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Garages have lots of potential. They can be used for storage, of course, though they also make excellent home gyms, shops, studios, playrooms, greenhouses—you name it. Having said that, one thing that can prevent you from making the most of the space is inadequate lighting.
Whether you're looking to upgrade an existing garage light or are starting from scratch, you've come to the right place. When shopping around, there are a few things you should consider, including the style, size, brightness, power source, and installation method.
"Garage lighting has changed over the years—no more horrendous fluorescent lights," says Matt Blashaw, a licensed contractor and host of HGTV's Professional Grade. He tells The Spruce that LEDs are often ideal for garages because they "last forever" and recommends looking for options with high lumens (brightness) and kelvin (color temperature).
With these pointers in mind, we found standout options for every purpose and every budget.
Best Overall: Freelicht LED 60W Garage Light with Medium Base
Material: Plastic | Lumens: 6000 | Kelvin: 6500 | Installation: Can be screwed into a E26/E27 standard base
High kelvin and lumens
Easy to install
May not be bright enough for certain tasks
The best option overall is this LED tri-light fixture from Freelicht. Per Blashaw's recommendations, it boasts 6500 kelvin and 6000 lumens, plus a CRI (color rendering index) of 80, which essentially means the illumination makes colors look amazing.
Each flicker-free panel can be adjusted up to a 90-degree angle. We also appreciate that this deformable light doesn't need to be wired. You just screw it into an existing light socket—no tools necessary. What's more, you can expect to get a whopping 50,000 hours of illumination from the LEDs.
Best Budget: Baloray LED Garage Lights 80W 9000 Lumens
Material: Plastic | Lumens: 9000 | Kelvin: 8500 | Wattage: 80 watts | Installation: Can be screwed into a E26/E27 standard base
Easy to install
Not ideal for large garages
On a budget? You can't go wrong with a Baloray LED Garage Light. This wallet-friendly fixture has four adjustable light panels and offers 9000 lumens and 8500 kelvin. Not only that, but installation is a breeze. Just screw it into an existing light bulb socket, and you're good to go.
Best Plug-In: Commercial Electric 4 ft. 4-Light 80-Watt Utility LED Shop Light with Pull Chain
Material: Polycarbonate | Lumens: 7000 | Kelvin: 4000 | Wattage: 80 watts | Installation: Flush mount or hanging
Multiple hanging options
Easy to install
Relatively short power cord
The best plug-in model is Commercial Electric's LED Shop Light. With four oblong bulbs, 7000 lumens of brightness, and 4500 kelvin, it offers bright cool-toned garage lighting.
You can hang it from your ceiling or mount it flush. Once it's plugged in, just pull the handy chain to turn it on and off. Heads up—the power cord is only 5 feet long, so you might need an extension cord, depending on where your outlets are.
Best LED: Tanbaby LED Garage Light
Material: Aluminum | Lumens: 6000 | Kelvin: 6000 | Wattage: 60 watts | Installation: Can screw into standard base
No motion sensor
Most utility lighting you'll find on the market today uses LEDs, but this garage light from Tanbaby stands out from the rest. It's got three adjustable heads, each boasting ultra-bright bulbs, 6000 lumens, 6000 kelvin, and a CRI of 80 to offer 360 degrees of crystal-clear illumination. And since it only uses 60 watts of power, you can save on energy costs too.
Best Fluorescent: Kichler Wraparound Light
Material: Glass, acrylic | Lumens: Not listed | Kelvin: Not listed | Wattage: 40 watts | Installation: Flush mount
Suitable for humidity-prone spaces
Bulbs not included
Blashaw is a fan of Kichler lighting in the garage, and we can see why. Measuring 48 x 9 x 3 inches, the brand's fluorescent Wraparound Light has a steel frame and a textured acrylic shade for ambient yet bright illumination.
We also like that it mounts flush to the ceiling. "A flush mount sticks down maybe 3 inches, so you're gaining room in your garage as well as a really broad spectrum of light," Blashaw notes.
Best with Motion Sensor: Lithonia Lighting SGLL 2 ft. Indoor Integrated LED Garage Light with Integrated Motion Sensor Flushmount
Material: Polycarbonate | Lumens: 5000 | Kelvin: 4000 | Wattage: 80 watts | Installation: Flush mount
Mounting hardware included
Motion sensors are great, especially when installing a light on a high ceiling or another hard-to-reach area. That's why we like this hanging fixture from Lithonia Lighting.
Thanks to its integrated motion detector, your garage will automatically illuminate when you walk or drive in. You can also set it to turn off after no motion is detected for a few minutes to cut down on utility costs.
Best Moisture-Proof: Airand Waterproof LED Shop Light for Garage
Material: Polycarbonate | Lumens: 3600 | Kelvin: 5000 | Wattage: 36 watts | Installation: Surface mount
Short power cord
If you're worried about humidity damaging your fixture or causing an electrical hazard, we recommend the Airand Waterproof LED Shop Light. It has a 66 IP (Ingress Protection) rating, meaning it's impenetrable to dust, water, and other moisture. We also appreciate that it only uses 36 watts of power to save on energy consumption.
Best for Workbench: Metalux 43-Watt 42 in. White Integrated LED Shop Light
Material: Not listed | Lumens: 4500 | Kelvin: 4000 | Wattage: 43 watts | Installation: Surface or chain mounted
Multiple mounting options
Short power cord
Blashaw says he's partial to slim LED fixtures for workbenches, like the Metalux Integrated Shop Light. With 4500 lumens and 5000 kelvin, this garage light offers bright, glare-free illumination for the task at hand. It can be mounted or hung from the ceiling, wall, or underneath a cabinet and turns on and off with a convenient pull chain.
Best Battery-Powered: TooWell Motion Sensor Battery Operated LED Ceiling Light
Material: ABS | Lumens: 300 | Kelvin: Not listed | Wattage: 3 watts | Installation: Flush mount
Batteries not included
May not be bright enough for certain tasks
Garages often don't have many outlets—or any at all—which is why we appreciate battery-powered lights, like the TooWell LED Ceiling Light. It takes four D-cell batteries and comes with mounting hardware for easy installation. Whether you hang it from your ceiling or attach it to a wall, the built-in motion sensor will activate the LEDs from as far as 20 feet away.
Best Under-Cabinet: Goodland Under Cabinet Lighting 80 LED
Material: Aluminum, polycarbonate | Lumens: 280 | Kelvin: 3 different color temperatures | Wattage: 3 watts | Installation: Stick on
May not offer enough illumination on its own
Goodland Under Cabinet Lighting comes in packs of one or three bars, each with 80 energy-saving LEDs, three color temperature modes, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. What's more, they're super easy to install, thanks to the included adhesive magnetic strips.
"I like to have under-cabinet lighting under my tool bench, just in case I have something really important I'm working on," Blashaw tells The Spruce. And as an added bonus, it really enhances the vibe of your garage.
Best Light Bulb: SkyGenius Daylight LED Corn Light Bulb (200-Watt Equivalent)
Material: Plastic aluminum | Lumens: 3500 | Kelvin: 6500 | Wattage: 35 watts | Installation: Screws into standard E26 base
If you've got a light socket in your garage, all you really need is a good-quality bulb, like the SkyGenius Daylight LED. This corn-style bulb provides 3500 lumens and 6500 kelvin for cool-white illumination. Not only that, but at 35 watts of power, it uses only a tenth of the energy as a standard incandescent light.
The best option overall is the Freelicht LED 60W Garage Light with Medium Base 6000LM 6500K. We appreciate the tri-panel design, the high kelvin and lumens ratings, and that it's designed to screw into an existing light socket (view at Amazon). However, if you're looking for something even more affordable, go with the budget-friendly Baloray LED Garage Lights 80W 9000 Lumens, which also calls for screw-in installation and boasts high lumens and high kelvin (view at Walmart).
What to Look for When Buying Garage Lighting
When shopping around for garage lighting, the first thing to consider is the type of fixture you need. Blashaw says to ask yourself, "Is it a task light? Is it a light to show off your architecture? Is it a utility light?"
There are options that mount to the ceiling or screw into an existing socket, which are designed to illuminate the entire space. Then you'll find models better suited for smaller areas. Additionally, some garage lighting (like under-cabinet bars) should be used to supplement larger fixtures, as they don't typically offer enough illumination on their own.
LEDs (short for light-emitting diodes) are a type of low-wattage bulb that's up to 90 percent more efficient than its standard incandescent counterpart. This is appealing to many households, as it helps cut down on energy consumption. LEDs also last much longer than other types of lights, often up to 50,000 hours, which equates to several decades in most cases.
According to Blashaw, "You want high lumens in the 5000s or 6000s and the highest kelvin you can find." Lumens are units of "luminous flux," meaning they measure the amount of visible light emitted by a bulb.
Kelvin measures the color temperature of lights in terms of coolness (white) or warmness (golden). The higher the kelvin, the closer a bulb's color temperature will be to mimicking natural sunlight.
You should also consider the installation method before ordering a lighting fixture for your garage. For instance, some options can be skewed into a light socket, while others must be wired. You'll also find flush-mount and hanging models, as well as battery-powered options with adhesive backings.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a professional commerce copywriter based in Portland, Oregon. She has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers home improvement and interior design. When living in their 100-year-old house, she and her husband had to figure out how to illuminate their closets and basement with limited outlets, and in the process, learned how to spot high-quality fixtures. For this roundup, Theresa spoke to a contractor, researched various types of garage lighting, combed through user reviews, and considered dozens of products before making her final selections.