Decent Overhead lights for garage/shop?

Messages
6,185
Location
Texas Hill Country
Can ya'll recommend some decent overhead lights for use in a 2 car garage/workshop? I have no lightning in there at all, and have been relying on the bulb in the door opener. I am switching out the entry door from a window door (too hot in summer), to a full steel door.
 

JTK

Messages
13,521
Location
Buffalo, NY
T8 fluorescent shop lights are a good low cost solution, especially those with cold weather ballasts. * EDIT.. Tom beat me to it! I'd avoid T12's and go with T8. Dunno why they don't offer T5 shoplights, those are super bright.
 
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Messages
1,438
Location
NY
So i only had a light bulb on my garage ceiling. I decided to go to home depot and get 4 light fixtures that hold 2 t8 bulbs each for one side of the garage and 4 light fixtures for the other side. I also put on some aluminum tape on the bottom of the fixture to reflect back more light. All i can say is wow. Now i have to squint when i first turn on the lights.
 
Messages
4,497
Location
Central Arkansastan
$50 at lowers or home deposit: T8 4-bulb light fixture. Put 2 of those on the ceiling and you'll never look back. I use the 4100K bulbs, a bright white. I can't stand the "daylight" ones as they look too blue to me and are actually not as bright because your eyes have a harder time dealing with it, similar to the way those blue headlights actually reduce your line of percepable brightness.
 
Messages
413
Location
ND
I have (2) 4-bulb T8 Lithonia florescent fixtures I got from HD for about $70 each. Lights up my single stall garage very well (especially compared to the old single 100 watt bulb that was in there). Looks like they do offer T5 bulb fixtures: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia-Ligh...Z2bcu1bZ1z1159x A little more expensive but you could probably tan under them! I was told to look for multi-volt electronic ballast. Suppose to be a higher quality ballast. It can be pretty cold in my garage and mine turn on almost instantly and don't take long to reach full brightness.
 
Messages
2,547
Location
IL
T12's use the older style ballast which causes the lights to operate at 120 Hz...which is the most common source of flicker when the bulbs start to get old, or it's cold. T8's operate at a much higher freq...I think 50 Khz. Hence, no flicker. You can get both bulbs in both soft white and Bright white. I've seen what I consider good results by using both type of bulbs....The T12's will eventually be gone, and T5 are not cost effective. Also I don't care for 8' fixtures... unless they use 4' lamps. 8' lamps are a PITA to store and handle. Plus, you get more flexibility with 4' fixtures. I also like the ones with the mirror polished reflectors, puts down more light than the white painted hoods. They also make 4' LED replacement bulbs that fit T-8 fixtures.
 
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Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
4 foot T8 fluorescent fixtures. My garage has a mix of T12 and T8 fixtures. The T8 fixture is easily brighter than the two T12 fixtures on either side. When the box of T12 bulbs left by the previous owner runs out or I get tired of the dim T12's, I'll go buy some cheap two-bulb T8 fixtures and bright white or daylight bulbs to replace them.
 
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
T8's are great, but I also dislike the 5k color I prefer 4000k~ for shop/basement and 3000k for kitchen (yes my kitchen has a 4 bulb ceiling fixture)
 

Win

Messages
4,705
Location
Arkansas
If you use florescent ( I would not ), go with T8. Wherever possible, I only use LED fixtures in all my commercial properties. They are terrific for overhead installations, albeit more costly, and most are U.S. assembled.
 

JTK

Messages
13,521
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: sciphi
... When the box of T12 bulbs left by the previous owner runs out or I get tired of the dim T12's, I'll go buy some cheap two-bulb T8 fixtures and bright white or daylight bulbs to replace them.
I hear that. I think I've got a dozen 48" twin tube T12s between our garage and basement from previous owners of our home. They're older ones with ballasts that were built to last, so they run on forever it seems. That's the problem with today's fixtures. The bubble gum and paper mache horrible ballasts.
 
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Messages
1,121
Location
Hawkinsville Ga
I would rethink the use of florescent light tubes....T12's are being discontinued and T8's won't be far behind. Besides being decades-old technology, ballasts can be fire hazards, the lights are not energy efficient, and LED technology lasts much, much longer.
 
Messages
1,121
Location
Hawkinsville Ga
I haven't personally witnessed a fire due to LED lighting but have responded/investigated too many ballast smoking/fires. Ballasts, at least those spec'ed for passenger-carrying vehicles, are required to contain xxx'F temperatures for a specified period of time (I would quote the correct figures but I'm working from my cell phone here). Any electrical device can become a fire hazard but devices that store/enhance/transform electrical voltage, i.e. transformers, capacitors, and etc, can overheat easily upon failure therefore becoming a fire hazard. Here's a good site for info on florescent lighting and ballasts... http://nemesis.lonestar.org
 
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Messages
1,121
Location
Hawkinsville Ga
Yes.....this^. Off-shore, non-quality audited, shoddy manufacturing has created LED lighting that is less than optimal, less reliable, and has a much reduced lifespan. Most of the failures are caused by cheaply made fixtures and poor electrical connections but the failures still result in a product not working. Quality manufactured LED lighting is often times backed by long-life warranties although the warranty is seldom needed. One particular manufacturer of automotive LED lighting warranties their product for ten years.
 
Messages
3,558
Location
SE Pa
Originally Posted By: JTK
I hear that. I think I've got a dozen 48" twin tube T12s between our garage and basement from previous owners of our home. They're older ones with ballasts that were built to last, so they run on forever it seems. That's the problem with today's fixtures. The bubble gum and paper mache horrible ballasts.
We have a total of twenty T12 tubes across six fixtures in our garage. The fixtures and all the ballasts are US-made (Simkars out of Philly), and the last set of bulbs have been going strong for over 12 years now. Plenty of light to work. Have a spare set of new tubes in the attic, but at this rate, they may outlive me. Until they improve the reliability, I have no intention of converting them. Eighty percent of the T8 fixtures we've installed have either short bulb life or lousy ballasts that poop out in under three years. The energy savings is compromised with that kind of component life, not including the agg costs of servicing them.
 
Messages
36,528
Location
ME
When you set up strip flourescents, do them in the shape of an "E" in a two-car garage, with the "prongs" of the E following the outside wall and the gap between cars. A very common rookie mistake is to light the top of a car's roof, interfering with seeing inside a fender doing brake work etc.
 
Messages
10,796
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Plenty of lighting experience here, as we typically have issues lighting aircraft hangars. 1) T-12 Fluorescent fixtures don't necessarily use conventional ballasts, they can and often do use electronic ballasts, and when elec ballasts are used, along with quality T-12 bulbs, the "luminous efficacy" is essentially similar to T-5 or T-8 or LED, at 80 to 100 lumens per watt, depending on color temperature. 2) T-12 Fluorescent bulbs "can" be every bit, or even more efficient in real world use than T-8's. The modern bulbs have to meet certain standards. 3) In general, Fluorescent fixtures with acceptable color temperatures are still slightly more efficient than similar LED's. The best practical LED's hover around 80 lumens per watt. I know of no LED's that can achieve a 3200K color temp and 100 L/W in real world use. 4) Properly chosen T-12 fixtures have higher brightness than T-8's, but they also consume more power T-12=40W, T-8=32W. 5) LED's will cost many times more than quality Fluorescent fixtures. But, as mentioned above, they work very well in cold climates.
 
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