How Bright Should Shop Lights Be?

October 26, 2020

How Bright Should Shop Lights Be?

If you're like me, you’ve done your fair share of working on projects in inadequate lighting and get to the point where you have just had enough. Shop lights need to be bright enough to illuminate the entire room, but most lighting options just don’t make the cut. Fortunately, you’re in the right place, I’ll cover lumens, watts, and other essential features of shop lights. Most importantly you’ll know which shop lights are the best and why.

Depending on your shop size, you’ll want a minimum of 3000-8000+ lumens. Light functionality also impacts the light brightness and how the light is dispersed. Shop conditions also impact brightness, such as an unfinished shop wall will absorb light compared to painted white walls will reflect it.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about the brightness of shop lights:

  • How you can choose the best brightness for your shop
  • Different recommendations
  • Additional light features to consider



Choosing the Brightness for Shop Lights

If you’re not already aware, lumens refer to the brightness of a light source. Small headlamps usually put out 200 lumens, whereas floodlights put out about 1,200 lumens. If you’re trying to illuminate an entire shop, Wave Form Lighting recommends a bare minimum of 3,000 lumens. This brightness will be enough to improve and maintain optimal visibility while you work.

Here’s how you can choose the brightness of your shop lights:

  1. Start by checking the lumens. As mentioned above, 3,000 lumens should be the bottom of the range that you’re looking for. However, you can gauge the number based on the size of your shop and the placement of the bulbs. Consider sticking to a range of about 3,000 to 8,000 lumens for a decent sized shop.
  2. Consider the capability of angling the light. Does it have hinges to face it in different directions, or is it fixed? Some lights, have multiple light wing or blades that can be angled wherever you might need light. 
  3. How many lights will you need? Although the lumen range is big enough for most shops, you might just need more lights. Having a lot of vehicles of large structures inside of the shop could cast shadows. If you’re not able to see 100% of your shop, you might consider getting an MPI, that has one main center lights and 4 adjustable surrounding lights. We’ll dive into this more later...
  4. What type of light are you getting? LED, incandescent, and fluorescent are the three most common bulbs these days. Consider LEDs last for 20,000 to 50,000 hours, sometimes even more. They’re also more energy-efficient and brighter than the average bulb. On top of that, LEDs don’t overheat like fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.
  5. Think about the color of the bulb that you’ll need for the shop. Most shop workers prefer daylight white. It’s known to provide the brightest, softest color. You’ll enjoy the brightness of white with the warmth of the daylight tint. It’s one of the best combinations for shops, garages, and other workspaces.

As you can see, the brightness is incredibly important when you’re getting a shop light. Lumens are the name of the game since they’re what determines the brightness. Remember that the lumens should be above 3,000 to cover your whole shop.




What Are the Best Options?

Now that you know more about the brightness necessities, it’s time to check out two of the top shop light solutions on the market. STKR Concepts offers plenty of options, but the MPI and TriLight are some of the best that you’ll find anywhere. Let’s cover both of them below.

MPI - Multi-Point Illumination

The MPI, also known as Multi-Point Illumination, uses a series of five lights to brighten up your shop. The primary light sits wherever you have a light socket. Once you’ve screwed it into an available light socket, you can attach the four remaining lights. They come with cords that keep them attached to the center light hub.

Note that the four additional lights don’t need to have their own electrical cords or sockets, other than the cords that attach them to the primary light, as mentioned above. The cables can wrap around the base of each light, so you can extend them up to 9 and a half feet in any direction or keep them nearby.

This lighting system is useful for shops because it brightens up the whole room with 7,500 lumens. Surprisingly enough, it only costs 60 watts per hour, making it one of the most efficient lights available. You’ll also enjoy the daylight white color and the fact that each bulb lasts well over 50,000 hours.

Pros

  • Easy to install and expand four additional lights
  • 7,500 lumens; Enough to brighten up your whole shop
  • Comes with a built-in motion sensor and a USB port for security cameras
  • Long-lasting, durable bulbs that come in a daylight white shade

TriLight - Motion Activated Ceiling Light

The TriLight is an excellent light as it allows you to control the angle of where you want the light to go. Are you tired of working in the shadows? The light wings on this fixture can be folded to illuminate anything within 360° of it. They each move independently, which means you can customize the appearance and brightness as you work.

These powerful light fixtures have 4,000 lumens, which is well within the aforementioned range. The wattage consumption is as low as 24 watts per hour, undercutting any fluorescent or incandescent lightbulb by far. You don’t need to worry about cables or plugs since this product screws into a light socket.

Much like the MPI, the TriLight lasts up to 50,000 hours. You don’t need professional equipment, nor do you have to worry about cracks or breaks. This unit has been drop-tested on concrete time and time again, so it’s ideal for heavy-duty shops that are always seeing a steady flow of traffic.

Pros

  • Uses 4,000 lumens across three lightbulb wings
  • No cords, cables, or plugs needed
  • Includes a motion sensor and hardware to work with a light switch
  • Drop-tested for durability and longevity in a shop



3rd Bonus Option

TRiLIGHT Shoplight 

If you loved the TRiLIGHT option covered above but don’t want to or simply can’t use an existing lighting socket, then the TRiLIGHT Shoplight is a great option. It is designed to work just like the metal drop lights commonly found in an auto mechanic setting.

This light can be used as an overhead light by hanging it from it’s built-in hook or as task specific lighting by holding the handle or setting it on the floor. This handheld shop light puts out 3000 lumens and because of it’s 3 adjustable blade design, you can flood the room with light in all directions or focus it straight down for intense task lighting.




What Else Should You Look For?

Although brightness is very important when it comes to shop lights, there are a few other factors that you should consider. Here they are:

  • Do you have any light sockets? If not, you might have to get an electrician to come out to rewire your shop. Most high-quality lights, including both of the lightbulbs mentioned above, require sockets to work. However, you can also use the bonus option of the TriLight ShopLight if you only have wall outlets.
  • What is the material and color of the floors, walls, and cabinets in your shop? Bright white floors, cabinets, and walls can make your shop that much brighter. So the darker colors you go with the more light they are going to absorb. Glossy materials and surfaces will also bounce more light off than matted finishes. 
  • Are you working with heavy-duty equipment? Some fixtures, such as the TriLight, are designed to take a beating. They’re tough, rugged, and made with aircraft-grade aluminum. Even the MPI can withstand varying temperatures and moisture levels.



Conclusion

The brightness of your shop light can improve visibility, upgrade your quality of work, and drastically change your attention to detail. When you’re able to clearly see everything you’re working on, you’ll be able to be more efficient and truly enjoy your workspace.


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