Work lights are high intensity lights designed to illuminate work sites. Work lights are available in a variety of styles and with a variety of different bulb types to light up any work site you have. Before buying a work light, you’ll want to consider:
• Where you will place it;
• Job or project location;
• Illumination needs;
• Likelihood of damage to the work light;
• Bulb price and energy efficiency; and
• Heat produced by the bulb.
This buying guide will explain the different types of work lights and light bulbs so you can feel confident you’re choosing the best light for your workspace.
Factors to Consider
• Types – Standing lamps, hanging lights, clamp lights, other
• Bulbs – Fluorescent, incandescent, light-emitting diodes (LED), halogen
Standing lamps are available in a variety of styles, from table lamps to floor lamps with a wide array of bulb types to light up a large work area or a small, enclosed workspace. Look for sturdy housing that can stand up to a busy job site. Other features to consider include:
• An adjustable, detachable tripod, so the light can stand on a tabletop or the floor;
|Hanging lights, also called trouble lights, are inexpensive, battery powered or plug-in, easily portable and offer hands-free illumination with a variety of light bulb options.|
|Clamp lights clamp to tabletops or almost any surface, providing stable lighting wherever you need it.|
|Other work light options include high-powered flashlights and head lamps that provide hands-free lighting in tight situations, such as behind a wall, where you can’t easily put another kind of light.|
Fluorescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are available for a variety of work lights and offer bright light that is cool to the touch, long lasting, inexpensive and conserves energy. CFL bulbs can often be used in place of incandescent bulbs. Check the packaging on your work light to see if it is compact fluorescent compatible. Fluorescent bulbs give off a greenish hue, which can affect the way you see some colors. Fluorescent bulbs can be used in standing, hanging and clamping work lights.
See our Fluorescent Bulbs Buying Guide and CFL Bulbs Buying Guide for more information.
Incandescent bulbs in a protective cage are generally the least expensive work-light option. Incandescent bulbs must be replaced more frequently than LEDs or CFLs and use more electricity, making them more expensive to use in the long run. Incandescents provide bright light that will become hot to the touch and will warm the surrounding area, limiting the places you’ll want to use them to well-ventilated areas. Clamping and hanging fixtures are the most common for use with incandescent bulbs.
LEDs are solid-state semiconductors that emit light when a current passes through them. LED bulbs and work lights already equipped with LEDs, such as LED trouble lights, offer money and energy-saving benefits over traditional bulbs. LED bulbs:
• Can last up to five times longer than CFL bulbs and much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
A typical LED light that burns 8 hours a day can last about 17 years before it needs changing.
• Have no filament or moving parts, making them durable and low maintenance.
• Generate almost no heat or UV rays, which can help reduce air conditioning costs in your home.
• Provide greater energy savings by using up to 80% less energy to produce the same amount of
brightness as that of CFLs and incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs can be used in standing, hanging and clamp work lights.
Halogen bulbs are the brightest available, but the heat they generate can be a fire hazard around construction materials. Halogen bulbs can be used in standing, hanging and clamp lights.