We are going to cover a wide topic about best shop lights for high ceilings and low ceilings, before moving on, there are several definition that should be classified.
The shop lights can only be used in shop ?
Certainly not, here we name it in its term of application places.
Generally, one light can be used anywhere where its circumstances is allowed, you can call it LED shop light, but when you use it in garage or workshop, you can also call it LED garage light or LED workshop light.
Shop is the most commonly seen commercial places in our life, and it is a big term including verious kinds of shops, from small sized like convenience store, barber shop, book shop, hardware shop, 4S car repair or wash shop, medicine shop, food shop, coffee shop, clothes & shoes shop, to large sized like grocery store, fruit and meat shop, supermarket, mall etc.
Considering its size difference with high ceiling or low ceiling, and their position to medium or high-end market, their lighting requirement & light fixtures choice would be different as well.
Therefore, we can say the conclusion out aloud, there is no the best shop lighting, no one rule fits all, the one that suits you and can give you the best lighting effect and illumination is the best.
Let’s dive in on more details on how to choose the best LED shop lights for high ceiling and low ceilings, there are of course, some guidelines available to help you pick the right product.
Factors to consider before buying LED shop light
1. Do I need the shop light waterproof rated ?
In some special circumstances, a durable and sturdy shop light fixture is needed to avoid breaking, so all PC housing light should be excluded from your buying list.
While in some extreme situation, you might need a shop light with waterproof or vapor proof, non-waterproof fixtures should not be considered .
Hence, it is a great start to think over this question and then proceed to source proper shop light, IP65 grade is the most common rating for outdoor lighting fixtures. If the light can be exposed to water or rain, then choose one with high IP grade(e.g. IPx4 or IPx5) .
To better understand the IP rating, you can read this article
For vapor proof shop light, we have 4ft 8ft triproof light fixture.
2. How many lumens do I need for LED shop lighting ? Do I need dimming or sensor controlled ? and if I need to apply for rebate in my state, do I need to buy DLC standard or DLC premium listed shop light ?
What is the lumen output I need depends on what lamps or light fixtures you want to replace for lighting renovation.
Downlight, fluorescent lamp, fluorescent light fixture and HID low bay and high bay light is frequently used in previous shop lighting market, due to their lighting requirement varies, LED change solution is versatile.
Downlight is often recessed in 8ft-12ft architectural low ceiling in commercial places like supermarket, showroom, theaters, office hallway, take a careful look at its finish color, beam angle, color temperature and dimming style, so that it can fit the decoration tone and compatible with the dimmer panel the location exists.
Fluorscent light bulb has long been a standard shop light for many years, but over the last 5-6 years, LED t8 tube has overturn its position and dominate its field, no matter it is 1.5ft ,2ft, 3ft 4ft 5ft 6ft 8ft t8 bulbs, you can find the LED replacement easily, ballast compatible or ballast bypass, very simple to convert, they are quick and inexpensive way to get your shop area lit up.
Below is a formular to change fluorescent to LED
1/2-1/3 Watt of fluorescent = Watt of LED
36W fluorescent = 12-18 watt LED
72W flurescent = 24W-36 watt LED
While for the fluorescent hanging or recessed ceiling fixtures, you can use 2 foot / 4 foot / 8 foot LED linear strip fixture to replace the entire light fixtures with identical length or 2×2 2×4 1×4 flat panel troffers to replace the 2-lamps, 3-lamps, 4-lamps fluorescent T8 troffer fixtures.
These linear strip fixture or light panel fixture is often suspended or drop lay in the low ceiling grid about 10ft-14ft, and often comes with 0-10V dim controlability, some even is color temperature tunable (3CCT or 4CCT adjustable, so cost is more expensive than ordinary version), you can select the CCT perference (3000K/4000K/5000K) by adjusting the DIP switch.
For those people who know which CCT is suitable for your shop,basement, garage or home, you can just buy the fixed CCT version, while for those who is a shortage of lighting knowledge, you can try the CCT tunable version and finally get a desirable light color without error to purchase the wrong CCT.
Metal halide high bay shop light or HPS low bay shop light is usually mounted about 15ft-40ft ceiling, wattage go between 400W-1000W, because the HID bulb is 360 degree beam angle (lightbeams can reach the upper ceiling or roof), so it often comes with a aluminum reflector or PC dome in order to reduce lumen loss.
To surpass the brightness of HID low bays or high bays, UFO LED bay light or LED linear high bay are two perfect lighting solutions, from 100W to 300W available, it can be hanging hook mount or chain suspended mount, or surface mount on the high ceiling. Generally, it doesn’t require reflector or dome because LED is directional lightsource to make sure all lightbeam are downward without lumen loss.
UFO bay lighting fixtures can be dimmable and non-dimmable, it is easy to distinguish by its cable lead, dimmable light has two additional leads, dim+ and dim- cables, while non-dimmable version only has “N”, “L” & “G’ leads.
And linear high bay light is often dimmable, and motion sensor can be added.
Motion sensor is a light controller or microwave sensor, when it detects any moving object (like the car, people, the bird, spat etc) in shop, garage, warehouse, workshop, the light would be turned on automatically, when people leaves, the light would be turned off. With sensor, you can benefit a lot from the electrcity usage reduction when not needed.
If you are still unsure how much light lumen you need for your shop, please never forget to contact us for illumination simulation plan, our engineer can conduct a Dialux photometrics test and help you figure out how many watt & qty you need as well as how bright (Eavg. Emin & Emax) it would be based on our digital layout plan.
Some States can get rebate with the DLC standard qualification, while some can only apply with the DLC premium listed product.
DLC standard product lumen efficacy is usually 100-130lm/w, while DLC premium listed product is 130-170lm/w, it is more energy saving (means you can get more rebate) and surely, its upfront costs is more for the high lumen LED it uses.
Do some survey or consult the energy expert, then you will know what product can meet your demand.
3. Pay attention to the power line voltage .
Before selecting the right LED shop light, you need to look at the input voltage of the power line to the fixture. It ranges from 100 volt to 480 volt, and if you neglect it, it might cause burning of the light fixture’s driver and void warranty. Some fixture are 100-277VAC, and some are high voltage 200-480VAC or 277-480VAC, so pay close attention to the input voltage before purchase. In the United States, 110V 120V 207V, 240V 277V or three phase 480V are commonly seen, in Canada, 120V & 347V is universal.
4. What color temperature should I need ?
Color temperature is messured by kelvin(K), from warm white to cool white, also called correlated color temperature (CCT).
You can notice a tick mark on the product label, 2700K 3000K 4000K 5000K 5700K 6000K etc.
In general, 4000K 5000K are used quite a lot in indoor shop lighting.
4000K is natural white, feel a little warmer like the sun in the morning, if you are living in cold region, maybe it is a good choice. 5000K is daylight white, looks a little brighter than 4000K.
5. Do I need accent shop lighting or evenly shop lighting ?
Some clothes shop or gallery shop need accent shop lighting in order to attract more people’s attention to the popular product in the store, this requires supplemental or extra lamps like the track light or spotlight, and their beam angle is usually very narrow, so take care if this lamp suit you well.
In other cases, for a baking shop, you have an overhanging cabinet above your workbench, you might need a secondary under-cabinet light for your shop, try to find a dimmable version in order to gain more control flexibility for different jobs. You can switch it on/off if you don’t need it.
However, Some shop spaces just need evenly lighting distribution, so you need to lay out the fixture orderly and cover all areas as much as possible.
While in other industrial lighting, tyipally in the hardware shop or large equipment shop where there is many shadows cast or dark corners, you might need a secondary plug-in LED corn light, so that you can quickly use it as a temporary work light. The light can eliminate the shadow in the working spaces and you can do the task with a perfect view.
Frequently Asked Questions about LED shop lights
This question is hard to answer, but if you just need a number, I can say, our 325w LED linear high bay light is the brightest for shop lighting, its overall lumens is 52,000lm with 0-10V dimming ability, and it can mount over 30ft high ceiling.
Generally speaking, the higher the wattage is, the more lumens it can send out (of course, this is assumed that their lumen efficacy is the same). Efficacy is a meassure of lumens per watt, to indicate the efficiency to transform to light output. A light with higher efficacy means it can consume less power and save more energy.
If two lights efficacy is not the same, then you need to check their total lumens, as lumen output is the direct indication of the brightness.
However, as we mentioned in the beginning, the best shop light is the one that give out enough lumen output to light up your spaces, not persuit too much to cause disconfort to the eyes, thereby, you don’t have to get the brightest shop light but the suitable one.
CRI is an abbrevation of color rendering index, it is meassured by Ra.
The CRI you opt should be based on your application.
e.g. if you want to use the light up the furniture, food & vegetables or meat shop and make the merchandise color look more appealing & fresh, then you need to go high CRI, like 85Ra, 90Ra or even higher. In that way, your sales volume can go up.
Otherwise, going for 80Ra is proper to use for most of general shop garage lighting applications.