One of the most exciting new tools from Milwaukee’s 2017 new tool media event was their Rover rechargeable RedLithium USB LED worklight.
We posted about the Milwaukee M12 and M18 Rover LED worklights before. This one is also a Rover, but it’s quite a bit different, as it works with a new RedLithium USB rechargeable battery pack.
I keep wondering about what other tools Milwaukee might design around their RedLithium USB battery, or whether it will be a limited-scope platform, similar to their M4 screwdriver.
But unlike the M4 battery pack, you don’t need a special charger in order to use the new Rover LED floodlight, it charges via USB. There is a special Milwaukee RedLithium USB charger, however, but it’s an optional accessory.
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The Rover LED personal worklight, which I’m going to simply write out as Rover LED for simplicity, has magnets on the bottom and back, and they’re pretty strong, too.
Marketing bullet points include:
- All Day runtime (dependent on mode selection and based on a 10 hour work day)
- 2 light output modes for max brightness or extended runtime
- Over 2,000 recharges
- 3X FASTER charge time (compared to…?)
- 3X faster charge time delivers 80% charge in under 1 hour
The Rover LED doesn’t need a whole lot of contact with a steel fixture in order to be securely mounted. The magnet is located in the pocket clip.
Update: The pocket clip magnet on my production sample will not securely mount the Rover LED to coated steel surfaces, such as a sheet metal tool box. The rear/perpendicular magnet is as good as on the ones demoed at NPS17.
It’s quite stable when mounted perpendicularly, too.
It throws a wide and reasonably uniform beam that seems well suited for close-up work. It delivers up to 445 lumens of light, and so it’s quite bright too.
The controls are simple – there’s a push button for power and brightness control.
And a dual-purpose power-on indicator that flashes during the charging cycle. It changes colors when charging, from red to orange to green, to indicate the charge level.
On my production sample, the light itself flashed on and off to indicate that the battery had nearly no charge. Usually power tool battery packs ship with ~40% maintenance charge, these ship completely or nearly completely drained.
A rubbery flap lifts up to reveal the USB Charging port.
The RedLithium USB battery pack is removable, in case you want to charge it out of the tool and need to swap in a fresh battery.
The Milwaukee RedLithium USB battery is proprietary. It must be charged in a RedLithium USB flashlight, such as this Rover, or using the optional charger.
The optional charger ($40) comes with the charging dock, an AC adapter, Milwaukee-branded braided USB cable (also included with the Rover LED), and a spare battery.
Rover LED Specs and Features
- 445 lumens TrueView output (what’s TrueView?)
- 2 brightness settings – 445 lumens, 100 lumens
- Runtime of 2 hrs on high, 11 hrs on low
- IP54 water and dust resistant
- 2ft braided micro USB charging cable
- Built-in fuel gauge
- Charges to 80% in under 1 hour when using 2.1A wall plug
I was extremely excited about the Rover LED personal worklight, and am still excited, but its weaker-than-anticipated magnet has me a little disappointed.
The perpendicular magnet is reasonably strong, but barely. The pocket clip magnet is too weak to be practical. I tried attaching it to a powder-coated tool cabinet, and then a powder coated Ikea Raskog utility cart.
I don’t recall the last time I had an issue with magnetic LED worklights from mounting to tool boxes or rollaway cabinets. This one needs a stronger magnet.
But on the bright side, there are multiple mounting options, some working better than others, the worklight is very bright, it has a great form factor, and its user interface is simple and useful.
This seems to be a great personal worklight, with just 1 flaw exaggerated by my very high expectations and anticipation.
Perhaps my production sample has a defect? Maybe the wrong magnets are being embedded in the pocket clips? Maybe they were spec’ed to work with bare steel surfaces instead of smooth powder coated or pained steel surfaces.
A weak magnet is potentially fixable.
Ignoring that one flaw that has me feeling a little stung, I only have good things to say about the Rover LED worklight. I need to use and test it more before I can recommend it confidently, but I don’t think there will be any more surprises.
Thank you to Milwaukee for providing the test sample.