I have begun building my workshop and have settled on florescent lighting. I have read as many articles as I could on CRI recommendations and lighting temperature, types of bulbs, types of ballasts, etc. I am looking now for best quality brands of fixtures. Any thoughts
I use the $10.00 shop lights that plug in. (Two 4 foot tubes) I wired a few outlets on the ceiling that are controlled by a switch. I just hang the lights where I need them and plug them in. If I need to move, add, or replace one or two -- no problem.
I used to just buy the $6.99 POS shoplights. Now I buy the $30 ones labeled as high performance from Lowe's that use either T12 or T8 bulbs and have an electronic ballast. Don't recall the brand, but box is white, green and blue.
They have T8 34W bulbs at Lowe's which are a high CRI and put out a lot of light for about $6.99 a 2-pack. Labeled as 'daylight' bulbs. Maybe twice the light of cheap 40W T12 bulbs, less juice to run.
I also wire duplex outlets in the ceiling on switched circuits. 2 of them in a 2-car garage, one for each side. Just did my Dad's last weekend so we can rebuild his '68 Vette convertible and see what we are doing.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Unfortunately, it's hard to find both good information on what CRI to use in a given situation and information on the actual lamps as to what CRI they are. Maybe 25% of lamps seem to carry CRI info.
Electronic ballast is a good idea for low hum and low flicker, plus improved starting when cold.
One suggestion I'd make is to not marry yourself to a particular brand/style of fixture, or even the number of them. Rather, install enough boxes in the ceiling so that you can reach just about anywhere with a BX pigtail, make generic provisions for mounting the fixtures, and leave the arrangement flexible. If you need more light you can add a fixture. If you don't like one style of fixture you can change some or all of them.
Definitely consider a suspended ceiling and lots of 2'x4' 4-tube troffer fixtures on a couple of switched circuits - easy to work on, don't get dusty, and you can upgrade ballast and /or bulbs whenever.
I've got (9) units in a 22' square shop - good light, and no shadows
As far as brands go, Lithonia and Columbia are two good ones I can think of offhand but there are many others. The best places to find quality fixtures are electrical distributors or dedicated lighting stores, but I did buy some nice Lithonia 2 bulb x 48" T8 fixtures at Home Depot a while back.
Thanks Stuart. Lithonia is the brand I am considering. Hard to get good info on quality of fixtures and brand comparisons.
All fluorescent fixtures are crappy, but Lithonia fixtures are less crappy than most.
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