The Best LED Shop Lights for Your Garage 2024

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I thought I’d dialed in my garage lighting all when we built our house. I asked the builder to add four additional recessed lights in the ceiling to make everything a little brighter.

It still wasn’t bright enough.

It’s obvious that many of the “Best Garage Lighting” guides are written by people who have never bought the different lights and probably never even seen them in person.

That wasn’t how I wanted to write this article.

What I did was I bought six of the highest-rated LED shop lights on Amazon and put them all head-to-head. In each section, you’ll find a link to that product’s full LED shop light review.

I’ll go into a little more detail in the next section, but first, let’s talk about why it’s so hard to find the best garage lighting.

Best Plug-In Lights
Best Hardwired Lights
Best for Task Lighting

Barrina T8 4' LED Shop Lights

Hykolity 8' LED Shop Light

Barrina 4' LED Shop Light

4.4
4.8
4.0
Best Plug-In Lights

Barrina T8 4' LED Shop Lights

4.4
Best Hardwired Lights

Hykolity 8' LED Shop Light

4.8
Best for Task Lighting

Barrina 4' LED Shop Light

4.0

Why Is Shopping for Garage Lighting So Hard?

One of the most popular threads on the Garage Journal forum is over 115 pages long and has over TWO THOUSAND REPLIES!

That’ll take a couple of days to read, never mind sifting through everyone’s opinions and deciding which is the right light for you.

That’s why I put off upgrading my garage lighting for so long. There are just so many garage lighting options and so much to learn.

I didn’t want to make the wrong choice.

The fact is, nothing will make more of an impact on your garage than good lighting.

What Makes This LED Shop Light Review Different?

I purchased six of Amazon’s highest-rated LED shop lights at full retail price. The manufacturers provided nothing to me, and nobody is paying me for this review. The goal was to find which LED shop lights worked best in my garage. 

With that out of the way, let me present the two best LED shop lights.

The only difference is whether you want to hardwire your lights or use the simpler plug-and-play options.

Best LED shop lights

Comparing the Best LED Shop Lights

I had a couple of rules for this contest because I didn’t have infinite time or money to test every light there was.

Rule #1: Everything needed to be available on Amazon. Yes, there are plenty of other lighting stores out there, and some are really good. But I wanted to buy my LED shop lights from someplace everyone trusted.

Rule #2: I only looked at all-in-one LED shop lights, not separate fixtures and bulbs. Most garages will be just fine with low-cost\high-output LED shop lights.

Rule #3: The price per fixture ranges between $20 and $40. Like most normal people, the cost is a factor, so I want to get the most brightness for my buck. Or, if you’re Canadian, lumens for your loonie. :)

Rule #4: All lights would have a color temperature of 5000K, with one exception so I could see the difference. For more on what that means, I wrote an article detailing the best color temperature for garage lighting.

Rule #5: I did not include hexagon garage lights in this test. Those are covered in a different article.

And that’s it. Pretty simple, right?

Rules Of The Contest

You need to pay attention to three critical specs for LED shop lights: price, wattage, and lumens.

Wattage is a measure of how efficient the light is. The higher the number of watts, the more energy the light uses.

Lumens measure how bright the light is. The higher number, the brighter the light is.

I created two other metrics to tell if one lighting fixture is better than another. These focus on energy efficiency and value for money. That helps clarify things if you look at LED shop lights with different specs.

Efficiency (L/W):  This is simply the number of lumens divided by the number of Watts. A light that is super bright (high lumens) but uses a lot of energy (high wattage) may score less than a light with lower lumens that doesn’t use as much energy.

Value (L/$): This takes the number of lumens divided by the price. A very expensive light needs to be extremely bright (high lumens) to be a good value.

ManufacturerModelColor tempWattsLumensL/WPriceL/$
BarrinaT8-5000K-40W5000K40500012529.99166
HykolitySL4FT40W5K-S5000K40520013039.99130
FrenchMaySY-LED-ZJD5000K40480012042.97112
BarrinaINWT504020650Ac6500K20220011020.99105
HykolityHY-SP4F-45000K40420010529.99140
OOOLEDB09QPNS93C5000K42480011439.95120
LLTLVP5M-4N36505000K3627007532.3983

Of course, these three metrics aren’t the be-all-end-all of buying garage lighting.

The goal is to get the best LED shop light for the money.

This is NOT a list of the “best LED shop lights if money isn’t a factor.” It is also NOT the “best cheap light.”

LED garage lights that are super bright but costs a little more will be rated higher than a cheap light that’s not as bright.

When shopping for something as significant as an LED light fixture, you need to do your homework ahead of time.

You’ll want to know how many LED garage lights you’ll need and how you will arrange those lights in your garage.


The Winners: Best LED Shop Lights


Best Hardwired LED Shop Light: Hykolity SL4FT40W5K

I was thrilled when I discovered these fixtures could be hardwired because they made for the perfect solution for my garage. (Check out my Hykolity lighting installation here!)

These lights come in 4′ and 8′ fixtures, and I use both in my garage. The 8′ high-output fixture has an impressive 14,300 lumens for 110 watts, making them the most energy-efficient LED garage lights on this list. This allowed me to get a whopping 62,000 lumens out of only five fixtures.

For my detailed review of the Hykolity LED strip lights, check out my detailed review where I compare two Hykolity fixtures head to head against each other.

Specs:
⦿ 5200 (4′) – 14,300 (8′) Lumens
⦿ 5000 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 40 Watts power consumption
⦿ 80+ CRI
⦿ 110º beam angle

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 130 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 130 Lumens per Dollar

Hykolity 8ft LED Shop Lights, 14300 Lumens, 5000K, [2 Pack]

A rigid yet lightweight aluminum body design and low-profile lighting design make it easy to hang up with the included hardware or flush mount to a ceiling. This fixture packs an impressive 108 Lumen/Watt and is designed to illuminate even the darkest of spaces while using far less energy than its fluorescent counterparts.

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Best Plug-In LED Shop Light: Barrina T8-5000K-40W

Barrina T8 lighting collage

The T8 version of Barrina’s LED lights is the bigger brother to the T5 lights you’ll see later in this list.

These lights have the highest lumens per dollar of any lights I tested. They’re available in 4′ and 8′ lengths, individually or in several bulk packs.

I’ve put these in the “best plug-in LED lights” category, but they also include an adapter to let you hardwire them.

I think these lights are perfect if you have a larger garage since they’ll provide more lumens with fewer fixtures. But they’ll look great in smaller garages as well.

I highly recommend these Barrina T8 LED fixtures.

Specs:
⦿ 5000 Lumens
⦿ 5000 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 40 Watts power consumption
⦿ 85+ CRI
⦿ 140º beam angle

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 125 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 166 Lumens per Dollar

Barrina T8 4' LED Shop Light: 5000lm 5000k (Pack of 6)
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3rd Place: Hykolity HY-SP4F-4

The second entry from Hykolity on this list scores very high because they output a lot of light for not a lot of money.

They’re bigger than the SL4FT40W5K hardwired LED lights, which won this contest, and about $10 cheaper per fixture. But the build quality isn’t quite up to the same standards, and the fixture is thinner and more flexible.

Still, if you want the highest output light per dollar, look no further than the Hykolity HY-SP4F.

More details are in my Hykolity LED light head-to-head shootout review here.

Specs:
⦿ 4200 Lumens
⦿ 5000 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 42 Watts power consumption

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 105 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 140 Lumens per Dollar

Hykolity 4FT 4200LM LED Shop Light
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4th Place: OOOLED B09QPNS93C

OOOLED makes your standard LED shop lights, similar to most other no-name brands you’ll find on Amazon. However, there came highly rated from their customers, so I wanted to give them a try.

If you have the option of getting the Barrina or Hykolity lights, definitely opt for those lights instead of these.

Although they perform well enough, there’s no reason to buy the B09QPNS93C instead of the other options on this list.

Specs:
⦿ 4800 Lumens
⦿ 5000 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 42 Watts power consumption

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 114 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 120 Lumens per Dollar

OOOLED 4FT Linkable LED Garage Shop Light (2 Pack)
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5th Place: FrenchMay SY-LED-ZID

The FrenchMay LED shop lights are one of the highest-ranked lights on Amazon, so it’s natural to include them in this roundup.

So I was shocked when they only managed 5th place overall. But you only need to look at the price tag to see why.

The FrenchMay lights have an excellent Lumen to Watt ratio, beaten only by our two winning LED garage lights. Where they lose out is their price. They cost around $10 more than any other garage light on this list.

Check out my full review here for more on the FrenchMay LED lights.

Specs:
⦿ 4800 Lumens
⦿ 5000 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 40 Watts power consumption
⦿ 80+ CRI
⦿ 120º beam angle

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 120 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 112 Lumens per Dollar

FrenchMay 4FT 4800LM Linkable LED Utility Shop Light
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6th Place: Barrina INWT504020650Ac

Let me say right at the start that I really love these lights, even though they’re in 6th place.

The trouble is that they’re not good at being overhead LED garage lights. They’re about half the power of any other light on this list. Their lumens per watt and lumens per dollar are all at the bottom of the chart.

So why do I love them? Because they’re one of the best under-cabinet lights I’ve ever seen!

They’re amazingly clear and bright. The 6500 Kelvin color temperature gives off a blueish hue, but if you’re using it for task lighting, you won’t notice it.

You will notice how crystal clear everything looks, however.

Check out my review of the Barrina T5 LED shop lights here for more info. They may not be suitable for overhead lighting, but I highly recommend them.

Specs:
⦿ 2200 Lumens
⦿ 6500 Kelvin color temperature
⦿ 20 Watts power consumption

Why they’re amazing:
⦿ 110 Lumens per Watt
⦿ 107 Lumens per Dollar

Barrina 4FT 2200LM LED Shop Light and Under Cabinet Light (Pack of 8)
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Garage Lighting Guide

Are LED Shop Lights Better Than Fluorescent Lights?

It used to be that fluorescent lights dominated the industry. You could buy them in four-foot or eight-foot tubes, and the fixtures were reasonably inexpensive. They were also more efficient to operate, watt for watt, than the incandescent lights we used in our homes.

As time passed and lighting technology improved, LEDs replaced fluorescent lights in many industrial settings.

LED’s are much more efficient

LED shop lights typically consume about 50% of the power of comparable fluorescent lights. It’s common to see fluorescent T5 bulbs using 14-80 watts or higher. Comparable LED light bulbs use around 14 watts per bulb.

LED lights last longer

On average, LED lights last twice as long as comparable fluorescent light bulbs!

For those of you who want solid numbers, the lifespan of the average T5 fluorescent bulb is around 24,000 hours. In comparison, the lifespan of LED bulbs is approximately 50,000 hours. (Source)

LED lights are dimmable

Because, sometimes, you just don’t need full brightness on every light.

I don’t want to imply that fluorescent lights aren’t dimmable. They are, but some things make it impractical.

In most cases, you need a special ballast in the light fixture and a bulb that is also dimmable.

Both of which are rare.

By contrast, it’s much more common to find dimmable LED lights. In fact, the Hykolity lights that I use in my garage are dimmable.

LED lights work better with motion sensors

A motion sensor will save on electricity costs by only turning on the light when there’s someone in the room.

But if you plan on using motion sensors with your LED garage lights, you’ll want to steer clear of fluorescent bulbs entirely.

That’s because the lifespan of a fluorescent light bulb is tied to how many times it turns on and off.

Generally speaking, you save on energy costs by turning a light off “frequently,” but you’ll spend more money replacing the bulbs “more” frequently.

LED lights don’t attract bugs

Unlike CFL fluorescent or halogen lights, LED lights don’t attract bugs. They emit light on a different wavelength that bugs can’t see.

What color temperature do I need?

The best way to think about a LED shop light’s color temperature is how yellow or white your lights are.

A LED light’s color temperature ranges from 3000 K to 6500 K. The ‘K’ stands for degrees Kelvin (k).

Lower color temperatures take on a more yellowish hue, while higher ones take on a blueish hue.

A light in the 4200K range will have a distinctly yellow hue. It’s relaxing, but you may find yourself quickly losing focus.

By contrast, a light at 6000K or above will be noticeably blue in tint. Details will be extremely clear, but your eyes will tire out quickly.

Some hobbies, such as woodworking, will want a slightly warmer color temperature. Still, almost every other use case will require clear, cool light.

The best LED shop lights will have a color temperature as close to natural daylight as possible. That means the sweet spot for LED garage lights is between 5000 and 5500 Kelvin.

At that color temperature, it’ll give off a bright white light that clearly lights up what you’re working on but isn’t so harsh that it’ll strain your eyes.

For more on choosing the best color temperature for your garage, check out my in-depth article, discussing what different color temperatures look like. I also give some color temperature recommendations depending on how you use your garage.

How many lumens do you need?

Lighting is rated by something called lumens. The more lumens the light has, the brighter it is. I wrote an article that explains how to calculate how many lumens you need to light your garage. I recommend checking it out.

You want between 130-150 lumens per square foot for general lighting in your garage. If you have an area where you’re doing detail work, that area should have about 300 lumens per square foot.

For example, my 24′ x 20′ garage will have 480 sq ft of space. For general lighting, I should have a total of between 62,400 and 72,000 lumens for my garage.

How to arrange your LED garage lights

Generally speaking, there are two basic types of lighting: general lighting and task lighting.

Task lighting illuminates small areas in brighter, more focused light, while general lighting illuminates the entire room.

Choosing the right beam angle is important so your lights won’t cast shadows on your wall. Because of the height of most residential garages, that means picking lighting with a broad beam angle.

A narrower beam angle would be used for higher ceilings, such as in a warehouse or barn. The narrower beam angle is needed to project the light over a greater distance to the floor.

For most residential garages with ceilings up to 10′ high, the best beam angle for LED shop lights will be between 90º and 120º. If you have ceilings above 14′ high, you’ll want a more narrow beam angle between 60º and 90º.

It’s worth noting that all of these LED shop lights have broader beam angles designed for residential garage ceilings.

What is a Good CRI for LED Lights?

CRI, or Color Rendering Index, measures how accurately the color appears in a given light source compared to a reference light source.

Usually, that reference light source is how the item appears outside during normal daylight.

The CRI is measured on a scale of 1 to 100. Anything with a CRI above 80 is considered good, and CRIs above 90 are excellent.

To give you a better idea of what this means for you, take a look at this image. It compares how strawberries look under a light with a CRI of 75 and light with a CRI of 95.

As you can see, the colors look more vibrant in the

For most people, anything over a CRI of 80 is great.

People who need highly accurate color representation, like automotive detailers or artists, would require a light with a CRI as close to 100 as possible.

Also, vibrant garage floor coatings (like reds, blues, or oranges) will show up better under high-CRI lights.

Can You Put Recessed Lighting in Garages?

Absolutely! In fact, I actually had recessed lighting in my garage for almost three years before I installed my Hykolity shop lights.

Recessed lights are a great solution that’s easy to install in any room. The challenge with recessed lights is that they don’t output enough light to light up a room as large as a two-car garage.

We’ve already seen that you need between 62,000 and 72,000 lumens to light up a two-car garage. I hit that number in my garage with four eight-foot, and one four-foot LED shop lights.

To get 60,000 lumens of light from the Phillips Hue recessed lights I have inside my house, I’d need A WHOPPING NINETY LIGHTS. That’s a total cost of over $3000 in lights that use over 700 watts of power!

I love recessed lighting, but using them in my garage simply wasn’t the correct application. Even after adding additional lights to my garage, I found the lighting was dimmer than I wanted. That’s what started this entire process for me.

What is a Vapor Proof Light?

While shopping for LED shop lights, I saw the term’ vapor proof’ come up. I didn’t understand what it meant, so I turned to my trusty translator (i.e., Google) to figure out what it meant.

A vapor-proof light is designed for a harsher environment than you’d need in a typical residential garage Vapor proof lights are used in manufacturing facilities, swimming pools, barns, or subways.

Personally, I don’t see much of a use case for vapor-proof lights in home garages. I can understand using them if you have a driveway carport that’s exposed to the elements, but that’s about it.


Wrapping It Up

I set out to find the best LED garage lighting fixtures to illuminate my entire garage, but I also found an excellent task light in the Barrina LED light that I use above my Gladiator workbench.

The biggest wins were the Hykolity lights that now light up my garage and the Barrina lights I installed in my attic.

It was really fun doing these LED shop light reviews, and I found a place to use all but one of these LED garage lights somewhere in my house.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.

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