Craftsman, a Stanley Black & Decker brand that is available at Lowe’s, and Ryobi, which can be found at Home Depot, have both released competing cordless lighted magnifiers.
The two products are very different in design but serve similar functions, and so it seemed logical to discuss them together in a single post.
Craftsman V20 Cordless LED Light with Magnifying Lens (CMCE020B)
The Craftsman cordless lighted magnifier, CMCE020B, is officially described as an LED light with magnifying lens. It features “up to 2X total magnification power” and can illuminate your work with 200 lumens.
From the product photo, there looks to be two LED emitter zones on oppose sides of the magnifier lens, a variable brightness dial, and a compound hinge design for easier aiming.
Price: $30 (tool-only)
ETA: “Later this year” (2022)
Ryobi 18V LED Magnifying Clamp Light (PCL664B)
The Ryobi cordless LED magnifier, PCL664B, is very different, with a clamp-on base and gooseneck design.
The Ryobi PCL664B features up to 5X magnification and 500 lumens of brightness output.
The Ryobi can clamp to workbenches, table tops, and other surfaces up to 1-3/4″ thick.
From the images, the Ryobi magnifier looks to have a ring light-like design for even illumination.
The Ryobi magnifier has two brightness settings – 250 and 500 lumens. Its acrylic magnifying lens measures 3.5″ wide and has a 2.25X main magnification and smaller 5X spot magnification zone.
The flexible gooseneck arm measures 16″, and the base can also rotate.
Ryobi says that this is “ideal for technicians, inspectors, collectors, hobbyists, crafters, readers, and more.”
Price: $40 (tool-only)
The two competing brands take very different approaches. Ryobi’s can clamp to a workbench, has a flexible gooseneck-type arm, and has a dual-zone magnifying lens. The Ryobi also has 2 brightness settings.
The Craftsman looks to have a hinged arm design, which could be easier to control. It’s not as bright as the Ryobi, and it looks to have two LED light zones rather than the full-circle illumination of the Ryobi.
As a worklight, greater brightness and even illumination are important. For a lighted magnifier that might be close up to the work, even 200 lumens should be plenty.
The Ryobi looks to offer a bit more versatility, but the Craftsman looks like it folds up into a much more compact package for transport or storage. I’m a fan of minimal-footprint tools that don’t take up a lot of benchtop or shelf space.
Although the two brands are direct competitors, these two tools are not going to be in direct competition. The Craftsman magnifying lamp is likely going to appeal (or not) to Craftsman V20 cordless power tool users, and the Ryobi is going to appeal (or not) to Ryobi 18V One+ cordless power tool users.
It’s great that both brands have been expanding their hobbyist accessory tool offerings. What do you think about these two new tools, and what might you want to see from either brand next?
At first I was thinking the Ryobi design looked preferable, especially because of the gooseneck and clamping options – but a gooseneck doesn’t really bend sharply. The product images reflect that.
That’s not a “problem”, but it means the base might need to be further away from the user to have the height and angle comfortably adjusted, which leads to tipping – hence the clamp. If the clamp works well, it’s a non-issue.
The Craftsman design is probably easier and faster to get into position.
The Ryobi has greater reach, but what happens if you don’t clamp it down, will the offset center of gravity topple it over?
The Ryobi seems more versatile to me, and the Craftsman more convenient.
Yep, that’s my impression too. Ryobi is likely powerful enough to double as a work light, but it’s design is more cumbersome and less likely to be thrown in a tool bag. It almost seems like a benchtop tool that wouldn’t lose much if it were corded.
Craftsman is less flexible – but if you’re grabbing it from your bag or shelf for an impromptu use, it’s probably easier to work with.
I feel like the craftsman setup would lose its strength to stay in place over time, like the joints would wear out n when u go to position it, it’ll slowly slip n whatnot..
lol n hell, I’d use the ryobi one as a quick impromptu gear tie in my tool bag as needed,,,, jist wrap it around my wrenches n boom!! new way to keep em together inside my bag hahaha
Each mag lite has its place, but why do some of these companies Advertise a “New” product, while it is on Backorder, or a Bogus “Pre-order”. And don’t give us the Supply Chain Excuses, certain companies have been doing that Lame Sales Pitch for years. I own both brands, but just like a date, A Tease is the same as a Disease!!
Go Lime Green!!
I’ve been reporting on the tool industry for more than 13 years now. Many brands across most industries announce consumer products ahead of their retail availability. Some wait until the products are on shelves, but most announce early. This often works to consumers’ advantages.
Let’s say you’re about to make a purchasing decision and the timing isn’t urgent. Product A is already available. Product B is coming out in one month. Most consumers prefer to know about Product B so that they can make a more informed decision. Otherwise, if Product B starts shipping by surprise when someone just received their purchase of Product A, there’s a greater chance of buyer’s remorse. When talking about competitive brands, Brand B would want to make sure consumers consider their product over Brand A’s.
Apple, Sony, and many if not most major consumer brands announce products ahead of time. This isn’t a new practice. Video games are announced prior to their being available, sometimes years in advance. The same with movies, books, music, and many other things.
I don’t even see how the craftsman is an option at this point they have less than 20 tools available are definitely a lower tier tool Ryobi has to be close to 200 tools and I’ll let other people argue where they belong but definitely not any lower than craftsman for quality.
Of course, Ryobi was at the level once, too. You don’t get to 400 tools without going through 200. People bought Ryobi then, and I’m sure people will buy Craftsman now. I’d say I have more confidence in the future of SBD’s Craftsman than I did the last 15 years of Sears’ Craftsman.
Craftsman has 79 cordless tools, not 20.
You might argue that there’s lots of drills and impact driver overlap – but Ryobi’s tool count includes that too.
Stuart mentioned these two lighted magnifiers won’t be in direct competition for most since people are way more likely to just buy whatever is available in their chosen cordless platform – but I still thought it was interesting to consider the design choices each company made.
Plus, I personally have tools in a variety of platforms (about ten so far) – incompatibility has never stopped me! 😛 Of course, this doesn’t seem like the sort of tool I would buy into a new platform to obtain though…
Yeah I agree. Crapsman has fallen to the gutter of tool innovation and quality. This looks like junk design from decades past. I’d sooner buy a $2 stick light from Harbor Freight or AliExpress. Ryobi is waaaaay better.
I had hoped to see craftsman come back to life when they started to announce their new v20 rp shits n the v series hand tools but sadly they just seem to be turning into the “red label” Black&Decker lol. .. I will say this tho, I have several of the craftsman versastack cases I use w my tstaks, and recently got their 216 piece tool set in the versastack drawer case;;; and while the sockets n tools are of decent quality and do the job of checking off those things off my tools to get list, they’re not going to save the brands reputation solely off of cool tool box designs.
but yeah, I see the craftsman mag. glass’s joints wearing out and losing their grip to hold in place fairly easily
Somewhere an early Luxo designer is rolling in their grave. Maybe even spinning.
In addition to our “normal” Luxo task lights, I took a Luxo mic arm (eBay) and stuck it in a weighted base and added an 8″ x 12″ LED video panel (with an internal battery). It’s not a magnifier, but boy oh boy, is it a great & fairly portable light. It works with Luxo clamps, too, which are more portable than that heavy base.
If I need magnification, I use one of those binocular visor doodads. I never liked using a single lens, makes my head hurt.
Looks like a rematch of the Craftsman hinges vs the Ryobi clamp that we saw with their 4 inch fans.
I quite like the Craftsman fan and it’s compactness. I’ve used it a lot. I have the Ryobi fan but I’ll be returning it. Can’t think of when or how often I’ll need that clamp.
The clamp might be more useful with this magnifier, though, like in an engine compartment. I’m already a fan of the Craftsman hinges, and they might be a better option for work you can bring to the workbench.
Looking forward to giving both of these a turn,
I’ll wait till there’s a red one, or perhaps look for a battery adapter.
The Craftsman one is red!
The battery adapter I use on my select Ryobi tools (I only use them in the privacy of my own home) supports both Dewalt and Milwaukee batteries on the same adapter.
I ripped out the USB charging board because it has a vampire drain that will kill a battery if left connected.
I really wish the craftsman had the 5x like the ryobi. I would buy it for my father. 2x isn’t enough anymore
The Ryobi 5x looks to be a small part of the 2.25X main lens.
Totally missed that. Thanks.
It is official next Black Friday I’m buying Ryobi stuff the portable magnifier is exactly what I need
I’m not sure that devices like these really get much value from being battery operated as opposed to corded; if you need a magnifying light to the point that you’re willing to dig it out and position it just right, you probably have an outlet within a few steps of you.
By the same token, if you’re going to be using one of these lights for lengthy periods (say, > 20 minutes), as is often the case for things like scroll saw, sanding, and carving work, you’re probably leaving the light in mostly the same position, and working in a comfortable set up with an outlet nearby.
That said, the tool-only prices are somewhat competitive with corded competitors, so if you are already on the battery platform and value a little portability at the expense of cycling your batteries more, I guess I can see the value.
I see your point, but offer this alternative viewpoint. For folks with limited work areas, including hobbies, cordless is a godsend.
For me, I have (too) many hobbies. Woodworking, watch repair, a little silversmithing, some sewing, painting, electronics, gadget repair, etc. I don’t have a setup for each. I also work in different places based on mood, other people, etc.
Having wireless lights, rotary tools, vacuums, soldering irons, even fans, makes life easier and safer. I don’t have cords in the way; I don’t have extension cords. I can work at a bench, a coffee table, or on the deck. I don’t have to invest in a light for each fixed machine, either, as I can use the portable lights on my less-used ones and put permanent lights on the others.
Of course, my situation is not yours. I’m just illustrating how these can be helpful for folks different from you.
Yes! The Ryobi cordless glue guns(my favorite powertool, bar none) and cordless soldering station are great examples. Not having to find a spot near an outlet, run a cord, get tangled up in the cord – all of these are super great reasons. And, honestly, I have to reason to buy corded Ryobi stuff – I’m solely interested in battery tools from them.
I have a very fancy workbench setup for precision and electronics work: MT1500 soldering iron, a pair of WRS 1002 rework stations with one setup with a hot-air pencil and the other with a vacuum desoldering head. The lighting is fantastic and I have a whole mess of top-tier hand tools to go along with it all. But that’s not very helpful if I need to solder something on my truck. For that kind of job the Ryobi soldering iron is awesome.
Maybe for Christmas they’ll bring out their geeky side and release a “not-at-your-bench” benchtop power supply for electronics on the go!
As another respondent wrote, I don’t necessarily see battery powered as a big advantage for these lights. Plus, I don’t own either ryobi or craftsman battery powered tools. However, it is nice to see these out in the mainstream marketplace. Having purchased “low vision” aids for my parents and now using them myself, having more choices is a good thing. I’m at the point in life where the amount of light is as important as the amount of magnification. I routinely use a “Big Eye” magnifier lamp that has the magnifying lens on one gooseneck and a high intensity lamp on a separate gooseneck and find myself using the magnifier app on my smartphone more than I’d like.
I think I would buy one that didn’t use a power tool battery and just had a rechargeable or replaceable standard battery. might even be cheaper. I like the variable light output of the craftsman I think that might come in handy.
I’d agree that finer control over brightness would be nice on the Ryobi.
Where I’d really like finer control is on their little fans, both for wind speed and noise purposes.
Having quite a few Ryobi tools the Ryobi light looks like something I would purchase however I also believe the price point is high for what you get so unless it goes on sale or included in a tool kit purchase, I will have to do without it.
In practice, 200 lumens isn’t very bright. Enough to read something by if you have no other light, but not near enough for any kind of detail work.
I have a larger lighted magnifier on a roller base that I use for electronics repair, and it is 2000 lumens. I normally don’t use it turned all the way up, but when I’m trying to make out a resistor color code or small print on a component, that extra light output is well appreciated.
The 500 on the Ryobi is good for the area it is magnifying and decent for maybe a 2 foot diameter beneath. It isn’t enough to light a whole benchtop of course, nor is it intended to.
I’m with David on this one.
200 lumens seems like quite a bit for the intended purpose of this light. 500 from the Ryobi is probably uncomfortable for close-up work.
1000 lumens shining on something 2 feet distant or less would blind me, never mind 2000 like your setup is capable of Bart.
Just as important is to consider how the light is distributed – I’m thinking of my wimpy 120 lumen Dewalt pivot head work light. If I held something a foot away from that light in the hotspot, that would be pretty blinding too (it has a very concentrated beam in the center and a large, but dim, spill area). Maybe the Ryobi casts a larger pool of light than the Craftsman.
If you’ve got a specialized need for an ultrabright light, that’s one thing. I don’t want to need sunglasses or a welding helmet to use a magnified work light though. 😜
I purchased the Ryobi, it’s ok, the secondary magnification is kind of redundant but, overall, it’s pretty decent.