LED’ing the way

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It took almost a year and a half following your suggestions for the best shop lighting, but I’ve finally become a believer. I positively love my LED shop lights.

Last summer in a discussion on shop lighting, I noted that I’d decided against upgrading my shop with LEDs. The first issue was simply the high cost. Also, since a big portion of what I do in my woodshop is photography, I was concerned how “mixing” different kinds of light would affect photos. But several of you recommended LEDs so I continued looking into them. Then two things happened.

First, lower-cost LED fixtures became available. Around the same time, my ongoing research indicated that with the extensive white-balance control inherent in digital cameras my fears of LED lights affecting photography were unfounded.

Then a third thing happened – I got an unexpected check. That’s all it took to push me over the edge to make the switch, and I replaced all eight of my old two-tube fluorescent lights with LED fixtures. The long-term benefits aside, the difference was immediately apparent:

Unlike fluorescents, the light is absolutely uniform. Also unlike fluorescents, these lights are silent. I never realized I could hear the high-pitched sound fluorescent fixtures make (many people can’t), but I could sure tell when it wasn’t there.

Another pleasant surprise was that the annoying flicker common to fluorescents was gone. LEDs don’t do that. And there’s no “warm-up” time at all for these lights. Even on the coldest shop days, a flip of the switch brings these lights to full brightness instantly.

I’ve had these lights up for a bit more than a year now. I’ve never gone that long without fluorescent tubes dimming at random as they approach failure, but these are as bright as the day I hung them. I can’t remember how many thousands of hours these LEDs are good for, but they will long outlive any fluorescent tubes I’ve ever had.

Finally, these lights are efficient. Aside from the cost of replacing tubes all the time, they use less electricity.

If you’ve been on the fence about switching your shop to LEDs, my advice is to go for it. You won’t regret it.

A.J.

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