The best work lights are often the ones you have on hand. It can be frustrating, however, when certain jobs require more than the lighting options you’ve got hanging around the garage. The right amount of light can save you time and ensure a tedious repair job is completed accurately. Check out some of the best work lights for getting the job done — whatever that job might be.
Shop lights are intended for use in a garage or workshop. You’ll need to have access to an outlet, as they’re almost always corded. Most modern shop lights are LED, so you don’t have to worry about broken bulbs or a hot casing, and they’re also smaller and easier to position. When you’re looking to buy a shop light, consider the varying degrees of brightness as well as hooks for hanging or legs for standing upright on the ground.
Small clip-on lights are the best work lights for awkward or small spaces where a larger shop light just won’t fit. They’re also great when you need a portable light, as there are many battery-powered options out there. Clipping a light where you need it is a huge bonus, especially if the light is small enough to keep in your glove box in the case of an emergency.
Magnetic lights are similar to clip-ons except they stick to metallic surfaces instead of using a clip. This makes them a good choice for engine work, as you can attach them to the underside of the hood and move them around to focus on the area where you need to see. Grabbing a few small magnetic lights means you can use more than one to get even more light on a specific area.
One of the best work lights in terms of versatility is the head lamp, which is worn around your head on a small fabric band. Head lamps are lightweight thanks to LED technology and, more important, they illuminate exactly where you happen to be looking without having to take your hands off your tools. A head lamp should be hanging up in every workshop — they are that useful.
The lights you have on hand might not be up to the task of properly illuminating your work area. This is why it pays off to have a mix of choices at your disposal before you tackle your next project.
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Photo courtesy of DeWalt.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.