Cordless LED work lights aren’t new, but all of a sudden there are enough of them around to be considered “a thing”. I’m not talking about lights with internal batteries (which can’t be swapped out for fresh ones) or flashlight-style lights that come in combo kits; I’m talking about area lights powered by tool batteries. Among the more notable recent introductions are the Milwaukee Light Stand and Makita Hybrid LED Work Light, which are both scheduled for release this fall.
I recently got a closer look at the Ryobi P720, an LED light that came out late last year. It has a conventional form factor (think corded halogen) and can be powered by a One+ 18-volt battery or an AC power cord. The light turns 360 degrees within the frame, which is equipped with grooves, slots, and holes, that allow it to be hung from rafters, blocking, wires, screws, and the like. There’s a tripod mount on the bottom and of course it can also be placed on any flat surface.
The P720 has two settings, on or off. When on it produces 1,700 lumens, which is a good amount of light—more than is produced by the Milwaukee and Makita mentioned above and nearly as much as the PowerSmith corded LED light (2,000 lumens) recently reviewed in Tools of the Trade.
I’m of two minds about the way you can switch between battery and cord. To use AC power the battery is removed and the end of an extension cord pushed into a recess on back. This is good in the sense that you don’t have to bring a cord if you don’t want to. On the other hand, the light goes out if a breaker trips or the cord comes unplugged. It’s no big deal when this happens in a room with windows but is a hassle when you’re working in a crawl space or attic. If this were to happen with the Makita hybrid the light would automatically switch to battery power because you don’t have to choose between cord and battery.
Specs Ryobi P720
Power: One+ 18-volt battery or AC power
Runtime: 4 hours (w 4.0 Ah pack)
Weight: 2.95 pounds (w/o battery)
Output: 1,700 lumens
Cost: $69 (charger and battery not included)