DIY At Night: The Low-Cost Cordless Tool At Home Depot That Lets You See In The Dark

When you are planning a do-it-yourself project at your home, you may have a time estimate in mind. However, such estimates rarely come true, as things like missing tools, running out of supplies, a lack of know-how, and an overly optimistic assumption of how long various tasks take can cause delays. There's even a name for it: Planning fallacy.

So when you have plans for a DIY paint project that should take less than an hour, you may find that it drags on for quite a bit longer. Other plans you have for renovation projects that you can DIY in a weekend may have you scrambling late on Sunday night so you can get some sleep before Monday morning's alarm goes off.

In cases like this, where you have to work well beyond sunset, you may need to have a portable work light source on hand to let you work at night. If you're in the middle of paying for a DIY project, you may not have the biggest budget to add lighting to help you finish things up. Fortunately, we recommend a high-quality, free-standing portable work light you can use that costs less than $10 at Home Depot. These are the pros and cons of the Handy Brite Ultra-Bright LED 8.35 inch Yellow Cordless Work Light Lamp.

Benefits of the Handy Bright LED work light lamp

When you are working on a DIY project, you want to be able to keep both hands free to position the light in the right spot to help you clearly see what you are doing. The Handy Brite work light can stand on its own or hang from its swivel hook, leaving both of your hands free to hold your hammer and nail or power drill. (This is a significant advantage over using the flashlight on your smartphone.) It even has a magnetic base that helps hold it in place when you are working hands-free.

The bright LEDs in this work light create 500 lumens, which would be equivalent to the light output for a high-quality reading light. This means you can use it for close-up work in your DIY project successfully. It's even bright enough to use in an emergency if you are having a power outage. It does operate from three AA batteries, rather than from a rechargeable battery, so you may have some increased operational costs if you use it quite often.

Reviewers on the Home Depot website give it 4.5 stars out of 5, and about 86% of reviewers would recommend it to other buyers. Most of the negative reviews focus on the fact that the Handy Brite work light uses cheap materials that could break if you drop it or inadvertently smash it with a tool.

Advantages of LED work lights

The real reason LEDs are better than regular light bulbs, especially in a work light situation, is that they do not produce extra heat. About 90% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses becomes heat, rather than light. The number is about 80% for a fluorescent bulb. LEDs generate almost no heat while creating light. If your DIY project is occurring in a tight space or if you're working with materials that may suffer damage when exposed to heat (like paint), having a work light that minimizes heat is extremely helpful.

When it comes to work lights, using LEDs offers further advantages. It uses less energy than other styles of work lights, which makes a battery-powered LED a smart alternative. You don't have to maneuver around a cord from the unit either. LED also should give you a long lifespan, sometimes as much as 50,000 hours of operation. This allows you to save money, because you won't need to replace the unit as often.

Should you be working on a DIY project that involves harsh environmental conditions, including bad weather, varying temperatures, or significant vibrations, the LED should not suffer any performance loss. LED technology is built to withstand a lot, where other designs could break or fail under extreme temperatures or vibrations. Fluorescent bulbs may struggle to reach full brightness in cold weather. Some incandescent bulb filaments could break under significant vibration. Obviously it's not a perfect product, but the Handy Brite is really hard to beat for its price.