Work lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they serve in only two applications: directional and 360 degree all-area. We've all seen the most basic, the bare bulb surrounded by a directional shade. Usually they're less than ten dollars at the local store. From that point there's no end to the shapes and sizes. Manufacturers try to out do each other to see who can come up with the next popular gimmick. "Hey, let's put a magnet on it so it can hang from a metal beam". Doesn't do much good when you're framing a house with 2x4's. Many of these lights don't produce much actual light but they come with all the bells and whistles non the less. How about the idea with LED's attached to the bill of a cap? Actually, that's not a bad idea. Even flashlights fall into the directional light category. Prices for directional lights range from pennies to several hundred dollars.
The other type of lighting would be called all area or 360 degree lighting. These lights either have an inflatable bladder of ripstop fabric or a rigid translucent shell like our Impact LED work light. Generally all area lights are larger than most directional lights and range in price from less than one hundred dollars to several thousand. Some are battery operated just like some directional lights. They tend to be pretty costly due to the expense of a powerful battery needed. The big boys you see along the highway used by paving crews usually incorporate an electric generator. All area work lights work best when used off the ground. Tripods are used frequently with these lights or they're hung from an overhead structure.
Lighting up a room or large outdoor area creates a few questions that need to be answered. What exactly do you need to light up? Are you simply replacing a furnace filter or replacing the entire furnace? The simple filter change could require a simple battery directional light for a few minutes. Changing out an entire furnace by the HVAC crew would require a more substantial lighting application. They would need a good all area light that could remain in one place for hours and light up the whole room.
When shopping for an all area light there are several things to look for. What is the light output needed? A 5000 lumen work light will typically light up a two car garage sufficiently where as a 20,000 lumen would probably cover an area of an 8 car garage for the rest of us with the million dollar car collections like the rich and famous. Other features to look for:
- Impact and water resistant
- 4-5000 K temperature (daylight color light)
- LED for low cost and durability
- Easy set up and take down
- Low amperage to work with 120 volt power source
- Good warranty and customer service.