If you a master at DIY projects who can’t bear to stop working because the conditions aren’t right, you’re going to spend some serious time thinking about proper lighting in your workspace. Working outdoors or even in a garage quickly gets complicated if you can’t see what you’re doing, which is why investing in the best LED work light options is so important.
We are in the midst of building a timber frame home on our five-acre property, all while living completely off-grid.
So far we’ve completed the garage, which gives us an ideal indoor space to work on projects. Finding ways to light the room hasn’t proven easy, and with darkness setting in around 6:15 due to the winter season, our construction days are getting short.
For this reason, we went on a search for the best LED work light options on the market and found two that are making a major difference for both our productivity and the safety of our work environment.
Will our favorite work lights make sense for your situation as well? Let’s look at the details.
Why Choose LED Work Lights?
Most project enthusiasts agree, a task can only go as well as the tools you use to accomplish it. Working in a dimly lit environment increases the difficulty of conducting precision work and it exposes you to injuries.
There are lots of options for work lighting systems, but the quality level varies significantly. Some aren’t sturdy enough to be trusted upright, while others lack the power to really light up a workspace.
It’s also common for work lights to only stay lit for an hour or two before their batteries die, or for the bulbs to become so hot that they are dangerous.
For this reason, we chose to invest in high quality LED work lights. These lights will stay cool to the touch, even when lit for hours, and they can run on battery power or be plugged into an outlet.
Determining the Best Lighting for Our Situation
When we assessed what was necessary for the best LED work lights for our situation, we knew that we wanted a battery powered option so that extension cords wouldn’t need to be dragged all around the property whether we’re working on our diy hot tub or cutting firewood at night!
Determining the best LED work lights for you comes down to understanding what’s available, and what your personal needs are. Below are some questions to think through when choosing LED work lights.
How Will You Use It?
Are you planning on using your light to brighten a single workspace, or do you anticipate needing to move it around on a regular basis?
We initially considered setting up shop lights in our garage but decided that they weren’t the best solution for us because they aren’t portable.
In a perfect world all of our projects would be done indoors, but at this stage in our building project we are working all over the property and need the flexibility of portable lights instead.
How Will It Be Mounted?
There is a different style of work light for almost every project. Some stand upright and have adjustable heights, while others are designed for hanging or are handheld.
Base-mount lights come with a stand while hanging or handheld lights are lighter and more portable, but also less powerful.
Choosing the wrong model for your task is inefficient!
How Bright Will It Be?
The bulb type in your light will determine how bright it will be.
There are three standard types: incandescent, LED and Halogen bulbs. LED lights are by far the most popular though, as they last longer, provide steady light, are more durable, and don’t produce heat. For these reasons, we didn’t consider any other options for our work lights.
Apart from the bulb type, you should also consider the amount of light it can produce.
Those that provide more lumens per square meter are the best when working on dark and large spaces while the ones with less are ideal for indoor use and when you do not need a lot of light.
What Is The Power Source?
The three main options for powering work lights are rechargeable, plug-in, and battery operated. Each has different appeals depending on your work situation.
Battery operated is the most portable, but they tend to be dimmer or last less long.
In contrast, electric or plug-in are less portable, but they offer unlimited light when plugged in. However, tripping over extension cords can quickly become a liability on a work site!
Why Milwaukee Lights?
After some research into the best LED work lights, we decided to commit to Milwaukee Tool, even though we’d never used their power tools before. This is because they set the industry standard for high output LED lights.
Milwaukee lights are renowned for delivering a consistent beam, and they provide an accurate representation of colors by not overpowering a workspace with intense lighting.
Best of all, many Milwaukee work light models can run both on battery power or while plugged in, making them more adaptable for a wide variety of work environments.
Prices for work lights will vary considerably depending on the quality of construction and light output you get. Before committing to our lights, we looked at models that ranged from $30 to $400 so that we could best determine the right lighting solutions for our work situation.
Our Choices for Best Milwaukee LED Work Lights
After lots of research, we selected two different Milwaukee work lights: the rocket and the Rover m18.
Both will serve different purposes for our building projects, but we couldn’t be happier with our choice.
The Milwaukee Rocket M18This tower light cost us about $400 for the light, battery and charger (both sold separately).
The light has a built-in charger so that it charges while lit when plugged in. Despite its size, the Rocket is super portable and collapses into a small package.
We like the handle, though the weight isn’t well balanced. Even so, it’s made of durable plastic, has three light heads that can be maneuvered in any direction, and flaps that protect the outlets from the elements (significant if you ever work around water!).
The light also has three brightness settings, making it ideal for a variety of work conditions.
The best feature for us, though, is that it has a smooth battery-to-electric transition, meaning that you can unplug the light and move it around without the light so much as flickering.
The Milwaukee Rover M18
This flood light cost us about $150, and it runs on the same battery as the rocket, which allows you to get about four hours of light from a single charge.
A hidden power cord at the bottom means it can be plugged in as well.
The top can be adjusted to different angles, making it highly portable and easy to adapt to any work situation.
And, with about 1,300 lumens of power, you never need to worry about not having enough light to finish the job.
Choosing the Best LED Work Lights for YOU
There is no limit to the options for high quality LED work lights, so you might need to do some extra research to find the best option for you.
For more insight into our experience choosing the Rocket and the Rover, this video dives into all the details.
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