Bright, Sturdy Worklights
Priced from $80 to $400, these lights are just the thing to illuminate your job.
My coworkers and I depend on portable lighting because when we begin a finish-carpentry job, the final electrical work is often still weeks away. After putting three new worklights from Milwaukee to the test over several months, I’ve concluded that the company has made great strides in cordless job-site lighting.
The Rocket ($400 with no battery) provides 3000 lumens, can run off AC power, and has an onboard charger for M18 batteries. Three independent heads have a 180° range of motion and can be turned individually or grouped together to pivot as one. The Rocket is power hungry, burning through a 5.0-Ah pack in about two hours at its brightest setting. Still, the power used by the Rocket is a fraction of that used by halogen work lights, which is a huge benefit when you’re running other tools or lights off of the same circuit. Plus, if you lose AC power to the Rocket, the battery seamlessly takes over. How many times has someone unplugged your light while you were in the middle of a task, or how many times have you been left in the dark by a tripped breaker?
Weighing in at 18 lb., the Rocket is 41 in. long when it’s collapsed and can stretch to 7 ft. when fully extended. This makes it great for when you need overhead lighting but there’s nowhere to hang a light. I purposely knocked over the extended light multiple times with no ill effects.
Though less than half the size of a 5-gal. bucket, the M18 Radius ($300 with no battery) puts out 4400 lumens, which is more than enough for general job-site lighting.
At 10-1/2 lb. and with a large handle, it’s easy to carry. A sturdy hook on the bottom—wide enough for 2x stock—allows it to hang upside down for overhead lighting. Milwaukee even includes a tether for hanging the light from larger-diameter objects.
Three brightness modes and the option to turn off half of the light to conserve battery power allow you to match the light output to your needs. There’s even a One Key version ($350 with no battery) so that you can control and program the light to turn on and off on a schedule from your phone. Both versions include male and female 120v plugs for connecting multiple Radius lights together. This model can also run on AC power, but it doesn’t charge batteries as the Rocket does.
The Radius is IP54-rated for dust and water resistance, and the one I have has endured multiple drops without breaking. This is the light you want for general site lighting. You can illuminate a large room with a single unit.
For more about three of these Milwaukee worklights — the Rocket, the Radius, and the Rover — Click the View PDF button below.