We spent some time with the Stanley crew today in Dallas, and ran across this interesting new flashlight destined to land on shelves later this spring: a rechargeable tripod light. It’s a little larger than Stanley’s standard tripod shop lights — and a lot larger than the mini-tripod light — and features built-in NiMH batteries to save you cash normally spent on AAs.
Like other tripod lights, a small button near the head releases the spring-loaded legs, which stand out about three inches, offering a sturdy base. The head is hinged and snaps into a few different positions to help you direct the light where you need it. But unlike the other tripods, this one’s legs fold flush with the flashlight, giving it a more standard-flashlight feel.
It also features a small red LED that lights when the battery’s about dead and ready for a charge. The charging stand is wall-mountable and features multiple charge connections, allowing the flashlight to charge when inserted in almost any position, eliminating the need to line it up carefully when storing it. The NiMH batteries shouldn’t build a memory, so it’ll be alright to leave the flashlight in the charger for long periods of time.
Stanley claims you’ll get about four hours of light from a full charge with the flashlight on the “high” (brightest) setting. We saw it in operation, and it looks quite bright. The beam is more tightly-focused than previous tripod flashlights, though the area around the “spot” is still quite bright.
Electronic DIYers will be pleased to hear that even though the NiMH batteries aren’t removable, you don’t have to break the tool to re-cell it. Removing a couple of screws yields easy access to the cells.
Lastly, we noticed a slick feature designed to help those of you who like to sit your light on its head. A clear insert around the head allows light to leak through a bit, so you can see if the flashlight is on — even if most of the light is blocked by, say, your workbench.
We’re not sure about retail price yet, but if it’s affordable, it’d make a great around-the-house light, always charged and ready-to-go. Runtime is a little short for a shop light, but you could easily pick up any of the alkaline tripods for that purpose. And if you haven’t tried Stanley’s tripod flashlights yet, give ’em a look. We were thoroughly prepared to hate the mini-tripod we tested a while back, but it won us over.
We’ll report back with more information on this light once we have one to test.