TIM Uhler

Last fall I reviewed new portable LED lights from Milwaukee and gave the M18 Flood light and Stand light a thumbs up. Since then I’ve found these lights indispensable. We use them all the time, and let our subs use them when we are on site together.

A few months back, Milwaukee released another stand light that also charges batteries, a radius light, and a small compact flood light (among other lights). The company sent me these three lights for review. Here, I'll review the new M18 Rocket LED Tower Light/Charger.

This light is almost identical to the M18 TrueView LED light I reviewed last year, but with a few key differences. First of all, instead of being a single source light, it has three independently adjustable lights. Another difference is that the base of the unit has a built in M18 charger.

Features. This light puts out 3,000 lumens split between three separate lights that make up the head; each of the lights can be positioned independently of one another, and the head itself fully articulates. While each light has only one power setting, there are three modes: low (900 lumens), medium (1,700 lumens) and high (3,000 lumens). Basically, each mode activates an individual light on the head. So low setting is one light, medium is two, and high is all three lights.

Additionally, this light has a covered AC plugin so you can run it off a power cord (not included, but any extension cord will do) and charge a battery. At full height, the stand is about 7 feet tall but collapses to about 4 feet, making it easy to store and put away. It is noticeably heavier than the original M18 stand light.

Like the original M18 stand light, the Rocket has a low center of gravity and a small footprint. We never knocked it over, and it was never in the way while we worked. When equipped with a 5.0-Ah battery, the light will blink when there are 5 minutes remaining of the battery’s charge, and then every minute after that. With a 3.0-Ah battery, it blinks at 3 minutes and then every minute.

Should You Buy It? This light is so useful and fast to set up that I would say absolutely buy it if you need a portable light. I recently worked inside while it poured rain and was very dark out; without light, I couldn’t see inside the house we had just finished framing. With this light, I was able to do pickup work all day. I just took it wherever I needed to work. I stayed cordless using the Milwaukee M18 cordless saw and had power plugged into the light to charge batteries as I worked.

I most often ran power to this light to charge batteries and keep the light at max setting. With an XC5.0 battery back, this light will last about two hours at max setting. It has been designed for jobsite conditions, and we found that none of the parts felt flimsy like we needed to baby it. We keep this light in the Sprinter van and then the rest of our lights at the shop and grab them when we need them.

The only downside to consider for this light is that it is about $400 for the bare tool. You can also buy a version with Milwaukee’s new 9.0-Ah battery for $549. That is a good deal because the battery alone is $200. I asked Milwaukee to include one of these batteries for review and we found that the runtime was amazing. We had about double the runtime with the High Demand 9.0-Ah battery compared with our 5.0-Ah batteries in the light.

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