Loftek Portable Floodlight - Review
There's a special ball of rage deep in my belly that I reserve for halogen work lights. How a tool that is so irritating in all ways has become a job site standard ranks right up there with the Easter Island heads for total depth of mystery. They're bright, yes, but beyond that, pure torture. "Whoa, the housing is like a million degrees...what's that smell, oh, a burning moth...let it cool down for an hour before you change the bulb...make sure to wear gloves so you don't get any oil on the bulb...where's your screwdriver to open up the cage?...Oh those little ceramic bulb ends are pulverized in the sockets?...right, why don't you just pick up a new one the next time you're at the lumber yard."
So given my opinion of the halogens, my ears pricked up some when I saw that Loftek, a lighting company, has released a new LED Floodlight. It has the same utilitarian vibe of the halogen, but with none of the overheating, fussiness, and bulb changing. It's also cordless and has a number of other cool features. They were nice enough to send one along so that I could check it out.
From what I can tell, the Loftek has eight LED diodes. These are pretty bright and if you make the mistake of looking directly at them, like I did, prepare to deal with a giant blue/green blob in your field of vision for at least ten minutes. It's smaller than a halogen, so the light isn't intense enough to blaze up an entire room, but for task-specific work, it's pretty nice.
The housing has the same up/down, side/side pivot as a traditional halogen, complete with the tightening knobs, but it's maybe half the size of the larger lights. Because it's an LED, there's no heat, which means no gloves needed, no smoldering bugs, and no stress about the drop cloth getting too close.
The Loftek is powered by a removable battery pack that can be charged off an outlet or through a car charger (both included). I found that it takes around five hours to drain the battery (the light only has one brightness setting). In a pinch, I ran it with a nearly dead battery plugged directly into the wall charger. The battery has a looooong charge time of four to five hours which can leave you high and dry if you don't have a way to charge the thing.
The battery of the Loftek also has a USB port on it, so you can charge a phone or a flashlight too. Since nowadays we all cling to our digital communication devices like a crackheads on a tinfoil pipe, this is a nice feature.
The Loftek costs about $70, which I thought at first was a little high, but then I realized that the halogens can cost upwards of $20-$30, and this is easily twice as easy to deal with. And even if you're already plugged into a battery system, like Milwaukee or DeWalt, their work lights (without batteries) are going to have a pretty similar cost. Granted, those might be more powerful and easier to deal with because of the battery compatibility, but still, $70 for this light is entirely reasonable.
With all of the big storms we've been having up here in the north east, I've kept this light fully charged and ready to go in case of power outage. For an extended time in darkness, it's nice to have the option of some area light and not just handheld flashlights. Along similar lines, this would be a good light to have for camping or even as an emergency light in the car trunk (although $70 is a little steep for something you'll hopefully never use).
In the end, this is a nice little light that eliminates everything I can't stand about halogens. It's not as bright as some halogens, but as long as you're aware of the lighting limitations, you'll be able to find a place for it just fine.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at February 10, 2015 12:01 PM