The Best LED Workbench Light is from...IKEA?!

LED Perfect for Workbench Light

 In Popular Woodworking Tool Tests, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs, Workbenches

Ikea_2166Our shop has a lot of things in common with our readers’ shops, especially those who work in basements or abandoned coal mines. The overhead lighting leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve recently been working on a project with ridiculously small details and decided I needed a dedicated workbench light. I found a great LED fixture, thanks to my lovely and charming wife and IKEA. She got one of these lights a few weeks ago, and when payday rolled around, I braved the crowds at the giant retailer, ate a plate of Swedish meatballs and lingonberries and picked up a couple of these lights for my bench.


IKEA usually gets bashed in the woodworking media, but I couldn’t be happier with this little gooseneck LED light, the Tived. It comes with a clamp and a permanent mounting plate. I screwed the plate to a block of wood, and glued a dowel in the bottom of the block. I can place the light in any of the dog holes in my bench. At the business end is a small 3-watt LED that throws a nice warm spot of light, aimed exactly where I need it. It’s a low-voltage light (the transformer is attached to the plug) that doesn’t get hot and doesn’t get in the way. At the back of the fixture is a flexible arm that can be twisted and aimed. At the clamp end is a straight shaft that keeps the light above the bench surface. Similar lights, without the straight shaft, are also available. The Jansjo, with a spring clamp on the end appears to be a good light to clamp on the band saw or drill press.

Accurate work is so much easier when you can actually see what you’re doing.

–Robert W. Lang


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Showing 19 comments
  • michalofsky

    so i bought the same light prior to the article
    two of them from ikea
    then recently i found great led gooseneck sewing machine lamps
    not sure of the wattage but the base is a little over an inch and is a strong magnet
    i bought 7 and use them on my machines
    they work great
    oops almost forgot
    they were $11.00 each on ebay

  • kenh99

    LED Grill lights are sold many places and would work just fine for this, check Lowes, HD, etc. The one my wife gave me for Christmas has a magnetic base but could be modified for a workbench.


  • Mr Chips

    Robert, I’ve been using this light for almost 2 years in my shop. I almost immediately modified it with some rare earth magnets in the base so I could move it between drill press & bandsaw. Really liked the strong white light and its adjustability. 2 problems have surfaced with it. The inline switch started acting flakey and finally gave up the ghost entirely – I removed & spliced (the small wire did not readily support putting another switch in – although I saw a toggle one at Radio Shack a couple week back that I can make work I think. The 2nd issue is the connection of the flexible arm joins to the base. It loosened to the point that it would not hold the position you would point it in. I suspect some JB Weld or epoxy can cure this but I’ve yet to make the repair. A decent light, but like much Ikea makes, not built for the long hall – w/o a bit of TLC

  • GSquare

    The Jansjo LED work lamp ($9.95) can easily be modified for magnetic mounting with a Harbor Freight magnet. HF item number 96650 or 96651. With the magnet they can easily be mounted whereever convenient on band saw. drill press or lathe.

  • jallen.brooks

    The link to Ikea shows the lamp as $29.99 plus 11 bucks for shipping. Not quite the deal that post made them sound.

    • Peg

      I was going to order two of the Tived lights. Love the shape…one for the shop and one for reading in bed.

      That would have come to over $80.00 with shipping! $21.+ for shipping two!

      Then when I was almost finished the order [ for One], The page said that it is OUT OF STOCK. Why they don’t say so before one spends time on unneeded paperwork?

  • tsstahl

    Repurposing Ikea stuff is kind of a sub-hobby of mine. The small clamp lamp (jansjo) is a favorite of mine. There is another Ikea small black LED light with a weighted base that runs ten bucks that is insanely easy to disassemble and incorporate into tools, projects, whatever.

    The small plastic (nylon?) shelf brackets make great corner squaring aids with some minor modification.

  • Barquester

    I use a 200 watt overhead light 4′ away (plus 6 100w over the worktable) to help with the illumination problem but it produces too much heat and is often in the wrong place, of course. This movable light would be nice but I suspect it puts out very few lumens. I see you have it mere inches from your work, I’ve had to work by flashlight before and that isn’t much different.

    • alegr

      200W incandescent is about equivalent to a 32W T8 fluorescent. 6x100W can be replaced by a couple of 2x32W T8 fixtures.

  • dovetailer

    Been using these lights in my shop for over a year. I’ve even adapted one to my router to illuminate the bit area and hooked another up to my midi lathe. Two or three are sitting in the box on my shelf looking for a use. A great little find and (if I remember correctly) ~$12.

    • farnbacd

      Dovetailer, my curiosity has the best of me. How did you hook it up to the router?

    • michalofsky

      ten bucks at my ikea. i buy one or two every time i go there and
      the wire is reasonably long

  • gsuing

    Very nice, but can we get these blog entries fixed so they are readable on a smart phone? Constantly having to scroll around to read a sentence is very annoying. I have to just give upon some of these entries.

    • Dan Farnbach

      gsuing many thanks for the feedback here. It’s a project we’re actively working on. Please hang with us and we’ll keep you posted. –Dan

  • papahuck

    Could we please get a close up photo of the base arrangement you created? I currently have a large LED lamp in a spring clamp fixture above my bench vise. This looks like it would solve the problem I have seeing the lines clearly when cutting dovetails.



    • Robert W. Lang

      If you click on the photos, you will see a larger version and that should tell the story about the mounting block. It’s about a 2″ cube, pulled from the scrap bin and big enough to screw the mounting plate to. Centered in the bottom is a 3/4″ dowel, sticking out about 3″ (roughly the thickness of my bench top). I turned the dowel so it fit in a 3/4″ hole in the block, but the diameter is reduced beyond that to around 11/16″. That makes it easy to remove and place in any dog hole in the bench. I would have just made an 11/16″ dowel, but our 11/16″ drill bit disappeared.

  • villaggioww

    Great suggestion! Thanks! But, do you find that the small spot of light throws too many shadows that a larger light might not?

    • Christopher Hawkins

      It depends what you are trying to do. Shadows can helpful in that they marking lines, plane tracks, etc. easier to see.

    • Robert W. Lang

      This can be aimed to control shadows, and I’m about to add a second light so I can light up my life from both directions.

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