How Many Lumens Do I Need for a 2 Car Garage?

November 02, 2020

How Many Lumens Do I Need for a 2 Car Garage?

Those of us who like to use our garage for more than parking a car agree that garages never come with enough light. It’s as though garage lighting is an afterthought to home builders. If you have decided to add some lighting to your two-car garage, you need to know how much to add.

4,000-8,000 lumens is a great range for a 2 car garage. Everyone's garage and projects will be different so trying to use a per square foot calculation will just give you extremely large lumen numbers. Watch out for cheap lights falsifying lumen claims to try and match those per sq. ft. numbers.

Now that you have a range of lumens to fill your two car garage with we are going to cover some different product ideas that will help your garage and some product ideas that will not because unfortunately not all products are truthful about their lumen counts.




Why Measure Lumens Instead of Watts?

Back in the day, when lighting choices were between whether to get a 75- or 100-watt light bulb, measuring by watts made sense. It was easy to know which one was brighter. However, when choosing between incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, and LED lights, comparisons between watts are useless when making reference to brightness.

Here’s why--watts measure how much power the bulb uses while lumens measure the amount of visible light a bulb gives off. A 60-watt incandescent light uses 60 watts and gives off around 800 lumens. An LED bulb gives off that much light with 8-watts, a CFL needs 23, and a Halogen gives off 800 lumens with 40-watts.  

If you want to know how much power your garage lights will use, look at the watts. But if you want to know how much you will be able to see, pay attention to lumens.  




Why Are Garages Dimly Lit?

Couldn’t garages simply be as well lit as the rest of the house? They could, but the costs for doing so are prohibitive. The builder could easily add windows and more light fixtures and achieve much better lighting.

As not everyone has the same use for the garage, builders cater to the lowest common denominator which is essentially not using the room for much more than covered parking or storage.

Because of this perspective garages are also left unfinished which means that the majority of garage walls either have no drywall or unpainted drywall. By putting a coat of white paint on your unfinished garage walls and ceiling you can brighten up your space as white walls are brighter and make the space feel bigger while dark wall colors do just the opposite. This one tip can greatly improve the lighting in your garage, regardless of your lumen count.

Garages are not an afterthought, but builders won’t do more with a garage than they need to, and when homebuyers prioritize, their concerns are usually about what’s inside the house. And if there are cost overruns, garage improvements are among the first to get axed.





Is All Light the Same?

Before we discuss solutions, let's talk about another quality of light—Color Rendering Index, or CRI. If you plan to do some painting or work with wood, you want the light to reflect, or render the color accurately, and the CRI does that.

Color rendering is one factor rarely talked about when discussing light, and color temperature is another.

  • Color rendering is a measure of how accurately a specific light source (a lightbulb) shows off the colors in an object. The scale has a 0 to 100 range, and a higher number means more accurate colors.  
  • Color temperature describes the light's appearance or mood. It is measured on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000Kelvin units. Cooler temperatures are considered cozy while higher light temperatures resemble daylight. So a 2,700k light is designed for a living room, and a 5000k color temperature is ideal for garages.

These two measures are independent of one another. One light can have an 85 CRI and a 5,000k color temperature while another light can have a 95 CRI but a 3,500k color temperature.   

Out of these two measures, color temperature is the one to focus on. Most lights will have color renderings of 85 or better. The range for lights varies tremendously. The bulbs currently in your garage could be anywhere from 2,000k to 5,000k, and the closer to 5,000, the happier you'll be. 




How Can You Get AdditionalGarageLighting?

You have several solutions to add light to your two-car garage. Let’s go over a few of them.

Stronger Lightbulbs in the Current Fixtures

This is a simple but limited solution. Light sockets are rated by watts, so a 100-watt incandescent should not go into a socket rated for 70 watts. And a 100-watt bulb won’t give you nearly enough lumens.  

You could opt for an LED light bulb. You can pick up a cheap 40W LED light bulb from Ama-Jungle.com that claims it produces 5000+ lumens, suggesting that just one or two of these cheap bulbs will fully illuminate your 2-car garage needs. But what they fail to mention is that their lumen count is completely inaccurate

Another downside is that you can’t angle or direct the light and if you use one of those socket splitters and buy a few bulbs then you run the risk of burning the whole place down as socket splitters are not the highest quality products made on the market.You throw some cheap knockoff bulbs in a cheap splitter and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Median home price in the US.…………...$200k
Cost of 3 high powered led bulbs……..….$150
Cost of socket splitters on Amajungle……$2 
Knowing you won't burn down the house by going with a reputable company like STKR. PRICELESS

Add LED Shop Light Ballasts

This solution provides more flexibility than the standard bulb. You can hang them where you want, and get additional units if you have outlets for the 3- to 5-foot long power cords they come with. A popular option on Amazon are 4’ LED shop lights that put off 4000 lumens of targeted light for roughly $55

But that figure just gets the light delivered to your door, the rest of the process will most likely require more investment in either: 

  • Extension cords and six ways (think: Clark Griswold from ‘Christmas Vacation’), 
  • Romex outlets boxes and all the specialized tools like a drywall saw, wall fish, etc.
  • or Hiring an electrician to do it.

Either way, it can be done but just isn’t a quick and easy solution and the cost keeps rising depending on how many fixtures you will need and how professional/safe you want the installation to be.





The STKR Multi-Point Garage Ceiling Light—A Solution

If only there were a light that could be screwed into an ordinary light socket, have lights that can extend out to where they are needed, and put out 7,500 lumens of 5400k light. Luckily, such a light exists.

TheSTKR MPI consists of one central light that screws into a standard ceiling fixture, and four smaller lights that can be attached wherever the light is needed (within 9.5’ of the hub). Fasten the pods to the ceiling where you need them, connect the cables to the central light, and in less than 15 minutes you could more than 9x the amount of light in your garage.

The MPI’s built in cable management system lets you quickly tighten connecting cables so that they do not dangle from the ceiling. Also, the MPI's adjustable motion sensor can detect motion from 20 feet. A built-in USB Port will power a security camera so you can see if the intruder was the two-legged or four-legged kind.

If you plan to do most of your work on one side of your garage, theSTKR Trilight is a smaller unit that produces 4000TRUE lumens of 5400k light. As with the MPI, it screws into a standard light socket. Instead of pods, the one-piece Trilight has three adjustable heads to aim light where you want it.

Both the MPI and the TRiLIGHT both take up only one light socket so if your two car garage has two light sockets then you could buy two of either of these products to double the amount of lumens.


Double MPIs = 15,000 lumens

Double TRiLIGHTs = 8,000 lumens




Bottom Line

Most garages are dimly lit. If all you want from a garage is a place to park your car, replace the existing bulbs with brighter LEDs. If you want to use the space for woodwork, working on your car, or other DIY projects, you need 4,000 to 8,000 lumens of light.  

You have numerous options to do so, everything from painting walls white to hiring electricians to add more light fixtures. Or you could go the easier route—add a couple of STKR light fixtures and light up your two-car garage.


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