How Do I Choose the Best Workshop Lights?

Dan Cavallari

The best lighting for your workshop will depend on what you will be doing in the space. You will need to choose from a few different types of workshop lights, but generally, you will need two primary kinds: overhead lights and focused lights. Overhead workshop lights are designed to throw off a broad amount of light to all areas of the room, while focused lights are intended to give additional lighting to specific tools or workspaces. The best workshops will have a combination of both types of light for optimal performance.

Fluorescent overhead lights are generally inexpensive.
Fluorescent overhead lights are generally inexpensive.

Fluorescent overhead workshop lights are generally inexpensive, easy to install, and bright enough to cover a wide area of the room. You may need to install more than one set of fluorescent workshop lights in order to cover larger spaces; most of these lights will come with two long bulbs, though less expensive models may feature only one bulb. It is best to choose a unit with two bulbs to ensure the entire room is well-lit during workshop projects. LED lights are becoming more popular as well because they use less energy and are very bright, but such lights can be very expensive, and it is likely that you will need more lighting units spread throughout the room.

Fluorescent tubes provide an inexpensive way to light a workshop.
Fluorescent tubes provide an inexpensive way to light a workshop.

Focused workshop lights can take two different forms: on-tool lights and off-tool lights. On-tool lights are usually part of various tools, such as table saws or grinders. Such lights usually feature long necks and they are often adjustable so you can focus this smaller beam of light directly onto a work surface. Sometimes it is possible to add these lights to a machine after purchase, either by buying an integrated model from the manufacturer or by buying an aftermarket model that works in conjunction with your machine.

Off-tool workshop lights are very versatile because they can be used in any location throughout the workshop to add more light where it is necessary. The best types of off-tool lights will either feature large capacity batteries or plugs that can be affixed to a wall outlet. This ensures a consistent power output and a bright beam of light wherever necessary. Try to choose a light that will be versatile enough to be used in your workspace; some, for example, can be clamped to solid objects, while others feature a stable base. Still others feature a long, adjustable neck that can be wrapped around solid objects for stability.

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