The Best Lighting For A Garage  

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Best Lighting For A Garage


Your garage use and how often you use it will play important roles in deciding what type of lighting it needs.  Is it just a place to park your car?  Will you be using your garage for woodwork or other construction?  How important will being able to discern various colors (as in painting) factor into your garage’s use?  Here are a list of different lighting types with their various benefits and disadvantages:  


Fluorescent Tubes


Tubular fluorescent lights are longstanding features in garages of all types and sizes.  Fluorescent tubes are good for garage lighting because they come in various sizes, are easy to change and are available with high color rendering indexes (CRI) which allows for the ability to see different shades of color easily.


Some disadvantages of fluorescent tubes is they don’t last as long as some of the newer light bulbs, they may not work well in low temperatures, and they typically have a low level hum which some find annoying.  Fluorescent tubes also require a current regulating ballast which is not needed with many other light sources.  Disposal of fluorescent tubes can be problematic as they contain mercury which is classified as a hazardous waste.    

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)


CFLs were designed to replace incandescent light bulbs and as such easily fit into incandescent bulb fixtures.  As with fluorescent tubes, CFLs use a lot less energy than incandescent bulbs, but last much longer.  For this reason CFLs are handy when light fixtures are not easily reachable for quick or frequent light bulb exchange.


A disadvantage to CFLs is their use of mercury which makes disposal somewhat complicated.  CFLs do not work with dimmer switches.  Some consumers also believe CFL light quality is not as good as incandescent.  In the United States, changes to environmental regulations have meant many CFLs do not meet energy efficiency standards and will therefore no longer qualify for the much sought after Energy Star rating.  In fact, the multinational, GE, stopped manufacturing CFLs in 2016 in favour of LEDs.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)


Companies like GE see LEDs as the future of lighting because they have become cheaper to produce than their fluorescent or incandescent counterparts, contain no mercury and are more energy efficient.  LEDs emit little heat, aren’t as fragile as traditional light sources and work with dimmer switches.


Some drawbacks to LEDs are their cost, their poor color rendering abilities and their attractiveness to night time insects.   




Halogen lamps offer more energy savings than incandescent bulbs while emitting bright and clear white light that works well for painting and color work.  Halogen bulbs do not contain hazardous wastes meaning disposal is relatively easy.


Halogen bulbs emit a lot of heat which can make working conditions uncomfortable and cause injury if touched.  In fact, even touching a cool bulb can cause it damage.  They also have a short lifespan which will cost time and money during replacement.   


The type of lighting you use for your garage will ultimately depend on your garage’s primary use.  Once identified, the proper lighting choices will become apparent.

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