I have quite a few lights hanging in my, but no matter how they are, they never seem to shine exactly where I need them to. Whether I’m reaching down in an engine bay or hunched inside a fender liner, a little extra can make a miserable car repair job… well, a little less miserable anyway.
There are plenty of options out there that address a lot of different needs. What follows are my top 10 picks for the best work light for mechanics.
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The shop light I found myself reaching for most often is actually one of the cheapest here, this $35 folding unit from Braun (Harbor Freight’s house brand). While its length makes it difficult to throw in a toolbox, the strong magnet on the base means you can just pop it onto any metal surface — like, say, the side of your toolbox. The LED light bar throws off plenty of light output for bigger jobs, while the LEDs on the tip meant I could easily inspect down in the fuel tank of my tractor. I got 2 hours on a charge with the LED work light bar on full blast, so it’s maybe not the best work light for mechanics who need it for longer jobs. But it’s a great, affordable rechargeable LED work light choice for most tasks. And, if you catch it at the right time, you can get it for $27 — before the ubiquitous HF coupon!
If you’re looking to spend a little more on a portable rechargeable work light, the $50 Braun 3-In-1 Quick Connect Light Kit comes with replaceable attachments, giving you a more powerful flashlight and a snake light as well. It’s a great portable work light kit, but that means you’ll need to also keep the case and all accessories around. I much prefer the cheaper, integrated lighting option.
Another win for Harbor Freight here, with the Ultra Bright portable LED work light and flashlight. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you’ve ever visited a Harbor Freight, you probably walked out with one of these portable LED flashlight and work light units for free. And, if you’re a frequent shopper, you probably have a half-dozen scattered around your house and garage. Even at the full price of $4, it’s hard to ignore the value here. Whether you want focused or broad LED light, an underhood light, or a powerful flashlight, this will deliver. My only complaint is that the AAA batteries inside are too difficult to replace and the whole thing has a tendency to fly into pieces when dropped on a concrete floor, as mine have been. Repeatedly.
When I asked for work light suggestions, a number of you indicated you prefer to use headlamps when working on your cars, and I definitely can see why. My choice is the $50