When working in poorly lit areas (e.g., under the hood of your car, in closets, at construction sites), you’re not going to be able to do work safely. Imagine trying to change your car’s oil without proper lighting, or try to think of what would happen when using an impact driver in a dimly lit room. Yeah, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
So what can you do to provide much-needed illumination when your garage’s flickering halogen bulb just won’t doSince we’ve long gone past the need for oil and torches, the modern tool to use is a work light.
Work lights work somewhat like flashlights, but they produce a brighter shine against your work surface. Essentially, the work light is used by craftsmen and mechanics to get a better view at where they’re aiming their tools.
It’s true that there are corded-electric work lights out there. We don’t have anything against them. In fact, if you can’t get a cordless model, an electric work light would work just as fine.
However, it’s the fact that you’re not tied down by cords which make battery-operated work lights so great. If you’re working under the hood of your car, there’s nothing more annoying than getting tangled in the light’s power cord. If you’re working in tight spaces like closets, you really don’t want to struggle with a cord in one hand and a power tool in the other. When working in high places like on top of a ladder, dealing with power cords could potentially cause you to lose focus.
Cordless Work Light Buying Guide
If you don’t want to get strangled by long power cords, then you absolutely must get a cordless work light. However, they’re not all alike, and it’s important to know what features to consider. The following guide will help you determine what makes a good cordless work light.
Types of Work Light
There are several types of work lights. Before picking up a work light from a retailer, be sure that you know how you plan on using it.
A tripod work light comes with its own stand. It’s the most basic type of work light that most people are familiar with. It takes up quite a bit of floor space, so you’d probably only need this type of work light for illuminating large rooms. In other situations, it may be just too big to make any good out of.
Hanging work lights also referred to as trouble lights, are the type that you hang on the hood of your car. They are designed to illuminate a wide area within closed spaces while freeing up both of your hands.
Handheld work lights work as you’d imagine: you hold onto the light and direct its beam to wherever it’s needed. These lights are designed to help you assess your work surface since you can’t use both of your hands to operate power tools while holding onto this type of work light.
Like a hanging work light, a clamp-on model frees up both of your hands. The main difference between these two types of lights is that a hanging work light requires having a loop or similar to hang from, whereas a clamp-on can be attached to almost anything.
There are even some work lights that remain stable with the help of strong magnets. The magnets are usually found on the base of the unit so hanging upside down won’t be an issue. If you plan on getting a work light with a magnetic base, be sure that your work area has a metal surface for the magnets to cling to.
Types of Light Bulb
Many work light models can’t use more than one type of light bulb, making it important to know what your bulb can and cannot do. There are three types of bulbs to choose from: halogen, incandescent, and LED.
Halogen light bulbs offer the brightest light compared to the other types of bulbs. However, they produce a ton of heat, so we recommend getting this bulb only if you plan on working in well-ventilated areas or outdoors.
This type of bulb, like halogen light bulbs, produce heat as well. They’re also the most inexpensive type of bulb currently available. You should only get this type of bulb if budget is a factor.
LED light bulbs are the latest thing to hit the market. They offer crazy-bright beams of light (not as bright as halogen, mind you), but they’ll be more than enough for working in dark spaces. They also have the longest lifespan of the three bulb types, so getting an LED work light is actually a cost-effective investment.
Since cordless work lights are battery-operated, you don’t need to keep the light plugged in to for the bulbs to shine. However, using batteries means they have a limited amount of use before needing to be recharged. The good thing is that many of the newer cordless work lights have run times of more than 4 hours.
We mentioned that work lights come in all kinds of shapes, but they’re also available in a wide range of different sizes – from pocket-sized models to take-up-your-entire-workshop’s-floor-space. Be sure to choose one based on what you need and how much space you can dedicate to the unit, both during usage and storage.
Even though many power tools come with LED lights, they’re not always completely reliable, especially when the chuck or nozzle of the tool inhibits visibility. The best thing you can get to help illuminate dark spaces is the get a cordless work light.
You don’t need to deal with tangled power cords and extension cords, and they can provide more than 4 hours of light per charge. Just remember that when shopping for a work light for your garage or workshop, you need to decide which type (handheld, hanging, clamp-on, stand-mounted, or magnetic) will work best and what light bulb (LED, halogen, incandescent) to get.