Cheap LED work lights?

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Construction work lights are usually great because they're as no-frills and bulletproof as can be. Home depot also deals with returns well if you don't like your purchase.
My difficulty with LED work lights is the cheap ones don't accurately render color.
If these are the lights used for painting and set building, the metal halide and florescent in the below link might be a better option.

 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Construction work lights are usually great because they're as no-frills and bulletproof as can be. Home depot also deals with returns well if you don't like your purchase.
My difficulty with LED work lights is the cheap ones don't accurately render color.
If these are the lights used for painting and set building, the metal halide and florescent in the below link might be a better option.

Calling @DELO72
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Robert F Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Location
Sebring, FL, USA
Yep. We hang 3 inexpensive work light form Amazon on an early bar for set construction. Work crew can come in a just plug them into a wall socket - no need for the board to be on. Once we get into dress rehearsals, that's the time for the real lights to go after the colors.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
I was also looking into LED work lights this week. Has to work with ETC control, dimming & switching. etc.
I months ago Specified the Altman work light in 10,000 Lumens, rigged and knowing it's designed for the purpose as a base standard. Was going to buy them this week, than... Manufacturer supplier driver is discontinued so a 4 week wait on availability on the upgrade.

6x WL-130-3K-B base standard for me.

https://www.altmanlighting.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WORKLIGHT_DATASHEET_REV0_20200529.pdf






This is brighter and is even RGBW, but well over double the price. Same beam spread & approx.. size. Ushio does not do a "work Light", but this one I think would work well for work or show based blended washes in fill etc..

https://www.ushio.com/product/zylight-is3c-led-panel/



These are 20% less luminous output but more within the specs of just white at 1/4 more expensive, also not say retangular in size or beam spread. Three to four weeks out, also production problems, but using the pendant version for house lights.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/thelightsourcestatic/product_documents/attachments/original/84/W 52 Utility 2-Page.pdf?1468851631

http://s3.amazonaws.com/thelightsourcestatic/product_documents/attachments/original/176/W 52 Work Light 2-Page .pdf?1497049611



10% less lumens (didn't get a price on my self, my boss did in consideration TBD. Believe is was a few hundred dollars more than the Altman base standard per fixture.)

https://www.etcconnect.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10737483641

50% less output and more or less what you would see in a store - but is specified to work properly with a modern lighting system. Specifically specified thru ETC control systems to work as a LED in dimming/control. About 1/3 the cost of the Altman work light, but again 1/2 the luminous output, so perhaps more fixtures.
https://www.osram.us/ecat/KREIOS FLx Flood Light Fixtures-KREIOS for Entertainment-LED Solutions-Entertainment & Industry/us/en/GPS01_3048699/PP_NAFTA_NAFTA_eCat/

Left the final decision up to my boss in weighing on the Altman or Osram fixtures.

My boss rare to joke on important and frequent to lightly criticize.... never can tell when he comes up with a good one so as to raise my dander!.... Can we sell them something incandescent, we would get lamp sales..... Got me going for a while in a all LED house for a few moments. Good became of this though, we don't have to install anything right now, and four weeks+ from now is lucky in working system in us ready to install the fixtures.

Anyway, hope it helps in my research for the week on a suitable work light.
 
Last edited:

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
I did some testing on several basic Amazon options with a friend and we settled on these Hyperikon lights. They have been in use since March of 2019 with no regrets. I had one go bad early on and customer service was a breeze. The company is based in San Diego and they were quick to send me a new one. IP 65, 100 watts, 8000 lumens, 5000K, and an impressive heat sink on the back to keep it running at the reasonable price of two for $90. There are cheaper options but they don't last, I know I tried them. These have proven quite durable. Great for every day work lights. I paired them with The Light Source Mini Clamps.

I liked them so much I bought one of these to hang over my house for a night light... it's been running none stop at night for a year and a half. Depending on your space it would make a great worklight. Unfortunately they don't seem to make that one any longer. But they have a newer model.

That said if you are working with professional scenic artists and they want to be able to accurately see color for set painting, then you can't go cheap... Osram Kreios FLX 90 is your best option. They are around $350 each. About 4 years ago shortly after the Kreios came out, @dvsDave took a fancy light meter to a trade show and we tested the light quality of all the LED fixtures. If I remember correctly, Kreios had the second highest score on the show floor and we were comparing it to LED fixtures that cost 5 times as much. Our friend Mark from Osram @DELO72 can answer any Kreios questions.
 
Last edited:

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Always keep shadows in mind when planning work lights.
More fixtures means lesser shadows and more steps between full and black.
Very good point. My theater came with three 500 watt floods on each electric. I switched them for 5 of those 100 watt Hyperikon LED's per electric. It's a lot more light, but the elimination of shadows by adding 8 fixtures was the real win.
 

DELO72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Location
New Hampshire
Can someone direct me to some cheap LED work lights? Not interested in colors (although daylight better than warm light)? My stage is very dark when just trying to work. Thanks!
Ron sent out the Bat signal, so I came running!

OSRAM KREIOS FLx 90W LED Floodlight

5000 lumens, but very high CRI (92), and a warmer white (3500K) than the Hyperkion ones. Also the textured glass will give you a lot less annoying glare than the others. It's whatever best meets your needs, but these are certified on ETC Sensor dimmers to dim really well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

Rossclan

Member
Joined
May 22, 2020
Location
Fort Ann, NY
I'm just now able to catch up on this while my son mows the lawn.😁

BMI Supply has been searching for the Holy Grail of worklights for years with limited success. It seems that worklights follow the same addage I have used in all production work: Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.

To start, I will say that the fixture closest to meeting all of our parameters is the Kreios FLx 90. The first generation of these fixtures as @DELO72 will admit, caused Osram a massive migraine and cost them a LOT of money. To their credit, they made good on all of the first generation fixtures and swapped them out at no cost to the customer. While it has taken us time to begin trusting the FLx 90 again, I can say that we have seen few, if any, claims on the new generation. At the moment, it really is the best option and value in worklights. Some years ago, I used them in a recital hall to successfully light the thrust stage area. As @RickR noted, City Theatrical graciously created barn doors and top hats for them. The accessories are a bit pricey, but because the FLx 90 is LINE-dimmable, it allows you to use them as a theatrical wash. Osram ships them with a color frame standard.

If that's all the information you needed, ignore the rest of my monologue here. So, the parameters. We established the following as being almost necessary in a stage worklight.
  • High Output
    • Our one complaint about the Kreios is output. In a day where we see some pretty amazing output from single source LED emitters, the Krieos lags. the FLx 90 does make up for this in cost as noted earlier. When compared to other options, the fact that you can buy 2-3 FLx 90 fixtures for the cost of one higher output fixture more than makes up for the low output, but more fixtures means more space and not everyone can afford the space. The Altman Worklight 130W is a very nice fixture and great for scenic work, but it's not dimmable at all.
  • Line-dimmable
    • While shop staff will likely want the worklights at full, we can't forget that the worklights are used for rehearsal purposes as well. One big reason we want them is so that they aren't logging hours on the production fixtures. For those facilities that are on academic campuses, it is now guaranteed that the space will be used as a lecture hall and they absolutely should not have access to production fixtures for those applications.
    • Most LED fixtures on the market that can serve as stage worklights do not have dimmable drivers nor are they dimmable by DMX or even on-board control. Line-dimming is the quickest and easiest way to handle the worklights because you don't have to run more DMX cable. Yes, the dimmers are never really completely off and there will always be a minute drain of power by the fixtures, but that is so minimal as to be a non-issue. If there is higher drain there, then you may have a dimmer problem. DMX is nice if you are able to make it work in your system especially if you can work it into your architectural control. We have found that the majority of our customers want the line-dimming capability.
  • High CRI
    • Yes, I know that CRI is a poor method for measuring color rendering, but it's the term that most people know. Viable fixtures for use in scenic work need to be at least 90 CRI. If you're painting under lower CRI fixtures, then you risk your work looking ugly under production lighting.
  • Priced under $400 USD
    • If you are able to find a fixture that meets the above criteria, it will usually fail here. It is our opinion that there is absolutely no reason with the current state of production and technology in LED chips and drivers that manufacturers cannot produce a fixture that meets the above criteria and still keep the cost to the end user below $400. Ideally, we would like to see something under $300 so that smaller schools and theatres can fit them in their budget. Many of our customers purchase worklights incrementally with each budget cycle, so it's important that the cost be kept down while still maintaining reasonable quality so that the fixtures don't become boat anchors as soon as the warranty expires. The longevity of the FLx 90 has been great in this aspect, but the technology is a bit "long in the tooth" in LED years.
While the cheap Amazon fixtures may do the job, there is the issue of longevity. We considered these fixtures and still occasionally revisit the idea, but failing fixtures does not reflect well on the company manufacturing or selling them. Not all end users understand that what they are buying are essentially throw-away fixtures and that cheap fixtures do fail. We would rather not risk creating that kind of reputation. The bigger issues for me are that those fixtures almost never meet the criteria outlined above.

If you are willing to work with DMX or simply create a local setting on the fixtures so that you can put them on a relay and simply turn them on and off, there are options out there. The ADJ Z100 3K and 5K offer nice output, manually adjustable beam spreads from 9° to 30°, and 90 CRI for under $400. For those of you turned off by the ADJ label, don't be. While I personally struggle with recommending a name that has long been associated with DJ flash-n-trash, ADJ is creating some fixtures that I would classify as entry-level professional much like CHAUVET has the Rogue line in their moving heads and the COLORDash line in the static fixtures. The problem with ADJ is that not all of their line is at that level and navigating that jungle is tedious. I petitioned them to do something to clearly delineate their fixtures, but it went nowhere. They have created a new line of fixtures under the name Eliminator Lighting, and it's my understanding that they will be migrating the flash-n-trash to that label. Long story short--ADJ is making quality gear with solid support, you just have to weed it out.

That completes this chapter in my book. Enjoy what's left of your weekend. And @DELO72, it's time for an upgrade to the FLx 90 for higher output and I hope Osram has it in the works.
 

DELO72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Location
New Hampshire
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard