Just a two sentence update – The now 4 year-old LED garage shoplights have been working perfectly so far, so if you have not jumped onto the LED shoplight bandwagon, I suggest you do it soon. They are so much better than the old dim fluorescent lights.
I have been slowly converting almost all of my home lighting to LED sources. Now, while there are some things you have to get used to compared to incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, the many advantages tilt the scales for me in favor of making the switch. Read on if you want to see how I vastly improved my garage workspace.
Costco has been selling a “shop light” replacement fixture that uses LED “bulbs” for around $40 and it really works well in all respects. A metal and plastic fixture, with two bulbs” that looks and feels just like the old fluorescent equivalent. EXCEPT, it’s much lighter, much brighter, and much cheaper to run than the typical old shop light fixture. Not long ago, I saw these exact units online for $80 plus shipping. These come with a nice cord attached, and mounting hardware in the box consisting of two hanging cables that clip into the plastic ends of the fixture, and two plated screws.
I carefully researched the variety of 4 foot LED conversion bulbs that are becoming more commonly available. They are meant to replace the bulbs in your existing shop light fixtures, and provide you with the benefits of LED lighting. But, there are a few pitfalls, as some require rewiring your existing fixtures to eliminate the ballast, others that boast “direct replacement” only work with certain electronic ballasts, and still others have narrow beam angles. Still, if you have nice quality fixtures, just replacing the bulbs might be a good option, if you are willing to do the research and the additional labor. Just be sure to read the details before you commit to a bunch of bulbs that are going to cost you around $15 each for the least expensive ones I found. Although I did not order from them, it seems that the online retailer, BEES Lighting, (beeslighting.com) has a great selection and is among the best organized places to do comparisons between the many options.
So, At this price, the Costco fixtures made by FEIT Lighting are a great deal. They come on within a half of a second of throwing the switch, full bright instantly, without regard to temperature. And, they make my garage sparkle.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this technology will get better and cheaper in the future, but for right now, in my opinion, these lights are hard to beat.
UPDATE 6/23/2015 – Since the Costco deal has expired, I have found a different brand of very nice lights at Sam’s Club, for just a few more dollars. They have a pull chain switch mounted on them and very nice sturdy housings. Also, they claim to be a little brighter than the FEIT fixtures. So bought one and installed it over the washer /dryer. WOW! this is a really nice fixture and sheds a a lot of very “white” light. I’m giving this one a “10” for ease of installation, the really nice pull chain switch, and the amount of clean white light it produces. I can’t detect any flicker, RFI, or significant heat. A winner!
UPDATE 8/13/2017 – Two old but very serviceable desk lamps that I have on my computer desk used the 13W fluorescent tubes that shed a yellowish and often flickering light. You know the type, I’m sure, equipped with a 2 pin plug -in plastic end. I ordered a pair of replacement LED “conversion” bulbs from Amazon recently, and they arrived a few days ago. The instructions required that I remove the large “wall-wart” ballast form the ends of the cords of the original lamps and replace them with a regular wall plug. (CAUTION – if you don’t feel comfortable replacing the wall-wart with a regular two-prong wall plug, or feel squeamish about cutting the end of the cord off your lamp, don’t attempt this LED conversion. DO NOT, though, in any case attempt to use the new LED replacement bulbs without rewiring the lamp to eliminate the ballast!! Heat, possibly fire, and destroying your new LED bulbs may result!)
Once converted, the lamps are 10 times better than before. For about $14, these lamps have found a new life. Clean white light, no flicker, and instant on. This is a terrific conversion solution in my opinion. Search Amazon for “Bonlux 2-pack 6W GX23 2-Pin LED PL Retrofit Lamp 13W” or item number “B01JGFAH9I”