We’ve all been there, fiddling around with something in our dark garages with chores being made all the more difficult (or dangerous) as we struggle with inadequate lighting for the task at hand. If anything hurts worse than hammering your own thumb, it is only having poor lighting be to blame. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to stop struggling to see and invest in some quality task lighting for your garage. Adding task lighting to your current garage set-up can be accomplished easily and often at no great expense. Sounds great!
But what exactly is task lighting, you may ask?
In short, task lighting can be any lighting specifically suited to whatever tasks (or jobs) you may need to do in your garage. This is usually supplemental, brighter light that can be provided by portable lamps or more permanent lighting options. Examples that most people are probably familiar with included desk lamps, swing arm lamps, under counter lights, pendant lights, vanity lights, and directional recessed lighting.
All types of task lighting will allow you to do detailed and intricate work while reducing the risk of eye strain or other injury. In this article we’ll look at specific types of task lighting that are suitable for different types of common garage-related work, how best to utilize them, and some of our top picks for each category.
What Type of Task Lighting is Right for Me?
Depending on the task at hand, be it laundry, shopwork, car maintenance, or something else entirely, your own needs for garage task lighting will be dependent upon your space and existing lighting options. However, there are some specific types of task lighting that are useful to employ if you regularly undertake any of the previously mentioned tasks. Below we will look at some examples of different task lighting, where to best place them in your garage, and what sorts of work they may be best suited for.
Directional Recessed or Track Lighting
Directional lighting—of either the recessed or track variety—is the first type of task lighting that we will look at. While this type of task lighting can be the most labor intensive to install, it’s well worth considering for how all-encompassing its utility can be for a variety of jobs you may commonly undertake in your garage. This is because, once installed, directional lighting can be easily adjusted to minimize shadow or other lighting issues, no matter how much your garage setup may change. Directional lighting can be used to provide a spotlight for chores that otherwise occupy your hands, like doing laundry or accessing garage storage; it is less suitable for tasks that require a close and direct source of light.
The Best Directional Track Lighting Fixture:
DLLT Modern Ceiling Spotlights
This directional track lighting fixture from Dingli Lighting is great for both its versatility and value. The fixture has three directional spotlights that can be adjusted with 330 degrees of motion, which is great for getting light to any troublesome dark spots your garage may have. The central lamp also provides additional light for your garage. Installation is as easy as fixing the bracket to the ceiling and the fixture comes with all parts needed to do so.
The Best Directional Recessed Lighting Fixture:
4-inch Gimbal Eyeball Directional Downlight (4-pack)
Having an overhead light fixture that is as flush to your ceiling as possible is a great advantage; this is especially true if you are constantly moving tall or awkwardly shaped items around your garage that might snag other lower-hanging fixtures. This fixture from LED Energy Plus is a great option due to the ease with which it can be retrofitted into your garage’s existing overhead lighting. To install you simply connect the wiring from your old lighting fixture to this new one using the included junction box. Making the switch could provide you an up to 85% energy savings!
Desk and Swing Arm Lamps
You are probably familiar with swing arm lamps—in fact, you may already have one kicking around your house—as they are one of the most commonly used types of desk lamps. Easily recognizable by their adjustable arms, these types of lamps are ideal for intricate jobs as they can be easily maneuvered around to highlight whatever you happen to be working on. If you commonly undertake tasks such as woodworking, tinkering, soldering, sewing, or other shopwork, a swing arm or desk lamp can be a good investment for your garage’s workspace.
The Best Swing Arm Lamp:
Globe Electric 32″ Architect Swing-Arm Clamp-On Lamp
We like this swing arm lamp more than others for a couple of reasons. The first aspect we like is the lamps length. At 32-inches it provides ample size for maneuverability and can easily extend itself, even over larger projects. The second feature that helps this lamp from Globe Electric stand out is its integral clamp. The ability to clamp this lamp onto the edge of most desks or tables makes it ideally portable (and it helps free up additional workspace too!) especially when compared to other types of task lighting.
Under Counter Lights
Under counter lights are great for providing additional light in normally dark spaces, such as cabinets and storage areas. These lights can be easily installed, and many versions run on battery power, which means they won’t require a direct connection to an outlet. While having to change batteries when they run out can be a pain, this is an infrequent annoyance thanks to the long-lasting LEDs that are typically used.
The Best Under Counter Lights:
Brilliant Evolution LED Puck Light (6-pack)
Puck lights are circular in shape and are a very popular choice as under counter lights. These LED lights from Brilliant Evolution are great for their long-lasting run time between battery swaps, reportedly over 100 hours per set of AA batteries. The fact that they come in a six pack means that you will have plenty to use in your garage and may even have a couple extra to stick in that one dark closet no one wants to use.
Everyone has seen pendant light at some point in their lives—even if they didn’t know that was what they were looking at—as they are ubiquitous part of home and bar decor. Next time you’re in a hip bar, look up. More often than not you will notice the soft warm glow of their irregularly shaped incandescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling; these are pendant lights. Pendant lights can be great for hanging over your workstation in a garage to provide extra brightness. If you find yourself tinkering with your car’s engine, or DIY projects in your garage, the spotlight a pendant light provides might be right for you.
The Best Pendant Lights:
15-Foot Extension Pendant Light by Simple Deluxe
Utilitarian in style, these pendant lights are featured because they require no real installation, as they can be simply plugged into any standard wall-outlet or even an extension cord. While these fixtures won’t win any beauty contests—they do provide 15-feet of cord length—which helps to ensure you’ll be able to get the light exactly where and how you need it over your workspace.
A vanity light may seem like a fixture that is better suited for your house’s bedroom or bathroom, but they can actually be very handy in a garage setting as well. This is for two main reasons: First vanity lights normally have a mirror component to them, which makes it easier to view the back of any fiddly or delicate projects you may be working on. The second reason is that they can provide consistent and direct light straight to your workspace, but from a horizontal source instead of a typical overhead light.
The Best Vanity Lights:
These LED vanity lights are recommended for their easy installation and value. The only downside they have is that they don’t come with a mirror, but this means you can easily customize them to a mirror that best suits your space. With over 10-feet of bright LED lights, this fixture will provide more than adequate light for any situation. The best part is that these lights are easily applied to any mirror using the adhesive applied on their backside. Just be sure that you have them placed how you will want them, as once they are stuck on, they are really stuck on!
And there you have it, our top picks for task lighting you can use around your garage. We hope you have enjoyed learning about task lighting and how you can best utilize it in your own garage space. Want more advice on how to get the most out of your garage space? Be sure to keep it tuned to The Garage Junkie for even more helpful tips that will help turn your garage into your own Shangri-La in no time!