In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

My wife makes fun of me because no matter what I go to Home Depot for, I end making a slow pass through the lighting section to take inventory of any new lighting products that have come out since my last visit. I recently spotted a new recessed fixture that I hadn’t seen before. It caught my eye because it advertises a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 91. For a relatively inexpensive LED fixture, I was intrigued because I’ve been frustrated with the low CRI found on most LED shop lights.

During the initial buildout of my workshop, I installed three 4′ LED shop lights. These are available at all the big box stores for a modest price considering the lumens they produce. The fixtures that we installed produce 4,500 lumens at a 4000k color temperature with a CRI of 80. Three of these fixtures produced more than enough light for the majority of my shop. However, my workbench sits against one wall and I wasn’t happy with the amount of light that I had available from the fixture that was situated a few feet behind my back while working. I needed more light directly over the bench.

Coffee cups abound in my shop. I do most of my woodworking after everyone else goes to bed.

At $20 a piece, with an integrated junction box, I am found these to be a great solution.

I had hung some bare bulbs over the bench as a temporary fix and that worked fine, but I wasn’t crazy about the cluttered look that gave. Also, with all of the photography that happens in this space, I wanted better quality light than the rest of the shop. These 6″ recessed fixtures from Home Depot turned out to be a great retrofit option. The junction box is built into the top of the fixture and the wires are preloaded with 4-way connectors that simplify the wiring when you’re crammed into the corner of the shop ceiling and trying to avoid lifting your head into the roof sheathing that has a thousand nails sticking through it. Anyway, the light that these units produce is great. I looked them up on the Home Depot website to grab a screenshot for this post and was surprised to see that they are offered in a variety of temperatures. I probably would have sprung for the 3,500K version if they had it in the store, but I’m happy to report that they look great. The install took about 45 minutes to put both lights in, including sawing the 6″ holes in the drywall ceiling.

This post is not sponsored, I simply wanted to share a great lighting fixture with you.

– David Lyell

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 3 comments
  • ejschmitt

    I’m glad you mention CRI, it’s not talked about much with workshop lighting.
    For finishing I like to use a high CRI (93-95) headlamp for a better representation than I can get from my lights.

    • David Lyell

      Yeah, I’m not sure why that is, it’s as critical as anything else when it comes to lighting. I’ve seen the really inexpensive LED shop lights with sub-80 ratings that make me cringe. As funny as the headlamp sounds, the raking light is probably really useful.

      • ejschmitt

        Yeah, I tried it once and now constantly use a headlamp for tasks like surface planing, sanding, finishing. The ability to change light direction hands-free beats a tabletop light for me.
        The kids will make fun of you and you won’t win any awards for style but it works.

Start typing and press Enter to search