Shown here is the Milwaukee Rover LED worklight, model 2108, which is currently 33% off at Tool Nut and Home Depot. It’s regularly $30, but is now on sale for $20.
- Fairly bright (300 lumens max)
- Multiple LEDs give it a flood-style beam of wide illumination
- Magnetic mounting on the top and back, and they’re strong magnets, too
- Low and high output modes
- Adjustable pocket clip doubles as a base
- Uses widely available AA batteries
- No rechargeable Li-ion battery (
although you can use Eneloop NiMH batteries or similar)
- Not as bright as its big brother
Update: The cons weren’t really negative aspects, so I retitled that part as compromises, which seems a little more accurate if not fairer.
Update 2: You lose one of the brightness modes if using rechargeable AA batteries.
Buy Now(via Tool Nut)
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Compare(via Acme Tools)
If you need a lot more than this compact LED worklight could provide, consider its big brother, the Milwaukee RedLithium USB Rover LED pocket flood light.
Tool Nut says that the deal is good thru 6/20/19.
Update: If Home Depot is showing you a $30 price, put in your zip code (or another) and select a different store. It might take a few tries. What you want to see is a $19.97 price and “free shipping on $45+ orders,” or in-store pickup. If the store you select is out of stock, it’ll show you the full price, and if a store has limited supplies you might see a “standard delivery” option instead of “free shipping on $45+ orders.”
Talking about the review sample I have in-hand, this is a very nice flashlight. The magnets are stronger than on the larger rechargeable version, at least the magnet on the back, but to be fair it’s also a lighter-weight worklight. Also, to be honest, I completely forgot about the magnet on the back. I don’t use the rear magnet on the larger Rover LED worklight, and on this smaller one I typically have the pocket clip centered and covering it up.
While some might scoff at the “only 300 lumens” that this worklight puts out, 300 lumens is actually a lot, especially given that this is more of an up-close personal floodlight type of lighting product. To put things in context, the Surefire LED flashlight I bought maybe a decade ago output just 80 lumens.
The pocket clip swivels, but stays where you position it, and can serve as an adjustable stand.
I remember seeing a couple of online reviews complaining about the battery cap popping off. The battery cap secures using an eighth-turn bayonet-style lock, but I haven’t experienced it coming loose or popping off unintentionally yet. It’s worth being aware of, but has not been isn’t a problem for me.
$20 is a good deal for this light, but you’re probably going to want to either buy it as part of a larger order so you get free shipping, or with in-store pickup.
If You Want the Milwaukee Rechargeable Rover LED Worklight…
There’s a very noteworthy bundle on the Milwaukee RedLithium USB Rover LED worklight right now, 2112-21P, where you get the flashlight, (2) RedLithium USB batteries, and a separate charger, for $60. So, for the same price as the regular kit, which only comes with the flashlight, battery, and USB charging cable, you get all than plus an extra battery and a standalone charger.
You can also use the flashlight to charge the battery, but this kit only gives you one USB charging cable. Add in another off-the-shelf cable, and you can charge both batteries at the same time, one in the flashlight, and the other in the charger.
Read More About the Milwaukee Rechargeable Rover LED Worklight
This is a fantastic worklight too. While I complain about the magnet on the back being weak when used on thin materials (such as the back panel on a refrigerator) or coated sheet metal (such as a powdercoated tool box), everything else about it is excellent.
Should work great with Eneloop rechargable AAs
The 2112 bundle was on sale at acme last week for $44 so I picked it up. (Hence my questions about the future of this system!) I’m a fan so far, and having the extra battery and charger included elevates it from just another rechargeable light to part of a system. It can be self contained and USB charge when needed or it can have extra battery for continuous use without worry.
300 lumens probably great for a light like this. More isn’t always better since too much light can just blind you for close-up work. On the other hand, they could just make it brighter and have more settings… but then it’s probably not a $20 light.
Just FYI: “here is Milwaukee’s 2108 Rover LED worklight”.
I appreciate the heads-up, but can’t see what I said wrong. Is it because the model number is 2108, and it looks like a 2018 typo? I double checked that three times just to be sure. It stands out as “just wrong” to me too, but because it’s an AA-powered product, there’s no -20 or -21 part to the model number. The larger rechargeable Rover is 2112-21P. 2108-20 would have looked a lot better than 2108. Hmm, maybe it’s best for me to move the words around a little. “Shown here is the Milwaukee Rover LED worklight, model 2108.”
Ha. You’re right. I assumed it was meant to be the year. My apologies.
I can’t say nice things about the rechargeable bigger brother, 2112-21P.
It uses 18650 batteries (a standard), but Milwaukee puts them in a sealed carrier that essentially makes them proprietary.
No reason they couldn’t just left the 18650 as-is. Very sour taste that puts in my mouth.
I don’t see a problem with their battery. It gives them control over the user experience, and allows them to design tools around well-defined power and performance characteristics.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints about AA-powered devices over the years, simply because the user wanted to use the cheapest batteries available.
The average RedLithium, USB device user might not have any other single-cell 18650-powered flashlights or devices in their kit.
How would Milwaukee ensure that customers could buy everything they needed from tool retailers?
It sounds less than ideal for RedLithium USB to be based on 18650 cells, but I think there are very many more pros than cons.
I disagree Stuart, respectfully. 18650 batteries are a standard in the lighting community, just like AAs and CR123A to a degree.
AA’s benefit is availability, CR123A is higher power + awesome shelf life (at a much increased cost — they ain’t cheap), and 18650 being their high power + rechargability + reasonably low cost. 18650s are the go-to in the vaping market as well as the performance flashlight market. They’re even found in some laptop battery packs.
Like AAs — or anything really, you can get “$1 store quality” 18650 batteries from China that lack overcharge protection and misrepresent the mAh. Or you can spend $ and get good ones. As for the end user buying low-quality — garbage in, garbage out. Can’t fix stupid.
As for tool retailers stocking parts….you’re kidding me I hope. I’m hearing this more and more for common items: “we don’t have it in stock, sorry. You can order it online and have it shipped to store or your home!”
I hear what you are saying about essentially user experience by controlling the battery. I sincerely doubt that’s the case – it’s a pocket-sized LED light. Not rated for mil-spec, not rated for medical use. (And *many* of those permit off-the-shelf standard 18650 batteries.)
If controlling the quality of the experience was the primary concern, they’d never, *ever* release a AA light. Or they’d just release their own branded 18650 batteries of higher quality. I’d be up buying some of those if they’re good. And it’d cost less for Big Red since they wouldn’t need to put additional proprietary shells on the battery.
And let’s say 5 years down the road, Big Red cancels production of this light — once my batteries lose their recharge ability, I have a paperweight. Whereas an open standard light would keep on working.
There are virtually no pros in locking down an open standard in a situation like this, and it screams of a money grab. I call it like I see it, respectfully.
[I also bought a AA version of this light, because it had an AWESOMELY strong magnet in-store. It’s a solid flood in a compact package. I’d say grab that one for sure.]
That is true, but Milwaukee isn’t targeting these at flashlight enthusiasts.
Let’s say you manage an industrial facility and have 20 MRO workers who do inspections, repairs, installations, and what-not. Are you going to hand-pick flashlights, rechargeable 18650 Li-ion cells, and separate chargers for them? Or get them an A-to-Z solution from Milwaukee?
They *could* have simply put their name on standard 18650 cells, but that loosens their control. What if someone wanted to use 18650 cells they sourced elsewhere? Something goes wrong. Does the user blame the battery or the tool?
Maybe it is a money-grab, but I don’t think so.
Here’s the question I ask: “if I were making the decisions, would I have done things differently?”
There are pros and cons to both sides.
Now, I do loath proprietary flashlights and charging systems. I have a couple of samples around here that take proprietary barrel connectors, and it’s terrible. micro USB, or even mini USB or USB C are far more convenient.
I have heard a lot of “this camera eats batteries, this flashlight eats batteries, this flashlight sucks, that worklight sucks, this camera sucks” types of complaints over the years.
Milwaukee bundles their AA Rover with Rayovac batteries, and so you don’t need NiMH, lithium, or other high-output batteries to get the expected performance. For higher-powered LED flashlights, you do need to pay attention to battery cell selection. Generally, flashlight enthusiasts know this.
So for these RedLithium USB tools do you allow use of 18650 cells that many target users might not have?
There could also be benefits to the RedLithium USB cell packaging. Honestly, I don’t remember.
Personally, I don’t own any other 18650-powered flashlights (yet?). I have AA, AAA, and CR123A LED flashlights. I don’t burn through batteries all that often, and in the lights I need higher power, I have CR123 lithiums, or NiMH AAs.
I’ve looked at the Olight 18650 chargers and rechargeable flashlights, but haven’t moved towards there yet.
There’s a large group of flashlight and lighting enthusiasts. But I don’t think Milwaukee had those users in mind when designing this system. Should that group have been a primary focus?
How many forum posts are there on the CPF forum on these Milwaukee Rover LED lights? RedLithium USB?
My way of seeing things still comes down to “would I have done anything differently?”
Looking at Olight 18650 batteries as an example, theirs can be charged up to 500 times. I see pricing between $14 and $20, depending on capacity. A FourSevens is rated at ~500 cycle service life as well, and also priced at $20.
I sincerely don’t think that Milwaukee will abandon the RedLithium USB battery or its product family any time soon. This isn’t Ryobi Tek4, or Craftsman V4.
Milwaukee hasn’t added a single tool to their M4 platform in the nearly 7 years since they came out with the M4 screwdriver, but the batteries are readily available.
Shrug. I look at it from a consumer’s standpoint.
Everyone currently brings their own light (about a dozen of us) — and it’s about 50/50 between AAs (exclusively Eneloops) and 18650s (mainly from those who vape or take lighting seriously, usually fenix or surefire are their brands of choice).
Those use use AAs also have AA-powered flood lights (Defiant brand, a BF Home Depot purchase) or headlamps (zebra light).
A light like this will be a secondary light. Standardizing the batteries between them (AA or 18650) makes carrying spares so much easier. Proprietary batteries? Sorry, that’s a hard no. We standardize our tools so we don’t have a dozen different batteries. Same goes here.
I think anyone who’s capable of critical thinking would analyze the situation if they’re getting poor performance — “is it the battery? is it the light? is it the operator?” If they can’t solve that problem, I would have doubts about them working with me on far more serious challenges than a *flashlight*. But we have pretty intelligent folks here, I trust their judgement.
Honestly, that’s a far less of an issue than we’re making it to be. It’s a consumer-level device bought off-the-shelf in a big box store, not something medical grade or mil-spec.
Different people have varying levels of experience and familiarity, even with things like USB charging. I have learned that you cannot make assumptions.
I understand what you’re saying, and your preference is a valid one. Although I personally don’t feel the same, given that I don’t have any 18650-based lighting products (yet?), I find your points and stance very fitting and appropriate.
All I’m saying is that I don’t think “it’s a money-grab” explains why they designed RedLithium USB this way. I can see several pros and cons, and while they can sell more batteries if RedLithium USB is a proprietary battery pack rather than just a branded cell, I don’t think that’s anywhere near the primary motivation. (Just to be sure, I emailed Milwaukee PR earlier today, asking if there were any functional justifications for designing an encapsulated RedLithium USB cell rather than allowing off-the-shelf 18650 cells to be used.)
All this hoo-ha about the propitiatory batteries…
Stuart is right – i work in a shop where these are actually sold, what i can confirm is this: the workers & procurement officers who buy them love the torches simplicity, they can charge them in the car or office right out of the packet, they can get batteries that work simply and easily, the torches & work-lights work as described and are tough.
Most of all they didnt spend hours reading up on the CPF forum about best 18650 yada yada because Milwaukee already did it for them, i mean sure there’s more powerful and better runtime etc but in an over-all readily available package Milwaukee has nailed it.
I own 3 variants of the L4 line and love all of them, how many do you own?
18650 doesn’t seem like a very user friendly standard to me. It doesn’t seem to mandate the shape, chemistry, or electrical capacity? Honestly I have too many flashlights, but this isn’t the thing I want to spend a week optimizing. Are you guys saying that I could buy cells in a single form factor, some of which have protection integrated and some of which don’t? Why is that a risk I would want to be exposed to? Why would I expose others to that? “Here’s your work light. If it runs out of batteries give me a call before you replace them”
It would be nice if there was a form factor about this size where I could just send someone to the hardware store if we needed replacements.
I’m still in the fence about these lights and this system but the idea that I should have to hot rod my flashlight really isn’t in line with my workflow.
It’s no different with USB. Go to your local $1 store, and see how many chargers/cables you can find. Then find a reputable brand which would charge $10/cable, $20/charger.
Then ask yourself, would you entrust an $800 phone to a $1 charger? Roll the dice.
If you buy cheap (like from Amazon China or Ebay China or Aliexpress or Dollar Tree), you get what you pay for.
Especially with USB-C cables and chargers, with the higher power draw. You have to do your homework to see if it’s “Benson Approved”, for example. You could fry a $2500 laptop easily if you cheap out.
If one takes pride in their decision-making skills as “WELL IF I JAM IT IN THERE AND IT FITS, I DON’T NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT. I’M NOT THE PROBLEM IF IT LITERALLY EXPLODES AND CATCHES LITHIUM ON FIRE”……
Same goes with AA batteries. You can go to any $1 store and get AAs. Which probably are awful. Or you can go to a big box store and get Energizer/Duracell. Or order some Eneloops online. Do your homework.
And it doesn’t take a week to optimize it….unless you experience time differently than the rest of us. A quick <10mins on Google and some critical thinking. You probably spent more time finding a flashlight.
But if that's too much, by all means, spend your money on needlessly proprietary solutions. It's really your money at the end of the day.
Don't question what corporations tell you. Don't think. Just spend. It'll be ok. Because they say it'll be ok. Be happy. Smile. Sad consumers don't spend as much. Enjoy the pop music over the radio. And patronize all the advertisers! Buy some candy at the checkouts, chocolate doesn't make people sad!
I was about to ask when the red lithium battery dies out – how do you replace it. I got to thinking about using a basic LI battery and shimming it if I ever had to.
I sort of like the rover idea – and I might buy one with that decent kit price.
The batteries are said to be good for more than 2000 charge cycles. Replacements are currently $20 each, but there are promos. The Rover LED bundle mentioned above, for example, comes with (2) batteries, another charger, and the worklight. If I needed two replacement batteries right now, I’d likely order that bundle instead.
Aren’t 18650s what are in the M12 and m18 proprietary packs? This is consistent with how the red-tool company operates. They always brand “red lithium technology” whether the cells are Samsung, fujitsu, or what have you . If they had any tool with a direct 18650 drop-in, users might question why they can’t have the same courtesy extended for the M battery platforms.
I mean… That’s how all tool companies operate, right?
Take existing components and combine them with some custom components in a deliberate manner to create a more useable whole. Most power tool batteries have been packs if 18650s and some custom circuitry to control it. That’s why the battery rebuild places can make money.
My AA light is very handy, and more than bright enough. However, I have had the battery cap pop off, thus getting lost. I eventually stumbled onto it at work about a week later. I was about to toss the main part, figuring I would have a time getting a new cap.
Also, I returned it once (through Home Depot) because the rubber push button kept pushing through the hole that’s supposed to hold it in the body of the light. It came back, eventually, looking perfect — for a day.
I’ll reiterate one other comment I read: there’s not much visible difference between the high and low settings.
They are updating the USB charger I believe, at least that is what I saw in a video from NPS19. It will contain a USB port for charging my her devices.
Still wish they would integrate a small light into their jackets, just enough to fumble with keys or similar, as well as safety LEDs into the collar. They have a new headlamp with those bright safety lights that would be awesome.
It they were smart they would update everything to be USB-C. Couldnt believe when all the USB battery stuff came out it was micro USB. As I own 7 of their USB lights better to piss me off sooner than later, so I can start getting the next ones in USB-C. Knew the day would come I would be pissed since mine are micro USB, just get my anger out of the way ASAP LMAO
I grabbed this at home depot- then saw that it was run off of AA batteries. Put it back. I want to be able to charge it in my truck.
If this was just a couple years ago I’d jump on this, but now I don’t really have an interest in something that doesn’t charge via USB. If you are a into AA lights I’m sure this is great. I’ve have both other RedLithium floodlights and love them more and more. I’ll often have an M12 or M18 Rover lighting something and then use the RedLithium flood to add in some backlight or side light to really make the area super easy to work in. My only complaint still is the battery charge indicator. I’d rater 4 little tiny LEDs over the 1 big color changing LED. That thing is so hard to tell how charged it really is.
That deal for the flood, 2 batteries and the standalone charger is a good deal! I remember buying just the light for $69. I might need another one 🙂
I got this light and like it. I already keep eneloops for my laser. It’s very similar brightness to my Bosch fl12 but in an even smaller package with a warmer white balance. V nice for my work case which is packed to capacity.
Only complaint is that the light emits a high-pitched whine at both brightness settings, audible for me even across the room. At $20, I’ll keep it, but I wouldn’t accept that flaw from a more expensive light.
Makes me wonder about the other Milwaukee lights as the high-pitched electrical whine was a dealbreaker for me with the M12 tools in general.
You might want to try a few more. I put mine up to my ear and can’t hear any high freq noise.
That’s reassuring. If I drive by Home Depot this week, I’ll see about a swap.. I used to be an audio engineer so I’m used to catching sounds others don’t, but even my partner noticed.
I have the rechargeable flood and also the carabiner model. Those two lights get more questions and impressed looks than just about any other toy I bring to job sites. They are well made and perform great. Plus I can stuff them in my pack when I go hiking.
I bought two of them yesterday.
For gifts as I’ve got plenty of Bosch LED 12v and 18v lights. Love them. And workers haven’t treated them too kindly and they’ve really held up well.
So, of course, I opened (and played with) one of these little Red AA battery thingies and now I’ve only got one to actually gift with.
Oh well. Live and learn.
Ain’t Toolguyd just grand?
Stuart, after your post about this light I bought one, and I have an issue with eneloops, whith the included alkalines the light output is good and have two levels, high-low-off, but when I switch to the eneloops I loose the high level, the light output its greatly diminished and when I press the button to swicht to low output I don’t see a difference in lumens… did anyone have this same issue?
It seems that the high output mode is not working with eneloops (tried several freshly charged eneloops)
Darn. I checked and mine does the same thing.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever encountered a worklight that loses functionality when Eneloops or other rechargeable cells are used. I’m sorry – I updated the post to reflect this. I have some flashlights that lose their high brightness mode with alkaline cells, but not Eneloops or other high quality NiMH rechargeables.
Rechargeable AA batteries typically operate at 1.2V, whereas alkaline cells operate at 1.5V. It’s possible that there’s a voltage converter or LED driver that really requires >2.5V for that second brightness level to be used. It seems that you lose the higher brightness mode, which suggests that the flashlight circuitry might think that alkaline battery cells are diminished in charge capacity, and so it switches to low brightness mode to extend what it sees as remainder battery life, even if the rechargeable cells are fresh and at full charge.
I’ll ask Milwaukee for clarification, maybe there’s a workaround, but unfortunately I doubt it.
That seems like a massive oversight on Milwaukee’s part. Eneloops aren’t new or novel. They’re widely used, and they’re an economically “green” way to approach Alkaline battery waste.
yeah! it’s a shame! I have several AAA and AA flashlight from different manufacturers and this is the only one that does this also.
But it is really strange, out of curiosity I measured the no-load voltage of the fully charged eneloops and they are 1.31 V, conversely I also know that the nimh usually don’t have as big a voltage drop as alkalines when under load, so it seems really strange that the controller uses the “led-off” voltage to determine the charge of the batteries and limit the output.
I don’t think that there is a workaround for the issue also… I did a test with one eneloop and one alkaline just to confirm (obviously not something you should use) and it works just fine, so denitively it is a voltage range problem.