We love writing about flashlights here at Toolmonger, mostly because flashlights are incredibly useful but somehow almost always seem to end up as the least-thought-out “extra” in a combo count. We think (and suspect you do, too) that flashlights are good for more than just increasing tool count. So I couldn’t help but give a mention to Makita’s new offering, the excitingly-named (kidding) LXLM01. The name might be forgettable, but I thought one thing when I saw this sucker: it looks exactly like those awkward lights everyone carried around on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
No, really. Consider:
Every time I saw someone on Trek carrying one of those things, I thought, “Why don’t they carry it like a normal flashlight?” Makita seems to get this. Yes, the Makita is a very similar shape. But they seem to have incorporated some improvements that clearly escaped Trek’s imagination.
Mentally remove the grip strap, and the Makita’s form factor looks pretty similar to the DeWalt light we thought so highly of. Of course, Makita opted for a six-LED fixed array instead of the DeWalt’s single bright LED in a swivel mount. The downside of this is that you lose the DeWalt’s awesome ability to sit upright on its stand and swivel to provide light in almost any direction. I like the grip strap, though, as at least 50% of the time I find myself carrying the DeWalt light around like a normal flashlight, gripping it around the edges. That strap would make it a lot more stable.
Another consideration is power. The Makita is a lot bigger than it looks. That’s a whopping 18V battery attached to it, instead of the small, compact 12V you see on the DeWalt. That easily accounts for its 50-hour runtime; any battery that’ll drive a recip saw will easily drive six LEDs for long enough for you to forget the last time you charged it.
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see one of these in person, both to get an idea of whether the strap is really a good thing or not and to find out whether or not this shape of light really works in such a scaled-up size. The light streets for around $20, tool only, and you’ll (surprise) find it included in lots of various combo kits.