
  • The storage area where you keep seasonal items
  • The empty wall space where you hang tools or other large items
  • Any space where you’re storing an electrical appliance, like a freezer
  • The space over the garage door, which is perfect for storage shelves

After you’ve laid out a good plan for where you’ll need light, it’s much easier to narrow down what kind of lighting you need. If you already have a garage, go ahead and sketch out the work flow anyway, to get an idea of where you need lighting, and how strong it should be in each area.

Types of Garage Lighting

Now that you have a good idea of your lighting needs, it’s time to consider what type of lighting you’ll choose. There are several types of light bulbs on the market.

  • Fluorescent bulbs are tube-shaped bulbs that contain mercury vapor. As the mercury atoms are ionized, the bulbs produce light. Fluorescent bulbs can come in any color, depending on the coating inside the tube. These are most commonly mounted on ceilings, and are a very popular choice for garages.
Fluorescent lights
  • Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, are another type of fluorescent bulb. You’ve probably seen these as the twisted spiral bulbs you can buy for your table lamps. While standard incandescent light bulbs can be a draw on your utility bill, CFLs are far more energy efficient. They are also cool to the touch, long-lasting, and produce a very natural light. With an average lifespan of 10,000 hours, they last about 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
CFL or Compact Fluorescent Lamp
  • Halogen bulbs offer a middle ground between CFLs and standard light bulbs. They aren’t quite as energy efficient as CFLs, but they do offer savings up to 33% on your energy bill compared to standard bulbs. Halogen bulbs are favored because they produce a very bright, white light, and they last around 3,000 hours on average.
Halogen lights
  • LED, or light emitting diodes, are the most energy efficient type of lighting you can install in your garage. These bulbs do represent a higher initial cost, but can result in savings up to 90% on your energy bill. Like CFLs, LEDs stay cool to the touch, and they don’t contain mercury or lead. If you need a directional beam to highlight your work space or storage space, LEDs are a great choice.
LED lights

Making the Right Choice

Deciding which light bulb is best for your garage mostly comes down to your specific needs. Most handy men, who use their garages for DIY projects and other work, tend to favor fluorescent light bulbs, because they allow for maximum lighting in a small space. Even the minor buzzing they can make is not a deterrent for their overall use as general lighting.

Within the world of fluorescent bulbs, you have even more decisions to make. There are three sizes of fluorescent tubes – the T5, the T8, and the T12. Each size stands for the diameter of the tube in eights of an inch. For almost any type of garage space, we recommend the T8 bulbs, for several reasons:

  • T8 bulbs produce the same amount of lighting as T12 bulbs, but are far more energy efficient.
  • T8 bulbs produce the most natural light of all three.
  • T8 bulbs don’t burn out as fast as the other sizes, thanks to being fitted with rapid-start ballasts instead of instant-start ballasts.

In addition, we recommend going with the 4-foot bulbs, rather than the 8-foot bulbs. They tend to be easier to handle when changing light bulbs, and they offer about the same amount of light with far less energy consumption.

Finally, all you have left to decide is how intense you want your lighting to be. Lighting intensity is measured on a scale from warm to cool, with the warmest light measuring 3000K and the coolest light measuring 5000K. Some people love the clarity that cool light provides, similar to a clinical hospital lighting. Others prefer warmer light because it can be easier on the eyes over a long period of time.

Don’t forget that your overhead lighting isn’t the only lighting you can or should be using. In many spaces, you’ll also have supplemental lighting that can help change the intensity of the lighting, offer a more directional beam, and more. It’s also important to remember the lighting fixtures on the exterior of your garage. For lights over the garage door, and a light near or over the access door, we recommend CFL bulbs rather than fluorescent bulbs.

Finish Your Garage Right with a New Garage Door

Now that your new garage is completely illuminated, or your old garage has a new glow, you may be looking around and realizing that your garage door could use a facelift. If you have questions about how a well-insulated and weather-tight garage door can make your space far more functional and comfortable, contact us at 607-687-5126, or take a peek at our showroom, where we can demonstrate in person how our garage doors can improve your space.

We are always happy to explain the entire range of doors that we carry, and help you discover which would be right for your home and your needs. You can also send us a request for an online quotation.

Finally, if you’d like to see what your garage will look like with a new door, take a couple minutes to try out our design center and upload a photo of your current house, or browse our image gallery for inspiration.

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