Three Things that Affect Workspace Illumination

Lighting up your workbench, craft area, or anywhere you work on special projects isn’t as simply as just hanging a bulb from the ceiling.

Garages, basements, shops, and sheds are all made more useful and hospitable with proper lighting. The best way to upgrade a dim work or storage space is to retrofit with overhead shop lights. But there are still many decisions to make, such as the number of fixtures needed, fixture length, bulb type, and color rendering. If you need to see true colors in the space, such as for painting or staining, look for a bulb with a high Color Rendering Index (CRI). On a scale of 0 to 100, the higher the CRI, the more faithfully colors are rendered. Bulbs with a CRI of 85 or higher will produce true color. Here are a few other variables to consider.

Plug In or Hardwire

A bigger bulb doesn’t always mean brighter, especially if two smaller ones in a space get rid of more shadows. Barrina

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Overhead lights normally come in two lengths—8-foot and 4-foot. If you only have a specific section of a space to illuminate, such as over a long workbench or chop-saw station, one 8-foot light might be the best option. But in general, for rooms of average size, a series of linked 4-foot lights is more versatile and easier to work with.

Long Lasting

These can be more expensive to buy up front, but they’re less expensive to own and operate over time. BBOUNDER

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LED technology has taken over the lighting industry in the last decade. LED bulbs are more expensive than florescent lights, but they are also brighter, longer lasting, more energy efficient, and come on instantly without all the flickering.

Easy to Install

These are amazingly bright and won’t get in the way if your space has low clearance. FAITHSAIL

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If you have a high ceiling, make sure the fixture is meant to be suspended. For low ceilings, a “wraparound” style light can be flush mounted to give you the most overhead space possible.