I hate working in the dark. It’s like trying to hammer a nail while drinking an open glass of soda or beer (try it sometime). Lots of my emergency calls to help friends or family occur at night, and much of the time I need a reliable light to flood an area with something a little more robust than an LED flashlight can afford. Halogen work lights have been the staple—and now there are even LED flood lights on the market—but these tend to be very directional, and they require a cool-down period before they can be moved around or put away. When our friends at CopTool.com put us onto the In360Light work light, we saw something new that we had to try for ourselves.
The In360Light isn’t an amazingly complex solution to an old problem—it’s an innovative one that is simple and solves a common challenge. I like simple solutions, particularly because I’m no good at coming up with the complex ones. Taking a look at the In360Light, what you find is a soft two-piece dome that houses eight (8) 42 Watt (150 Watt equivalent) CFL bulbs—four facing up and four facing down. There are no complex circuits, no accelerometer, no color controls…It’s a work light—but with one distinct advantage. This work light, the In360Light, gives you nice, bright, 360 degree illumination that covers the entire workspace you’re in. There are fewer shadows—and the ones it does cast are softer than you find with halogen work lights. Harsh shadows are difficult to work in, and the increased contrast often makes it hard to see what you’re working on.
Replacing bulbs is an easy process. When the In360Light comes you have to put the CFL bulbs in yourself, so this learning curve gets overcome quickly. The process is simple: Open up the weather resistant casing using the four latches, add the included rubber spacers/cushions to the bottom of each 150 Watt-equivalent CFL bulb, and insert them into the aforementioned 8 sockets. Then, you just close it back up and plug in the light. The lights that come with the In360Light are rated 5000K so they give off a nice “daylight” color that’s not too red or blue, but more of a pure white.
- Bulbs: 8 x 42 Watt (150 Watt equivalent) CFL
- Weight: 12 lbs.
- Dimensions: 13.5″ x 17″
- Price: $249 (includes bulbs)
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Measuring Brightness & Cost Savings
Normally, we’d consider measuring the light output of the In360Light with a photometer or other device, but the way it gives off light would render that test useless and irrelevant. In terms of cost-savings, however, that’s another story. Since the light has eight 42 Watt (150 watt equivalent) CFL bulbs, you get a total of 20,000 of potential lumen output. The folks at In360Light say that’s bright enough to read newsprint more than 25 yards away! In terms of cost-savings, you’re substituting a 336 Watt system (8 x 42 Watts) for your typical 1000 Watt twin-head halogen work light. That’s a lot of saved power that not only cuts your electricity bill (if you use it in a shop, for example), but it can also reduce the load on your circuit and keep you from tripping your breakers.
In360Light In the Field
We ordered the tripod with our In360Light to get it some distance off the ground. Our intention was to use it to illuminate the steel building Pro Tool Reviews uses for storage, reviews, and testing. It’s approximately 2000 square feet of space, and this would be a massive test for the In360Light to tackle.
It didn’t take long to impress us.
When we plugged in the In360Light during the day we thought it didn’t give off all that much light—after all, we could look directly at it thanks to the diffuse translucent cover. At night, however, the results were stunning. This single 360 degree work light hit the floor, ceiling, and all four walls with a beautiful, diffuse light that let us work late into the evening. The nature of this light is what sets it apart. Rather than send concentrated light in a single direction or two, it throws all that it has—all 1200 Watt-equivalents of its CFL bulbs—into the space at one time.
For shop illumination, I now love this light.
Reviewer’s Note on Durability: The difficulty with any bulb-based light is durability. A week after our primary testing we accidentally knocked over the light on the tripod (It was our fault; we bumped into it). All but two of the CFL bulbs stopped working. A halogen light would have done no better, but this just illustrates the need for caution, and to understand the precautions needed if and when using this (or any other) light around hazards.
Could the In360Light be better? Sure, it could use super-bright LED bulbs or chips instead of CFL (and for all we know that may be coming—this company likes to innovate). But it could also cost twice as much. At just $249 with the bulbs (or $269 with the 8′ tripod C8-150KIT), the In360Light competes very well with halogen equivalents and puts out a completely different kind of light. In fact, it’s not really limited to just a 360 degree plane at all, it’s completely three-dimensional in terms of how it broadcasts light in a room: roof, floor, walls…You hit everything. Maybe they should call it the In3DLight. It’s available at the Ohio Power Tool website.