Here in the Pacific Northwest our winter days get dark often because of the rainy overcast weather. As soon as we get the roof sheathed, we need temporary lighting inside to keep moving forward. For the past 10 years we’ve used Wobble Lights as our primary lighting. We own 4 of them now, two 175 watt metal halide and two 400 watt metal halide. We primarily use the 400 watt models, and our 2nd 400 watt light is brand new.
Recently I asked Tools to send me the new Milwaukee cordless TrueView LED lights – one flood, and the other stand - since we already own a few Milwaukee tools. We needed a light that could fit into crawlspaces, and also larger area light that is a bit more portable than the Wobble Light. After using the two for several months, here’s what we found…
TrueView M18 LED Flood Light. This small cordless LED flood light has 3 modes for light output. The highest mode puts out 3,000 lumens, medium put out 1500 lumens and low puts out 650 lumens. It can either be used cordless, when equipped with M18 batteries, or it can be plugged in. Milwaukee claims that the color of the LED light is a neutral white with a high color rendering, which means the color of the light is more “realistic”. My opinion is that it is a more comfortable light. The greenish tint from the metal halide in our Wobble Lights has always felt odd to me. Yes it illuminates the area, but I much prefer the color of light from the LEDs in the TrueView.
This flood light is very durable especially compared with the old halogen portable lights we always broke too readily. A roll cage protects the light and still allows for the light to be moved 240°. It’s also very compact and portable at 11” x 12” x 8” tall. We found it extremely useful in crawlspaces and in work areas in a basement we had to frame. We found that putting the light on a block nailed between studs let us cast enough light to illuminate most smaller areas like bathrooms or bedrooms. It also did a great job of lighting up the cut station.
When the battery starts to die the light will blink letting you know to change the battery. This is a nice feature for times when you are in a very dark area; you won’t all of the sudden lose your light and be left in the dark. I found this unit for $150 online. We found we only got about 2 -3 hours of lighting using the 4.0 amp hour batteries.
TrueView M18 LED Light Stand. This light can be set up from about 40” (without the legs extended) to nearly 7’. The light head can be rotated or pivoted making this a very versatile light. We found that even fully extended it was very stable, no doubt due in part to the location of the battery in the base, which acts like a counterbalance. The base makes a triangle that measures 26” at each side (we measured), so we found putting in a corner of a room nicely lit up the room.
This stand light has 3 modes, 2000 lumens at the high setting, 1300 lumens in medium, and 850 in low. As the battery drains it too will begin to blink indicating it's time to change the battery.
The stand light sets up in seconds: a couple of clicks and pulls sets up this light and pressing a button and a couple of pushes down on the light and it is ready to pack up. It barely takes up any room in our Sprinter van. It retails online for about $250. Using 4.0 amp hour batteries, we get 3-4 hours, depending on mode.
The Bottom Line. Without question, the M18 Trueview Flood Light is the first light we would buy after the Wobble Lights. We need the Wobble Lights to illuminate large work areas, but the M18 Flood Light compliments this very nicely. I found that in the basement we were working one or two 400 watt Wobble lights illuminated most of the basement adequately but as I was framing, I set up the M18 Flood Light within 10’ of where I was working so I could see layout better. I used it set to medium or low most often and only used this light in “high” if there was no other lighting. At $150 I think this is a must have light.
If there is room in your budget, buy the M18 Light Stand. The portability, light output and adjustability made this light extremely useful. Most often we had it extended to max height and then aimed down to illuminate larger areas. Incidentally, the color of the LED was perfect and I used it for supplementary lighting when I took photos of my newborn nephew.
What I like about both these lights is that you can move them wherever you want without worrying about banging them into a stud or wall or dealing with running a cord to them. We broke halogen lights all the time because they were more sensitive. Wobble Lights too can be annoying because of the warm up time; a Wobble Light takes 15 minutes or so to get fully lit. We often lose power on our jobs and this can be a big time waster. Even stepping on the cord powering the Wobble Light can cause it to blink out. We were able to keep working though while waiting or the Wobble lights to come back on because we had these cordless lights on hand.