The 6 Most Common Ways to Install Garden Shed Lighting

The 6 Most Common Ways to Install Garden Shed Lighting

A Garden Shed Lighting Classic Fixture

YOU'VE BEEN WORKING in your shed all day on an important project. Now the sun is setting and guess what? You don't have any light to keep working.

What you really need is some form of garden shed lighting to make your shed useable any time, night or day. You can’t keep working in a dim shed as you'll only end up making mistakes and may even ruin whatever it is you are working on.

The hard part is trying to decide what type of lighting is going to be best for your shed and what you plan to use it for. Some options such as wiring in electric lights can get expensive as you might need to bring in an electrician. Others such as battery or solar powered lights are easier to install, but may not provide enough light.

A Quick Look at What Each Type of Lighting has to Offer

Now that we have taken a quick look at the available garden shed lighting options, let's take a look at the good and bad points a little more closely.

TYPE OF LIGHT FIXTURE

LEVEL OF LIGHT

INSTALLATION EASY/HARD

Battery Powered All-in-One

Low

Easy

Separate Light and Solar Panel Kit

Typically, Low,

Depends on Location

Solar System with Battery Backup

Varies by size of system

Depends on Style

Powered Fluorescent Fixture

High

Hard requires wiring

Powered Incandescent Fixture

Varies depending on bulbs

Hard requires wiring

Powered LED Fixture

Very High

Hard requires wiring

Bear in mind there are other issues you need to look at when deciding what type of lighting you need in your garden shed. For example, how much light do you really need? If all you are doing is storing your garden tools in it, a simple, inexpensive battery light might do just fine.

If you are using your shed for an art studio, you might be better off investing in a professionally installed LED lighting system.

Solar Powered Lights

All in One Garden Shed Lights

x8a_latest_garden_led_light

Courtesy of Digiteck

If all you are looking for is some easy to install lighting that can be put up in a few minutes and provide you with just enough light to get by, then battery powered lights are the perfect option. In most cases, you will find these lights are very inexpensive and can be shipped to your home with minimal shipping charges.

basic shed security light

Basic 2 screw fixed shed security light - Courtesy of 1byone

They tend to come in two different styles, those that are stuck in place using peel-n-stick adhesive already installed on the back and those that require screws to attach.

With the peel-n-stick variety all you have to do is peel the protective film off the back and stick it wherever you need light.

If you are looking for an outdoor security light, you can buy self-sticking solar powered lights that have a built-in sensor that turns the light on at night and off in the morning.

The screw mounted variety have slots in the back made for installation with a couple of screws. All you have to do is install the screws in the wall of your shed and then slide the light in place.

Both of these types of security light are designed to be used outside but they can be used inside. They are very quick and easy to install. These lights require little if any maintenance beyond keeping them clean. If you buy battery instead of solar powered, you will need to replace the batteries.

Separate Light and Solar Panel Kit

solar_g2_solar_light_bulb

Courtesy of Solar Light Mart

Ready to use solar lights are simple to install and perfect for when you only need a little bit of light.

They are the perfect solution for anyone who doesn't want to go to the expense of having an electrician come out and install the wiring needed for standard light fixtures.

Solar lights such as these typically have a solar panel that must be installed somewhere on the south facing side of your garden shed's roof or on the ground. Wiring must then be run from the solar panel to the light fixture inside.

The cost for this type of garden shed lighting will vary depending on the size of the system, the amount of illumination it will provide, and what type of backup battery it has (or whether it has one at all).

Some offer you lighting level options which can extend the number of hours the system will operate after the sun goes down.

Overall lighting levels with solar tend to be quite a bit lower than with electrically powered lights. You do also run the risk of running out of light if you have to work at night or on very cloudy days for long periods of time.

Most systems feature LED bulbs that are surprisingly bright until the power level begins to drop.

Solar System Lighting with Battery Backup

shed lights with solar panel and battery backup

Courtesy of Microsolar

Solar systems that use storage batteries have been around for decades. These systems can be pretty expensive, but at the same time can be used for more than just supplying power to your garden shed lighting.

The solar panels must be installed facing south for maximum exposure. The panels or as they are properly called solar collectors are then connected to one or more storage batteries.

Technically, you can use old car batteries, but deep cycle boat or RV batteries work better. The batteries are then connected to a power inverter that converts the 12V DC to 115V AC.

Depending on the size of your system, you can connect multiple lights giving your shed plenty of light. You may even be able to run other items on the system such as power tools, a radio, or battery chargers for your cordless tools.

These systems are great for sheds that you don't want to connect to electricity or are not close enough to do so affordably. Prices for these systems can range from a couple hundred dollars for basic models to thousands of dollars.

The cost is based on how much power they deliver and the type of system you choose. The most expensive ones come with very large solar panels and deep cycle storage batteries. The less expensive ones typically include lithium ion storage batteries with limited storage capacity.

Electric Powered Lights

Powered Flood Lamps

warmoon_waterproof_led_flood_light

Courtesy of Warmoon

When you need a ton of light either inside your shed for those late night projects or for when you are playing or working outside a night, nothing beats a powered floodlight.

These are available in several varieties, including simple screw in floodlight bulbs that fit a standard light socket or complete halogen units.

Both of these produce huge amounts of light, but they do require your shed to be wired for 115V in order for them to work. These bulbs also tend to cost a lot more to operate. They are available in a range of wattages to suit your needs.

Using a separate unit like in the image above makes installation to walls or ceilings easy​

Fluorescent Lights

durolux_t5_grow_light_flourescent

Courtesy of DuroLux

If you are considering installing fluorescent or 115V LED lighting in your shed, you will either need to already have wiring in place and connected to your home's fuse box or be prepared to pay an electrician to run it.

Both of these lights can provide your garden shed with plenty of light. Fluorescent lights come in a wide array of different spectrums ranging from warm yellow to pure white.

Warm yellow fluorescent lights are good for general purpose lighting, while full spectrum white is better suited for an art studio or for growing plants. In most cases, fluorescent lights produce softer shadows and unlike LEDs or incandescent light bulbs, will not blind you when you look directly at them.

LED Lights

LED light powered

Courtesy of toggled

LED Lights offer pure white light as well, but they can really hurt your eyes if you look into them. However, they are one of the most economical forms of lighting on the market.

You can literally leave an LED light on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and still not add more than a few dollars to your annual power bill.

The only bad thing, if there is one, about LED bulbs is that they tend to be a bit on the expensive side to install. But that is offset by the fact that LEDs last much longer than other types of bulbs.

Frequently Asked Shed Lighting Questions

How Many Lights Do You Need?

No matter what type of light you plan to install in your garden shed, you need to decide up front how many you will need.

There are several factors which must be brought into the decision making process. These include the size of your shed, the type of lights you plan to install, and most importantly of all, what you are planning to use your shed for.

Cost of Wiring Your Shed

If you plan to install electrically powered lights in your shed, you must factor in the cost of adding in the wiring. This is especially true if you need to hire an electrician. The cost will include all materials and labor. Typical materials needed will include:

  • Electric Wire
  • Metal wire protection tubing and fittings
  • Switch and junction boxes
  • Protective plates
  • Switches
  • Light Fixtures

You may also need to purchase a permit from your local city government to have the work done. A permit may also be necessary even if you are doing the work yourself. Be sure to check your local ordinances to avoid being fined.

Can I Wire My Own Shed?

Can you wire your own shed? Installing your own garden shed lighting is not a huge project in most cases. To find out how easy it is to do, visit our post on wiring up a shed to learn all about doing your wiring.

In Summary...

In the end, there is nothing worse than trying to get anything done in a dark, dismal shed.

In fact, when faced with a dark shed, most people tend to avoid getting anything done, leaving many projects incomplete or worse yet, not even getting started. Rather than leaving your shed as nothing but a storage unit/junk collector, installing the right garden shed lighting can quickly turn it into your favorite place to hang out.

If you know of any other good forms of garden shed lighting, feel free to let us know via our contact page.

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