View Full Version : Halogen overhead lighting vs Flourescent

dennis thompson
10-24-2007, 7:20 AM
Has anyone had any experience with Halogen overhead lighting fixtures vs flourescent lighting in their shop? If yes, which do you prefer?

Mike Goetzke
10-24-2007, 7:23 AM
I have a mix of both and it works great. The halogens due put off a fair amount of heat and also function as a bug zapper/roaster in the summer.


Pete Brown
10-24-2007, 7:47 AM
I like full-spectrum fluorescents. A while back, I put together a page that compares the color of the light from the various brands.


Halogens work well too, but get a bit hot for me. Of course, they're great in the winter time :)


Charles Wiggins
10-24-2007, 8:30 AM
Has anyone had any experience with Halogen overhead lighting fixtures vs flourescent lighting in their shop? If yes, which do you prefer?

I have a basement shop. When I moved in, the area had only two incandescent bulbs and two outlets, so I had an electrician in to run new lines with outlets everywhere including an line of outlets between the joists, which he put on a wall switch. I hung simple shop lights - two halogens (bought at a yard sale) and two T8 fluorescents (can't remember how much the bulbs were, but the light fixtures were about $7 ea. at the Borg). I just leave the pull chains 'on', and when I flip the switch I have light!

I also have a swing arm lamp that I keep pointed at the top of the TS most of the time.

Ken Fitzgerald
10-24-2007, 10:21 AM
I'm putting up 11 4 bulb T-8 fixtures in my shop. I will be adding a couple of strategically place incandescents. Before I quit smoking in January of 2006, I had no idea I was starting to show genetic traits from my maternal grandfather. I went outside of a local hospital to have a cigarette. The area is heated with halogen lamps. The top and back of my head got warm. I went in; tipped my head in front of a mirror. I'll never forgive those halogen lamps for pointing out my balding head to me!:rolleyes: :D

Steve Clardy
10-24-2007, 10:31 AM
I worked in a shop several years ago that had Halogen lights.
I never liked them.
I prefer fluorescents

Jamie Buxton
10-24-2007, 11:24 AM
I moved my shop into a new space a couple years ago. I did the right thing, and set it up for fluorescents. I learned about the color rendering index, color temperature, and all that. I tried at least six different kinds of tubes. They all looked bad: the color of the wood wasn't right. I eventually gave up and rewired the ceiling for halogen floods. The wood looks better and I'm much happier.

Gary Curtis
10-24-2007, 1:19 PM
My new shop, with 14-foot ceilings, has a few fluorescents fixtures directly mounted on the ceiling. I added a four drop-down tubular light fixtures with double 300 watt Halogens over the tablesaw/router table and 20 feet of workbenches along a wall. I took advantages of the white walls and hung the halogens so the light would bounce from the side, as well as pointing directly down. It creates a wonderful atmosphere.

The pure white light emitted by Halogens is very refreshing. There is no hum from ballast transformers, and no flicker, as you get from fluorescents.

Gary Curtis

Rod Sheridan
10-24-2007, 1:57 PM
I have T8's with electronic ballasts in the shop. No flicker or hum, instant on.

I also have 2 incandescents seperately switched for colour rendition.......Rod.

mike wacker
10-24-2007, 2:12 PM
Modern flourescents no longer flicker. The ballasts are now very high frequency and have a modified wave form to eliminate the flicker and make them more energy efficient. Halogen lamps are wonderful, have a nearly perfect Color Rendering index, but, are 4 times more expensive to use. Yes, FOUR times. Woodworking is my passion, but lighting pays my bills. If you want high color rendering and very white light, try a 5000 degree Kelvin T8 lamp. Every one of the Manufacturers makes one, but GE's part number would be F32T8/SPX50/ECO. It and similar lamps have a CRI above 85 (nearly perfect as well). Many high end color print shops use this kind of lamp in their color proofing area's.

One of biggest advantages of flourescent lighting is the lackof shadows. Because of the "linear" nature of the the source, it can't produce the kind of shadow an incandescent (or point) source lamp can.

Personally I have sheet rock ceilings and walls, painted gloss white for easy dust clean-up and maximum reflectivity. I use open strip 4 or 8 foot fixtures containing 2 or 4 lamps. It's cheap and effective. I use 4100 degree lamps with a CRI of about 75. Again cheep and lot's of light is more important to me than perfect color rendition. Besides, they're usually in my company inventory. If you want a "warmer" feeling light, go with a 3500 degree or even 3000degree lamp. (incandescent lamps are 2700 degree) I shoot for 100 Foot Candles of illumination. A good rough guide is one 4 foot T8 lamp for every 25 square feet of floor space. Hope this helps.

Bill Arnold
10-24-2007, 5:02 PM
I mounted 12 two-bulb T8 fluorescent fixtures in the ceiling of the 20' by 24' addition to my shop. The old section has 8 two-bulb T8 fixtures in the 16' by 24' space. In each section, I set up the fixtures in two banks for switching purposes so I can use one bank when I need general lighting and can turn on all of them when I need brighter lighting. I like the fluorescents for the lack of shadows.

David G Baker
10-24-2007, 5:18 PM
I have never been comfortable with how hot the fixtures that have halogen bulbs in them get. I have several of the portable units and love the light and heat in the cold time of year but the housings smell like they are getting ready to burn up. I have heard that some of the halogen fixtures have been discontinued due to fire hazard. There may be some new fixtures since I checked them out that are cooler and safer.
I use tungsten lights over my equipment because of the fluorescent flicker in the T12s create problems for my eyes. I don't know how the T8s work. I have several that are waiting to be installed in my non heated shop.

Gary Curtis
10-24-2007, 6:53 PM
A thread on another WW website two days ago was started by a fellow using a magnifying table lamp. The illumination was a circle-line fluorescent, and he has eye problems because of it. He pinned it on the flicker. He was looking for a Halogen-powered magnifying desk lamp. Somebody in this SMC thread wrote that flicker is a thing of the past. I don't know about that, but too much time under fluorescents, and my eyes hurt.

I much favor the halogens. The ones in my shop are hanging, and because there is a real fire danger posed by sawdust, I blow my out with an air hose every few days. Sawdust is no joke because the Halogen bulbs and fixture get above the ignition temperature. I wouldn't mount permanent fixture on the ceiling where it didn't have a cooling air flow or where I couldn't blast out the dust regularly.

Gary Curtis

dennis thompson
10-24-2007, 7:02 PM
Good point,I hadn't thought about the sawdust on the halogen lights which I had planned to hang from my garage ceiling, I think I'll use the T8 fluorescents

Brandon Shew
10-24-2007, 8:40 PM
While I'm not a huge flourescent fan in terms of light color or quality, I use them in the shop because they are cheap, readily available, they run cool, and they run efficient. They last a long time and some of the newer bulbs have a better color spectrum than they used to. You can get cold tolerant flourescent fixtures if that is an issue.

David G Baker
10-24-2007, 11:46 PM
The fluorescent flicker problem really got bad after I had cataract surgery, it didn't bother me prior to that.

Dan Forman
10-25-2007, 5:30 AM
I run one cool white or daylight, along with one warm T12 flourescent in each shoplight fixture. That gives a nicer blend than just plain daylight bulbs, which are too blue for me. Cheap, and provide plenty of light.


Jeff Raymond
10-25-2007, 7:19 AM
I use the full color rendition bulbs. Great!

They are terrific for sanding...and if you take pics with them you will find they can be warmed up a bit with just about any digital photo program if desired.

They don't use much power and pump out a lot of light.

mike wacker
10-25-2007, 2:23 PM
I use tungsten lights over my equipment because of the fluorescent flicker in the T12s create problems for my eyes. I don't know how the T8s work. I have several that are waiting to be installed in my non heated shop.


No doubt most T12 fixtures still flicker. Most of the T12 Ballasts were magnetic not electronic. The cheaper the fixture (think $10), the worst the flicker and the lower the light out put.

Your new T8's should have electronic ballasts. There were some that had magnetic ballasts and they are still made. Your run of the mill T8 electronic ballast should start a T8 lamp at Zero degrees F. New ones are down to -20. Give them a minute or two to warm up and they should work fine in any "unheated" shop I'm spending much time in. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/images/icons/icon10.gif

If the T8 lamps for some reason don't work in a really cold environment try putting "shatter shields" over the lamps. The deas air should allow the lamp to come up to temp.


Jason Roehl
10-25-2007, 6:17 PM
First, I'd like to add a little trivia to the mix.

1. "T8" and "T12" are diameter designations. The number indicates how many eighths of an inch in diameter the Tube is. So, a T8 is 1" diameter and a T12 is 1.5" diameter.

2. Halogen bulbs are actually MORE efficient and cooler than incandescents. They offer more lumens per watt. The reason they often SEEM hotter is that they are typically a minimum of 150W (versus 60-100W common for incandescents), and the glass on them is very near to the filament. I actually had a desk lamp for quite some time with a 100W halogen threaded bulb that I could easily unscrew with my bare hands while lit (partly due to thicker glass).

As for preference, I like both. I have replaced many of the lamps in my house with fluorescents for the energy savings. By finding 2700K bulbs whereever I could, it was easier for me to get used to the light (took a little while--I used to hate fluorescent light). However, I generally only like fluorescent light for ambient lighting. Halogen is best for task lighting, IMO.