One of the cooler tools I saw at the recent Milwaukee media event was the new M18 Light Stand, a cordless LED light powered by 18-volt tool batteries. The light head tilts 90 degrees and pivots 180 degrees on an extendable mast supported by folding tripod legs—and can be set at any height between 4 and 7 feet above the floor. The legs fold out in a matter of seconds and provide a stable base, in part because the batter was placed at the bottom to lower the center of gravity. With the mast down and the legs folded the Light Stand is compact and easily carried by an integrated handle.
The unit is not as bright as a halogen light stand, but it is more durable, puts out minimal heat, and there are no cords to trip over or deal with. And it stores in less space and so is easier to transport. The Light Stand has multiple power settings and is capable of producing up to 2,000 lumens, making it equivalent to the PowerSmith light Doug Mahoney recently reviewed. It is said to be able to run 4 hours on high and 10 hours on low.
Having used every sort of horrible work lighting known to man, I am intrigued by the clever design of the new Milwaukee light. I like that it can be raised high above the floor, folds to a compact size, and can be run powered by standard tool batteries. The only similarly configured light I am aware of is Pelican’s Remote Area Lighting System, a 2,400 lumen LED light on a folding stand. Its battery, while rechargeable, is not easily removed and replaced and the unit costs upward of $800. Let’s hope the Light Stand goes for considerably less than that, because for the right price there will be plenty of tradesmen who will want to buy one. No one knows what the Light Stand will sell for because Milwaukee hasn’t announced the price—though they probably will soon because the tool is scheduled for release in September 2015.
I shot the video below while fooling with the Light Stand during a presentation at the Milwaukee media event.