Most people will have a hard time justifying a $300 LED work light…until you think about what makes a work light great. Lumens are certainly a big deal. So is the way it puts out light evenly in a room. The Festool SysLite Duo Work Lite aims to change minds. For years, people have known that lumens cost money. A typical replacement lamp assembly for a home theater projector could run up to $300. That was typically a bulb and fancy housing that output around 1600 lumens.
It wasn’t weather resistant. It wasn’t located in a shockproof housing. Plus, it wasn’t a multipurpose system designed for indoor or outdoor use. But people regularly paid $250 to $300 for it.
This was just a lamp. Now let’s turn to jobsite work lights. On the high end of things you have plenty of solutions. Many of them will give you tons of light for cheap. Tons of awful, awful light. Spotty, yellow or blue, and uneven, these work lights will throw some light, but far too often they aren’t ideal. This is a huge deal if you’re working with low voltage cabling and need to discern colors. There’s also the issue of getting even coverage in a room. Often, halogens throw very uneven light and send a hot spot right where you’re working.
Festool SysLite Duo Work Light Features
What the Festool SysLite Duo Work Light sets about to do is provide the best possible work light experience. Anybody (just Google “work light”, you’ll see) can make an LED work light. Festool chose to make something that could provide a more elegant, yet rugged, solution.
The Festool SysLite DUO-Plus Work Light is the standalone model that includes the Festool Sys-Lite and Systainer. It retails for $300 and produces 8000 lumens of output from 80 LEDs. Festool arranged the LEDs in two banks of 40, and positioned them on either side of a diffused, sealed housing. This is what gives the SysLite DUO its 180 degrees of total light coverage. The SysLite DUO is also IP55 rated, so it can withstand dust and was tested with 3.3 gallons per minute of water projected by a nozzle from every direction. This light is definitely jobsite-ready.
Diffuse Light and Long-lasting LEDs
One of the highlights of the Festool SysLite DUO work light is its diffusion cover. It provides a full 180 degrees of diffuse (but insanely bright) light at a color temperature of 5,000 Kelvin (5000K). That’s slightly cooler (“whiter”) than sunlight. With 8,000 lumens of light output, you can all but ignite any room you’re working in.
The LEDs in the SysLite DUO are rated for 10,000 hours. If you assume an 8-hour work day, and a couple weeks of vacation, that’s over 5 years of life for this light before having to get it serviced. If you’re like most, however, you can expect at least 2-3X that service life since not many Pros require a constant light at all times.
You can get the Festool SysLite DUO-Plus Work Lite as a standalone tool with a Systainer 3, or you can opt for the Festool SysLite-Set. That includes a Systainer and also the ST DUO 200 tripod. With the ST DUO tripod you can elevate the SysLite over 6 feet in the air and aim it as needed. It also locks the light in place so it doesn’t swivel on you (or come off) once you have it positioned. We were also pleasantly surprised when the 16.7 ft. long cord had a good amount of reach—even when the light was maxed out on the tripod.
Festool SysLite DUO Specs
- Color Rendering Index (CRI): 80
- Color temperature: 5000K
- Protection: IP 55
- Output: 8000 lumens
- LEDs: 2 banks of 40 LEDs
- LED life: 10,000 hours
- Power output: 112 W
- Cord length: 16.7 ft (5.1 m)
- Weight: 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
We actually have two Festool SysLite DUOs, and we use them as part of our tool review video production set, among other things. The lights have been very durable, and easy to manipulate. They also cast a nice, even light across our shop, supplementing the illumination from our LED T8 retrofit lights and the solitary Big Ass Garage Light. Compared to halogens that run hot and last only about 2000 hours, the Festool SysLite Duo trumps them all.
With 8000 lumens, the Festool SysLite DUO is quite possibly the world’s best LED work light. It not only puts out a lot of light, it does so at a color temperature of 5000K, which makes it perfect for the jobsite. It’s particularly good for electricians and low voltage techs who need to illuminate wires and still be able to discern colors. With most yellow halogen lights, the colors run together, making some wiring jobs much more difficult.
We only found a couple of downsides to the Festool SysLite DUO. First is that there’s no dimming on the system. It’s 8000 lumens or no lumens. In a smaller room, or a place where you get lots of reflections, there’s not much you can do. Though the light does give a nice diffuse throw, it would be nice to have a simple dimming function. The second drawback is simply that it costs $300—$470 if you opt for the tripod. While that sounds like a lot, Festool has always been about making top-level products, and this is no exception. If you need a good, reliable work light, this will fit the bill. Good lighting is every bit as important as any other tool in your arsenal. We can only hope Festool puts out a cordless version in the not-so-distant future.