By adding the right fluorescent garage lights, you can make sure that you end up with the visibility needed for whatever you may want to get done out there.
Below are our recommendations for the 4 best fluorescent lights for garages:
GE 18-Inch Basic Fluorescent Light Fixture 16466
This is a basic fixture with a low cost. The 18” lights will give you enough light to make sure you don’t stumble over any unattended objects hanging around the garage when you’re on your way out. It’s a really basic fixture overall, pretty much bog standard, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a reliable design which can help illuminate things.
It’s simple, easy to use, and you won’t have to wire directly to it since it’s a plug-in. It might be the perfect solution for those who just want to make sure they’ve got everything lit up but those looking for an over-the-workbench light may want to look elsewhere.
Lithonia Lighting T8 Strip Fluorescent All Season Garage Light
If you’re looking to make sure that work bench stays lit, then this T8 fixture might be exactly what you’ve been dreaming of. With a pair of 32W bulbs to get things going and a pull chain to light they’ve got a classic appeal. Think of your dad’s workshop and you’re on the right track.
There are also a few different designs available, including a wire protected one for those who just can’t seem to keep their material on the bench to aid in protection. Cheap and effective shop lighting for your cold garage? These are easily among the best fluorescent fixtures for garages around.
Lithonia GESB 4-Foot 2-Light T8 Fluorescent Ceiling Fixture
Lithonia lighting offers this recessed panel which makes for excellent lighting within a garage bay. It’ll be a little bit more difficult to install than some of the other options, so keep an electrician handy, but if you’ve got a completed roof in your garage then it’s a great way to keep the whole thing lit safely.
The ballast is also pretty nice (see full specs), allowing the lights to come on without much of the flickering or humming we’ve come to expect from these kinds of lights. With a solid ballast, a protective panel, and two 32W T8 bulbs you’ll be in good hands with this fixture for lighting.
4-lamp T5 HO High Bay Fluorescent Lighting Fixture High Output T5HO
These fluorescent light fixtures are pretty much as awesome as you’re going to be able to find without getting into specialized lighting more suitable for reef aquariums than your latest woodworking project. T5 bulbs are a little smaller than T8 but they’re also a lot more powerful.
With T5 bulbs, a polished reflector, and an impressive amount of lighting per square foot (see full specs) you’re just not going to find a better fluorescent fixture anywhere. They run on the expensive side, but you’re not going to be lacking visibility on the bench ever again.
How to Pick the Best Fluorescent Lights for Garages
Whether it’s a preference for the aesthetic or just a sense of old fashioned sentimentality, some people prefer to forgo modern LED lighting in favor of fluorescents. There’s a lot to be said for them anyways, they’re reliable and with a good ballast they’re certainly a lot brighter and more reliable than standard bulbs.
There are two kinds of garage users, and we tried to make sure we have something for everyone.
If you use your garage primarily for your car then a plastic shield and a couple of T8 bulbs is likely to be all you’ll need. 18” or 24” is your primary consideration and the choice will depend on your garage’s size. Bigger garage… bigger lights. Or more lights, depending on your taste.
Plug-in arrangements are much easier to work with for most people, of course, but tying a fixture directly to wiring definitely isn’t impossible with a couple of guides, a knowledge of how to turn off a circuit breaker and some care.
Those of us who get work done in the garage need some serious shop lights though, which is where things can get a bit trickier.
T5 vs T8
This will be most people’s primary consideration. T5 bulbs, despite being smaller, have a much higher light output than you’d think given their diminutive size. These high output lights, paired with a reflector, can actually be a bit much for some people’s eyes.
They also tend to use more power, so keep that in mind when you’re picking them out. But if you want the brightest possible output, these are likely the best fluorescent lights for your garage.
A reflector can make a big difference with fluorescent lighting. You want something nice and polished, since the round bulbs give off light equally in each direction. This will allow you to get the most out of each watt of your bulbs instead of it being cast off into space.
Light Switch Types
We must confess to being fans of the old school pull down chains. They’re a lot of fun, and quite satisfying. That said, there are also a lot of on/off lights which can be attached to plugs that are attached to a switch.
There are also on/off switches which can be attached to the fixture itself. It’s all really a matter of personal choice.
Some people are more accident prone than others, or use different tools in the garage. A little bit of protection can keep your garage light from getting shattered. Consider more solid protection for applications like grinding, where solids can fly unpredictably, or at least a wire cage for carpentry. It can save a lot of time if you don’t have to replace your bulbs every time you mess up.
Making sure that you have the best fluorescent lights for garages is a good idea no matter how you use your garage. It’s just a matter of whether or not you need to get real work done while you’re in there. So get going, there’s a fixture for every need, after all. Good luck!