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Best Underhood Work Light

The Best Underhood Work Lights 2020

An extendable underhood work light is the best method of lighting up your engine without having to hold a standard light. They securely attach to both ends of the hood with protective hooks and are available as corded or cordless unit.

The best underhood work light is the Milwaukee M12 Kit, which produces 1,350 Lumens and adjusts from 48 to 78 inches to fit the majority of hoods.

Unlike a standard mechanics work light, the underhood alternative is completely hands-free and provides a greater light output. The wide design allows you to efficiently work on your car without the need to move it around.

Underhood Work Light Comparison

Underhood Work LightAdjustable LengthLumens
Milwaukee M1248 to 78 Inches1,350
Neiko 40447A47 to 76 Inches1,200
ATD Tools 8035755 to 83 Inches2,000
Nightstick SLR-212048 to 77 Inches1,200
Performance Tool W240418 to 78 Inches513
SuiTech Light Bar52 to 72 Inches1,250

To ensure that the lights work with the majority of hoods, manufacturers use extendable widths. The majority adjust from 40 to 80 inches to suit all passenger vehicles but there are some exceptions that use a clever design to extend further.

Many underhood lights may also offer other forms of holding the light over the engine such as integrated magnetic plates and rotatable hooks.

Below is a list of the best underhood work lights that extend in length to suit a range of hoods and provide excellent illumination across the engine.

The Best Underhood Work Light


1. Milwaukee M12 LED Underhood Light Kit

Milwaukee is a highly reputable brand and their underhood work light kit is one of the best available. It has been designed to withstand the toughest of environments and comes with an impressive 5 year tool warranty and lifetime LED warranty.

In terms of the compatibility, the mounting hooks extend from 48 to 78 inches, which is suitable the the majority of cars and trucks.

Other features of the Milwaukee M12 Kit include:

  • 1,350 Lumens
  • 2 brightness settings to preserve battery
  • REDLITHIUM 4.0 XC battery pack
  • Patented “FINISHGUARD” hooks
  • Impact and chemical resistant
  • High quality with a long warranty

The Milwaukee M12 is the ultimate underhood work light with a high definition LED output and superior build quality compared to the alternatives.

The main drawback is that it comes with a premium price tag. However, when you consider the superior performance and long warranty, it makes the M12 a worthwhile investment.

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2. Neiko 40447A Underhood Work Light


The Neiko 40447A is a relatively affordable option that is powered by an impressive 202 SMD LED’s. As with other underhood lights, it’s able to adjust to fit the majority of passenger vehicles with a telescoping design that spans from 47 to 76 inches.

Other features of the Neiko 40447A Work Light include:

  • 1,200 Lumens output
  • Rechargeable 8,000 mAh li-ion battery
  • UL/CUL certified charger
  • Ergonomic non-slip rubber grips
  • Low battery warning indicator
  • Detachable magnetic hooks
  • Impact resistant polycarbonate housing and lens
  • 3 to 6 hours run time depending on brightness

Overall, the Neiko 40447A is an excellent all-round LED underhood work light that is durable and offers excellent performance. Compared to similar priced alternatives, it’s packed with far more intuitive features that makes it easier to use.

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3. ATD Tools LED Underhood Light


Another premium underhood light is the ATD Tools 80357, which features an intuitive design and produces an impressive 2,000 Lumens of light output. It’s also powered by both a 25 foot long power cord or a cordless rechargeable power pack.

Unlike other underhood lights, the 80367 extends from a much longer 55 inches to 83 inches, which is ideal for larger SUV’s and trucks.

Other features of the ATD Tools 80357 include:

  • 2,000 Lumens output
  • Large padded hooks
  • LED battery level indicator
  • Run time between 2 to 4 hours
  • 5,200 mAh li-ion battery
  • UL/cUL listed
  • Two brightness modes

The ATD Tools Underhood Light Bar provides the performance of a corded light but the desirable convenience of a rechargeable alternative. It does come with an expensive price tag but its a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret buying.

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4. Nightstick SLR-2120 LED  Under hood Light

The Bayco Nightstick SLR-2120 is a high performing underhood LED light bar that is perfect for working on cars for long periods. A desirable feature of this light is the fact that it includes both an AC and DC power supply.

In terms of the compatibility with vehicle hoods, its able to span from 48 to 77 inches via the dual spring loaded grippers that are built into the cradle.

Other features of the Bayco Nightstick SLR-2120 include:

  • Two light modes that output 1,200 and 600 Lumens
  • Foam covered grippers that stretch from 48 to 77 inches
  • Attaches to metal surfaces with the integrated magnets
  • Able to hang it using the 360 degree rotatable hook
  • AC and DC power supply (4.6 hour battery life)

Overall, the Bayco Nightstick SLR-2120 is an excellent all-round example that combines performance with value for the money.

With a respectable 1,200 Lumens output and a width capacity between 48 to 77 inches, it’s suitable for the majority of mechanics working on a range of vehicles.

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5. Performance Tool LED Underhood Work Light


Another affordable option compared to the alternatives is the Performance Tool W2404. It’s not the largest light but spans from as small as 18 inches to an impressive 78 inches in length, which will be suitable for the majority of car hoods.

Other features of the Performance Tool W2404 include:

  • Two brightness settings at 513 and 256 Lumens
  • Uses a rechargeable 18650 li-ion battery
  • Padded hooks to prevent damage
  • Wide angle LEDs
  • Can be charged via direct plug or USB cable

If you are looking for a cheap underhood work light, the Performance Tool W2404 is the best option. However, compared to the alternatives, it may feel far less superior in terms of light performance and build quality.

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6. SuiTech Underhood LED Light Bar


The SuiTech is a cordless underhood light bar that uses a 2,000 mAh battery, which provides up to 5 hours of light on the lowest brightness setting. The brand claim that it’s suitable for every hood with an adjustable length of 52 to 72 inches.

A useful feature of the SuiTech light is that it has a “twinkle mode”, which outputs a red light, which is an ideal alternative to a LED road flare.

Other features of the SuiTech Underhood Light include:

  • 1,250 Lumen rating
  • Includes a 1 year warranty
  • Retractable and foldable design
  • AC/DC 110-240V charger
  • Spring loaded legs for a secure fit

The unique design of the SuiTech underhood light makes it an excellent option to the alternatives listed within this article. It’s also great value for money with a one year warranty included for complete peace of mind.

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Underhood Work Light Buying Guide

Inspecting under the hood will require adequate lighting and the best option is an underhood work light. They attach to the inside of the hood by using hooks that extend to each side.

Depending upon your budget, you will have the choice of a variety of units that vary in performance and designs to suit your requirements.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding underhood work lights.

under hood light bar

Extendable Length

One of the most important factors is whether or not the light is compatible with your hood. The majority of manufacturers claim that they are completely universal but we advise that you measure your hood beforehand.

Most extend from 40 to 80 inches but there are some exceptions such as the Performance Tool W2404, which spans from as small as 18 inches.

Lumens Output

The higher the Lumens rating, the more brightness that the light will output. Lumens is a measurement of brightness that you can use to determine which outputs the most amount of bright light.

However, just because a light may be brighter, it does not mean it will be the best option. Too much brightness can be blinded and the light can reflect from the engine back into your eyes, which can become frustrating.

Most underhood work lights come with multiple settings that allow you to choose the amount of light you require. This will also allow you to choose a setting that helps preserve the battery life too.

Corded vs Cordless

When working on a car, power cords can begin to get in the way and be a problem. This makes using a cordless light the best option but you do have the issue of keeping it fully charged.

Choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference but some units have the best of both worlds. For example, the SuiTech underhood work light allows you to use it as a cordless light but switch to using the power cord when it is low on power.

led underhood light

Padded Hooks

To avoid any damage to the hood, its vital that the hook that attach to it are padded. These help protect the paintwork from scratches but also provide a secure fit that don’t slip.

Durability

Due to the fact that the underhood work light is going to be used primarily in a garage environment, durability is a big factor. The construction needs to be able to withstand chemical and impact damage, which it will be exposed upon a daily basis.

The warranty that is provided by the manufacturer is a good indicator to how durable the light is going to be. For example, the Milwaukee M12 comes with an impressive 5 year tool warranty and lifetime LED warranty.

Conclusion

All of the recommended underhood work lights are suitable for a range of budgets. If you can afford the M12, it truly is the ultimate light for inspecting the engine but there are other cheaper alternatives that perform just as well.

Unlike other work lights, using an underhood alternative makes working on your car far more efficient. It is completely hands-free, easy to attach to the hood and is far larger than any other work light.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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