Why I Replaced My Fluorescent Workshop Lights with LED Shop Lights

Are you still using dim fluorescent workshop lights? I swapped out my old lights for bright white LED shop lights and the difference is like night and day!

Are you still using dim fluorescent workshop lights? I swapped out my old lights for bright white LED shop lights and the difference is like night and day!

Why Switch to LED Shop Lights?

My small workshop had always been dark. The previous owner of my home installed five fluorescent shop lights in the workshop area, but the space was just too dark for me. I Installed four additional shop lights.

The workshop still felt dark even with nine fluorescent shop lights installed. Eventually, I painted the walls high gloss white to help reflect the light, but it was still not as bright as I had hoped.

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Before we get into why I replaced my shop lights, be sure to click the subscribe button at the bottom of this page to sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter loaded with helpful pocket hole tricks, space-saving workshop ideas, clever DIY tips and more!

LED Shop Lights vs. Fluorescent Shop Lights

I did some research about ways to improve the lighting in my shop and found many DIYers had switched to LED shop lights. I read many comments about how bright LED shop lights were compared to old, dim fluorescent workshop lights.

I decided to put the LED lights to the test. Here’s what I found. LED shop lights turn on immediately, are quiet and are much brighter compared to fluorescent shop lights.

LED Shop Lights Turn On Immediately

Turning on my fluorescent shop lights felt like watching the sunrise on a foggy morning. I would flip the light switch and eventually, the fluorescent lights would begin to warm up and start to glow.

There’s no waiting for LED shop lights to warm up. They turn on immediately and were bright from the moment I turned them on.

LED Shop Lights are Quiet

Fluorescent lights are known for their distinctive hum. It’s almost like a buzzing sound. One of the first things I noticed when I replaced my fluorescent lights with LED shop lights was the sound of silence. LED lights don’t hum or buzz. They’re completely quiet. And that silence is music to my ears.

LED Shop Lights are Bright

I knew my fluorescent shop lights were dim, but I didn’t realize how dim they were until I replaced them with LED shop lights. The biggest advantage of LED shop lights is that they’re super bright!

The corners of my workshop used to be so poorly lit. I felt forced to work under the fluorescent lights because those other areas looked so dark. I was like a moth drawn to a flame!

When I flipped the switch on the LED shop lights it was like I was seeing the corners of my shop for the first time. There was so much unused space in those corners. This may sound crazy, but I felt like I had more space in my small workshop after I installed the LED lights.

Plus, I could actually see the pencil marks I was drawing on my boards!

A light and bright workshop after installing LED shop lights

Where Can You Buy LED Shop Lights?

LED shop lights are available just about anywhere. We can buy them at a big box store like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Or we can also buy them online and have them delivered to our workshop.

I decided at the last minute I wanted to install the LED lights in my shop so I bought my lights at the local big box store. Looking back I think you can find better deals for LED shop lights online.

If I were to do this project again I would have planned ahead and purchased the lights online instead.

How Do I Install LED Shop Lights?

LED shop lights are available in hard-wired and plug-in versions. I went with plug-in LED lights because my old fluorescent lights were plug-in versions and there were outlets nearby.

To install the LED lights I first screwed cup hooks into the ceiling of my workshop. I connected one end of the chain (included with the light) to the hooks on top of the lights and the other end of the chain to the cup hooks. Then I plugged the light into the outlet. The installation couldn’t be simpler.

How Many LED Shop Lights Do I Need?

As I mentioned earlier there were nine fluorescent shop lights in my workshop. I replaced all nine 4ft fluorescent lights with nine 4ft LED shop lights.

Installing nine LED lights in my small 10×13 workshop was probably overkill. I probably could have installed fewer LED lights because the LEDs are significantly brighter than fluorescent lights.

But here’s the way I looked at it. I take a lot of photos in my shop to show you the building process of my DIY projects, so I would prefer to have as much light as I can get.

How Do I Space LED Shop Lights?

There were five fluorescent lights on one side of my shop and four fluorescent lights spaced evenly between those five lights on the other side of the shop.

I replaced the LED shop lights in the exact same position as the fluorescent lights. The light feels balanced and I would space the lights in this pattern if I had been starting from scratch.

Are LED Shop Lights Worth It?

The initial investment in one LED shop light fixture can sometimes be more than the initial cost of one fluorescent light fixture and the bulbs needed for that fixture. For me, the extra investment for LED shop lights is worth it.

LED shop lights turn on immediately, they are quiet, there are no bulbs to change and they were easy to install. Plus, the best part is LED shop lights are brighter than fluorescent shop lights. The brighter lights make it more enjoyable to work in my shop and make my small workshop feel bigger.

Final Thoughts

LED shop lights turn on immediately, are quiet, much brighter compared to fluorescent shop lights and easy to install.

Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott


  1. Scott I just replace the lamps in my fixtures and it was a lot cheaper than buying new fixtures and lamps. It does not take long to replace them. You by past the ballast and just hook to the sockets as direct my manufactory of the lamps.

  2. Another thing is missing, the lifespan of LED lights will be a lot shorter with powersurges. Make sure you have no surges in the circuit even when turning your power hungry tools on otherwise you will have to replace a lot more frequent

  3. What do optometrists say about how LEDs affect your eyes? I was told that LEDs are a cause of macular degeneration.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I always advise consulting with a professional when it comes to any project, so I would encourage you to discuss LED lights with your optometrist if you have any concerns about using them.

  4. I have 3 different brands of LED lights between the garage, workbench in the spare room, and the workshop. I can’t listen to a radio with the lights on. Too much static. It goes away the second I turn the switch off. I’ve heard it’s because the LEDs are cheap chinese but some of these lights are more expensive. Any solutions?

    1. Hi Al – Thank you for stopping by. I wish I had a solution for you. I’ve used both an AM/FM radio and a Bluetooth speaker in my workshop and I haven’t had an issue with static. Have you tried contacting the manufacturer of your lights about this issue?


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