A particular bright spot in Milwaukee Tool’s excellent product offering is its lighting lineup. The company seems to have a particular proficiency in jobsite illumination and it makes sense. If you can’t work safely in dim to dark conditions, then you can’t use any of Milwaukee’s other tools, either! Built upon its strong lithium-ion battery and LED technology foundations, these cordless work lights run much cooler and produce as many or more lumens than old, corded halogens. One curious-looking option in the line is the Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light. We’ve got no lack of work that could use more brightness, so we brought the Rover to several of our projects.
We’ve got no lack of work that could use more brightness, so we brought the Rover to several of our projects.
The Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light is small but mighty with an IP54 rating and five LEDs with 1,000-lumen capacity made to replace a 250W halogen. You’ll see two buttons – one for power and one for toggling between High, Medium, and Low output settings. The name “Rover” brings to mind images of the Mars Rover that’s made to go anywhere, and that’s exactly how Milwaukee designed this light.
It has two strong magnets for sticking to metal surfaces, a remarkably powerful spring clamp for grasping, a keyhole in the bottom as well as a groove in the handle for hanging, and it can sit in five positions. It seems like you’ll be able to orient the light in just about any way you’d like so you can illuminate your work.
Milwaukee claims that you can drop the Rover from three meters without breaking it. We won’t intentionally test that claim, but it’s undoubtedly supported by the rubberized overmold surrounding the lens. There’s also a low battery indicator – the light begins to blink – and a four-light onboard battery gauge indicator similar to the indicators on Milwaukee’s 18V packs. It all looks good to us – so let’s try to have an illuminating experience.
You Light Up My (Work) Life
There’s no doubt the Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light packs a big punch in a little package. It is simply super bright for a flashlight replacement, with its highest output at 1,000 lumens. I brought it along for some attic work and it illuminated the entire space. Once caveat here – if you’re working in a large attic where you are able to kneel or even stand, the Rover is particularly helpful not just because of its own functionality, but also because it’s easy to bring along.
It Goes Where You Go
However, if you’ve got a really confined space where crawling is the only method of movement, I’d suggest the Milwaukee M18 Search Light (stay tuned for that review soon!) because the handle allows you to use it for support as you creep around. The same might be true for tight crawl spaces under a home, although I didn’t take the lights there. But for clamping on a stud, using the strong magnets, setting it on any orientation, or hanging it from the keyhole or a lanyard in just about any other work area, the light is about as versatile as it gets.
I’ve heard some other users mention the strength of the clamp and they are right. It takes a bit of effort to pull it out and clamp it on a stud. But that’s also what allows it such a secure hold so just be sure to eat your Wheaties in the morning!
One use of the clamp that’s not immediately evident – but we found out of necessity – is to grab 1-1/2-inch pipe. We were working a restaurant, up on ladders with no studs or joists to work with, but we had plenty of pipes! The Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light was the right tool for the job especially because we were only using headlamps at first. But trying to communicate normally – by looking at the person who’s talking – means the headlamp beam also blinded them! By ditching the headlamps and clamping the Rover to the pipe, we lit up a much larger area and avoided the blinding discomfort.
I used the same pipe-clamping method at a recent structural repair job. A second-story porch-turned-enclosed-room had started to detach from the main structure, sinking nearly four inches over the years. We had to do some investigation under the first floor of the main structure before assessing what needed to be done. The Rover was the perfect light for the job.
Where it Fits
1,000 lumens isn’t the brightest work light you can buy. The stand lights we use on our video set put out 6500 lumens each. And even Milwaukee’s own new site light puts out 9,000. But keep in mind what Milwaukee’s M12 line lives for – replacing hand tools. In this case, that’s a broad throw flashlight, which matches well with the 1,000-lumen output. And that outstanding versatility in positioning gives it a huge step up.
There are some other lights in the compact class that will give you more light. Ryobi’s Hybrid Work Light is one example that puts out 1700 lumens. But the trade off is positioning and durability. It’s up to you of course, but that’s a lot to lose for the way we use this light. If compact and awkward spaces are a normal part of your job, this is a tough light to beat and 1,000 lumens is enough.
The sweet spot for working distance is going to be in the 4 – 6-foot range.
The Bottom Line
In short, the Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light might not look like a traditional jobsite illumination tool, but that’s a good thing. With multiple ways for it to sit, hang, or be otherwise attached to things around the job, it’s a nearly perfect light in many compact and awkward applications. And producing 1,000 lumens from its five LEDs, there’s little you won’t be able to see in those spaces.
If you’re already on the M12 platform, you don’t have to think too hard about this one – it’s an easy decision. If you’re not, it might just be enough to convince you to adopt it! Until our next review of the M18 Search Light, shine on!
Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light Features
- High Impact Polycarbonate Lens
- TrueView Technology
- IP54 Rating
- Replaces 250W Halogen with far less heat
- Magnetic Base
- Reinforced Clamp
- 5 Positions
Milwaukee M12 Rover Compact Flood Light Specifications
- Model Number: 2364-20
- High Mode: 1,000 Lumens, 3.5 hrs
- Medium Mode: 400 Lumens, 7.5 hours
- Low Mode: 200 Lumens, 15 hrs
- Voltage: 12V
- Length: 7.5 inches
- Weight: 2.19 pounds
- Height: 5.5 inches
- Width: 5.75 inches
- Price: $71.79