Milwaukee M12 LED Underhood Light Preview
We’ve all been there. Working under a hood or fully underneath the car, while trying to hold a light with one hand and wrench in the other. Alas, the new Milwaukee M12 LED underhood light delivers plenty of light with the convenience of cordless. At 1350 lumens, this may be the brightest LED of its size.
LED work lights are no stranger to Milwaukee Tool, as we covered in the Milwaukee Tools High Output LED Lighting, so it’s great to see them share their LED performance with the automotive mechanics. Built on the M12 platform, this Milwaukee LED underhood light is available as a bare tool or as a kit with one 4.0Ah battery and charger. Time will tell how the M12 underhood LED compares to those ‘others’ sold off the tool trucks. We will see what we can do to put them head to head in the near future.
– Milwaukee may have something here with these Trueview HD lights. We have identified other business segments this technology will benefit. More on this shortly –
From Milwaukee Tool
“There are a number of unique challenges for mechanics working on a vehicle. When working under the hood, mechanics rely on underhood lights to flood the engine bay with light. Leveraging our leadership in cordless and LED technology, Milwaukee is delivering the first cordless underhood light to provide high-output, high-quality task lighting capable of a full day’s worth of work without the inconvenience of a cord,” said Ben Cabot, Product Manager for Milwaukee Tool.
Milwaukee M12 LED Underhood Light Features
Not only does the M12 LED underhood light deliver 1350 lumens, but it does so with what Milwaukee calls TRUEVIEW High Definition light. With two settings, High and Low (1350 and 600 lumens respectively), the M12 4.0Ah battery provides 4 hours runtime on High and 8 hours runtime on Low. On the Low setting, this is a full shift of work on a single charge – “look Mom, no cord”.
If the user does need to hold the light, a rubber overmold grip provides plenty of grip. A high-impact polycarbonate lens protects the LED light delivery, while an aircraft aluminum frame guards the rest of the internals. These high-impact features not only protect against impacts, as important, they are resistant to common corrosive chemicals found in shops today (motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc.).
As a true mechanic’s work light, this M12 LED light quickly attaches to an “underhood” mount, capable of extending from 47 to 78 inches. FINISHGUARD hooks allow the Milwaukee M12 LED underhood light to be safely mounted under most any hood. Milwaukee calls them hooks, but this is probably not the best term. The protective moulded ends clamp to the vehicles hood edge with the spring-loaded mounting frame. This safely holds the M12 LED light in position until the technician completes the task. In addition, a stainless steel hook allows the technician to hang the light, independent of the underhood frame.
TRUEVIEW Not Blue – LED Technology
Light color matters! Your first work light may have been the old drop-light that we still see in shops today. An incandescent bulb in a metal or plastic housing with a hook on it. Simple and cheap, yes; effective, not so much. Fitted with the typical lamp bulb, it probably casts a very yellow or orange light. On the opposite spectrum is the cheap LED flashlight or handheld that casts a very blue light (like the tuner car headlights that fill the highway nightscape).
The TRUEVIEW technology from Milwaukee claims to deliver a consistent beam, optimized color temperature, and true colors. This is great for the underhood experience looking for fasteners and just providing ample light. This importance is magnified when working with the finish (paint) and interior of vehicles. Time after time, technicians with the best intentions do the best they can to keep interiors and the paint finish clean, even using their best work lights. The car rolls out of the shop for the customer and the truth is revealed by our great Sun. Smudges, dirt, and missed spots reveal themselves in this natural lighting.
Now, imagine a similar experience with detailers and painters. Trying to remove swirls from a black car, or trying to match one door to the rest of the vehicle’s color. Light colors can drastically change the appearance. We recently discussed this in our review of the Innovative Tools Color Match LED Lights. Milwaukee may have something here with their TRUEVIEW technology that’s not only great for the mechanic, but also for the detail and body shops.
What We Think
We like to see technology cross borders into other industries. LED is no exception. Mechanics need light just as bad as the drywaller in a new home construction. Even better when the technology is tailored specifically for the industry. Such is the case with the Milwaukee M12 LED underhood light. Cordless is no doubt still on the rise, and Milwaukee carries decent portion of this market. Adding this underhood light to the M12 platform allows mechanics to use their existing batteries.
The TRUEVIEW aspect is exciting to us, as you can probably tell from above, and rightly so. Anything that will help in both work excellence and efficiency is a winner in our book. Mechanics, painters and detailers should all benefit from better and better-colored lighting.
What will be telling is the reaction to the price for the new Milwaukee M12 LED underhood light kits. At $250 for the kit, this is quite expensive. In fact, it seems that it could be the highest priced underhood LED on the market. Our intentions are to review one of these M12 LED underhood lights shortly, so we can share some real testing. Milwaukee covers with LED with a limited lifetime warranty, and the whole unit is covered by their 5-Year warranty. Milwaukee is set to start selling the M12 LED underhood light in June 2017.
To see what Milwaukee has to say and get the latest dates, click here.
M12 LED Underhood Light Specifications
- M12™ LED Underhood Light
- Model: 2125-21XC (Kit) or 2125-20 (Bare Tool)
- Release Date: June 2017
- Output on High: 1350 Lumens
- Output on Low: 600 Lumens
- Runtime on High: 4 hours (4.0 Ah M12)
- Runtime on Low: 8 hours (4.0 Ah M12)
- Weight: 4.63 lbs (bare tool)
- Length: 47 – 78 inches
- Warranty: Limited lifetime on LED, 5-Year on the product
- MSRP: $249.99 (2125-21XC – kit); $199.99 (2125-20 – bare tool)