The process of choosing the finest LED work light can be both bewildering and intricate. The vast array of options and industry jargon can leave you yearning for the simplicity of your mobile phone’s light. Whether you’re seeking a magnetic LED work light or one with a sturdy stand, this guide is dedicated to unveiling the essential design features that the best LED work lights offer. Our aim is to simplify this process for you, relieving you of the stress and uncertainty.
When embarking on your journey to select the ideal LED work light, there are four primary components to consider. These can be broadly categorized as follows:
– The Type of LED Used
– The Type of Battery (Rechargeable or Disposable)
– Robustness of Design and ‘IP Rating’
– Design Features
Type of LED Used: Not All LEDs Are Created Equal
As the title suggests, quality in work lights hinges on the type of LEDs employed. To illustrate this point, imagine comparing a high-grade work light like the SLR-1000 to a cheap counterpart found in a hardware store’s bargain bin. The disparity arises from the type of LEDs incorporated, such as SMDs, COB LEDs, or DIP LEDs.
DIP LEDs (Dual in-line package): Known for their impact resistance due to their resin encapsulation and direct welding to the circuit board, DIP LEDs have been around for a while. However, they produce limited brightness and require impractically large units for effective LED work lights.
SMD LEDs (Surface Mounted Diode): Reliable and versatile, SMD LEDs can incorporate up to three diodes on a single chip, allowing for a range of colors. They tend to produce more glare, making them suitable as spotlights.
COB LEDs (Chip on Board): Representing the latest technology in work lights, COB LEDs cram over 9 diodes into a single chip, rendering them more efficient in terms of brightness and power consumption.
Modern work light brightness is measured in lumens, with approximately 1 watt equating to 100 lumens. Therefore, a work light with a rating of 30 watts is approximately 3000 lumens. Beware of unrealistically high lumen claims for low-priced LED lights, as these often lack substantiated testing.
Best LED Work Light Buying Guide – Rechargeable or Disposable Battery?
For an extended period, disposable batteries held sway when it came to powering work lights due to their quick and easy replacement. The lengthier recharging times of older battery technologies made disposables more convenient. However, the advent of lithium batteries has changed the landscape, with rechargeable work lights becoming the norm.
The choice between rechargeable and disposable batteries depends on your usage frequency:
Rechargeable Batteries: Opt for a rechargeable battery if your work light will see frequent use. After a few charges, it will quickly offset the initial investment. Lithium batteries, in particular, provide a reliable, rapidly charging power source with minimal memory effects.
Disposable Batteries: Disposable batteries may be ideal for sporadic usage or backup scenarios. They are convenient and widely available. However, in scenarios of frequent use, the costs can add up significantly.
Choosing a Robust and Waterproof LED Work Light
Quality is often evident from the moment you pick up a work light. Its construction and robustness distinguish premium models from cheaper alternatives. While online shopping may not allow physical inspection, you can glean construction details from the manufacturer’s descriptions.
Materials like nylon-polymer, copolymer, and aluminum are commonly associated with sturdy yet lightweight work light designs. The use of these materials is particularly important for regular and demanding work environments. Aluminum, due to its corrosion resistance and flexibility, is often preferred.
Furthermore, pay attention to the ‘IP rating’ of a work light, which signifies its resistance to dust and water. Ensure that the light has been tested according to industry standards like ANSI FL1 to guarantee uniform quality.
Design Features: Tailoring the Work Light to Your Needs
Work lights go by many names, including ‘task lights,’ ‘site lights,’ and ‘job lights.’ The diversity in terminology highlights the importance of considering the light’s functions rather than its name. In tight spaces, the work light’s fixing options are crucial. These include stands, magnets, hooks, clips, and more for securing the light in your preferred position.
Magnets: Magnets are invaluable for placing work lights on boilers, under car bonnets (hoods), and against steel girders. Most tradespeople work near metal, making magnets a handy addition.
Kick Stand or Flat Base: Ideal for positioning work lights on the floor and angling the light upwards, especially for larger ‘site lights.’
Tripod Mounts: Tripods are useful for positioning work lights at heights. When choosing a tripod, ensure it’s compatible with your work light.
The universe of work lights offers myriad options. We hope this guide has demystified the selection process and highlighted key features to consider when choosing your new work light.