1978 house. Garage has two crappy spiral CFL ceiling lights on 15amp ciruit, horrible lighting in cool spectrum. Can I replace them with big fluorescent or led shop lights? I need to better lighting everywhere in the garage. Are there other good garage lighting products, like on wall so workbenches get illuminated?

Thanks ahead of time!

  • i prefer cheap (voltage-driven) LED strips for rough areas like basements and garages where i don't need a pretty fixture. Just stapling to a joist works well and they're hidden when off. You can use furrow strips or yardstick to make your own "fixtures", which are better than retail solutions. Why? An unlimited choice of LED color temp and intensity, whatever control mechanism you want, and a high-quality DC power supply of your choice. You can get all those in one high-quality unit, but it will be much more expensive.
    – dandavis
    Aug 7, 2020 at 18:54

2 Answers 2


Yes you can replace your spiral lights with 4’ fluorescent fixtures. A 15 amp circuit can handle quite a few of those 2 or 4 lamp fixtures. The average 4’ only consumes ~32w or 128w for a 4lamp fixture you could put almost a dozen of those fixtures on a 15 amp circuit.

Consider led, I convert my T8 & t12 lamps to led lamps more visible light and less power usage 15w 1800 lumens but the lamps cost 6.25 ea now.

The advantage to led is more perceived light at the given wavelength using 1/2 the power. the big kicker is LED’s usually have at least a 50000 hour life and are not affected by turning on and off.

A fluorescent tube has a shorter life and just a month after installing there is a noticeable reduction in light output of placed next to an led.

I even purchase / get for free old fixtures and put LED’s in them If you do go with LED get DLC certified 5 year warranty with DLC. Then you could put even more lights up or enjoy the savings while being able to see.


I'm a big fan of hanging shop lights, and I like the fluorescent form-factor. I get them with cords on them.

I have a very cheap way of doing that.

Fluorescent lights like that are practically being given away on Craigslist. I grab them, and swap out the ratty old magnetic ballast for a spiff new electronic ballast from a top vendor like GE, ($12-25) that is designed for T8 fluorescent tubes. Then I fit modern top-brand (Sylvania) T8 fluorescent tubes with 90 CRI, which in 36 quantity are only $2 each or so. The light quality is unbelievable and there's plenty of it. And everything in the light is first-rate and I know it'll last a long time.

While I'm at it, I also change the typically very short cord to a nice long one.

The typical tube takes 32 watts each, but if you choose a ballast factor that is higher or lower than that, just multiply by the ballast factor. I notice someone on eBay is selling GE 0.71 ballast factor programmed-start ballasts for $5 each... sweet ballasts except for being only 71% of normal brightness.

If you really want to go LED, you can do that too, but I recommend built-for-purpose LED fixtures, I am not a fan of LED replacement "tubes" for fluorescent lights. You can do that, but it's more expensive and I don't believe it's as high quality honestly. If you do that, definitely get "free-ish" fluorescent fixtures off Craigslist, and rewire them for "Direct wire" LEDs so you bypass the ballast altogether.

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