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What is the best lighting for workshops?

Whether it is a DIY project, bicycle repair or carpentry work: good lighting is essential for working in your in-house workshop! It should both be sufficient in brightness, as well as efficient in energy consumption. Modern LED technology combines these qualities – and it also protects your wallet. We give you some helpful advice for using LED lighting in your workshop.

Illuminated bycicle wheel in workshop
iStock.com/ dusanpetkovic

The most important information at a glance:

  • Use LED lighting: you save energy costs and benefit from a long lifespan as well as protective features
  • Provide bright basic lighting (at least 500 lx)
  • Illuminate work surfaces separately and brightly
  • Pay attention to a cool colour temperature (4,000 K or 6,500 K), low glare and high color rendering
  • Perfect for basements, attics or garages: Waterproof LED battens or LEDs with IP65 level (protected from dust and water)

Why LED lighting?

LED technology offers many advantages compared to conventional lamps such as fluorescent tubes or halogen lamps. You consume up to 70% less energy and thus save electricity costs. In addition, maintenance and replacement costs are eliminated thanks to their longer lifespan. In contrast to halogens, whose reflector gets very warm, you cannot burn yourself with LEDs. Thus, you will not be disturbed by painful contact during your work in the workshop. LED lighting is also flicker-free, which makes it much more user-friendly than fluorescent tubes and does not cause any side effects such as eye irritation or migraines. For general well-being and health, LED lights are highly recommended – so, replace your old lamps today!

Basic lighting for the workshop

No matter what room your workshop is in: there should always be good basic lighting with sufficient light intensity. In particular for a workshop in the basement or garage, where there is little natural daylight, brightness of artificial lighting is essential. To ensure both visual performance and visual comfort, the lighting level should be at least 500 lux illuminance according to the European standard NEN 12464-1. For basic lighting, you can use a LED downlight, a LED panel or one or two LED tubes in the middle of the room.


More information on the EU standard and on lux and lumen values can be found ​​in our blog articles The European standard NEN 12464-1 in a few key points and What is lumen?

Which lamps for which areas?

Work surfaces should best be illuminated separately and with a brighter illuminance (higher number of lumens). So you can easily do fine work that requires special attention and therefore a lot of light. LED wall lights ideally serve this purpose because they do not take up space on the workbench. Alternatively, you can set up a table or floor lamp, for example with an E27 or E14 LED bulb. Clip lights also offer flexible lighting that you can attach to a wall shelf or table edge if necessary.

If wall cabinets are available, it is advisable to attach under-cabinet lights. This ensures you see enough when you work on the workbench. You can also use indirect light by means of LED strips: You can shorten the energy-efficient strips as required and attach them where you need them. Moreover, you can use mobile flashlights to illuminate hard-to-reach places, e.g. in car repairs. Bright, swiveling LED spotlights are also popular for workshop lighting. This allows light to shine from different directions to where it is needed.

LED Undercabinet Lights

LED Undercabinet Lights

LED Strips

LED Strips

 LED Spotlight bulbs

LED Spotlight bulbs

Glare rating, colour temperature and colour rendering

In order not to impair the visual performance, no reflections should form on workpieces or tools. Luminaires or lamps should therefore be glare-free with UGR <19. You can find more information on this topic in our article How do I choose the right beam angle?

The light color Cool White (4,000 K) is suitable for workshop lighting. It supports concentration and productive work. When there is little or no natural daylight, e.g. in the basement, use LEDs in Daylight (6,500 K). The cool blue light also stimulates concentration and keeps you awake.

When it comes to detailed work, for example when measuring components or marking holes, a high color rendering of 90-99 Ra should be guaranteed. The colours of illuminated objects are rendered naturally and intensely, which makes your work much easier.


  • UGR<19
  • 6,500 K - Daylight
  • Energy savings: up to 70%


LED tubes

  • 6,500 K - Daylight
  • different lengths
  • Replaces up to 80 W

LED GU10 spots

LED spotlights

  • highest colour rendering
  • 4,000 K - Cool White
  • Energy savings: up to 90%

Protection and safety

The lighting in a workshop is sometimes exposed to strong external influences and should have protective devices. This is particularly beneficial for use in the basement, garage, attic or garden shed. A lamp with an IP65 protection level is recommended for the basement or attic. This protects the light source from water jets from any angle, as well as ingress of dust.

Waterproof LED battens, which you can attach to the ceiling of your workshop, also offer good protection against moisture. If it might get a bit shaky while doing handicrafts, you don't have to worry: LEDs are insensitive to vibrations. If you have concerns about the installation on high ceilings (e.g. in the attic), LED tubes with splinter protection or a cover made of polycarbonate are ideal for your lighting plans. Polycarbonate is a particularly unbreakable plastic that gives your lamp additional stability.


Make sure that no lamp cables are distributed across the floor. You might quickly trip over these pitfalls and endanger your safety!

Product recommendations

Noxion LED-batten waterproof

Noxion LED Batten Waterproof Pro 150cm 4000K 6600lm | GRP

  • 4,000 K - Cool White
  • IP66: water and dust protected
  • Replaces 2x58W

Philips LEDtube EM UO

Philips LEDtube EM UO 24W 865 150cm (MASTER Value) | Daylight - incl. LED Starter - Replaces 58W

  • Ultra Output (3.700 lm)
  • Polycarbonate cover
  • Lifespan: 50.000 hours

Osram SubstiTUBE Advanced UO EM 22.4W 865 150cm | Daylight - incl. LED Starter - Replaces 58W

Osram SubstiTUBE Advanced UO EM 22.4W 865 150cm | Daylight - incl. LED Starter - Replaces 58W

  • Advanced Ultra Output
  • 6,500 K - Daylight
  • Shatterproof