Shop Lighting Question. advise. needed

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Shop Lighting Questions.

Ok so Im planning the new shop lighting and wanted to see if anyone has used the LED fixtures for there shop space and if so. How do they compare to the Fluorescents in same size and style.

I was able to secure enough used 4 bulb fluorescent fixtures to be seen from space!!! That is IF I used them all in my shop. lol

They say its up to 33% less money to run the LED lighting compared to the fluorescents. and running the whole shop.. Lets say 20 4 bulb fixtures. the price might be worth the investment to go LED? and They say you never have to replace them. and they can be ran on a dimmer switch so you can tune them to your desired amount of light. where a Florescent is either ON or OFF and if I want to regulate I will have to run each area with multiple switches.

Here is my thoughts. When I am laying the lighting out. I could alternate and add some LED lighting in each area as well as use the fluorescents I have on hand. But B4 I spend the scratch on them I was hoping to get some input from the pound!
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BossDog & Owner
Staff member
I am searching for LED shoplights to replace my 4' fluorescent lights. I hate 'em.
Wrong color, flicker, dead bulb disposal and glaring light that doesn't focus well.
I am going to move to an LED shop light that doesn't hang over directly over my bench (and reflect right back into my eyes) but off set one way or the other and then add several LED flex next task lights.


"The Montana Bladesmith"
The only thing that I've tried LED lighting for is "spot" lighting around the a couple of drop arm lights......I like the intensity, but noticed it does tend to "hide" things that other types of lighting show (tiny scratches and such)......personally I can't justify the large investment to totally light the shop with replace all the fixtures in my finish shop with LEDs was close to $1,300, where I could buy 4x in florescent fixtures and bulbs for the same money.

It might be viable, but I'm just not convinced of it yet. I still think for a knifemaker you're gona need various types of light for your finishing area(s)....just to show all the things that a single type of light source won't.


Well-Known Member
Randy, Industry is moving toward LED area lighting in a big way. Before I retired there were a couple of projects involving changing to LED lights - the ROI was pretty decent. I'm using some 20 watt LED shop type lights and I'm VERY impressed with the amount of light they give. AND, as a BIG plus, they stay cool! Don't burn your arm if touched. While these are not designed for overhead lighting, they sure work nice for work lights mounted on grinders, lathes, etc. I got them from Amazon:

The 20 watt is about $19 shipped, and 30 watt $24 shipped. They have a 10 watt for around $11 shipped that would be pretty good.

LED lights are for sure the way of the future - prices will come down.

Ken H>


I'm currently running a LED light one my grinder. I like it very much. In the new shop I'm going to run a combination of LED and florescent lights. More than likely they here will be one or two other type lights also, and definitely two 100 watt 5,000k bulbs in my color check booth.

I like the fact that the LEDS don't get hot, they consume very little electricity, they generally have a 10 year normal life. Besides I've drop the bulb a couple of times moving it to different fixtures and it still works. To light my new place them totally with them would blow a lot of my budget on lighting that's still in the development stage. I feel before spending that much on lighting, at this time, I will wait to see how it works for a while.


Dealer - Purveyor
led lights have been around a long time and do have a reasonable ROI when compared to incandescant, the payback(power cost) for traffic lights was just over a year. the price of led bulbs will continue to drop, IMHO now is not the time to buy. have you looked at CFLs in regular fixtures? the price here is less than $1 each for 60watt replacements. you can also buy CFLs in 3 different temperatures, i use the daylight for picture taking and inspection.

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Thanks guys for the input! Its been helpful.

I think I will do a combination. using LED in a couple areas paired with the fluorescents.


BossDog & Owner
Staff member
Ed makes a great point. It's really good to have each kind of light in your shop for inspection. I found this out the hard way early on. A knife I made looked great under indirect fluorescent and under a direct tungsten bulb looked horrible. I always check a knife finish on fluorescent, tungsten, halogen (and now LED I guess) light types where appearance matters. A scratch or dark spot may not show up under one light be a glaring problem under another light type.

I have added several Halogen flex neck task lights here at the warehouse here in the shop. When LED task lighting becomes available and competitive, I'll move over to it as it is very close to the halogen task lights I use now.


Well-Known Member
In fluorescent lighting, you can buy different colour lamps.

I really like the 6500K

It's a very bright blue daylight sky colour, very fresh to me instead of the red dim "warm light" colours that are popular.


Well-Known Member
I like a lot of light. Got to have it at my age, hah! I do think its possible to have too much light though...

I was just at HD tonight, and my my my - I could just go nutty in the lighting dept there. They got a new high-output fluorescent shop fixture that is pretty bright. Really bright, in fact. Too bright. Bright light is good, but coverage is just as good I think. I hate shadows. One thing is certain, painting your shop as much white as you can, will definitely make your existing lights so much better!


J Higgins makes an excellent point. My shop in California had no windows except the office. Did have a roll up but that was only useful at times. before I moved my equipment in I painted everything gloss white. I epoxy painted the floors white. I put in overkill lighting. I could work LONG hours because eye fatigue is one of the main reasons we get "tired".

When I moved to Montana I simply did not have time to paint before placing equipment. Six years later I still have not. I do have a lot of daylight which I like but this shop is still darker than the other.

If you're renting a unit check with the rental company before painting the floor. I had to have the epoxy paint blasted off before I left ($$). I'm pretty sure any new renter would have loved that nice white hard floor.....

The only thing I disagree with j Higgins on is.....I DON"T think it is possible to have too much light. Or at least, my electricity bill is squealing long before my eyes are saying, "Enough already!!"
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