No matter what task you’re working on—be it changing the oil in your lawn mower or building a bookcase—proper lighting is essential, and when your overhead lights simply aren’t cutting it, you may need to bring in reinforcements. LED work lights are a popular option for supplementary task lighting, as they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit every job. Plus, LED bulbs are incredibly energy-efficient and long-lasting, saving you the hassle of purchasing new bulbs every few months.
Whether you’re looking for a large work light to illuminate your whole workshop or a pocket-sized light for small tasks, here are the best LED work lights.
Best Overall: Craftsman 2000-Lumen LED Portable Work Light
The Craftsman LED Portable Work Light is bright, versatile, and affordable, making it a top option for a wide range of tasks. This light gives off an impressive 2000 lumens, and it has a 360-degree rotating head that lets you angle it in any direction. Plus, its heavy-duty body folds flat when you’re done, making it easy to transport and store.
This LED work light can be used in wet conditions, and it features a 5-foot power cord with a three-prong grounded plug. It’s compatible with Craftsman tripods, and reviewers absolutely rave about the performance of these small lights, saying they’re lightweight, sturdy, and impressively bright. Plus, at such a reasonable price, you can easily buy a few to keep in your workshop.
Best Budget: LEPOWER Super Bright 30W LED Work Light
You can save some money with the LEPOWER LED Work Lights, which give off 3000 lumens of light output. The floodlight-style unit gives off a super bright white light, and it can be rotated 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically to suit any task.
These LED lights use 80 percent less energy than halogen bulbs, and they’re waterproof, allowing you to use them in a variety of weather conditions. They feature a 15-foot cord, and reviewers love that they’re compact and bright. The only common complaint from buyers is that the on/off switch is on the power cord, not the light unit itself.
Best Cordless: Kobalt 2000-Lumen LED Rechargeable Portable Work Light
No electrical outlet nearby? No problem! The Kobalt LED Rechargeable Work Light is a cordless unit that can run off the included 40V battery, providing light at work locations, campsites, and anywhere else you might need it.
These lights deliver 2000 lumens of output, and the head rotates 360 degrees for increased versatility. They come with a 25-foot power cable that can be used as a backup if the battery ever dies, and they can be hung or mounted on a tripod, as well. Reviewers confirm that the Kobalt LED Work Lights are quite bright, and many like that they can be used wirelessly or while plugged in.
Best Tripod: Husky 7000-Lumen Multi-Directional LED Tripod Work Light
You can light up a whole room with the powerful Husky Multi-Directional LED Tripod Work Light, which provides an impressive 7000 lumens of output. The telescoping mount can be extended from 26.5 to 57 inches in height, and the light has two side panels that can be folded backward or forwards for 360-degree illumination.
These LED work lights have an integrated handle and can be detached from the tripod for increased portability, and they’re outdoor rated for temporary damp location use. They have a five-foot power cord, and the LED bulbs never need to be replaced. According to reviewers, these tripod work lights are compact yet extremely bright, and many people use them for working at night—that’s how bright they are.
Best Folding: Astro Tools Rechargeable Folding Double-Sided LED Slim Light
For a more compact work light, consider the Astro Tools Folding Double-Sided Slim Light. This rechargeable unit features two 500-lumen lights—one on each side—as well as a 150-lumen top flashlight, and its 180-degree folding design makes it ideal for working in tight spaces. The unit charges via a USB-C cable, and it lasts for more than three hours per charge.
In addition to its useful folding functionality, the Astro Tools Slim Light has a base magnet, dual handle magnets, and base hook to help you mount it wherever you’re working. Its light can even be dimmed—a favorite feature among reviewers.
Best Clamp: Husky 1500-Lumens Rechargeable Clamp LED Work Light
Clamp lights are another popular style of LED work light, as they’re easy to attach to a wide variety of surfaces. The Husky Rechargeable Clamp LED Work Light is especially versatile, thanks to its cordless design and 360-degree pivoting light. The integrated clamp holds tightly to pipes, doors, framing, and more, and its non-marring feet won’t scuff or scratch the surface.
This LED light charges via a USB cable, and it delivers up to six hours of runtime per charge. It gives off 1500 lumens of output, and you can even lock its legs open, transforming it into a freestanding unit. Reviewers recommend this light for “any and every occasion,” writing that it’s extremely versatile with a strong, reliable clamp.
Best Rechargeable: PowerSmith 1,800 Lumen Weatherproof Rechargeable LED Work Light
Another popular floodlight-style unit is the PowerSmith Rechargeable LED Work Light, which offers four different modes—high, medium, low, and flashing. This unit is equipped with a high-capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery that delivers up to two hours of light on high, and it can hold its charge for up to 18 months in storage.
This light gives off 1800 lumens of output, and its head tilts 360 degrees. The L-shaped unit folds flat for easy storage, and it even has a built-in USB port that allows you to charge your phone or other electronics. The light comes with a wall charger, as well as a car charger, and happy buyers say it’s a well-designed product that’s a jack of all trades around the workshop.
Best Pocket: Cat Work Lights LED Flood Beam Pocket Work Light
You’ll never be without light again when you have the CAT LED Pocket Work Light. This 6-inch LED light may be small, but it still delivers 175 lumens to help with small jobs. The pocket light has a water- and impact-resistant body, and it has a reinforced pocket clip and a strong magnetic base to keep it in place. The unit runs on three AAA batteries, and it can provide light for up to seven hours straight. Reviewers say these Cat Lights are brighter than you’d think, and many note they’ve bought several to keep around their homes.
The Craftsman 2000-Lumen LED Portable Work Light (view at Lowe’s) is our top choice for LED work lights as it’s bright, portable, and affordable, making it a top option for a wide range of tasks. If you’re specifically looking for a cordless model, go with the Kobalt 2000-Lumen LED Rechargeable Work Light (view at Lowe’s). It comes with a 2.0 Ah battery plus a 25-foot power cable that can be used as a backup if the battery ever dies.
What to Look for in a LED Work Light
Depending on the job, it may be necessary to have a portable work light that can be carried around with you or it may be better to have a stationary work light that you can set up on a stand. There are various types of LED work lights, and knowing the difference between them can help you find the best work light for your next project.
- Portable work lights are specifically made for easy transportation and may even have some innovative attachments to help position the work light for optimal lighting, like a wall mount or an adjustable base. These products are great for use on construction sites and are effective solutions when you need to work inside a wall or up in the ceiling.
- Stand work lights use a tripod or a stand to support the work light. The height of the light can be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the legs of the stand, while the direction of the light is easy to set by simply turning the light towards the desired area of the room. However, the drawback of stand work lights is that they take up a lot of space and can create a tripping hazard in a busy area. Use them for longer projects or when you need both hands to work.
- Retractable work lights can function as both a stationary or portable option because they have a retractable power cord that can be extended to plug the light in or retracted fully into the body of the work light for convenient storage and transportation. This keeps the user safe from accidentally tripping on the cord and it keeps the light safe from being yanked out of the wall by a foot or leg.
The brightness of an LED work light is typically measured in lumens (lm). One lumen is equal to the amount of light produced by a single burning candle, so with that in mind, it's necessary to look for a work light that can create a substantial amount of light for the job. If you regularly work in a well-lit garage, then you may only need a work light for more detailed work.
However, if you complete renovations and repairs inside the ceiling, under sinks, behind walls, or in dark mechanical rooms, then you will want a work light that can properly illuminate the space in order to avoid making mistakes that could put you and your project at risk. Work lights can range in brightness from just 60 lumens to well over 1,500 lumens, so check the lumen output and find the best work light for your purposes.
Ingress Protection Rating
Ingress protection ratings are more commonly known as IP ratings, and they are used to indicate the level of water resistance and dust resistance of a product. IP ratings are given as two-digit numbers, with the first digit representing the level of protection against solid particles from 0 to 6, like hair, dust, and dirt. The second digit represents the level of protection against water and similar liquids on a scale of 0 to 7, with higher numbers indicating a high resistance to water.
LED work lights can be expected to perform in a dirty, dusty workshop as well as outdoors in all types of weather, or even during an emergency, like a burst pipe. Due to the variety of environments where a work light is necessary, it's important to find a product that is resistant to both dirt and water, otherwise, the light may not work when you need it most.
How do you fix a LED work light?
Unlike incandescent lights that are almost impossible to fix if they break, LED work lights can be repaired in some cases. If the light won't turn on then, there may be a disconnection between the wires. Open up the light and check each wire to ensure that it is properly connected.
The problem could also be caused by loose LED pins. Inspect the LED lighting board for any loose LEDs and reinsert any loose pins to restore the connection. Just keep in mind that if you don't have experience dealing with small electronics, this repair could be challenging.
Can LED work lights be used for photography?
With experience, a photographer can make use of LED work lights to set the ideal lighting. The type of work light and the method necessary for achieving the right lighting depends on the project, the location, and the desired results.
How do you connect an LED work light to a battery?
A work light can only be connected to a battery if it is designed to work on battery power. Connect the rechargeable battery pack to the work light in the designated location. This can either be done by sliding the battery into a specific slot or inserting the battery into a compartment. Alternatively, some work lights use disposable batteries. To connect these batteries, simply open the battery compartment and insert the batteries in the correct orientation according to the directions.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Additional research for this round-up comes from Timothy Dale, a seasoned home improvement expert who specializes in a number of topics, including plumbing, construction, and product recommendations.