Earlier this year I proclaimed “halogen is dead”—at least as far as it pertains to the job site light. Products like the Milwaukee Radius Site Light just seem to add additional nails in the coffin. We took a look at this light during the 2016 Milwaukee New Product Symposium, and it had a good set of features. The model 2145-20 light seemed bright, durable, and even had some advanced functionality. The Milwaukee One-Key model integrates the company’s smart app-control technology. It’s not that halogen lighting doesn’t work or isn’t adequate for the task of job site illumination…
It’s just that it’s absolutely trounced by the advantages of LED vs halogen work lights.
The price of LED lighting has fallen quickly—so the cost advantage of halogen is almost gone. That’s particularly true if you factor in replacement bulb costs. More LED advantages include zero cool-down time, better resilience to drops, and greater power efficiency. As you might imagine, LED is going to quickly start dominating job sites this year. While no single light will work for every application, the Milwaukee Radius job site light aims to fill several important roles.
Editor’s Note: Check out the best LED work light buying guide for our top picks.
Milwaukee Radius LED Jobsite Light Features
This compact Milwaukee Radius Site Light puts out 4400 lumens in high, but it can also be configured for lower output as well as directional “task” lighting. The front output control lets you move between maximum (4400 lumens), mid, and low (1000) lumens. There’s a nice ramp-up when you turn the site light on, so you have a fitting chance of not going blind if you’re accidentally staring at it when it comes on…Not that I ever did that…twice.
IP54 Rated Lighting
While the lighting features of the Milwaukee Radius Site Light are neat, the IP54 rating and drop protection really steal the show. We tested a nifty in360 jobsite fluorescent light a while back, but when it came to a drop test, we busted nearly every bulb. LED technology seems to have a fighting chance at making job site lighting truly durable, but it takes a good design.
An IP54 rating translates into a product where the intrusion of dust is not entirely prevented, but it takes an awful lot of it to impede the operation of the tool. With regard to water incursion, the splashing of water against the enclosure from any direction won’t have any harmful effects. The next key step up from IP54 is IP56, where water jets can be sprayed on the device without issue. If you’re using the Milwaukee Radius light outdoors, rain or other splash events won’t be an issue.
The impact-resistant polycarbonate cover on the Radius LED light is removable and replaceable. While the default light comes with a diffuse, almost frosted cover, Milwaukee said that you’ll eventually be able to order it in clear as well. In fact, the lighting system is capable of putting out around 20% more light without the diffuse lens.
Mounting the Milwaukee Radius Light
A hidden hanging hook exists in the base of the Milwaukee Radius Site Light. It features a small bump feature to help keep the light centered. If you flip the hanger all the way over, it can be hung via wire. Since Milwaukee also has a One-Key version of the Radius, you don’t have to worry if the light is mounted high and out of the way. You can turn it on and off with the One-Key app. It also allows you to set a set the light output, run it on a schedule, or use the directional output feature.
The run times are quite impressive when paired with a Milwaukee M18 XC 5.0 battery, so hanging it in the air is perfectly fine. You still have to retrieve the light to change the battery, but here’s how long you can expect it to work:
- 8 hours on low
- 4 hours on medium
- 2 hours on high
AC/DC Dual Functionality
The Milwaukee Radius jobsite light has an AC option that’s different from the Milwaukee M18 jobsite fan and other hybrid products we’ve seen lately. For starters, you can daisy chain lights together—up to 10 on a single circuit, if desired. The way to do this is to pick up a bunch of 6-8 ft extension cords, feed them in and out of the lights, and set them up as needed around the jobsite. The Radius doesn’t charge the battery, but it’s a great way to provide a ton of illumination without too much hassle (or using up precious temporary power outlets).
Milwaukee Radius Site Light Specs
- Light source: 180-LED array
- Lighting modes: Task (180º), area (360º), and overhead
- Output (low/medium/high): 1,000/2,200/4,400 lumens
- High-impact polycarbonate lens
- AC pass-through (10 can be connected on a single 15-amp circuit)
- Protected AC plugs
- Self-centering hanging hook
- Low battery indicator
- Weight: 10.6 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 years
Using the Milwaukee M18 Radius Site Light
As easy as it was to describe the features of the Milwaukee Radius Site Light—it’s even easier to use. All of the controls are up-front and simple to operate. The battery slides in easily, and there’s room for even the new Milwaukee 9.0 Ah battery if you really want to extend your run-time. In our PTR Shop, it really light up the space well when the overhead lights were temporarily off. Thunderstorms in Florida tend to do that—so having a light handy is more important here than you might think.
So all that’s left are the drop tests.
The Radius LED light is very durable, and Milwaukee tests them with drop tests as well as with dust and water incursion for the IP56 rating. We did our own tests, dropping the light from 3-feet and 5-feet onto concrete, and finally an 8-foot ladder onto dirt. The Radius light bounces, but the impact-resistant polycarbonate cover really does its job. When you factor in that there are 180 LEDs inside of it, the build quality really starts to get impressive.
The battery also stays inserted throughout all of these drop tests. While protecting the LED lights is imperative, having the battery fly out would render the tool useless as well. The Milwaukee Radius holds onto the battery like a starving man who’s been handed a Philly cheesesteak. Great, now I’m hungry…
We also turned on the light and “washed” it with a garden hose, spraying it from all directions to see how it fared. This light may not be technically indestructible, but it certainly held up to our rigorous stress tests without losing a single array or LED.
So do you think much about jobsite lighting? I do. I hate halogens, in fact. Too hot. Too fragile. They tend to give you a good bang for the buck, but not over the long haul. The clean-up time wasted waiting for them to cool down, and the fragility of an expensive gas-filled lamp makes LED all the more appealing. With the Milwaukee Radius, you get a great site light that’s not intrusive and which works in a variety of ways. With the notable exception of a spotlight, this Radius LED site light will handle just about everything else.