best work light for cramped areas? - TCCoA Forums
  • 1 Post By T6Rocket
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
5th Gear Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 408
best work light for cramped areas?

My old, rechargeable, 35-LED Craftsman failed a while back, and now my backup fluorescent one has kicked the bucket.

The cylindrical body work lights ain't cuttin' it for me. Even with magnetic base and hooks, it's impossible to get proper lighting where I need it for a lot of jobs, and with no base on the FL one that just went out, it was twisting and rolling so I couldn't keep light in the desired spot.

Also, even if I can get them to stay in one place in a fender well, for example, there's so little room that I must place them in odd positions and light doesn't get where I need it -- the light is more in my eyes than on the parts and I end up seeing mostly shadows.

So, I'm looking for some kind of smallish spotlight lamp with a flex shaft that'll put light exactly where I want it and will stay out of the way of my arms, hands & tools. The problem is, most of these I've researched are really small, which is great for confined spaces, but they offer relatively low lumen output. A magnetic base is ok, but I think I might prefer a spring clamp.

Do any of you use this kind for a work/shop light? What make/model do you use and how many lumens does it provide?
Have you tried a high-lumen flashlight on one of the flex holder arms? How did that work out for ya?

I prefer LED, since I'm usually working quite close to the lamp/bulb and LED's are generally cooler to the touch (yes, I know the aluminum flashlights can get hot, but so can fluorescent tubes!). I also prefer neutral (daylight) temps, as less eyestrain/fatigue results (in my case).
Torque is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 08:10 AM
T6Rocket's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,747
For starters, the little battery powered "miner's light" that you put on your head is indispensable. Puts the light right where you need it. Don't know how I did without one.

I can't help with cord lights, they are all garbage since everything moved to China. My old Craftsman light lasted 10-15 years. It's replacement lasted 10-15 months.

Natesriv likes this.

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
T6Rocket is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 08:25 AM
6th Gear Poster
Natesriv's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Kansas City
Age: 49
Posts: 584
I agree... light where you're looking and not some f"""ing round one which rolls around, gets in the way.... makes you say bad things.
Natesriv is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 08:53 AM
Rayo's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 3,702
I'm interested to see what you guys recommend as well..
I find myself doing this quite a bit:


1991 Ford Thunderbird Sport

"If you don't know where you're going..Any road will take you there."George Harrison
Rayo is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 11:32 AM
Seasoned PostWhore
S4gunn's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: SF, CA
Age: 41
Posts: 2,611
I use headlamps almost exclusively and only use a floor light when I need to do some welding in an inconvenient spot. In that case, I often just prop my headlamp up somewhere.

I've had good luck with my seriously bright ones from (straight from china). Key features I look for:
- Protected 18650 LION cells (same cells used in laptop power bricks): ~$5/ea
ex: TrustFire Protected 18650 3.7V Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries (Pair) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

- metal body headlamp with the brightest rated in Lumens CREE emitter. I look for one with the battery in the forward section vs. in a seperate rear pack (which gets in the way when you are on your back underneath the car): I bought THIS one for $15 back in 2014. I don't recall the stupid name but positive reviews:
ASSASSIN V8 280lm 3-Mode White Zooming Hunting Headlamp w/ Cree XP-E Q5 - Grey (1 x 18650) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

Aluminum @ 500LM w/ decent reviews (this is the one I'd roll the dice and buy if I had to get a new one today. would still get a wall charger + extra batteries though)
SingFire SF-812 500lm 5-Mode Zooming Headlight w/ Cree XM-L T6 - Black + Green (1 x 18650 / 3 x AAA) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

Aluminum+Plastic @ 900LM
HL-D1 10~30m Diving Waterproof Headlamp for Indoor or Outdoor Using - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

Plastic + rubber @ 800LM
RichFire SF-602B LED 2-Mode 800lm White Zoomable Diving Headlamp - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

Plastic body @ 300LM
UltraFire Zoomable 300lm 3-Mode White Light LED Headlamp - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

- Charger (can often by bundled with the batteries): $5
Spend a little more and get a decent one that can do LION+AA as well

- I have a few plastic bodied, AAA powered ones I keep for spares/camping)
Highest quality and Cheap 348lm 3-Mode Cool White Light Headlamp - Black (3*AAA) on sale

I checked my records and I bought this latest metal bodied headlamp in Aug 2014 and have used it several times per week since then without any drama (you guys have seen how much I post about my stupid tbird -- for several pre-race stretches I'm down in my garage daily). The only incident I can recall (other than having to take the headband off and handwashing it because i noticed it was so filthy) was that maybe 6 months ago, I used it continuously for a few HOURS and the "waterproof" gasket around the lens had deteriorated due to age+heat. I pulled the lens off, tossed the rubber gasket, and slipped the lens assembly back on. It's probably not waterproof anymore but then again, I didn't expect it to be submersible to begin with. For the plastic ones, what often breaks for me is not the emitter but the plastic tabs that mount it to a plastic bracket on the band. For these, I'll use them as mini lights (with a magnet glued on the back) or in one case, I found that they were copies of PETZL headlamps so i took one DX sourced body and swapped it into a headband that came with an old camping PETZL headlamp.

I have some other friends who use their DX sourced headlamps for their daily bike commute without any fuss (you can do that in SF).

I've bought a good deal from DX but honestly, I haven't used them in a few years since most of my little chinese crap comes from ebay now. DX can sometimes take a while to ship but if it fails to arrive, they do refund your money. ALIexpress is another place to check as well that my friends have had good success with (both getting stuff as well as getting their money back it stuff doesn't arrive).


PS. Some others from Aliexpress to consider

Not sure i believe this 1200LM BS but its going to be brighter than one rated at 300LM

My TCCOA iTrader Rating: (44 / 100% w/ 50+ transactions)

24 Hours of Lemons 2017 Sear Pointless Organizer's Choice
2018 Upgrade: does your TBIRD make Fritos? Mine does

Last edited by S4gunn; 01-16-2017 at 11:50 AM.
S4gunn is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
5th Gear Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 408
Headlamps are ubiquitous and not that expensive, true. I had looked at some in my local Walmart, but didn't pull the trigger, because I foresee a few drawbacks in my case:

1) When I move my head to get a look at different angles, which I tend to do a lot of, it seems I'd likely be continuously having to adjust the the headlamp. That might wear out the pivot prematurely, and would definitely be annoying.

2) Related to #1 above, due to my presbyopia, I wear safety glasses with magnifiers at both top and bottom (these), so I am frequently tilting my head to see thru the bifocal portions -- though not nearly as much or as extreme as when I wore lower bifocals only! This necessary action would throw light away from where I had aimed it.

3) Having to keep the headband clean or instantly get my hair filthy upon next use -- maybe have to buy a second band/strap for standby while one is waiting to be washed. Contrast this with just hanging up or otherwise stowing a non-wearable lamp & it being ready to go at any time; or if cleanup is needed, a quick wipe with Wet Ones or Simple Green.

I could try a plastic one and see how long it lasts. This would also allow a lightweight arm, especially if I got one with battery pack in back, as the lamp body should be lighter weight with that type.

A Gorilla Pod would allow perhaps the most choices of mounting locations on the vehicle, but I'm leaning toward something like this -- the included plate could be mounted to a clamp, providing that quick option.

edit: It completely slipped my mind that I already have a potentially suitable arm: a magnetic base for my digital indicator. I'll see how well it sticks to various parts of the vehicle (both clean and not so much). If it fits the bill, I'll fab a lamp holder for its clamp.

Last edited by Torque; 01-16-2017 at 09:26 PM. Reason: new info
Torque is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the TCCoA Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome