The 7 Best LED Work Lights to Buy in 2018

Handy task lighting for any project, anywhere

Portrait smiling, confident senior male carpenter using a buffer sander on wood boat in workshop
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Good lighting is absolutely essential for all sorts of jobs around the house. Portable work lights are small enough to fit in many different spaces and are much more convenient than flashlights because they're hands-free. Better still, LED work lights last much longer than lights with conventional incandescent or halogen light bulbs.

When searching for a good work light, the first thing to do is to determine how you intend to use it. Certain tasks, like auto repair, require smaller lights to get into the tight spaces. Construction and home renovation projects, on the other hand, often need larger lights for illuminating larger areas. A healthy combination of different lights is a great way to keep your needs covered if the budget allows. 

When comparing different lights for brightness, look to the lumens rating; this is the actual measure of light output provided by the light. If lumens are not given, the light's wattage offers some indication of brightness for simple comparison, but lumens is a more accurate measure. 

To give you an idea of the possibilities you should look at, here are the top seven LED work lights you can buy today.

  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall: Hallomall 15W Work Light

    The top pick on this list is a work light that fits right on the edge of large and small lights. For many people, having the balance between too large and too small makes it easier to light typical DIY projects involving workbenches and power tools. Others appreciate the flexibility and extra stability a midsize light provides since it offers much of the same adjustability as larger tripod lights.

    The Hallomall 15W Work Light is a true portable light you can keep close at hand on any project. With a stable, adjustable base, this work light is designed to hold its position at any number of angles. You can rotate the base around a full 360 degrees, using a simple twist knob. The light head also pivots up and down in a 90-degree arc. As an added bonus, you can charge mobile devices via the included USB ports while working.

  • 02 of 07

    Best Budget: Torchstar Portable LED Light

    LED work lights come with a wide range of price tags due to the various sizes, features and construction materials. The good news is it doesn’t take much to find a great budget option for projects on the smaller side. Whether you need something to fit in tight spaces or to keep stowed away for emergencies, this light will be friendly on your wallet and productivity.

    The Torchstar Portable LED Light is designed to fit in your hand, but it can also rest on any flat surface; just pivot the base to go from straight up to flat. The base includes two magnets so you can secure the light to metal surfaces. The light can also hang from a hook that folds out of the way when it's not in use. 

  • 03 of 07

    Best With Stand: PowerSmith Dual Head Light

    Stands make a lot of sense for large work areas, combing stability for large lights with height-adjustability to help spread the light as far as possible.  

    Using two 40-watt LED fixtures that output a total of 4,000 lumens, the PowerSmith Dual Head Light makes it easy to light large areas without using a lot of energy — and without creating a lot of heat (like halogen bulbs do). The stand is height-adjustable, and each light can be rotated and pivoted independently for the optimum amount of coverage. Note that this light must plug into a standard (120-volt) electrical outlet; it is not battery-powered. 

  • 04 of 07

    Best Tripod: Globe Electric 360 Degree Work Light

    Globe Electric 360 Degree 48-Watt Portable LED Work Light with Tripod
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    Most work lights with a single bulb or fixture are unidirectional; they can point in only one direction. Even large lights with two fixtures can point in only two directions. But the Globe Electric 360 Degree Work Light takes a different approach to whole-area illumination. Lacking any sort of light shade, the 48-watt LED fixture provides 360-degree coverage, sort of like a lamp with the shade removed.

    The light sits on top of an adjustable tripod so you can set the light at different heights for the best positioning. The whole setup, including the bulb and stand, is weather-resistant for outdoor use.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best Pocket: Caterpillar CT1000 Pocket Light

    Sometimes you need a light that is small enough to keep with you but is also hands-free (unlike the flashlight on a cell phone). Pocket work lights are not much bigger than traditional penlights, but they're much more versatile. 

    The Caterpillar CT1000 Pocket Light has a bright 175-lumen LED light and a durable, water-resistant body. It includes a magnetic base and a pocket clip for hands-free operation in almost any situation. The light lasts 7 hours on three AAA batteries.

  • 06 of 07

    Best Rechargeable: Coquimbo USB Rechargeable Light

    The real draw of most portable LED work lights is the battery. When you can eliminate the need for long extension cords and power sources, you can spend more time focused on the project at hand, and you can take your light wherever you need it. Lights with built-in rechargeable batteries save money in the long run because you eliminate the cost of replacing disposable batteries. This cost can be significant over the lifetime of the light. 

    The Coquimbo USB Rechargeable Light uses a long-lasting battery that recharges via the included cable. The light itself can be positioned in many different ways for the best coverage. A swiveling head rotates 360 degrees horizontally and over 180 degrees vertically. For mounting, the included magnetic base attaches to any magnetic metal and provides a secure connection that will keep the light from falling.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Portable: Husky Magnetic Work Light

    Husky Large Magnetic LED Work Light
    Courtesy of Home Depot 

    You may wonder why a work light is a preferable alternative to the trusty flashlight. In terms of portability, nothing is better than a trusty torch you can carry anywhere you want. Unfortunately, this means you have to give up a hand or sacrifice the level of adjustability normal work lights offer. This is why small work lights are more preferable in some cases, offering better portability and adjustability.

    When small is a priority, the Husky Magnetic Work Light is the best option. With its 180 lumens, it offers better illumination than many other work lights at a budget price. This small work light uses a magnetic base to secure itself to metal surfaces. Lasting up to 10 hours on a single charge, you can place this light in many different locations and keep it on for hours at a time without worry.