Garages are more than just someplace to park your cars or store stuff you don’t use anymore. They are an extension of the home but often get the least love when it comes to design and certainly in terms of lighting.
Let’s face it – no one’s busting trying to find the best lighting ideas for the garage. At best, garages boast bare minimum basics in exterior illumination. It was always thought a practical space where a glaring fluorescent bulb would suffice, just to give it some sort of practical lighting.
But thankfully, that’s changing with more and more homeowners trying to upgrade their garages because that means upgrading garage lighting too.
Why Do You Need the Best Outdoor Garage Lights?
Your garage may be a practical unit of the home, but the space has the potential to be more. It can be an inviting and appealing space with the right lighting solution. Selecting the best garage outdoor lights offers several benefits to homes and homeowners.
- Style – From elaborate glass shades to rich metallic finishes, outdoor garage lights come in many styles, colors, and finishes to compliment the garage exterior.
- Convenience – Outdoor garage lights keep the driveway brightly lit when coming home after dark. Those with motion sensors also provide illumination when and where you need it without turning on and off the light switch.
- Function – exterior garage wall lights are a fantastic way to brighten the garage door area or the front garage yard that serves as a workshop area. It’s also a wonderful way to illuminate the entire year for leisure activities and entertainment purposes after dark.
- Security – strategically placed outdoor garage lights can brighten dim areas and increase visibility around the garage, along walkways and driveways. It can also deter would-be criminals, especially when using outdoor garage lights with motion sensors.
What Type of Outdoor Garage Lights Do You Need?
Now, we’ve established that an outdoor garage light is a must-have feature for aesthetic, safety, and security purposes. But what kind of exterior lighting do you need for the garage?
Outdoor Sconces – this outdoor garage light is a great way to illuminate the space to make it brighter and safer. Such lights are wall-mounted and can provide different lighting options based on what you need: task, ambient, or accent lighting. It all depends on the outdoor sconce type you get.
So, what are your options?
Flush Mount Lights
A flush mount sconce is perhaps the most common and simplest type of outdoor garage light. It’s any light fixture mounted flush right into the garage’s exterior wall, without any arm protruding from the wall. This type is the ideal option for lighting fixtures on either side of your garage door.
Flush mount sconces are available in different styles and designs, some more functional or stylish than others.
Semi-Flush Mount Lights
The primary difference between flush mount and semi-flush mouth garage lights is the arm attached to the semi-flush version. The small arm connects the light to the place, which is mounted to the garage wall.
Most other garage outdoor lights are semi-flush mount lights but can have different styles and designs.
Bulkhead lights are almost similar to flush mount sconces but allow optimum lighting. The design includes a cage-like feature around the bulb that mounts flush into the exterior wall. The cage allows the bulb to shine up to 180 degrees and offers better protection for the light bulb.
This type of outdoor garage light is both functional and stylish. It can work as an accent fixture or a lighting feature for an outdoor garage workshop area.
Barn lights are a casual option, ideal when you only need ample illumination outside the garage and not the driveway. Instead of shedding light outwards or in any direction, barn lights cast light downwards.
Barn lights can work with both industrial and modern garage styles. It’s also available in different finishes to fit contemporary to traditional styles.
If barn lights are casual, wall lanterns are the more intricate version. Most options are semi-flush, meaning the light bulb is attached to an arm and then into a garage wall plate. Wall lanterns are incredibly traditional and come in various glass and metal detailing, some more intricate than others. There are also different metal finishes to fit every style.
Wall lantern lights are ideal for accent lighting for your garage instead of security purposes.
Most of the outdoor garage types mentioned above are accent lighting pieces, but spotlights are different. This is the kind of exterior lighting that provides a focused shine on specific sections outside the garage. The lighting area will be limited, but it gives a comparatively bright light than accent lightings.
Garage spotlights work well to provide excellent illumination in the garage entrance or the driveway. It’s a fantastic option for any areas that require lighting for safety. Spotlights with motions sensors are also great for security lighting for garages.
Floodlights are not the most stylish option, but they are the most practical and functional. It’s the ideal choice where bright light is necessary, like the outdoor garage serving as a workshop area. Floodlights give optimum light when it’s dark, so it would also make a nice addition to garages with a long driveway. If you have a wide yard fronting the garage, floodlights can also provide maximum light to illuminate the space in case you have large parties going on.
Many garage floodlights include motion sensors and works well as security lighting. But remember that it’s not all about design. The function always trumps style when it comes to choosing floodlights for garages.
Our Top Picks – Best Outdoor Garage Lights
Bestshared Outdoor Wall Lantern – Best Overall
- Weatherproof material and design
- ETL Listed
- Compatible with LED, CFL, and incandescent bulb
Lantern lights are classic, especially with the sleek design of this set of outdoor wall lanterns for the garage. The clear glass allows beautiful illumination outside of the garage. Plus, it ticks all the boxes of features and functions you want to have in the best outdoor garage light.
The design is weather resistant with an IP33 weatherproof rating. It can withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors. Made with premium clear glass shades and metal, it’s both durable and versatile.
Dimunt Outdoor Solar LED Lights – Best Solar Powered Light
- Adjustable panels
- Weatherproof design
- Motion sensor
Besides energy saving, this solar-powered outdoor garage light casts a super bright light with its three high-efficiency LED panels. The two on each side are adjustable and flexible, allowing 180-degree illumination.
It’s also durable with its IP65 rating and heatproof design, suitable for long-term use or at least up to 50,000 hours. The added motion inductor is can also detect movement from eight feet away.
WIHTU Motion Sensor Wall Lantern – Best Garage Security Light
- Light sensor
- Motion sensor
- IP65 Weatherproof
Illuminate your outdoor garage in a smart way with this security light. It has all the features to keep the outdoors safe at the most convenient to you. This wall lantern comes with both a light and motion sensor.
It automatically turns on at 30% brightness during dusk, and once it senses motion, the light will automatically go up to 100% brightness. But once no motion gets detected after 120 seconds, it goes back to the 30% brightness. It’s a smart feature that reduced unnecessary electric consumption.
STASUN LED Flood Lights – Best Floodlight
- Auto On-Off
- Wide-angle lighting
- 8100 Lumen output
Upgrade your outdoor garage light with a floodlight that has the power of three security lights in one fixture. The wide-angle lighting design reaches up to 330 degrees, and with its 8100 Lumen high output, it can illuminate every single nook outside your garage.
You can also customize the bright coverage, thanks to the two adjustable panels that pivot up to 160 degrees, in case the bright light is disturbing the neighbors. Plus, it has a built-in Photocell sensor for effective energy saving.
Beionxii Outdoor Wall-Mount Lights – Best Dimmable Light
- Auto On-Off
- Compatible with LED, CFL, Incandescent, Halogen, and smart bulbs
Elegant and durable, these stylish wall-mount lights offer excellent lighting effects using the right bulb. Its compatibility with a dimmable and smart bulb allows you to upgrade your outdoor garage lighting without limits.
It’s also wet-rated, completely weather-resistant, a suitable option whether you are in sunny or wet locations. When it comes to style, the colonial-inspired pagoda makes a fantastic decorative feature to any exterior wall.
LONEDRUID Exterior Wall Lantern – Most Stylish Light
- Outdoor weather resistant
- Shock and vibration resistant
- UL Listed
Make your outdoor garage lighting stylish day in and out, whether you like something classic, vintage, or modern. This wall lantern features a water ripple glass shade that illuminates your garage outdoors with a soft but not dazzling cast for a dreamier lighting effect.
But aesthetics aside, this wall lantern is also durable with thickened 100% aluminum material. It’s rustproof, corrosion-resistant, and passed the IP65 waterproof test.
How to Choose Outdoor Garage Lights?
It can be tempting to get the most stylish lighting for your garage, or perhaps, the most practical and functional option. But choosing the best outdoor garage lights that fit both your style and needs is ideal.
Do you need damp or wet-rated lights?
Choosing light fixtures for indoors is one thing; choosing ideal outdoor lights for the garage is another. When it comes to looking for the best fixture for outdoor areas, one of the essential features to consider is the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating: damp-rated or wet-rated.
- Damp-Rated: ideal for covered outdoor locations where there is no direct exposure to water, rain, or snow.
- Wet-Rated: overall best for outdoor areas. It can handle heavy rain, snow, ice, and salty breezes from the sea.
What size do you need?
Choosing small lighting for garage exteriors is often the most common mistake, although it’s easily avoidable.
Simple rule: The lighting fixture should be at least ¼ to 1/3 the width of the garage door frame (in inches) when installed above the door, or ¼ to 1/3 of the door height when mounted on either side of the door. But for fixtures mounted at the center of the garage, it should be large enough to cast light to the entire width of the driveway.
How many do you need?
The number of outdoor garage lights you need will depend on a couple of factors: the size of the garage and the purpose of the lighting fixtures.
- For a single-car garage: two small lights on each side of the garage door should suffice, or one larger wall lantern light between the house and the garage. One medium floodlight between the garage and the house will also work for a single-car garage.
- For a two-car or larger garage: ideally, there should be one light on either side of the garage door plus one in the middle of the garage. Suppose you spot a clear break between garage doors, place lights on each side of the entire garage plus one in between each door.
What style do you want?
Function aside, outdoor garage lights can create a dramatic impact on the garage exterior at night, plus how they look during the day. There are many types of outdoor garage lights available in different colors and finishes. It means that there’s always a lighting fixture to fit the design and style of your garage.
- For something modern and contemporary: flush, semi-flush sconces, and barn lights. You can get them in stainless steel or silver tones for a clean and minimal feel.
- For traditional garage lighting: barn lights and wall lantern lights with etched or frosted glass.
- For an industrial vibe: barn lights and bulkhead lights.
What special features do you require?
The best garage outdoor light should be two things: attractive and durable. Whether you want a lighting fixture that can save you on the electricity bill or one that offers maximum security after dark, you can pick out lighting solutions with the features you care about.
- Dimmable Lights – outdoor garage lights with dimmable features are a good option for energy efficiency and convenience.
- Dusk-to-Dawn Lights – this lighting feature is practical to have in outdoor garage lights. The light bulb will shine brightly once it’s darker out and will gradually dim when the sun rises. It makes the outdoor lighting convenient since there’s no need to turn the light on and off. The light will react accordingly based on the level of ambient light.
- Dark Sky – outdoor garage lights with dark sky features illuminate the ground below instead of the sky. It’s a fantastic feature to have if you want something that reduces light pollution, especially in urban or suburban areas.
- Motion Sensor – adding motion sensors to simple exterior garage lighting fixtures make them ideal as security lights. This type of garage lighting will turn on and light brightly once it detects movement, an effective deterrent to wandering animals or would-be criminals. Floodlights and spotlights are common security light options, but there are other more stylish lighting choices that feature motion sensors.
- Solar Powered Lights – solar outdoor garage lights offer several advantages, like energy efficiency. You can save on the electric bill each month, and because no electrical work is necessary, installing solar outdoor garage lights can be a DIY project. Plus, there’s more freedom in how and where you can mount them, as long as you ensure that the solar panel can get sufficient sunlight to recharge.
Outdoor Garage Lights – FAQs
What are exterior house lights called?
Exterior lights mounted on the wall are called “sconces.” It’s the term used for any lighting fixture mounted on the wall. It comes in different styles and designs and provides various lighting options based on what you need.
What is the best brand of outdoor lighting?
Choosing the best outdoor garage lights is not about the brand but selecting the style, functionality, size, and features based on your garage outdoor lighting needs.
What is a good wattage for outdoor lights?
The ideal wattage for outdoor lights is anywhere within 80 watts or lower. But this guide can help you depending on the lighting purpose.
- 40 to 80 watts: smaller yards and driveways
- 40 watts or lower: pathways and standard garage door lighting
Add outdoor lights to your garage to provide a sleek illumination to the garage door, walkway, driveway, front yard, or anywhere you need it.
Whether you are looking for an accent lighting solution, simple functionality, or enhanced safety and security, outdoor garage lights are a key component.