As usual, WoodNetters inspired me to start a learning odyssey. This time into the realm of shop lighting. A recent poll in WoodNet asked members about using light diffusers and reflectors in shop lighting and this got me researching shop lighting in general to see if I could find some consensus or at least some good arguments :)

Here’s the takeaways from my readings, followed by links to all the resources I found out there. I hope these help you keep you shop well lit!

The Fluorescent vs. Halogen Shop Lighting Debate:

Fluorescent vs. Halogen…I prefer fluorescent with a few low wattage incandescent to kill the flickering phenomena

Fluorescent vs. Halogen…I use almost all Halogen in my shop. It has two bulbs in each light fixture and it works well for all the lighting needs I have. It is very bright and leaves very little shadow effects due to their being two lights in each fixture.

Fluorescent vs. Halogen…Halogen lighting is brighter, granted. It also will cost more in power as well. If I recall right, about 2 1/2 times more for the same lumens. But it’s a nice bright light.

Fluorescent vs. Halogen… The new tubular halogen lights are great… far better than fluorescent shop lights.

What to Look for in Fluorescent Lights:

I personally prefer ‘color corrected’ fluorescent, with a 3500 to 4000 kelvin rating, especially in areas used for finishing. They cost a little more (big surprise) but are much closer to the lighting your work is likely to be seen under when finished. Also, unless your fluorescent fixtures have cage guards or are hung fairly high, the inexpensive clear sleeves (at HD again) are a great idea to prevent falling shattered glass in case of collision with long boards, etc.

Look into T-8 florescent lighting. It is brighter and consumes less electricity per lumen.

The above is right about the T8 lamps. They have the highest light output per watt that you can get. They also produce less heat, resulting in longer life. I would recommend lamps with a color temperature of 5000K or higher. These are closer to natural sunlight.

Inspiration for this post:
Shop lighting quick poll

Wiring and lighting?
Shop lighting (indepth, technical discussion of lighting)
Shop Lighting (general article on workshop lighting)

Forum Lighting Threads:
Another lighting question-quick and easy.
Shop Lighting
Flouresent Shop Lighting, Watts per Square Foot