Festool STL 450 Inspection Light with Tripod Review
Deciding whether or not to the Festool STL 450 is the difference between doing a job that's good enough and doing the best work you can.
The Festool STL 450 enters into the German company’s lighting category with 1200 lumens of output. Already thinking that’s not much compared to the 8000 lumens of their SYSLite Duo? You’re right – but these two lights have very different objectives.
The first clue comes from the design. The STL 450 resembles more of a blacklight wand you might see on a TV crime drama than a work light. This long, narrow design is very intentional. It puts the light source close to the edge of the housing and creates an inspection light.
What’s an Inspection Light?
I’m glad you asked! When you’re working on surface prep or even wrapping up a surface job, how smooth the results are will determine the quality. The Festool STL 450 Inspection Light casts its throw across the surface, exposing imperfections in the form of shadows that make details stand out. You pick up any bump, ridge, or cavity immediately – even if it’s small. The key is getting the light close enough to the surface to actually cast across the surface rather than directly into it the way we use most work lights.
The elongated design is the key to the STL 450’s success. For starters, it puts the light source close to the edge of the housing, giving it the ability to cast light across your work surface.
Secondarily, it gives you the ability to wrap your hand around the light to grip it. With one hand, you can hold the light and move it around while you use the other to feel the imperfections and/or mark their positions as you find them.
About the only knock we have with the SYSLite Duo is its lack of a power switch. You get an on/off switch with the Festool STL 450. It’s something we’re not taking for granted this time around.
Festool does a fantastic job of protecting the STL 450 with a rubber overmold that is as close to all-encompassing as I’ve seen on a jobsite light. There’s a 1-1/4″ wide section on the front and back that isn’t covered. However, both recess below the surrounding overmold to get them some protection.
The overmold is important on another level as well. It’s non-marring so no matter how you hold the light against your work surface, the risk of marks or damage is extrememly low.
The light also carries an IP55 rating – not something you typically expect for a light you’ll use mainly inside. But there are some exterior applications along with damp interiors, so Festool makes sure you’re covered in less than ideal conditions.
The rubber overmold extends on either side to form a cord wrap. The entire body of the light is just over 25″, so it makes managing the 16’+ cord much easier. My only complaint here is that the plug doesn’t clip to the cord, so you need to wrap it inside the wound cord to secure it.
When it comes time to move beyond simple inspection to clean up those imperfections, you can mount the STL 450 to a tripod. That’ll help you make your fixes and reinspect them without even setting your tools down.
The tripod starts as the same model you use for the SYSLite Duo. From there, you add an extension specifically for the STL 450 and that’s where the magic happens. You mount the light in a quick clamp to secure it.
Two adjustments put the light in nearly any position you need it. One pivots the light left and right to get any angle between horizontal and vertical. A second adustment moves the light forward and back. Similar to the way a mitering and beveling work together to create compound cuts on a miter saw, this is what allows to work in complex angles for inspection.
You can also take the extension and lock it on at a 90° angle to hold the light on a vertical work surface.
Using the Festool STL 450 Inspection Light
Whether you’re prepping the surface or finishing it off, the STL 450 is your best friend when you want to leave a perfect surface. We used the Festool inspection light on a variety of surfaces and paint colors. The first step was to simply look at the surface and identify imperfections. That’s easy enough and some stand out immediately.
But when we apply the Festool STL 450 every imperfection suddenly comes to light. And what we discovered was surprising. Clearly, simple visual inspection doesn’t show the level of detail that the STL 450 can. And since the LED light is 5000K, you see accurate colors while drawing just 18W of power.
The Festool STL 450 runs $300 individually and $510 with the tripod. This is one of the lights you can get away with just getting on its own since so much of the work you do with it keeps it in your hand. But you’ll lose the ability to keep the light set on a specific workspace you’re in the process of perfecting.
Deciding whether or not to get the Festool STL 450 is the difference between doing a job that’s good enough and doing the best work you can. It exposes so much more than you can see on your own that you’ll step up significantly in the quality of your work.
We all know that when we do our best work, happy clients love to tell their friends and business associates who did the work. And you can’t buy that level of advertising.
Festool STL 450 Inspection Light with Tripod Key Features
- The newly developed and unique Festool optics produce such a highly focused light cone that you can immediately detect any unevenness and flaws on the primed surface.
- Check your end result during the work process itself, and thereby achieve the perfect surface.
- Thanks to its robust plastic housing and long LED service life, the grazing light is optimally equipped for tough building site conditions and is maintenance-free.
- Helps workers to detect flaws and unevenness in the surface that is to be worked on
Festool STL 450 Inspection Light with Tripod Specifications
- Model: Festool STL 450
- Lumen value: 1200 lumens
- Colour: 5000 Kelvin
- Housing protection class: IP 55
- Cable length: 16.4′
- Weight: 3.31 lbs
- Warranty: Service All-Inclusive warranty
- Price: $510 ($300 light only)
- Find a Festool Dealer Here