Throwdown between the Milwaukee M18 Radius Compact Site Light w/ Flood Mode and the Ryobi 18-Volt One+ Hybrid LED Color Range Work Light
This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.
My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor or lighting expert. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker, and a budding photographer. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. When it comes to studio lighting, photography and videography, I’d call myself a mildly obsessed hobbiest. That said, I doubt many professional contractors or professional photographers or lighting experts will be reading my reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- folks wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value possible for their hard earned dollars.
As a budding photographer, videographer, and massive night owl (who happens to be afraid of the dark), reviewing these lights was really fun.
First, let’s talk about the Ryobi light.
The one thing I’ve always admired about Ryobi as a company is their dedication to backwards-compatible tools. Over the last few years, Ryobi has really stepped up their game in making quality tools at an affordable price point. And, though Ryobi has come leaps and bounds with battery development, new batteries pop right in old tools. Meanwhile, most other tool companies totally re-invent the wheel every few years when it comes to batteries, requiring an entire shop upgrade for every new battery system, which can get insanely expensive.
I am a little confused as to why Ryobi put the light temperature control feature on a jobsite tool. I do like the idea of warmer tones on the jobsite, but when lighting a job, I want the brightest light possible, and that will always be the cooler “daylight” settings, aka, the standard LED color emission characteristic of all other jobsite lights. Having done some gallery and event lighting, color adjustment is a great feature for gallery/event lights, but I wouldn’t likely be using a jobsite light in a gallery or event space, and certainly not a battery operated light. That said, even if I weren’t reviewing it, I would still have purchased this light out of curiosity about color temperature adjustment for use with my photography and videography. Unfortunately, when filming using the cooler “daylight” settings, the light introduced severe interference (strobe effect) into the video footage, so, for me, that made the color temp control feature seem pretty pointless.
Ryobi’s main customer base is generally homeowners with light-moderate experience who expect light-moderate use from their tools. Knowing Milwaukee’s fame for holding up to contractor-style abuse, I decided to put the Ryobi light through some rigorous testing to see how it would hold up. We strapped it on the tractors and bailers on my buddy’s hay farm and used it for three weeks of night work. Aside from losing a screw somewhere in the hayfields, it provided plenty of light, had better than expected battery life, and saw several hundred bales of hay harvested. It held up well and certainly earned its keep on that project.
Manufacturer messaging for Ryobi:
· Adjustable light color temperature from 2700K to 500K
· Over 1200 Lumens of light output
· 360 degrees of rotation
Awesome Features of the Ryobi:
· Backwards-compatible battery platform
· Long battery life
· Great flood capacity for night-lighting a jobsite
· 1/4/20 thread on stand makes it mountable on standard clamps and tripods
· crosses in stand base allow for it to be easily hung on two screws off the wall, ceiling…
Things I wish were better/different on the Ryobi:
· I wish the color temperature feature worked with filming
· I wish the power cord could charge the battery while running the light
This light retails at $79.98 Would I buy it?
If I was already on the Ryobi battery platform I think it’s a great value for the money. Knowing that the temperature adjustment feature doesn’t work for what I’d use it for, I wouldn’t be likely to buy it.
Now, let's talk Milwaukee.
I knew the Milwaukee light was a winner as soon as I turned it on. It’s ruggedly built, the metal hook on the bottom fits right into the recess under my truck hood giving perfect night illumination for my restoration work. The hook has also come in pretty handy using the light while camping hanging it from a branch, and hanging it from plant hooks for some midnight forging on the porch. The light earned some extra cool points when I accidentally left it out in a torrential rainstorm while camping and neither the light, nor the battery seemed affected. It’s unfortunate you can’t turn on both lights at once, and a similar frustration to the Ryobi is that the cord can’t charge the battery while the tool is in use.
Manufacturer messaging for Milwaukee:
· 2 lights in 1 for area lighting and task lighting
· 2,200 Lumen output for illuminating large work areas and 1000 Lumen of flood lighting for task situations
· 18 hours of run time with M18 5.0 battery and can be plugged into it’s AC inlet for extended run time
· Equipped with a high impact polycarbonate lens to withstand harsh jobsite abuse.
· LED lights never need to be replaced and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty
Awesome Features of the Milwaukee:
· The metal hanger hook is my favorite feature of this light- it’s so versatile.
· It’s bright enough to light a 10 foot diameter circle quite well.
· It’s compact enough to take to the jobsite or camping
· Milwaukee’s new battery system is incredible both in power delivery and battery life.
Things I wish were better/different on the Milwaukee:
· I wish you could run both lights at once
· It’s a bummer that the cord can’t charge the battery while powering the light.
This light retails at $149.00. Would I buy it?
Absolutely. It gives jobsite-level light from an old time-y lantern feel.
*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.