LED Shop Lighting

LED Shop Lighting


Marc – So today I want to
talk about shop lighting and before I show you what
I installed here in the new shop let’s take a
trip down memory lane, to a simpler time, 2012.
When I built the dream shop. I did my research on lighting at the time and it seemed pretty clear to
me that T8 fluorescent bulbs were the way to go. They had phased out the T12’s,
T8’s were smaller, brighter, more efficient and it just
seemed like a logical solution. Now LED was around at the time
but the problem was it was cost prohibitive and
there really wasn’t a lot in the way of options for that. So T8 was really the only way to go. Since then, about five years
later, we now have tons of LED choices. The market has taken off,
there’s a lot of options, and the cost has really come down. Now here in the shop here
in Denver we actually are working with American Green
Lights to outfit all the LED’s in the shop and it is nice
and bright and beautiful and looks good on video and I have two different
types of fixtures. And I’ll show those to
you later but for now, I want to talk a little
bit about some terminology. Because in order to be an
informed shopper you need to know some basic terms. And I’ll tell you this lighting
stuff, you could really geek out on it, and it is
certainly a science that you need to master if you’re going
to get into the business. But if you’re just buying
shop lights, you just need to know a few terms to
understand what you’re buying. So the type of light we’re
talking about today is LED. That stands for light emitting diode. Now we’re not going to get
into the science behind it but just understand that it’s
brighter, it’s more efficient, so it costs less to run,
and it produces less heat. Now when you look at lights
you’re going to see a bunch of different numbers on the packaging and the next three terms
deal with what those numbers actually mean. One important one is Lumens. Lumens is total light output and that’s just how they measure it. So if you have a lot of
lumens, it’s going to be really really bright,
and if the number is low it’s not going to be as bright. You also see references in
literature to foot candles, we’re not going to really get into that. It’s related to Lumens but most commercial products
I’ve seen reference Lumens and that’s where we’re going
to keep our discussion today. The next number you might see is CRI. That stands for color rendering index. Now when it comes to artificial
light, some are better at showing you what the colors
actually look like than others. What we’re comparing this to is daylight. Natural sunlight is a 100 on the index. Basically it is showing you
vivid colors and you can see the colors accurately for what they are. With artificial light, some
of them aren’t very good so if the number is low it
means that you’re not really going to see red as true
red or blue as true blue. But if it’s a high CRI
in the 90’s maybe 90-05 that actually means the
colors are going to be bright and vivid and very close to what natural daylight would produce. Next up is color temperature. You’ll see this as a
number with a k at the end, it stands for Kelvin. That’s just the scale
that it’s measured in. If you go 5,000 Kelvin or
higher you tend to get into your blues and your whites. It looks like a cooler color. If you go below 5,000 the
2 or 3,000’s that’s warmer and you’re going to see
more yellows and reds. Now this matters because
the way the light reflects onto surfaces and things in
the shop it can actually give you an unrealistic view of
what the color of that thing actually is. Now as someone who does video
this is extremely important to me. It may not be as
important to you, but you still want a color that kind of
makes sense for the space. When it comes to these colors
I think it’s interesting if you look inside a house,
most people can’t exactly tell you what the right
color is for temperature, but they will tell you the
wrong color temperature. So if you go into a living
room space and someone has daylight spectrum 6,000k bulbs in there, it’s not comfortable, it’s weird. It would feel odd to
sit in the living room that’s brightly lit with 6,000k. But if you go into a
laundry room let’s say, or a work area and it’s lit
with 3,000k light bulbs, a very warm light. It’s going to feel weird in there, it’s going to look dim, it’s not going to be
a bright active space. So for a workshop, in my
opinion, I think 5,000k is a pretty good number. I find that pretty useful
with video if I get a little natural light coming
in through the windows combing with the artificial
light it doesn’t really throw things off too much. And natural light, by the way, is 6500k. So you would think maybe
I should just go 6500, well that’s a little hard on the eyes. If you’ve ever been in a
building that uses 6500k lights it’s just so blue and so bright that I just find it difficult. So most people are going to be
uncomfortable in that space. So for me I max out at about 5,000k. Now Jim over at American Green
Lights did an amazing job sort of looking at my shop
space and helping me determine what the best layout is and
what kind of lights I would need to properly light this space. Not just for woodworking
but for video work. So let me show you the details. Jim requested two things from me, my shop dimensions as well
as my proposed tool layout. It’s a little earlier to
fully commit to tool locations but I figured, hey let’s run with it. Jim recreated my layout using his software and place a series of 24
watt and 60 watt fixtures throughout the shop, with light being focused over
each major tool or work area. He think generated a heat
map showing the areas where light would be brightest. As you can see the tool areas
are yellow, orange and red meaning you’ll be brightly lit. The areas between the tools
are a lot less important but since most of the shop is
green that means there will be a fair amount of light
consistently cast around the shop to help limit shadows which
really helps with my video work. Now let’s look at the lights themselves. Now here’s a 24 watt fixture
and we kind of saved this to last because it’s got
a nice dent in there, unfortunately but you can see
I’ve got a nice strip of LED’s here and the driver is encased in it’s own little compartment and of
course the LED’s mount on top like this. Alright so all you need to do
is connect this to standard 120 volt power. You’ve got your hot, your
neutral and your ground. Pretty straightforward. And this guy produces about
2500 lumens and the color rendering index is 92 to
95 so really good quality. The 60 watt fixture is
a little bit larger. We’ve got five LED strips
here, two drivers in the case and this guy puts out 6,000 lumens. Now keep in mind that my
shop is half woodworking shop but also half video studio. So the things I’m concerned about and the amount of attention I’ve paid to lighting might be a little bit more
than you’re prepared to do. But at least if you
know some of these terms when you go and shop for lights, you can be more informed and
make sure you’re getting a quality product because guess what? There’s a lot of stuff
coming in from overseas and it’s very hard to verify
the quality of those things. So at least knowing the
terminology you can make an informed buying decision. Of course, check out
American Green Lights. They make a fantastic product
and in addition to this video we actually have a little article
that my buddy Vic wrote up telling you a little bit about
the different types of LED lights that are out there, with
some recommendations as well that you might want to
incorporate into your shop. Because sometimes brand new
LED’s are not necessarily the way to go. There are retrofit kits and
replacements for T8 bulbs that are LED which is pretty cool. Alright, so be sure to check
that out on the website. Thanks for watching everybody.


63 thoughts on “LED Shop Lighting

  1. Well done! One thing I had read about was a 60 hertz "flickering " that can occur with LEDs. This may cause a problem with moving saw blades that appear to be motionless because of the strobe effect the flickering LEDs produce. Any thoughts?

  2. The other thing to think about with the temperature rating on the lights is the higher you go (so the 'bluer' the light) the more it triggers serotonin in the brain so the more it keeps you awake. That is why looking at an LCD screen late at night can cause you problems falling asleep. So if you are one of those people who work in your shop until 9pm, you might not want to go for the 5000K+ temperatures as it will take a couple of hours of 'warm white' light for your brain to start producing melatonin which is what helps you fall asleep.

  3. When I was experimenting with LED lights in my shop I found that the lumen number was a bit hard to compare — as in hard to compare to other types of light. I suspect this is because LEDs are highly directional. I found that LEDs with a lower lumen rating still gave brighter results (this was subjective, I did not have anyway to measure it) than a T12 fluorescent. (ie: the Fluorescent had a higher Lumen rating, but gave less light)

  4. Informative video. I have recess can lighting in my shop and I always feel it is dimly Lite. Sounds like I need to check out options at Green!

  5. Thanks for the info Marc! Is American Green Lights now a sponsor? Any chances of a discount for Wood Whisperer fans? Thanks!

  6. Simple video idea, but incredibly helpful. More helpful than you would think. This has alway been kind of a shot in the dark (pun intended) for me and when ever I redo the lighting in my shop, I usually just wing it. Thanks!

  7. When I got my LED lighting in the shop, I didn't have the requirement of an even color for video. My thought was that my furniture would be indoors and illuminated by warmer lights in the 2700k to 3000k range so I installed 3000K lighting. I'm pretty pleased with it.

  8. Great video and good info but my shop organization obsession disorder (my wife will gladly confirm it is a real thing) kicked in and I was completely distracted by figuring out how the clamp rack behind you works! Looks like black iron pipe and plywood strips? Any videos or pictures of that?

  9. you were supplied with the lights, any idea on cost for your shop. Gives us a ball park on expense. I'm sure the variables are great but a range would be helpful if you have it. I suspect most of us have a 2 car garage and that would be a nice number to go off of if possible.

  10. Thanks for the video, Marc! This stuff is super interesting. I just upgraded my shop and garage to LED tubes (already had T12/T8 fixtures installed). The following is for those who are interested in converting to LED and already have T8 or T12 fixtures installed (keeps installation costs low!)

    I got 3000k and 4000k (combined them in some fixtures to get a perfect temperature for me indoors @ 3500k). Highly recommend these! Great quality and easy install. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SSNPI80/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00SSNPI80&linkCode=as2&tag=findmcom04-20&linkId=369c89ffc25e6aa6acef14be93f7a7a3

  11. Couple of comments. Your led fixtures look like they have ballasts.When retrofitting a fluorescent fixture with led bulbs, the directions call from removing the ballast (i.e. cutting the wires to the to the ballast) and wiring directly to the lamp sockets with line voltage (110v). When retrofitting a 4 ft. T8 fixture with led bulbs, the lumen output drops by about 1/3. I don't know if this is a function of the led bulb or not. For now, I won't be retrofitting my T8 fixtures with led bulbs.

  12. Mark, the light on you and the tools in this video was perfect! This video was "very" informative and well presented. So a big thank you for that!
    As for the company you chose, I am extremely impressed with the color representation rendering showing the room, tools and resulting lighting they would provide!

  13. Another thing to pay attention to is efficiency. If your driver is pulling 200 watts from the wall, but your LED's are only 25% efficient, you're losing 75%of that energy to heat. A more efficient LED will give you more light for less wattage.

  14. I highly recommend always using some sort of diffusor over the LEDs because the high glare that is the result of being able to see the LED chip itself is very bad for your eyes. Because of the high light output from a small surface the glare factor of LEDs is the highest of all the available lights – probably the only bad side of LEDs.
    This is even more important in the case of LED lights that are in you line of sight – ceiling lights are not as critical.

  15. How far would the color spectrum have to be off to change finishing habits? It seems to me that the wrong CRI in the shop could mess with color choice. Kind of like what you see in the shop looks totally different when you take it out in the sunlight. Do your video light requirements ever conflict with your natural light needs for true color finishing?

  16. Most of us don't have the money you have to spend $ 95 – $120 / light to use in our shop. where you have in your drawing 16 lights going up. I'll stay with my clamp on lights and florescent tubes. Nice idea but 5 years from now they should be cheaper. I hope. But thank you for the information. I'll put it in the memory bank for I hope future use.

  17. We just installed (4) 8' LED lights in our shop here in Denver. I really like the output we are getting. We didn't want to go with 4' lengths since our shop is 20' wide. Overall, we are very happy with the investment. Overtime we will see how the cost will outweigh the pricing – about $860.00 just for parts as I installed myself.

  18. Hi Marc, I recently finished the ceiling in my garage and replaced the T8 troffers with surface mount T8 LED replacements, mainly because I had a few of the T8 LED bulbs already and added a few more. I now have 12x 2400L 4000 Kelvin tubes in pairs, spread evenly in my 19×23 garage. The lighting is awesome! I went through EarthLED, based in Utah. The bulbs were about $13/each.

  19. Be sure to carefully checkout any LED lights that are made to retrofit fluorescent shop light fixtures. Some work well with standard fluorescent light ballasts and some do not. Some require removing the ballast, and some do not. I bought a set of LED lights that were made to replace the lights in a shop light without removing the ballast. These lights are made by a major lighting manufacturer. The instructions said to visit their website to make sure the lights are compatible with you ballast. After searching their website for 30 minutes, I never found the compatibility listing the instructions mentioned, so I decided to give them a shot anyway. They smoked the ballast almost instantly. I called the manufacturer of the LED lights, and after about 20 minutes of looking, they told me that yes indeed their LED lights are not compatible with the ballast in my shop lights. They offered a coupon to put toward purchasing one of their lights. I said no thank you and suggested they make their compatibility listing a little easier to find. Since then I've been buying the pre-assembled LED shop lights. They have worked well.

  20. I just replaced 25 t8/t12 bulbs with LED tubes in my own shop. Wow – what a nice change! The biggest plus is that they're at full brightness as soon as they come on – something the t8/t12 fluorescents would not do when it is cold (I'm in Colorado too.) Also, I went with the "direct wire" LED tube style, where I removed the fixture ballasts and the new LED tubes are powered directly off of the 120v AC lines. My fixtures are pretty old and I suspect at least part of my problem with my fluorescent lighting is that the ballasts were going bad, along with the bulbs themselves. Simpler is better and the rewiring to go this route is actually quite simple for anyone with even a minor amount of experience in household wiring (i.e. you don't need an electrician if you do your homework and follow good practices).

  21. I've just started using 98 CRI LEDs for projects. However, they are nearly $175 per 5m roll. But they are the best on the market that I can find. Accurate colors are important to me, since I'm part print/sign shop.

  22. Great video!  I just put 4' LED shop lights in my woodshop and after extensive searching, on the internet and local, found the best bang for the buck at Sam's Club!  The sell a 4' shop light with 4500 lumens and 5000k for $35, as of 2/5/17.

  23. Hey, I was wondering if you had any worries concerning dust and having dust proof fixtures in your shop. I only ask because a guy I know knows a guy that… well you get the point. Nonetheless, warrants some concern. What's your view? Thanks Marc, keep on keeping on!

  24. May i know soft ware can be use to generate like the lightnings heat map in the video that can be view from different angle ?

  25. i have an idea for my dream supermarket… the same idea as here, led lighting strips but to go under the products for sale so prices can be updated live, by management via computer… and no paper, ink or staff labour needs to be used and the customer can see the correct price, in real time… 🙂

  26. You MAY want to check out "The dangers of LED lighting" on youtube and on the internet. These are NOT good lights to be around for an extended period of time. Not good at all.
    https://youtu.be/gBfresKnN-g

  27. have 40' x 50'  12' celing .  how many 8' LED bars do I need ?  what is the spacing ?  can I use 4' to crossover ?  how many can I run before I need a plug in ?  (  I  do  not  have  a  clue  how  to  figure this )  want super bright white…I guess..6000k(?)

  28. Great video brother, I think this is the only one on youtube like it, Im doing video in my garage and need to redo all my lighting again, How did you battle the shadows from having no defusers

  29. This is what I like in lighting in my house for those interested in it. I tend do stick with 2700K to 3000K in the living room, bedrooms, bathroom, and dining room for relaxing. There also has been research stating that the blue light that LED's emit interfere with our sleep patterns. In the kitchen over the sink and countertops I use 4000K. In the basement I use the same as in your workshop 5000K. As far as lumens go it's best to experiment and see what works for you and is enough light to do the task without straining your eyes. Another thing that is important is to buy LED's with a good warranty at least 3-5 years or longer as cheap LED's that have little or no warranty have a high failure rate. Also read the box and install them correctly a lot of bulb LED's cannot be installed inside of enclosed fixtures because of overheating. You are right there is a lot of terminology associated with LED's but with a little research you can be on top in no time. Those lights you purchased must have been fairly expensive but I'll be willing to bet they have a good warranty as well. A CRI > 90 in LED is excellent and you cannot get much better than that. Mine have a CRI of 80- 85 which is still pretty good and anything > 80 is good for most activities.

  30. Good job well done! nice video.

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    LED garage store shop light warehouse on amazon

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