When it comes to woodworking and creating DIY projects at home, you must have the best lighting to be able to get the job done. Without proper lighting, you might find yourself making improper cuts or measurements or perhaps even reaching for the wrong tool and not realizing it.
If you don’t have good lighting, don’t blame us when you can’t tell the difference between a scroll saw and bandsaw in your workspace! When it comes to working with woodwork, it’s not necessarily about the brand of light or a specific light that you find but rather about the type of light and how ideal the light it provides is.
In this guide, we will walk you through the best options for wood shop lighting in an effort to help you know your options. We aren’t sharing product reviews here but rather talking about lighting styles and placement to give you some valuable ideas.
Why is Good Lighting So Important?
Why is it that good lighting is so important in your woodworking shop? It’s not just about the ability to have more accurate and more precise work, there are several reasons that good lighting is a must when you are working with wood and tools.
Here are a few with a brief description.
- Eye strain. If your lights are not good lights that produce enough light, you will strain your eyes. This could lead to tired eyes, headaches, and imperfect pieces because you simply couldn’t see well.
- Accuracy. Accuracy is kind of a given here. If you can’t see, you can’t mark or cut accurately and you could end up with mistakes or even a ruined project. From marking to measuring to cutting to assembling, good light is critical.
- Glaring. If you have the wrong type of lighting or even too bright lighting, you could end up dealing with awful glares while you work. The glare might affect your overall work as well as accuracy.
- Safety. Safety is probably one of the main reasons to have good woodworking lights. You’re most likely working with power tools and equipment like various saws that have sharp blades. Safety is utterly essential and proper lighting is part of that element.
- Color visibility. Finally, proper lighting will help to clearly see colors you are working with and not make color mistakes that are hard to correct. If two colors are close in shade, it’s easy to choose the wrong one and not realize it until you are in better light or until it dries.
These things should provide enough evidence to encourage you to seek out good lighting options. So what exactly is good lighting? Good lighting very well may depend on your preferences and your setup but there are some key things to consider.
When it comes to lighting, you will find that most lights fall into three categories.
- Soft, warm white light
- Neutral white light
- Cool white, daylight light
These categories are measured in Kelvin units and have specific ranges. For woodworking, you want more light. If you can create a daylight effect with lighting, this is ideal. If you can, choose lighting that falls into cool white, daylight light as a category. Lights in this category measure between 5000K and 6500K on the scale.
Ultimately, you can choose from either LED lights or fluorescent lights in your workshop.
Fluorescent lights are placed inside of a glass tube. The tube actually contains chemicals that create light when they react. The chemicals use a variety of gases as well as mercury vapor. When they interact, illumination occurs.
This interaction illuminates phosphor powder coating to emit fluorescent lighting. These lights are often considered harsh but when it comes to woodworking, that means they are nice and bright for the cause.
Unfortunately, fluorescent lighting is quickly becoming obsolete as LED lights take center stage. These lights require a ballast which can actually make the use of these lights rather complex. The tubes or bulbs for light are very fragile and can be hard to change.
Finally, using fluorescent lights becomes higher in cost over time. And disposing of these lights when they are no longer viable is also difficult. You cannot simply throw them in the trash because of the mercury in them.
When compared to LED lighting, there are clear advantages to this category. LED lights are also known as Light Emitting Diode. In these, there are terminals in two places and they conduct electricity in only one direction.
LED lights are not as harsh as fluorescent lighting but are equally and sometimes more bright than them. This technology is new and is really considered an improvement when compared to past technology.
It is more costly to install LED lighting up front. The parts and installation does cost more initially but over time, it will most likely save you money. LED bulbs tend to be more energy-efficient, which is where most of your savings will be found.
In addition, when placed properly, LED lighting can be positioned in patterns or specific settings to provide you the best lighting that you might need for your space. This leads to increased light where you need it and still bright, daylight lighting.
LED lighting tends to last much longer than fluorescent lighting. It’s not as hot to operate as there is no heat distributed by the light. Overall, it’s a user-friendly approach that really pays off in the end.
Best Woodworking Lights for 2021 Summary
In closing, when it comes to having the best woodworking lighting in your workshop, we recommend using LED lighting. However, if you have fluorescent lighting equipped or set up, this makes good and reliable lighting as well.
If you are establishing lighting or updating your lighting, you will want to make sure you choose proper placement to provide the most light for your work. Lights should be spaced appropriately depending on work stations and areas, and you won’t want to place them too close to the walls.
Remember that the better your lighting, the better your woodworking will be!