We are seeing huge leaps forward in LED lighting especially in temporary and cordless, ideal for jobsite lighting. At the same time we are seeing DIYers and LED hobbyists making some very impressive leaps as well. Will 2016 be the year we see LEDs take over the jobsite? First lets start with our criteria for a really good general purpose jobsite worklight. Light output of 12,000-20,000 lumen would be key, ideally some sort of adjustable control to direct light between 180 and 360 degrees. It would be tall and adjustable with light from above eye level. It would be easy to setup/transport. It would be tough enough to take a fall and handle jobsite conditions. It could run all day with several hours between battery swaps or recharging, possibly using multiple batteries or something else. It could run off AC power and charge the battery when not in use. It would do all this for under $400 and the price would go down steadily from there. Obviously all the jobsites won’t change overnight but it would start the ball rolling.
The video above shows a homemade LED Light system using 10x 100w LEDs for a total of 1000W with roughly 90,000 lumens. Basic supplies of LED 100w chips, voltage converters and convex lens can be purchase for under $25 a set, SEE HERE. Basic components, plus heat sinks and a power source you can build your own crazy spot light for mid $300ish. Using a couple of RC batteries this array can be powered for 10 minutes, of course to use constantly as a jobsite light this thing would overhead way to fast (video said never used for more than a few minutes at a time) but it’s a very cool concept. Apparently there a few other folks out there looking for a better LED lighting solution as the video currently has almost 3 million views. We’d be happy with just 2 chips and 18,000 lumens.
Recently we made a video with the inventor of the 20,000 lumen CFL work light IN360LIGHT ($270 w/stand). This is an awesome light that really makes a huge work area very bright and whole setup is easy to setup/transport. Power usage is pretty low although still corded, doesn’t make much heat and bulbs (included) will last for many years. The design is very rugged so normal bumps are ok however it still uses CFL bulbs which themselves can’t take a fall, especially at the full 7’ extended height. So if it doesn’t ever get knocked over you’ll be very happy for many year. In360Light is very close to having LED & Cordless LED versions available at a “reasonable price” which hopefully will be coming in 2016. The trouble isn’t getting the LED to produce 10,000-20,000 lumens, as you can see in the first video is possible, the tough part is getting the price down to where people might actually buy it, 2016 could be that year.
Milwaukee Tools also gives us a lot of promise for finding a better jobsite solution in 2016 as they are staying up on their LED tech and recently released 2 impressive new LED light in the M18 Worklight Stand 2130-20 ($249) with 2,000 lumens and the M18 Floodlight HP 2360-20 ($149) with 3,000 lumens which can also run on AC. The response has been very good, even at the $250 price, which we thought might turn people off. Unfortunately it would seem people are just so frustrated with their current lighting options they are willing to pay. This week (12/14/15) you can actually win one of the M18 2130-20 with M18 Battery & Charger ($400 value) in our Coptool Epic Friday Giveaway! These are great solutions for a lot of applications however still can’t fully address the larger jobsite need.
We are seeing all the different components in these various lighting options now we just need them all to come together in a well priced solution. Will that solution come from a power tool brands like Milwaukee, a power cord & lighting company like Voltec or a small outsider like In360LIGHT? Good news is, it is coming and within a couple of years we think solutions like this will be readily available and probably pretty affordable. Once it does gets figured out, next we’ll ask for an “intrinsically safe” version for all our friends in the utilities, natural resources and other hazardous environments.