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shed lighting

What Is The Best Shed Lighting?

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The best shed lighting is determined by your shed purpose, type of lighting you desire and the cost of your shed lighting.  You may want natural light, artificial light or a combination of both.  If you choose artificial light, then should it be battery powered, solar powered or do you get an electrician to wire your shed?  Furthermore, should the shed lighting be LED, fluorescent or incandescent?  The possibilities are numerous so read more to find the best tips for shed lighting.

What Is The Best Shed Lighting? – General Information

There are many options in regards to shed lighting.  Understanding the characteristics of light and the difference between natural and artificial light will help you make the right choice for your shed.  Some light is good for woodworking and others may be good for a greenhouse shed.  Furthermore, if you have a small lean to shed then a battery powered LED may be all that is needed.

Natural Light

Natural light is just like it seems.  It is the natural light from the outside.  If you are going to choose to have natural light for your shed, then you need to think of a few things.  First, is the shed in a spot that will allow in the sunlight?  Building your shed in a remote corner of your yard that has lots of trees would prevent you from getting a lot of sunlight into your shed.  Furthermore, if you live in a cold climate with snow and you rely on skylights then you may not get much sunlight into your shed during the winter months.  So you have to choose your natural light options with location and climate in mind.

Artificial Light

Artificial light is primarily light from any source other than the outdoor lighting.  The options here are vast and include incandescent, fluorescent and LED.  Therefore, you should know the different characteristics of light to help you determine which light source is best for your shed.  Here is a breakdown of the characteristics of light to help with your decision.

Brightness

Brightness is measured in lumens.  More lumens in a bulb equals a brighter bulb.  It is the characteristic of how much light the bulb will emit.  Sheds that are a retreat or home office may want light that has lower lumens whereas a workshop may need higher lumens.  Will the shed have a low lit ambience or will it need to be bright so you can see everything possible?

Energy Efficiency

Just think of the cost and lifespan of the bulb when considering this characteristic.  You can check the energy efficiency of a bulb by noticing how many watts of energy the bulb will use and also the lifespan of the bulb.  Both of these are typically listed on the package.  Increase in energy usage equals an increase in the cost of your shed lighting.

Color

The color of light can be a difficult thing to consider for some people.  The color of light is basically the warmth of a light.  Some lights have a more whitish color while others are more on the scale of yellow or red.  All light has color and it is dependent on the light source and wavelength of the light.  A full understanding of light and color is a bit much for this post, but you can check out more information at Sylvania.

Watts

The watts of a light bulb is the amount of energy the light bulb uses.  This is what you are charged for by the electric company.  Therefore you can have an incandescent 60 watt light bulb that emits 800 lumens or a 15 watt LED light bulb that will emit 800 lumens.  Both will give you the same brightness of light (800 lumens) but the LED will use less energy from the electric company or battery source.  If you are running your shed lighting with solar or battery power, then evaluate your watt usage as you will have a limited supply of electricity.

Lumens

Lumens is the amount of light you get from your light source.  It is measured in a term called one foot-candle.  This is the amount of light that is measured one foot from the center of the flame of a candle.   Therefore, in our example above, the light bulbs are emitting 800 lumens so it is the equivalent of 800 candles providing the source of light for each bulb.

 

What Is The Best Shed Lighting? – Natural Light Options

Windows

Windows are great and every shed should have windows.  This will allow in some natural light and it can also be opened to help with ventilation, which I discussed on a previous post here.  Most shed plans will have a windows in the design of the shed.  If you do not have windows in your design, then you can add them to your plans.  You can check out my post on windows here.

Should the windows be double paned or single paned?  Double paned windows provide more insulation for your shed but are more costly.

Should you have a window screen?  I recommend a window screen to keep out bugs if you are going to open the window to help with ventilation.

Installation is easy as it will be in the building process of the shed.  Make sure you look at many different shed options and shed plans so you can choose the right plan with the right amount of windows.  There are many options when it comes to windows and Amazon has a nice shed window with a screen and free shipping.

Skylights

Skylights are a great option when it comes to allowing in natural light.  They too can be used for ventilation if you get a vented skylight.  The size of the skylight will be determined by the size of your shed.  Larger sheds will have larger skylights.  Smaller sheds will have smaller skylights.  However, each skylight will let in the right amount of light when you match the size of your skylight with the size of your shed.

Skylights that are used for ventilation can be opened either manually or powered.  If they are manual, then you will have to crank them open and shut when you want to add ventilation.  Powered skylights are easier and some will have a thermostat that will automatically open and shut the skylight as needed to maintain the right temperature.  You can check out my post on shed ventilation for a more detailed description of these lights as used for ventilation.  You can check out the many options of skylights on Amazon here.

Cupola

If you are not sure what a cupola is, then you are not alone.  A cupola is dome like figure that is on top of many barns or sheds.  It allows in sunlight and again can also be used for ventilation.

Installation of a cupola can be done at the time of building your shed or there are kits that can be purchased and installed after the shed is already built.  Below is a nice video showing the installation of a cupola.

Door windows

Not all shed doors are the closed off bolted shut doors.  There are many shed doors that have window panes that allow in some light.  I think that this is a great way of getting some light in your shed.  It you are in a cold climate, then the shed door will most likely be shut for the better part of 4 months or more.  Therefore, allowing in some natural light through the door is a nice option if you have to keep the door shut.

 

What Is The Best Shed Lighting? – Artificial Light Options

Incandescent light

An incandescent light bulb is the typical light bulb we have all used over the years.  It is a glass or quartz bulb that has a wire filament inside.  The electric current heats up the filament and allows it to glow, thus producing light.  The characteristics color and brightness of the incandescent bulb can vary.  Therefore, it will allow you to choose the right bulb for your area.  These bulbs are cheaper but don’t last as long as the others, you can see the many options to purchase at Amazon here.

Fluorescent Light

This type of lighting is different than incandescent light because it is produced differently.  Fluorescent light is a chemical reaction between gases in a glass tube.  It produces invisible UV light.  It typically uses less watts than incandescent and can produce a bright light.  The bulbs last longer than the incandescent but the characteristics of the light is different also.  There are many options with bulbs that are elongated or round depending on your needs.  See the options here.

LED light

LED bulbs provide light by light emitting diodes or LED.  The mechanism of light production has to do with light emitting diodes that convert electricity to light by movement of electrons.  However, for our purposes of shed lighting we will not get too technical.  The thing to remember is that LEDs are 300% more efficient than fluorescent lights and 1,000% more efficient than incandescent lights.  They do not get hot to the touch, last much longer and do not attract bugs like fluorescent lights.  There are many variations with LEDs and you can check them out here.

One last thing about LED lights is the LED Strips.  The LED strips are a nice feature to add to a room.  It allows some nice lighting that is in the form of a light rope.  You can put the strip of lights around the perimeter of a room or porch and it provides a mood light for the area.  Nexlux makes a well reviewed kit that can be controlled by your phone or Alexa.

Wired Electric Powered Lights

The shed is built and you have electricity run to your shed.  You made the decision to go the route of electric in the shed for many reasons.  Now you have many more options for lighting and I will run down the basic options below.

Ceiling Light

Basic ceiling light.  The basic ceiling light fixture for most sheds is the typical connector for an incandescent bulb.  I have a rather large shed that has multiple of these installed on the rafters and they work great.  I don’t do any woodworking in that shed, but the shed is mainly for storage so I do not need a lot of light.  It provides a lot of light and I can change the bulb from incandescent to fluorescent or now LED.  It can also be mounted on the wall as a wall light.  To see these on Amazon you can check it out here or options below.

Fluourescent Light Options.  There are many options when it comes to fluorescent lighting.  Most of these are mounted on the ceiling or as a hanging light over a workbench.  You can purchase a rounded fluorescent bulb also but I do not recommend the rounded light bulbs as there is a delay to get light when you turn them on.  However, over a work bench I think a hanging fluorescent light fixture is perfect.  You can see the options below.  Installation is relatively easy and they use less electricity than incandescent.

Solar Powered Light

The shed is built and you may have wired electricity in your shed but you want solar powered lights to keep the electrical cost down.  However, you may have a shed built without electricity and decide to rely primarily on solar powered lights.  My recommendation is to get electricity run to your shed in case you decide to put in equipment or anything that would require electricity that your solar power could not provide.

Installation of solar power would require your shed to be in an area with a good amount of sunlight.  Solar panel installation will need to be installed with the proper flashing for protection from leaks.  Inside of the shed there needs to be a place to hold the batteries and equipment for electrical storage.  Furthermore, make sure you ground your system properly.  Home depot has a nice video below showing the entire process from start to finish.

Now that you have solar power you can install any light fixtures that you desire.  Make sure the watts required for your lights can be provided by your solar power.  If the watts required for your lights are higher than your solar system can provide, then you will need to look to a wired electrical source.

For the perimeter of your shed there are nice wall lights and path lights that are solar powered and will add a nice decorative touch to your shed.  You can see options below.

Battery Powered light

The last option with lighting would be battery powered lights.  As an alternative to solar and wired electric lights are battery powered lights.  These lights are the typical puck lights that are run by AA or AAA batteries.  You turn on the lights by pressing down on the light and you turn them off the same way.

Some of these lights are turned off and on by motion sensors.  Installation is extremely easy with either a single or double screw placed where you want the light.  Then the light hangs on those screws.  Some even have adhesive backing that will allow you stick the light where you want with no screws or nails.   Some of the options are listed below.

Timer switch

To save electricity costs you could install a timer switch to your shed lighting.  Extremely easy to install and can save you a lot on your electrical costs.  If you have lamps or lights that are plugged into an electrical outlet, then you can plug in a timer switch into that outlet and then plug your light source into the timer switch.  I have two of these for my home and have them scheduled to come every day around 4 PM and go off at night at 12AM.   There are many options from Amazon below depending on your needs.

What Is The Best Shed Lighting? – Shed Types

Shed Gym

A shed gym will need to be a bright place to do workouts.  No need for dim lights.  I recommend a series of fluorescent light panels throughout the ceiling.  The shed gym will need full electricity wired to run the equipment and lighting.  I do not believe solar power or battery power would be a great option.  You can check out my post on Why Build A Shed Gym here for further reading.  Below are some options for shed gym lighting.

Cigar Shed/ Man Cave

A cigar shed will be very similar to a shed gym because it will be more of a man cave.  You will need power for ventilation and for the television and stereo equipment.  Also, the lighting in the shed may require a hanging light if you have a pool table.  The cigar shed will definitely need electrical power that cannot be supplied by solar power alone.

The lighting should be a warm inviting light and I recommend incandescent bulbs as they have a warmer light.  A dimmer switch would be perfect to set the mood and a timer switch with lamps throughout the shed would be perfect.  For a full understanding of How To Build A Cigar Shed read my post hereBelow are some recommendations for a cigar shed lighting.

Potting Shed

A potting shed can use either solar power or wired electric.  It really depends on how often and how long your are in the potting shed.  If you are using the potting shed like a small greenhouse, then you will want wired electric to keep the grow lights running.  You definitely will want fluorescent grow lights and most likely a fluorescent light over the potting table or workbench.  Some recommendations are noted below.

Lean To Shed

This is a small shed, but it does need a light source.  You could get away with just some natural light by adding a window or skylight.  However, a small motion activated battery light would do the trick since this shed is like a larger closet.

Workshop Shed

A workshop shed can be any style of shed that you outfitted for a workshop.  Think about what type of work space you need and your electrical requirements.  I would recommend a wired shop if you are using a lot of power equipment and power tools.

Therefore, your lighting can be a mix of options but most will have the fluorescent light over your workbench and even some natural lighting with a skylight and windows.  I would mix in some ceiling lighting with protected ceiling lights and incandescent bulbs to add a warmer color to the lighting.  Outdoor lighting around the shed is a nice decorative option and can be solar powered to keep the electrical cost down.  My recommendations from Amazon are below.

What Is The Best Shed Lighting – Conclusion

The best shed lighting is determined by many factors and decisions that you will have to make.  This includes the type of light you desire, the cost of the lighting and the purpose of your shed.

  • Do you want Natural light, Artificial light or a combination of both?  If Natural light then pick your combination of skylight, windows or cupola.
  • If you desire Artificial light, then you have to pick your electrical source.  Wired electric, Solar powered or Battery powered?
  • Solar Power leads you to more construction and some limitations on your lighting depending on your wattage need for lighting and electrical need for your equipment.
  • Solar powered wall lights and landscape lighting around your shed is also an option and will have no electrical cost.
  • Battery powered would be for a small shed, such as a lean to shed, and there are many battery powered options.  These include battery powered puck lights or closet lights.  They can be push activated or motion sensor activated.
  • Wired electric opens up all the possibilities with shed lighting such as fluorescent, incandescent or LED lighting.

The purpose of your shed will be the final determining factor for your shed lighting options.  I recommend a mix of natural and artificial light.  Stick to a plan and evaluate the type of light, cost of lighting and purpose of your shed to get the best shed lighting available.

All The Best,

JB

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