UView "Freedom Lite" Rechargeable LED Work Light Review
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Nice rechargeable LED work light with a big, soft, rubbery handle.
The Freedom Lite LED work light is handy for the garage, shop and home.
And best of all, it's made in Canada!
It's been a very warm winter so far here in the Mid-Atlantic, which is a real bonus for a couple of different reasons.
First, there have been many pleasant riding days with temperatures in the '50's and low '60's, surely unusual in January.
But the real benefit is that it allows me to work in the garage without the effects of the bone-chilling cold. I've been taking care of all the leftover maintenance and repair tasks that have been on hold since the summer.
"One of these days", I keep telling myself, "I'll hang an industrial-strength trouble light from the garage ceiling".
I wouldn't mind having a work light on a reel that I can reach up and grab, especially if it's hard-wired into the electric system so I don't have to plug in an extension cord whenever I want to use it.
But so far, I've only had time to peruse the various tool catalogs that come in the mail, searching for the perfect work light. While researching various options though, I came across this LED cordless work light made in Canada by Ultraviolet Systems, Inc.
The LED cordless work light shown here is called the "Freedom Lite, made by UView, a Canadian manufacturer of industrial work lights, UV leak detection lights, air quality control devices and other automotive and HVAC related products.
The Freedom Lite was original available in 27 LED, 30 LED or 60 LED versions. This one is the 30-LED light and it's the version that is still currently (2012) for sale by the company.
I'm not sure what difference there was between a 27 and 30 LED work light in terms of brightness, but the 30 LED model is claimed to last 3 hours on a single charge (although the box claims 8 hours), so that's the one I bought.
For some reason, the 27 LED unit was listed as having a 5 hour battery life, equal to the 60 LED unit. The 27 LED unit is smaller, so perhaps it has a smaller battery, limiting the battery life.
These things are not cheap: we paid $83.00 for the 30 LED version, and the list price is around $102.00 (we couldn't find an exact list price). The UView (UV 413330) Freedom Lite can still be found for around $57.00, which makes it a pretty good deal, especially considering you'll never have to buy or mess with batteries.
The Freedom Light LED cordless work light is not unique; there are several brands of LED cordless work lights on the market. But this one is well made when compared to some of the other "world sourced" brands I've seen. Besides, we'd rather keep the money right here in North America if possible -- the Freedom Lite is made in Canada!
The Freedom Light LED cordless work light with 30 LEDs weighs 12.75 oz., or 362 grams. It has a very nice rubberized cover over about 3/4 of its length, which is supposed to be oil and slip resistant.
The 30 LED lights are perfectly aligned in three rows of 10 underneath a heavy clear plastic (Lexan?) tube, and the quality of the assembly appears to be excellent.
The light is topped off with a hexagonal rubber-like bumper top, which is a nice touch, because it prevents the light from rolling around when placed on a flat surface, like the floor.
The end of the work light also has a rotating hook for hanging the light.
The hook is rather flexible, and although we haven't experienced any problems with it yet, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first part to break, because it doesn't seem as robust as the rest of the product.
The opposite end of the light is recessed and it hides a small on/off toggle switch and a female charging receptacle.
The light comes with a 100-240 Volt AC charger that outputs 17.5V at 500mA. The charger has a tiny LED light that indicates power on, and the light recharges in about two hours.
Using a rechargeable LED work light takes a bit different strategy than using a battery-powered flashlight. With a battery-powered light, you can simply plug in new batteries when the old ones fade. Simple -- if you have the batteries on hand.
Murphy's Law says that you will not have the batteries you need on hand, just when you need them most!
That's where a rechargeable light comes in. But don't wait until the light completely discharges and then sit there, waiting for it to recharge. Don't forget -- Murphy's Law applies here also! Just when you need it most, the rechargeable battery will need -- you guessed it -- recharging!
But you can beat the ol' Murph! Here's how: After you use the light a few times and before it fully discharges, connect it to the charger in a conspicuous spot, near where you go in and out of the house or garage, like a counter in the kitchen.
This way, you'll see it the next time you pass by, and when the light is fully charged, unplug it and put it back in the toolbox. Then you'll always have a fully charged work light ready to go and one pissed off Murphy!
Cordless products usually have to be charged before their first use, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the light was already charged and ready to go right out of the box.
I'm not sure what my expectations were for how bright an LED work light would be; knowing LEDs as I do, I figured 30 of them would put out a pretty bright light.
I now realize that I'm of mixed emotions on this, because on one hand, it's certainly not as bright as a work light with an incandescent or even fluorescent bulb, at least in my experience, but the cordless feature is very nice.
If the background lights in the garage are bright to begin with, the Freedom Lite LED cordless work light doesn't add as much illumination to the subject as I'd like. I'd rather use an LED head-mounted flashlight or a regular flashlight for pinpoint work.
But the illumination from the Freedom Lite is wide and diffused, and it also has a blue tint to it, which is typical for LED lights, which don't put out white light (although a recent discovery may change this).
When the ambient light isn't as bright, the LED Freedom Lite work light adds quite a bit of illumination. See the photo above of the front wheel of the BMW R65 in the webBikeWorld garage.
This photo was taken at night, when I had all the overhead lights turned off in the garage and the garage door was closed, so it was absolutely pitch black. The work light cast a wide, bright illuminating light all around.
The 30-LED cordless work light is 14" (35.5 cm) long, so it could fit in a saddlebag if necessary, and would probably hide down in a corner of the bag where it wouldn't take up much room. The light would be a lifesaver if it was needed on a dark night for roadside repairs, and I think it would be much better than a flashlight. This would also be a good light for use inside an enclosed trailer or the trunk of a car.
Of course, the cordless aspect of the light is one of the main selling points. Overhead work lights with retractable cords can be awkward to use. Incandescent work lights get very hot and can even be dangerous when working around a motorcycle, what with fuel vapors and other combustible fluids. And if the bulb happens to lay on a seat or hose, those parts could get burnt.
The Freedom Light LED cordless work light does have some advantages over corded work lights or trouble lights. However, LED lights still aren't quite the equivalent of incandescent bulbs, so don't expect 100 Watts of light out of the LEDs. They're claimed to be the equivalent of 13W of fluorescent light, or 40W of incandescent.
More wBW Flashlight Reviews
|wBW Review: UView Freedom Lite LED Rechargeable Work Light|
|Manufacturer: UView Ultraviolet Systems, Inc.||List Price (2006): Approx. $102.00
Street Price: Freedom Lite for $57.85
|Colors: Black handle. White LEDs.||Made In: Canada|
|Review Date: January 2006|