garage lighting

How Many Lumens Do I Need For My Garage Lights?


Garage lights have become popular as garages are used for more than just parking cars. Homeowners use garages for workshops, storage, and hobbies, requiring better lighting for safety and functionality. Advances in energy-efficient lighting, like LEDs, have also made garage lights more attractive. The number of lumens needed for your garage depends on its size and how you use the space. Here's a guideline to help you determine the appropriate garage lighting:

What is lumen?

A lumen is a unit of measurement for the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source. It's a key metric for determining the brightness of a light. Here's a simple breakdown:

Definition: A lumen (lm) measures the amount of light that is visible to the human eye from a light source.

Purpose: It helps quantify the brightness of a light, making it easier to compare different light sources.


Importance of Lumens

Brightness Comparison: Lumens provide a standard way to compare the brightness of different lighting options, regardless of the type of bulb (LED, incandescent, etc.).

Energy Efficiency: Knowing the lumens helps in choosing energy-efficient lights. For instance, LED bulbs provide more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs, making them more efficient.

Determining Lumens for Garage Lighting

Step 1: Measure Your Garage

  • Calculate the total square footage of your garage by multiplying its length by its width.
  • Example: For a standard two-car garage, typically 20 feet by 20 feet:
  • Total square footage = 20 ft x 20 ft = 400 square feet.

Step 2: General Lighting Requirements

  • General Illumination: For adequate visibility and safety, a common recommendation is 50 lumens per square foot.
  • Example: For a 400-square-foot garage:
  • Required lumens = 400 sq ft x 50 lumens/sq ft = 20,000 lumens.

Step 3: Task Lighting Requirements

  • Task-Specific Illumination: For areas where detailed tasks are performed, such as workbenches, higher illumination is needed, around 300 to 500 lumens per square foot.
  • Example: For a 5x5 foot workbench area (25 square feet):
  • Required lumens = 25 sq ft x 300-500 lumens/sq ft = 7,500 to 12,500 lumens.
Incandescent lamp

Calculation Example:

  • General Lighting for a 20x20 foot Garage:
  • 400 sq ft x 50 lumens/sq ft = 20,000 lumens.
  • Additional Task Lighting for a 5x5 foot Workbench:
  • 25 sq ft x 300-500 lumens/sq ft = 7,500 to 12,500 lumens.

Total Lumens Required:

  • General lighting: 20,000 lumens
  • Task lighting: 7,500 to 12,500 lumens
  • Total lumens needed: 27,500 to 32,500 lumens

Tips for Choosing the Right Garage Lights:

  1. Type of Light Fixtures
  • LED Lights: Prefer LED lights because they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and provide bright, consistent lighting.
  • Fluorescent Lights: These are also a good option for general lighting, though less efficient than LEDs.
  • Incandescent or Halogen Lights: These are not recommended due to lower efficiency and higher energy costs.
  1. Number of Fixtures
  • Distribute the required lumens across multiple fixtures to ensure even garage lighting.
  • Example: If each LED fixture provides 4,000 lumens, for 20,000 lumens, you will need 5 fixtures (20,000 ÷ 4,000 = 5).
  1. Placement of Fixtures
  • Ceiling Mounted: For general garage lighting, install fixtures on the ceiling, evenly spaced to cover the entire garage area.
  • Task Lighting: Install additional fixtures directly above workbenches or specific areas where focused light is needed.
  1. Adjustable and Dimmable Options
  • Adjustable Fixtures: Use fixtures with adjustable heads to direct light where it’s most needed.
  • Dimmable Lights: Consider dimmable lights to adjust brightness based on your activity and preference.
LED lights
  1. Color Temperature
  • Choose a color temperature that suits your needs:
  • Cool White (5000K-6500K): Ideal for garage lighting and work areas, providing bright, clear light.
  • Warm White (2700K-3000K): More suitable for ambient lighting if a warmer, more relaxing light is preferred.


To properly illuminate your garage, assess the total square footage and determine the required lumens based on general and task-specific lighting needs. Opt for energy-efficient LED lights, distribute them evenly, and consider additional adjustable and dimmable options for optimal garage lighting conditions. This comprehensive approach ensures a well-lit, safe, and functional garage space.

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