Lighting: the one need that is universal in the trades. Without it, you can’t finish the job. If you use the same lights I do, then you only get light in one blinding direction. In recent years, many of the mainstream tool manufacturers have been working to bring us their own versions of a 360-degree lighting system. Milwaukee has their M18 One Key Radius Site Light, Ryobi has their 18V ONE+LED Area Light, Rigid has their GEN5X 18V Hybrid Upright Area Light, and now, there’s the DeWalt DCL070 20V Max Corded/Cordless LED Area Light.
So what is this thing?
At first glance, we’ll forgive you if you mistake the DeWalt 20V Max Area Light for a prop out of the latest Guardians Of The Galaxy movie, but this really is a very functional light for the jobsite. The DeWalt DCL070 20V Max LED Area Light targets contractors and tradesmen that need a large amount of light in their work area.
This light has a whole laundry list of features, which include:
- Bluetooth connectivity with Tool Connect (up to 100ft)
- LED light bulbs
- Light output from 500-7000 lumens (3000 on battery power)
- Built-in charger for any FlexVolt or 20V Max battery
- Powered by DeWalt 20V Max/FlexVolt batteries or AC
- Hollow interior for stacking
Let’s also not forget that when you purchase the kit with battery and charger, you also get a 6.0 AH battery with a fan-cooled fast charger. The bare tool will set you back $399 (or $480 for us up in Canada, Eh!) while the kit will set you back $499 ($629 CAD). The closest thing to this model is Milwaukee’s Radius Site Light. With roughly the same feature set and 9000 lumens, it runs another $200. DeWalt’s price is also in the same range of industrial level area lights like ProBuilt’s ProLight 360 that puts out 15,000 lumens.
Let’s have it then, what’s it like?
Let’s start with the most superficial part of the light, the packaging. The DeWalt DCL070 is an absolute beast, measuring in at 31-7/8 inches tall, 21 inches wide at the base, and weighing in at 27 pounds. This is no lightweight site light. This means there is no misplacing the big yellow light amongst all your other tools and it also means that you’ll want to make some room in the work truck for it. Believe me when I say that this is almost as bright as a second sun… sunscreen optional but not really needed.
The lantern part of the light is perched directly on top of the housing. There is no standard diffuser. Though strangely enough, when operating at full power in 360-degree mode, it doesn’t blind you should you look directly into the light beam. The lens is made of very thick plastic, which should protect it from minor drops and scratches.
Finally, DeWalt has made this specific light to be able to be stacked if you’re tight on space and have more than one.
Dual Power Sources
Behind the keypad is the port for the battery, which acts as a power source to the light. The unique part is that you can lock the dust cover with a padlock to ensure that your precious battery doesn’t grow legs and walk away on the commercial site.
Towards the base of the light are two covered compartments. One houses an AC outlet and the other an AC plug. The AC plug allows you to hook the light to a power source and the outlet will allow you to daisy chain multiple lights together. You can even run small-draw power tools in a pinch. At the base, there are two D rings you can use to chain the light down or even hang it upside down if the ground is too muddy.
DeWalt DCL070 Controls
Operating the light is as straightforward as it gets. On the face of the light, there is a cluster of buttons. Right in the center is the power button. The button on the left illuminates only the left side of the light while the one on the right selects only the right side of the light. The buttons on the top and bottom simply control the brightness, which ranges from 500-7000 lumens.
Then, at the bottom of the button pad is the ever-so-clever Tool Connect button. First, download the Tool Connect app from the App Store or Google Play, select the add a tool icon, name it, press the Tool Connect button and then select the scan for tool option. A blue LED light will illuminate under the button on the tool and then, this is where the magic happens.
You use your smartphone as a remote control. The app tells you your remaining battery power, whether you have a power cord connected, allows you to turn the power on and off, power the left or right side only and there is even a feature called identify which sends the light into strobe setting which allows you to find which light is yours should there be more than one light on site (or if you want to mess with your apprentice).
The app has a few useful features such as schedule, which allows you to set a timer and remotely control the light off and on. There’s also the eco mode which allows you to save battery power, an alert when you have completed charging a battery, when the battery has a low charge, and when you have lost AC power. That power loss feature might be handy to let you know if your generator has run dry of gas. There’s also the last seen feature, which tells you when your tool was last seen by your app or someone else’s if you hit the “Search Community” button.
The only drawback to the Tool Connect system is that the app is only as useful as the cellular signal around it. This may not be an issue on large commercial sites. However, when you are at a new house every couple of days, you’re going to get a few dead zones as I have while testing this light. It isn’t ideal, but when it happens, you at least have the keypad to operate it. I know, I know…first world problems!
So how does the DeWalt DCL070 do out in the field?
Being a plumber and working in new residential developments, I sometimes need as much light as I can get and this delivers light to a factor of ten when working in basements. The DeWalt DCL070 floods even the largest basement with light making the need for headlamps and flashlights a thing of the past. When I find myself working where I have to directly at the light, I simply turn half the light off and there’s still enough light flooding into the area that I don’t have to strain my eyes to look for my dirty tape measure or level.
It’s important to note that you’ll only get 3000 lumens when you’re running from a battery. You’ll need to plug the light into an AC source to get all 7000 lumens. Milwaukee’s Radius will give you all 9000 lumens on battery power.
I’m able to read my all my instrumentation with ease. Heck! There’s so much light that I found a hammer one of the framers dropped and never recovered. With the two larger D rings at the base of the unit, I’m able to strap 2×4’s to the bottom and mount the light overhead to keep it out of the mud while I tackle my ground works.
Given how wide the base of this light also means that this is a stable light. The weight distribution is perfectly even as far as I can tell. The only way this light moves is when you want it to. Even when sitting in my work truck without straps, the light doesn’t move an inch.
Another Tool Connect Feature
I don’t have to leave my light on site like some contractors do. However, I recently used the schedule setting when I went on vacation to make it look like someone was home. All I did was set the light to come on at two-hour intervals during the evening. You only need to be in range of the light to set or adjust the schedule since the light stores it in memory.
With the 6.0 AH battery supplied in the kit, I was able to run the DeWalt DCL070 for 5 hours with both sides on and at peak brightness. With only the left or the right side on, the battery lasted almost 11 hours on high. Those are pretty good numbers on a light with such a high light output. But what I found impressive was after 5 hours being on, the lantern head was still cool to the touch.
Just to touch on the built in charger. There is nothing wrong with it, just don’t get to thinking that it’s a quick charger.
The Bottom Line
This is a solidly built, well thought out light. So yes, the DeWalt DCL070 20V Max Tool Connect Corded/Cordless LED Area Light is a light that any tradesman or tradeswoman from plumbing, electrical, or general contracting can easily justify adding to their tool collection. It’s a big light. If you really need something small and hand held, then DeWalt also has their DCL050 20V Max LED Hand Held Area Light. You won’t get half the lumens that you will out of this one but it will at least partially light the way.
The only real downside is that you’re only going to get 3,000 lumens on battery power. You have to plug it in to get all 7,000. Still, this is a functional, bright light that is worth your consideration.