What Color Temperature Light Is Best for Your Garage? (Know The Truth!)

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What Color Temperature Light Is Best for Your Garage?

When we talk about lights our main concern is usually its brightness and its energy . consumption. Brightness is measured in lumens while energy consumption is measured in watts. Now the color temperature of a light source is another dimension. So what color temperature light is best for your garage?

4000K to 5000K is considered as the best range of color temperature for garage lighting. 4000K color temperature range for LEDs is neutral white and produces a balanced color tone. 5000K or higher is better if you do a lot of DIY work. Even small details will stand out under the crisp light.

What Color Temperature Light Is Best for Your Garage?

Color temperature of a light source is an indication of the hue of the light. Red light has a lower color temperature whereas blue light has a higher color temperature. The chart below is a visual representation of the light color and its color temperature.

Color temperature black body 800-12200K.svg
By <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bhutajata” title=”User:Bhutajata”>Bhutajata</a> – <span class=”int-own-work” lang=”en”>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

In real life, light which has a low color temperature creates a warm cozy glow. On the other hand, light which has a high color temperature makes the room look crisp & sharp. As an example:

For example the color temperature of the light from a candle flame, sunset or sunrise is 1850K. The horizon daylight is 5000K and overcast daylight is 6500K. At the other extreme is clear, blue poleward blue sky which is above 15000K. (Source: Wikipedia)

It is easy to get confused and believe that a higher color temperature light is also brighter light. However, lumens and color temperature of light is not directly related. In fact there is no calculator which will convert lumens (brightness) to Kelvin (warmth or coolness) of the light source.

If you compare two light bulbs with the same lumens but different kelvins, the one with higher kelvins may appear brighter because it has a cooler color that mimics natural sunlight.


It is important to keep in mind that contrary to traditional thinking, warm light has a lower color temperature than cool light.

What is the Color Temperature of Light?

The color temperature of light is used as a measure of the hue of white light in the spectrum red-orange-yellow-white-blue. The temperature ranges from 1000K to 15000K and beyond. 

K represents Kelvin which is the absolute scale of temperature. Other scales are C for Centigrade and F for Fahrenheit.

The color temperature of light is meaningful only in the context of white light. It has no meaning and is not used to describe other colors such as green or purple.

In the world of lighting, “cool white” light has a color temperature in the range of 5000K-6500K. Cool white light is crisp & invigorating. Cool white light is good for performing tasks such as reading, sewing or DIY as it provides high contrast. Your eyes can see the details without a strain on the eyes.

On the other end is “soft warm white” which has a color temperature in the range of 2700K-3000K. Soft warm white light is cozy & inviting. Soft warm white light is good for relaxing and is ideal for bedrooms.

In between is “neutral white” or “warm white” that has a color temperature in the range of 3500K-4100K. Warm white light is warm & welcoming. Warm white light is typically used in offices and living rooms.

Cool white light is crisp & invigorating, warm white light is warm & welcoming and soft warm white light is cozy & inviting.

The image below demonstrates a nook under different color temperature lights.

I think you get the idea!

What Is the Best Type of Light for a Garage?

Here is a comparison of three ranges of color temperature of LED bulbs.

Color Temperature3000K Range4000K Range5000K Range
AppearanceSoft Warm WhiteNeutral Warm WhiteCool White
AmbianceCozy & InvitingWarm & WelcomingCrisp & Invigorating
Ideal ForRelaxing, Entertaining, Landscape LightingComputer Work, Workouts, General LivingReading, Sewing, Intricate DIY, Assembly
Recommended Use InBedrooms, Living Rooms, Lobbies, FacadesOffice, Gym, Retail Space, GaragesWorkshops, Factories, Hospitals, Bathrooms

4000K color temperature for LED bulbs is quite universal and will work in most situations. It works just fine in a typical residential garage. The light is warm & welcoming. 

You could go for 5000K color temperature if you have a workbench in a large part of your garage. 

In my opinion it is best to use 4000K lighting for the entire garage and just use 5000K bulbs above the workbench. This way you get the best of both worlds.

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What Is the Best Light for Car Detailing?

LED lighting which has a color temperature between 5000K and 6000K is best suited for car detailing. Professional car detailers may even decide to take it up a notch or two.

I am assuming that you are not a professional car detailer but are a serious car enthusiast. For you a car is not just a means of getting from point A to point B. It is an object of immense beauty.

So you probably spend a lot of time with your cars in your garage polishing the paint, cleaning the tires and working on the interior. 

You will be frustrated if you have 4000K color temperature LED lighting in your garage. You need garage lighting that comes as close to natural daylight as possible. Natural daylight has a color temperature of between 5000K-6500K.

You should go for overhead LED lighting which has a color temperature somewhere between 5000K and 6000K. If higher, your cars may look a bit blue. That may be fine if your cars are dark colored, but keep the color temperature on the lower side if your cars are white.

It is also a good idea to have the ceiling light placed in a rectangular shape above the cars so that the car sides get good lighting.

What Color Light Is Best for a Garage Workshop?

It is important that you see your tools and other objects very clearly when you are in your garage workshop. You need crisp, vibrant lighting from 4500K-6000K LED bulbs in your garage workshop .

In the workshop, you will be required to take precise measurements with a vernier scale, carpenter’s square or a miter saw protractor. You will also be operating tools such as circular or miter saws, drills, etc.

Not having the right color temperature LED light in your garage workshop will not only have a negative effect on the quality of your DIY project, it can also cause an accident due to a misjudgement..

Along with the correct choice of color temperature, make sure that you have enough brightness by buying LED bulbs with a high lumen rating. Shop lights are the best suited for workbenches. The fixture can be hung on chains and the height above the workbench can be adjusted as per need.

What Color Temperature Should a Garage Gym Be?

The best light for working out is natural daylight. As this may not be possible in a garage gym, install lots of evenly spaced LED lights. The color temperature of the garage gym lights should range between 5000K and 6000K.

Human body follows the circadian clock that dictates the sleep-wake cycle

The human body is programmed to relax and rest as we get close to sunset. It is the color temperature of the setting sun (around 2000K) that triggers this action.

On the other hand the human body is programmed to be energetic. Our hunter gatherer fore-fathers needed to be active to ensure they had enough to eat. So working out under LED light that mimics daylight (5000K or more) is ideal.

Do not use fluorescent lights in the garage gym. Not only are they inefficient, the light is harsh and inconsistent. Fluorescents tend to flicker and buzz. Mostly, they are not the right color temperature and totally unsuitable to a garage gym.

You must use LED lights with a color temperature of between 5000K and 6000K. They will be the closest you can get to natural sunlight inside a garage gym. You will be really motivated to workout!

TIP: Shop lights that work for a garage workshop work equally well for a garage gym.

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What Color Temperature Is Best for Plants?

Have you decided to grow herbs and vegetables in your garage? You are not alone. There are many like you who have taken up this hobby. The fresh herbs can bring a special something to your cooking.

Plants thrive in sunlight. So it is not surprising that a color temperature between 4000K and 6000K is the best for herbs & vegetables grown in the garage.

This is what HGTV has to say:

When growing most houseplants, use light bulbs between 4000 and 6000 Kelvin, as the bulb’s color temperature will borrow from a full spectrum of colors—cools and warms. With these lights, you can actually mimic the growth you would get in a greenhouse or outdoors. 


DISCLAIMER: What Is the Safest Way to Handle Electrical Wires?

This post is for information only. I strongly recommend that all electrical work should be entrusted to licensed professional electricians. In case you do decide to do some of the work yourself, make sure that:

“Treat all electrical wiring, even “de-energized” ones as if it is live, unless it has been locked out and tagged”

You must follow the basic safety guidelines, as under:

  • Use protective eyewear, especially when drilling or grinding metal
  • Wear insulated rubber gloves when working on any circuit or branch circuit
  • Always use insulated tools while working with electricity
  • De-energize the electrical wires on which you will be working. Tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone from switching it on accidently
  • Electrical wiring in wet or damp locations or underground must be within a PVC conduit
  • Underground wiring conduits should be at least 18 inches below grade as per code
  • All receptacles for equipment that could be in wet or damp locations should be equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
  • Never use old frayed cables, damaged insulation or broken plugs
  • High voltage equipment should be properly grounded to insure electricity flows directly to the ground and not through the person in contact with the live wire 


In conclusion, the best color temperature does depends on the way you use your garage. In case you use your garage mainly for parking your cars and storage of stuff, then LED lights with color temperature of 4000K will be just fine.

However, if you use your garage as a workshop, gym or growing vegetables you will need to consider installing LED lights with color temperature of 5000K or more, at least in some specific areas.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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