Stuff We Use: What’s the Best Garage Lighting?
On our never-ending quest to improve this place by listening to feedback from the B&B, we are taking a new tack with these product posts, choosing instead to focus on items we use and have purchased with our own meager income. After all, if we’re giving you the truth about cars, we ought to give you the truth about car accessories.
If you count yourself amongst the few with a covered garage in which to wrench on yer hooptie, this post will – as the kids say – be relevant to your interests. If not, read on anyways because just about every nook and cranny of one’s home could stand to receive a dash of extra illumination.
Thanks to the scourge of so-called high-efficiency lighting – or perhaps it is age and eyesight which seem to be inversely proportional as I blast beyond my 43rd trip around the sun – it never seems to be bright enough in my garage. Bolts fly off into dark corners, never again to see the light of day, and I am certain there is a goblin somewhere that takes all my 10mm sockets and spirits them away to another dimension.
After hearing me wrestle with and complain about finding a car’s proper lift points on which to exert the force of my Motomaster floor jack, the Other Half wisely (and firmly) recommended I find new lighting solutions for our two-car attached space. And when I say ‘recommended’, what I actually mean is ‘vehemently instructed’. Anyone in the B&B with a spouse or long-term partner knows exactly what we’re on about.
Seven investigations later, our Amazon account was laden with the purchase of LED lighting strips from a brand called Barrina. Various and sundry social media groups filled with gearheads were awash with recommendations for this brand, as were a number of (shudder) online forums. The company has its own storefront on Amazon, helping dissuade fears of third-party sellers which have a tendency to either abscond with your money or take eleventy billion years to ship the product.
Given the dimensions of the garage, a six-pack of four-foot lights was chosen, though different quantities and lengths are available. I don’t recall being outraged by waiting for them, so its delivery time must have been reasonable. What appeared was a long and narrow box, decently packed to guard against damage and festooned with the Barrina logo. Good job it wasn’t anything embarrassing (that shows up next week).
Here’s where the first pleasant surprise appeared. Each 4-foot LED light bar came with its own choice of power supply: An individual clicky switch to plug directly into a household socket, properly stripped connections to wire into a building’s existing light network, or a proprietary cord to daisy chain the LED bars together and form one big circuit. The latter is what I chose to deploy, arranging each bar in a rectangle on the ceiling, centered in the middle of my garage.
Installation couldn’t have been simpler. Each bar weighs about as much as a feather and comes with two mounting clips. I screwed each clip into the ceiling’s drywall (some into framing studs, some not) and easily pushed the lights into their new home. Those daisy chain cords were then used to link them all together, terminating with one cord that could be plugged into a household socket. My garage has an outlet on the ceiling for an electric garage door opener, making things very convenient. In fact, the most arduous part of the installation was making sure my measurements were correct so the rectangle I was attempting to make was vaguely square and centered.
One item I did add was a wireless on/off switch that plugs into the electrical socket and is controlled by a remote switch. This gadget essentially just interrupts power from the socket on demand, allowing me to turn the six lights on without reaching up to flip the switch on the terminating cord. Look at the pictures for a visual clue of what I’m trying to describe.
Light coming from these things is clear, bright, and illuminates the 24x24 space better than the four standard bulbs ever could. They’ve been up there for about a year and show no sign of movement or lessening their grip on the ceiling, marking this as one of the best sub-$100 purchases I’ve ever made.
The beauty of this kit lies in the sheer number of connection options. If a person wants to put four of the LED bars on the ceiling but plug two more into a different spot – say, near their toolbox or workbench – it is easy to do so. Wiring them into an existing household grid should probably be handled by a pro but the necessary items are present for that task as well. Color me satisfied.
As planned, this series of posts will continue to focus on items we’ve actually used and bought with our own money. We hope you found this one helpful.
[Images: Manufacturer, the author]
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