Best Work Light for Mechanics: Reviews for Corded & Cordless Products
A mechanic’s best friend is the work light. This is a compact LED light (most modern devices feature LEDs as they are low-consumption and powerful) that can be mounted wherever and however you need it in order to see what you’re doing.
These devices are a godsend when working under the hood of a car in low lighting (this can happen even in a garage) or under the vehicle. For instance, if you want to change your shock absorbers, a work light is perfect for illuminating the area properly.
Given that they are so popular, today we’ll talk about choosing the best work light for mechanics and DIY enthusiasts. As usual, there will be a buying guide and some tips and tricks, so make sure to continue reading.
1. Neiko 40464A
Besides the fact that it looks like a lightsaber (it even has a texturized handgrip!), this light from Neiko comes loaded with cool features!
First, it’s extremely portable, and it uses a 3.7 V, 4000mah Li-ion Rechargeable battery that can hold for up to 5 hours of constant use. Furthermore, it can be powered up by any regular USB outlet so that you can charge it in your car, at home, or from a portable battery. There’s also a low battery indicator that only switches on when the power is low.
The light has 60 SMD LEDs and generates 350 lumens, which is bright enough for you to see under the hood of a car without any additional light source. Of course, since it’s highly portable, it also works in a tent, on a hike, or anywhere you need it.
The LEDs are protected by a sturdy polycarbonate housing, and the handle is rubberized, so it doesn’t slip from your hands. Moreover, it comes with accessories (two multi-position, swiveling hanging hooks and a detachable magnetic base mount) that allow users to install this light in any position imaginable.
Overall, this is a lightweight, compact, and portable light that works in a wide array of scenarios. For mechanics, a light like the Neiko 40464A is the perfect choice when working under an auto lift because it spreads light al around (due to its stick design) and, once installed, you can forget about it.
2. Astro 40SL
If you ever need to work under the hood in low light conditions, then a light like the Astro 40SL is just the right choice. It features a wand design, but the light is focused in only one direction (not all around). Also, it was designed to be used in harsh work environments, like auto shops, where oils, dirt, and grease are quite common.
The light is generated by an array of 40 chip COB LEDs which produce up to 850% more light density than SMD LEDs and don’t consume as much energy. The handle has a built-in dial that lets you set the brightness level from 0 to 410 lumens, as needed. This also affects the battery’s life span, since you only get around 2.5 hours at full power, but if you reduce it to 50%, you get about 10 hours of light.
At the base, there is a 20lbs. magnet, which means it will stick to any ferrous surface, regardless of how dirty. Moreover, the base swivels and can be locked in place, in any angle you choose, with a tension ring. Also, at the other end of the wand, there is a metallic ring that can be used to put the light on a hook.
This under the hood light is compact, lightweight, and low-cost. It’s also equipped with two hooks (one at each end) a rotating (180-degrees) magnetic base, and two back magnets. So, besides the fact that it can easily fit in your glove compartment, it’s easy to install on almost any surface.
Moreover, it has two modes: flashlight (80 lumens) and floodlight (280 lumens). This way, if all you need is a flashlight, you won’t drain the 2400mAh battery with high brightness levels. According to the producer, the battery will last about 3.5 hours on the floodlight and about 4 hours on the flashlight.
The light has an IP 64 rating, which means it withstands environments that are usually dirty and dusty, like a garage or an auto shop. Of course, since it is lightweight and compact, you can take it wherever you need it (a remote worksite, on a hike, in the car, and so on).
A large garage is a blessing for any DIY passionate, but it can also be a bit of a curse when you consider the costs. Still, you can have a lot of fun if you choose smart tools that are both affordable and low-consumption.
One such tool is this work light from Voltec, which produces a blindingly bright light (1200 lumens) with just 10W. This is a corded design (6ft of cable) that uses COB LEDs and comes equipped with a 360-degree swivel hook. So, you can simply hang it in one area of the garage, and it will light up the entire place.
It’s also well-designed for work in a garage or an auto shop as it comes with non-shock bumper pads at the top and on the sides. Furthermore, the handle is texturized and rubberized, so it won’t slip when you hold it.
Finally, the light has a heavy-duty magnet on the back, so it’s easy to fit it on the hood of the car while working on the engine.
5. Bayco SL-864
The Bayco SL-864 work light features a corded stick design, with the light focused in one direction. Since it is corded, there’s absolutely no problem if you forgot to charge it the night before. You just plug it in and go about your work.
Furthermore, it comes with a metal reel and 50 feet of cord, to make it portable and easy to use in a garage. There are even a mounting bracket and a hook (on the wand) that let you suspend the light on a wall or ceiling, which is a nice touch. The wand also has a built-in magnet that lets you attach it to ferrous surfaces.
Overall, this under the hood light produces around 120 lumens, and the LEDs are rated for 35,000 hours of life.
So, if you want a work light that’s easy to move about the garage, but you don’t want to worry about charging it or the battery slowly losing its power, the Bayco SL-864 is a wonderful choice.
How to Choose the Best Work Light for Mechanics
Unlike a regular flashlight, an under the hood work light needs to follow several specific characteristics. For instance, this type of device needs to be narrow, portable and must be resistant to dust, dirt, and humidity (just to name some of the crucial criteria).
Furthermore, the light needs to fit your work needs, so if you’re in the market for one, check out this buying guide first.
Battery or Corded?
As you can see from our reviews, some designs run on rechargeable batteries, while some need to be plugged into an outlet. But which one is best?
Corded designs are more powerful than cordless ones and eliminate the hassle of recharging. You can use them for as long as you need and, in most cases, they cost less than cordless designs. On the other hand, they are not entirely portable as you are limited by the cord length.
Cordless designs are 100% portable, and most come with different brightness settings to help preserve power. Not to mention that you can take them to remote jobs and even use them as flashlights on hiking/camping trips. Still, you always need to watch the battery, and recharging can take up to several hours.
Now, given that both have pros and cons, it comes to your personal preferences.
How Many Lumens?
The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. In conclusion, the more lumens your light has, the brighter it will be.
But how many lumens do you need in a garage or while working under the hood outdoor, at night?
This depends on your surroundings and the area you want to be illuminated. If you want to see well in a large garage, you’ll need a brighter light, but for work under the hood, a light of about 400+ lumens should be more than enough.
Accessories & Mounting Options
If you read our reviews, you’ll notice that all the products have a magnetic base or magnets built-into the body and come with hooks and other accessories. These features are essential and let you know that the light can be used without holding it.
Hooks can be used to hang the light on a wall or to position it on the hood of a vehicle, while magnets are perfect for sticking the device to a ferrous surface.
Our recommendation is to get a light with both hooks and magnets because you never know when you’ll need each of these elements.
Unlike a regular flashlight or any other kind of portable light, under the hood ones look more like a stick or a wand. Some have LED lights on the entire surface of the wand, while some only have them on one side.
However, whether they give light all around (360-degrees) or only in one direction, they need to be narrow, so they’ll fit in tight spaces (in between the panels of a vehicle, for instance). Also, as a quick note, the handle should be rubberized and texturized to increase your grip on the light when you move it around.
An under the hood light needs to be durable in an environment that’s more often than not covered in grease, oils, or dirt. Also, the cover material needs to resist contact with these substances in order to protect the LEDs and circuits inside the device
Finally, we would recommend a light that comes with bumper pads (rubberized pads) at the top and sides. This way, if you drop it or it falls from a high place, it won’t shatter to a million pieces when it reaches the ground.
In conclusion, the best work light is compact, lightweight, durable, and easy to mount in any position. Of course, it should also fit your budget, but (as you can see from our reviews) there are many good products at affordable prices.
At the end of the day, the job of this device is to ease your work by providing light exactly where you need it.