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Sometimes, you may need more lighting than the permanent fixtures at your garage to carry out work there at night. This is especially true if the things you’re working on are situated at angles that aren’t sufficiently illuminated by those fixtures.
In such cases, looking for the best retractable work light on the market may be what’s required.
Good reel work lights are designed to offer lighting that’s more movable or focused.
Retractable work light might also be light you need in your garage if they are bright enough and have a mounting bracket.
They come with extension cords; and also have magnetic bases or hooks that let them stick to or hang from various kinds of surfaces.
Others are more like handheld flashlights.
While they may serve slightly different purposes, they can all be great aids in working in otherwise low-visibility conditions.
- Our Top Recommendation
- Best Retractable Work Light Review for 2021
- 1. Bayco SL-864 60 LED Work Light: 50 Feet Retractable Extension Cord
- 2. Alert Stamping LED Cord Reel Task Light
- 3. Pro-Lite LED Retractable Reel Work Auto Shop Repair Light
- 4. Woods Designers Edge E319 Retractable Extension Cord LED Light
- 5. Bayco SL-866 LED Lights
- 6. Alert Stamping 920LSM 18 SMD LED Worklight
- 7. Alert Stamping 3230CL5 5 Watt COB LED Cord Reel Task Light
- 8. Prolite 5030AM 1300 Lumen Retractable COB LED
- 9. Pro-Lite 8 Watt 900 Lumen COB LED Light
- 10. Ultra Performance Retractable Cord Reel Work Light
- What Makes a Good Retractable Work Light?
Our Top Recommendation
If you want to save yourself time, see our final vote, the Bayco SL-864 60 LED Work Light is our choice for the top retractable work light.
If you’re out hunting for a retractable work light for the first time, or you’re looking to replace the ones you’ve had, you may be overwhelmed by the options available at the stores.
Ascertaining the best ones through multiple purchases may not be a good idea.
That’s why we’ve come up with this article.
We’ll review the best retractable work lights out there, and let you choose one that suits your purposes, based on the facts we provide here.
Best Retractable Work Light Review for 2021
1. Bayco SL-864 60 LED Work Light: 50 Feet Retractable Extension Cord
This is perhaps one of the most popular corded LED work lights around.
It has a metal reel into which a 50 feet cord retracts.
That cord is attached to an LED light made of a base and a long encased plate lined with LED chips.
Not just that, it also has a hook and magnet in its body; both these features let you place them as drop lights, giving you the freedom to work on your project with both your hands.
The Bayco retractable utility work light emits a blue-white color, which makes it more like a 6000K on the color temperature spectrum.
It should be fine for illuminating small, restricted spots, where you are working.
However, it’s not bright enough to flood your workshop with its light.
For lights that can light up your workshop, You may want to read this article I wrote.
This product is resistant to impact moisture; it doesn’t appear that there are significant complaints against it on this front.
It could attain its designated lifespan of 35,000 hours if handled with care.
2. Alert Stamping LED Cord Reel Task Light
- 32 SMD LED 450 Lumen
- 30 Ft Retractable Reel
- Grounded Outlet in Handle
This one comes with a 30 feet cord reel that’s housed in a sturdy steel casing.
The LED Work light is held by a handle that also has an on/off switch on it.
A metal hook at the head can be used to hang the lighting from a loop. The hook is 360 degrees rotatable and can be taken out as well.
A power-on indicator lets you know when it’s switched on. When it does come on, it emits a white light that’s about 450 lm bright.
Reviewers say it’s brighter than most other cord retractable task lights they’ve used.
One of the cons that this work light has is that it is a bit on the pricey side, but the quality makes it worth the extra cost.
Nevertheless, you want to be careful with the head. While the light itself should last you several years, there’s been reports of it getting damaged when it’s dropped.
3. Pro-Lite LED Retractable Reel Work Auto Shop Repair Light
- LED Retractable Reel Work Repair Light
- WITH 30 SMD LED's
- 300 LUMEN TASK LIGHT
The Pro-Lite LED has a strong 30 feet retractable extension cord that can be drawn out from its metal casing.
It also has a hook with which you can hang it from a loop. The power button is located on the handle.
With a weight of 7.6 pounds, it’s pretty lightweight and lends itself to handling rather well.
This Retractable task light has modest brightness at about 300 lm.
It tends towards the cooler side of the color temperature spectrum, which some users may find as a welcome departure from fluorescent alternatives on the market
As with the other work lights we’ve reviewed so far, the Pro-lite product has to be plugged to a power source to function.
You may also have a slight issue with drawing out the retractable cord, or pressing the on/off button. But these shouldn’t be serious enough to take away the functionality of this light.
4. Woods Designers Edge E319 Retractable Extension Cord LED Light
- Extension cord is 30-Foot, 16/3-Gauge, high visibility - Green
- The cord reel is made of heavy duty diamond plate metal
- LEDs are more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent
Woods’ LED work light is painted green; that’s a rather unusual color for products of this kind.
But it’s reasonably durable and effective- it has a diamond plated reel casing. And thanks to the 72 high-quality LED chips held behind this work light’s protective plastic casing, the illumination is great as well.
A metal framing protects the plastic casing from breakage.
You can hang the cord reel from the ceiling, and the cord drawn up to 30 feet or any length below 30 feet as long its sufficient to light up your working surface.
The working end isn’t difficult to hold either, because it has a handle designed to make gripping easy.
5. Bayco SL-866 LED Lights
- Work light has two brightness settings: 1, 200 & 600 lumens
- Two built in magnets, one at the tip of the light and the other at the mid-point of the body offer...
- Included magnetic hook can be attached to either of the built in magnets for even more versatility
This Bayco product has a few nice features that aid its functionality.
First, there are two magnets built into it.
One at the tip and the other on its body.
These let you stick it to metal loops or surfaces.
There’s also a hook (magnetic) which you can attach to the magnetic points on the body.
Another exciting feature is its adjustable brightness.
You can switch between 1,200 lm and 600 lm- both good enough to light up larger areas than most retractable flashlights.
Thankfully, it doesn’t emit nearly as much heat as incandescent alternatives.
The handle has an octagonal shape, designed for a comfortable, assured grip.
The design also keeps it stationary when kept in a fixed position.
If your package turns out to be broken or functioning below par, you can have it replaced if it’s gone bad within a year of purchase.
6. Alert Stamping 920LSM 18 SMD LED Worklight
- 18 SMD LED 150 lumens
- 20 ft. 18/2 cord reel
- Top Hang hook
There’s one noticeable difference between this one and the other Alert Stamping product we reviewed here:
This one has a lower brightness (about 150 lm) than the first. This would mean that it’s most useful for focused work around smaller workspaces.
It does have all the other features of the first. You can hang it by the hook on its head, which can be rotated up to 360 degrees.
It also has protective bumpers on either end, and an on/off switch on the handle.
The cord reel is about 20 feet long, and it’s held in a portable, shatter-resistant reel case.
This product weighs 2.8 pounds; it’s one of the best lightweight work light you’ll ever find.
This could be a decent buy if you’re looking for a cheap work light that can still get the job done.
However, you’ll have to contact the manufacturer’s customer service for details of the warranty on it as no information on product warranty was made by the manufacturer at the time of this review.
7. Alert Stamping 3230CL5 5 Watt COB LED Cord Reel Task Light
- 5 WATT COB LED 450 LUMEN
- BUILT IN NEODYMIUM MAGNET
- FOLDING SWIVEL HOOK
Alert Stamping employed the Chip-on-Board (COB) solution for this product.
It’s the latest LED technology available, and it’s built to enhance the already significant energy efficiencies of LED.
The body has a magnet built into it, and also has a swivel hook for hanging at any vertical position.
You can hang it from a height of more than 20 feet, thanks to its elongated cord, which can be drawn out and retracted into its reel casing.
The 5W LED chips emits white light with a brightness of about 450 lm, enough shine for a moderately sized workspace.
Unlike incandescent that produce similar levels of brightness, you don’t have to deal with any significant heat from it.
This is a lightweight work light as well; as it weighs about 6.95 pounds.
One possible downside to this product is that there’s no information about its warranty period.
You may have to contact the manufacturer to get more information about this.
8. Prolite 5030AM 1300 Lumen Retractable COB LED
- 1300 LUMEN COB LED CORD REEL TASK, AUTO REPAIR, WORK LIGHT
- GROUNDED OUTLET AND ON-OFF SWITCH IN HANDLE
- 30' 16/3 SJT CORD
If you want a super bright work light that illuminates your workshop or garage, this might be your product.
At 1300 lm, it beats most of its rivals for brightness.
It’s aided by COB technology which means that it’s also very energy efficient.
The grey-black work light has a convenient handle, with a magnetic hook at the head for hanging it.
Its retractable cord is about 30 feet long and housed in a black reel case. You can hang the case itself on a ceiling, and the cord extended to a length that brings the light close enough.
Because the light is particularly bright, you’re advised not to look directly at it.
It also costs more than a lot of the other retractable work lights (probably excusable because of its superior brightness). It is also somewhat heavier as well (it weighs about 9.17 pounds).
Finally, there’s a one year warranty on it; the makers say they expect the Led to operate for longer.
However, it may get damaged if you drop it.
9. Pro-Lite 8 Watt 900 Lumen COB LED Light
- 8 Watt COB LED Extra Bright 900 Lumens
- Rugged Powder Coated Steel Reel
- Long 50ft 18/2 SJT Cord will Lock in Place every few feet
Here’s another LED work light that leverages COB technology. This 8W work light gives you up to 900 lm of bright white light- that’s plenty of shine for a modest input of power.
And for all that brightness, it doesn’t have heat issues.
An indicator light lets you know when the power is on.
The work light comes with a durable 50 feet cord, which is housed in a steel casing.
That’s long enough to reach most parts of a regular-sized garage.
Note that the cord locks in place every few feet; that’s a deliberate design from the manufactures and not a sign that it’s faulty.
There’s a hanging hook at the head as well, and a magnet built in to allow for attachment to compatible surfaces.
At 7 pounds, this is still fairly lightweight. The total shipping package could weigh up to 9 pounds.
10. Ultra Performance Retractable Cord Reel Work Light
- Cord Length 30 ft. Auto retractable
- Cord Size: 16/3 SJT
- Lead-in Cord Length: 1 ft
This isn’t the most well-known retractable cord work light you’ll find at the stores, but it gets the job done pretty well.
The cord is 30 feet long; you could get well over half that length out of the metal reel housing.
It does put out a decent amount of light too, although the product description doesn’t state exactly how much.
It has all the other parts you’d expect of light of this kind, including a hanging hook, built-in magnet, and an on/off switch that’s attached to the body.
This work light weighs about 10 pounds, the heaviest of the lot we’ve reviewed here. But it’s a less expensive option than many alternative products.
What Makes a Good Retractable Work Light?
As we’ve already mentioned, there is a variety of retractable cord work lights out there.
Besides their number, you also have to bother about what kinds will fit your specific environment and uses.
These are some of the criteria you want to look out for when prospecting for the right kind of light for your garage.
1. Brightness and Energy Efficiency
You’ll notice that our picks have all been LED lights. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First LED lights are generally more energy-efficient than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
LEDs could give you the same amount of brightness as incandescent bulbs while consuming 20 percent as much energy.
Some retractable work lights have a somewhat blue-white hue about them, but there are a good number of bright white lights too.
Incandescent bulbs are notorious for producing excess heat. These can cause fire burns and other workplace hazards.
LEDs are easier to handle and work with. With that said, when choosing work lights, choose LED work lights
2. Cord Length and Strength
You could get work lights with cords anywhere between 20 feet and 50 feet long.
You probably won’t be getting the benefit of every single foot in the product description, but the longer cords will cover a lot of ground for most garages.
When it comes to retractable work lights, cord strength is also crucial.
This is because there are chances that your cord might take significant hits as you work with it over time, so it should be tough enough to withstand all of that.
Some products will have reels that stop at intervals when they’re being drawn out of the housing.
As we mentioned earlier, this is usually designed to give the user a specific set of cord lengths to choose from.
3. Reel Housing
You also want a tough reel case, preferably made of sturdy metal.
If your reel housing does go bad, you could have it replaced. There are several fine replacement options available in lighting stores if you’re looking for one.
Ideally, a good retractable work light should last you several years; LED lights have lifespans of up to 50,000 hours, or upwards of 10 years.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for lighting equipment to fail within months of being purchased.
This is why it’s important to find out about the warranty for the products you’re looking to buy.
Many of the utility lights we mentioned here come with a one-year warranty. But it’s likely you will have to contact the manufacturer’s customer care department to learn more about their warranty packages.
Summing it up on our retractable work light review, As you have seen, there’s a vast array of retractable work light brands to choose from, the criteria we have listed should help you determine the kinds of lights that work properly for you.
The ten products we’ve listed are a good selection to choose from, just in case you’re too wary of the sea of offerings on sale at the stores.