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.
Table of Contents
- Best Underhood Work Light
- Underhood Work Light Buying Guide
Best Underhood Work Light
|Underhood Work Light||Adjustable Length||Lumens|
|Milwaukee M12||48 to 78 Inches||1,350|
|Neiko 40447A||47 to 76 Inches||1,200|
|ATD Tools 80357||55 to 83 Inches||2,000|
|SuiTech Light Bar||52 to 72 Inches||1,250|
|Performance Tool W2404||18 to 78 Inches||513|
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.
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.
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 with alternatives.
The main drawback is that it comes with a high price tag. However, when you consider the performance and long warranty, it makes the M12 a worthwhile investment.
Neiko 40447A Underhood Work Light
The Neiko 40447A is a relatively affordable option that is powered by an impressive 202 SMD LEDs. As with other underhood lights, it is 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
- 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.
ATD Tools LED Underhood Light
Unlike other underhood lights, the 80367 extend from a much larger 55 inches to 83 inches, which is ideal for larger SUVs and trucks.
Other features of the ATD Tools 80357 Underhood Light Bar 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 it will not disappoint.
SuiTech Underhood LED Light Bar
The SuiTech is a cordless underhood work light that uses a 2,000 mAh battery, which will remain on for up to 5 hours on the lowest brightness setting. The brand claim that it is 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 Work 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 work light make it an excellent option to the alternatives listed within this article. It is also great value for money with years warranty included for peace of mind.
Performance Tool LED Underhood Work Light
An affordable option compared to the alternatives is the Performance Tool W2404. It is not the largest light but spans from as small as 18 inches to an impressive 78 inches in length to suit the majority of hoods.
Features of the Performance Tool W2404 include:
- Two brightness settings at 513 Lumens 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
Overall, 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 performance and build quality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.