Temporary jobsite lighting for tasks and larger areas has always had problems. In such a tough environment we have become extremely dependent on light sources that the lightest little bump will leave you in the dark. LED seems like the obvious solution but until now have just been far more expensive. LED lighting has now become much brighter and finally gotten to similar upfront costs of other lighting solutions. If you factor in the durability, bulb life, electrical usage, replacement frequency and lost time trying to get them working again we would argue LED is now the cheapest lighting option for the jobsite.
Light strings are now available as LED 100’ 08-01188LED ($159) which includes 10 LED Bulbs (850 lumens each) for a total of 8500 Lumens. Compare that to other 100’ light strings $120ish without any bulbs and you are in the ballpark. Factor in cost of how often incandescent (even CFLs) bulbs get damaged/need replaced and that time savings knowing they will be ready to go for the next job. The LEDs are only using 1/4 electricity so save money and can be connected together for longer light runs. Add all these pieces together and it start to add up to real savings!
For single point High Bay Temporary Lighting we now have an option to replace those jobsite 400w Metal Halide 08-00400 ($99) with a high output LED Work Area Light 08-00402 ($96) that puts out an impressive 7600 Lumens with only 78 watts. These LED High Bay lights do put out a lot of light but less than MH so you will need more to cover the same area but no additional bulb costs, wasted time on replacements and can easily travel worry free from job to job. Will you miss that blue spectrum light, super fragile bulbs and unsafe flaming hot housing of the metal halides, not likely so it’s time to say goodbye.
On the other end of the price spectrum there are several name brand solutions. Wobble Light LED 11136LED ($700+) still seems very high for only the 5500 lumens output. Dewalt’s new FLEXVOLT DCL070 ($399), sort of a Wobble light knockoff, is a better deal with 7000 lumens and can go corded/cordless. Milwaukee has also launched some nice LED light options as well in corded/cordless. The M18 Radius LED 2145-20 ($299) has a 4400 lumen output that can be used similar to the High Bay LED but also can be 360 degree floor light or directionally aimed task light. At triple the price and 60% of “lumens” however it may be a tough sell for general purpose lighting a large jobsite.
A couple of other good task light options, Milwaukee M18 Rocket Stand Lights 2130-20 ($249) and 2135-20 ($399, charger) putting out 2000 & 3000 lumens respectively but again not going to fit everyone’s budget. One new Milwaukee LED task light we really like, that will fit into more budgets is the M12 Rover 2364-20 ($79) task light with 1,000 lumens. Super compact and versatile with magnets, clamp and hooks if you’ve got M12 batteries this seems like a very nice addition.
We would not be surprised to start seeing companies/jobsites ban the use of halogen and metal halide all together. The economics are there for LED jobsite lights and the fire hazards / safety concerns of some of these other lighting options just seem like risks larger companies would want to avoid. Will the market favor much cheaper LED solutions as more commodities or go for the name brands solutions? Certainly there will be a place for both and we will continue to see LED output increase and prices drop on both fronts.