When working on important tasks, you need sufficient lighting in your work area, whether it is a professional work location like a construction site or a personal workspace like a garage or workshop. If you are considering a work light purchase, there are several types from which to choose. LED lights are an especially solid choice for work projects since they’re 90 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs. LED work lights are available in several styles and offer a variety of features that cater to specific kinds of tasks. This guide will help pinpoint which features are important for the type of work you do and your work location. Depending on your needs and your budget, you might choose one versatile LED work light for all your projects or invest in several LED work lights to suit each workspace. Whether you need to brighten up a large workspace or spotlight small details, the following list reveals some of the best LED work lights on the market for illuminating your projects.
- BEST OVERALL: DEWALT 20V MAX LED Work Light
- RUNNER-UP: PowerSmith PWL124S 2400 Lumen Weatherproof
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Cat CT1000 Pocket COB LED Flood Beam
- BEST CORDLESS: BOSCH 12-Volt Max LED Cordless Work Light
- BEST TRIPOD: PowerSmith PWL2100TS 10000 Lumen Weatherproof LED
- BEST RETRACTABLE: Bayco SL-864 60 LED Work Light on Metal Reel
Popular Types of LED Work Lights
Different tasks and locations require different types of lights. One task might necessitate a close-up, hands-free lighting option, while another job requires an entire workshop to be brightly lit. Portable lighting equipment is important for transitory job sites, but bulkier lights are acceptable for a large, stationary workshop. When shopping for the best LED work lights for your specific task and location, make sure to match the product features to your needs.
Perfect for garage workshops, construction sites, and home renovation projects, portable LED work lights are small, easy to transport, and will light up any space. Set them on the ground or on a table so you can see clearly to complete your projects. Many versions attach to tripods to become fully adjustable stand lights.
An essential tool for contractors, LED work lights that use a stand or tripod may be the best lighting for job sites without power or if you work outside at night. You can also use these versatile, height-adjustable lights to light up a room or a workshop for large-scale projects like painting.
Because of their small size, LED work lights that use a retractable cord are a solid option when you need portability, and you can also mount this type of light to a wall or ceiling for a more permanent solution. Both the lengthy extension cord and the extra plug provide added convenience. When not in use, the cord retracts into the casing for easy storage and to prevent trips and falls.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best LED Work Light
When shopping for the best LED work light for your project, consider the type and scope of the job and its location, the required lumen output, the distance from a power source, the need for portability, and potential exposure to the elements.
A mechanic working under the hood of a vehicle or a plumber enclosed in a crawl space both need focused lighting that they can use in small spaces, while a painter needs adjustable work lights to illuminate each section of an entire room.
Contractors working on job sites without power rely on battery-operated solutions to light their way. They may also need protection from the elements, such as dust or water, to keep their lights functional.
Whatever your task, there are many options to meet your needs. Be sure to review each product you are considering to ensure you receive the level of brightness, power options, portability, and adjustability you desire.
While brightness is measured in watts for incandescent light bulbs, it is measured in lumens for LED lights. A higher number of lumens means a brighter work light. For example, the brightness of a typical 100-watt incandescent light bulb equates to an LED light with 1,600 lumens; however, the benefit of an LED light is that it uses less than 30 watts of energy. LED work lights are more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
To determine if an LED work light meets the level of brightness required for your workspace or project, first check the lumen output on the product, then the product’s beam angle, which measures how the light is distributed and how far the light travels before brightness is reduced.
When shopping for your new LED work light, remember that different models will have distinct features related to their power source. Options for powering LED work lights include AC power, solar power, rechargeable batteries, and a combination of power options.
Some LED work lights feature charging ports for your USB devices or plugs you can use to power other tools. The voltage on these charging ports varies, so make sure you research each product to determine whether it offers the right amount of power for your potential usage. Check the runtime on each product’s power source as well, so you aren’t left without light when you need it most. If your light is battery operated, you may wish to purchase extra batteries so you always have a fully charged backup battery available.
Corded vs. Cordless
LED work lights last longer and are more energy-efficient than their halogen and incandescent counterparts.
If you spend a lot of time in a workshop, corded work lights provide you with the brightness you need without worrying about whether they will power down when you need them most. However, when on the go, cordless LED work lights are more versatile. Look for features like multiple brightness settings to save battery power and charge indicators to let you know when you need a replacement. Especially if you find yourself without power. It becomes easy to appreciate the portability and convenience of a light that you can use to finish a job.
An IP rating is a two-digit safety rating assigned to electrical equipment by the International Electrotechnical Commission. The rating refers to ingress protection, which is the ability of particles to enter the electrical device. A higher rating means higher confidence that the electrical components are protected against damage that could cause safety issues or stop them from functioning effectively.
The first digit refers to how well a product repels solid particles like dust and ranges from 0 to 6, while the second digit refers to liquids, like rain and snow, and ranges from 0 to 7. Look for a higher IP rating if you may be using your LED work lights in dirty or wet conditions.
Most people who buy LED work lights will use them for a variety of jobs. For most task lighting, you can adjust your work lights so they direct the brightness exactly where you need it. Luckily, many of the LED work lights on the market are adjustable to the needs of your projects.
LED work lights can be accompanied by a stand or a tripod that easily make the light taller or shorter. The lights themselves often sit on arms that can pivot or swivel to point light in the direction you need it to go. Some portable lights have flexible necks that bend as needed; some lights have either on/off or dimmer switches that allow you to adjust the level of brightness, and some models even allow you to adjust the color temperature, which is a great option for painters.
If you work in a trade profession or travel between multiple job sites, portability is an absolute must. Portable LED work lights offer the most flexibility for users on the go. Look for lights that will fold up or retract to easily pack into small spaces, and make sure the lights are durable enough to withstand bumps and falls that may occur during travel.
If you are often on the go without the ability to plug in to a power source, consider a cordless LED work light that uses rechargeable batteries. Just remember to take note of the runtime and required charging time of each product, in addition to always having a backup light source on hand.
Our Top Picks
When shopping for LED work lights for your professional job site or home-based projects, you need lighting that will be safe, powerful, and efficient, and there are many factors to consider. Check out the recommendations below to discover some of the best LED work lights for your specific needs.
With its 5,000 lumens of natural white light, this portable, all-purpose, battery-operated LED work light from DeWalt is powerful enough to illuminate a job site or a workshop and last an entire workday on a single charge. It can operate in a freestanding position, mounted on a tripod, or hung from the ceiling via an integrated hook.
Using the manufacturer’s Tool Connect app, you can operate the light conveniently from your smartphone, including setting a remote schedule for when the light powers on and off.
This LED work light is sturdy and durable enough to withstand being dropped and other accidental impacts. Unfortunately, the tripod, battery, and charger are all sold separately, and there is no corded option.
This portable, weatherproof LED work light from PowerSmith is bright enough to illuminate just about any project. While this particular version offers 2,400 lumens, you can choose from among five models that range from 1,080 lumens to 7,500 lumens. With its compact design, it weighs in at under 2 pounds and suits projects in small, hard-to-light spaces, like cupboards and closets. The light tilts 360 degrees so you can aim the beam in any direction, and since it stays cool to the touch, you won’t accidentally burn your hands.
Use the stable stand to place the light directly on a workbench or on the floor to light up a room, or take advantage of the large metal hook to conveniently hang the light for task-focused work. The weatherproof power switch is sealed with rubber, making this light ideal for use outside or in dusty indoor conditions.
Some users may find the 5-foot cord a bit short, and the blue tint of the light’s bright-white color temperature may not appeal to everyone. However, this work light is a sturdy, durable, and versatile option while remaining at an affordable price point.
With a handy clip, you can attach this small LED work light from Cat Work Lights to a shirt pocket or collar. It also features a magnet at one end, so you can easily operate it hands-free with it not on your person. Since it is only 6 feet long, it is ideal for use in confined spaces or hard-to-reach areas.
This small work light is light weight, water resistant, and battery operated via three AAA batteries. The light is surprisingly bright for its size, and the battery life is superior. The magnet lacks a bit of strength, and the product could prove relatively fragile if you drop it, but at this price point, you can’t go wrong.
Weighing in at just 11 ounces, this lightweight, cordless LED work light from Bosch offers 10 high-intensity lights that provide an adjustable light beam. You get up to 12 hours of runtime to finish your list of projects. Features like a self-standing bracket, powerful magnets, a carabiner clip, and the option to attach the light to a tripod provide plenty of options for securely mounting it in your work area.
The light’s compact size, adjustable bracket, and varied angles mean you can shine the beam into small, hard-to-reach, and awkward spaces. But since there is no low-battery indicator, you might want to keep an extra battery nearby. Rechargeable 2.0Ah or 4.0 Ah batteries are not included.
With a brightness of 10,000 lumens, this LED work light from PowerSmith is a powerful addition to any contractor’s bank of tools. The tripod option is ideal for drywall, painting, and other tasks that require bright lighting. However, unlike halogen bulbs, this light remains cool to the touch, so you won’t be burning your fingers.
No tools are required to set up or adjust this light; it is easy to assemble, disassemble, and transport. You may need to apply a lot of elbow grease to ensure the plastic adjustment pieces safely secure the lamps to the tripod, but this all-metal tripod is fully extendable up to 6 feet 3 inches and very stable once in place.
The two lamps are removable for work in smaller spaces, and each lamp has its own switch and expected total longevity of 50,000 hours. The light’s all-weather design makes it safe to use for all of your indoor and outdoor projects.
Despite its narrow profile, this LED work light from Bayco delivers superior brightness and performs well for many applications. The 50-foot retractable cord will reach many areas in a large shop and winds up smoothly when you need it out of the way. The light includes brackets that permit you to safely mount it on the wall or ceiling.
This work light isn’t as bright as some similar models, but the rotating magnets allow you to hang the light and aim it in any direction. Its slim design is ideal for bringing plenty of light to tight spots and small spaces, such as under the hood of a vehicle.
FAQs About LED Work Lights
Hopefully, this guide has provided the information you need to choose the best LED work light for your situation. If you still have questions about which light best suits your needs, check out these frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
Q. What type of LED work light do I need?
The best LED work light will depend on your task, your location, and the current lighting in your environment.
Q. How many lumens do I need for a work light?
While estimates vary, a general rule of thumb is 130 to 150 lumens per square foot of workspace, but personal preferences, eye health, and the wall colors in your environment will have an impact.
Q. Are LED work lights durable?
Durability varies by brand and price point, but LED work lights are generally made to be durable for expected use on construction sites. Look for items that are protected by shields and rubber that prevents damage if you drop the light.