DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light Review DCL045

DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light
PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 9.6

The DeWalt cordless underhood light knocks it out of the park for mechanics and automotive enthusiasts. Between its high output level, folding design, and ability to use most DeWalt lithium-ion batteries, it outperforms its competition with a more versatile design. If you're on the hunt for an underhood light, we highly recommend DeWalt's DCL045.

Overall Score 9.6 (out of 10)

DeWalt Max Cordless Underhood Light Puts A Fresh Spin On A Garage Classic

Professional mechanics and gearhead hobbyists know ample light is essential, especially when you’re working under the hood. We often reached for a flashlight or headlamp when working on our vehicles, but those aren’t always the most effective options. The DeWalt cordless underhood light is designed to put a lot of light on your engine bay and adds a couple of big bonuses that set it apart from its competition.


Editor’s Note: Check out the best DeWalt LED work lights for our top picks.

Pros

  • Compatible with 12V Max, 20V Max, and FlexVolt batteries
  • High output with two modes
  • Padded hooks rotate 360°
  • Collapsable for easy storage
  • Extremely wide beam

Cons

  • Noticable artifacts in the beam

DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light Performance

I’ve worked on plenty of vehicles professionally. Along with my impact wrench, one of the most valuable tools in my box is my trusty flashlight. The downside to using a traditional flashlight is…well…I don’t have a third hand to hold it!

We had some regular maintenance on our schedule that gave us the opportunity to swap out our normal lighting for the DeWalt cordless underhood light. We were able to fit it perfectly on the hood and it flooded the engine bay with an impressive amount of light. The temperature of the beam is cooler than many hang lights, which is something we tend to prefer for work lights. Even though the light installs at or near eye level, it didn’t shine blindingly in our eyes at all!

Light Quality

The light casts its LED light in a wide beam that fully illuminates a dark engine bay. The color temperature of the light is neutral, which is especially important when you’re attempting to identify wires or read small part numbers.

There are some noticeable lateral artifacts near the edges of the beam. However, they don’t affect the main beam when the light is static.

Light It Up

The light boasts some pretty big output for an underhood light, claiming 1,700 lumens on high and 800 on low. That’s about 500 more than the Craftsman 20V underhood light and it beats the Milwaukee M12 underhood light as well.

The mode button allows you to toggle between the two light bars separately or use them together for the highest output.


The ability to toggle light between the two sides is unusual and helps extend your runtime if you’re running low on batteries. It also helps you use the light for undercarriage work, and it opens up other possibilities due to the light’s slim profile, folding design, and hooks.

Power Options and Runtime

One of the coolest features of this light is its ability to use 12V Max, 20V Max, or FlexVolt batteries without needing any special adapters. This level of battery compatibility is a really big deal and it’s something that’s we haven’t seen before. This means that the underhood light is a viable option no matter what DeWalt lithium-ion battery platform you use (the discontinued 40V Max batteries will not work).

Expect runtimes of up to 5 hours on high and 11 hours on low with a 20V Max 4.0Ah battery. Obviously, using a larger battery results in longer runtime, and toggling the mode button will help you maximize your runtime by only illuminating one side at a time.

DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light Design Notes

Installing the Light

The DeWalt cordless underhood light extends from 51 inches all the way up to 74 inches and fits most larger SUV and truck hoods. Padded anti-marring hooks on each side are soft and go easy on your vehicle’s finish. The hooks also rotate 360° which allows you to shine light exactly where you need it.

Once you spread the arms across the hood, springs provide enough tension to keep the light securely in place while preventing it from slipping.

Pivoting Action

Underhood lights aren’t the most compact tools, and if you’re anything like us, storage space is always at a premium. DeWalt’s dual-hinge design allows the arms to independently pivot 90° on each side and has integrated stops that prevent the light from slamming closed when you’re using it.

DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light Price

DeWalt’s underhood light retails for $179 as a bare tool. Presently, it’s not available as a kit so grab a couple of batteries and a charger if you don’t already have them. The light also carries a 3-year limited warranty, 1-year free service contract, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

The Bottom Line

The DeWalt cordless underhood light knocks it out of the park for mechanics and automotive enthusiasts. Between its high output level, folding design, and ability to use most DeWalt lithium-ion batteries, it outperforms its competition with a more versatile design. If you’re on the hunt for an underhood light, we highly recommend DeWalt’s DCL045.

DeWalt Cordless Underhood Light Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCL045
  • Power Source: DeWalt 12V Max, 20V Max, or 20V/60V FlexVolt
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs (bare), 6.0 lbs (with 3.0Ah 12V Max), 6.88 lbs (with 5.0Ah 20V Max)
  • Length: 26 in. (folded), 52 in. (unfolded)
  • Output: 800/1700 lumens (low/high)
  • Max Extension: 74 in.
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $179 (bare tool)

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