The Ryobi R18ALF cordless folding area light does exactly what its name would suggest.
It’s a bright, cordless work light, designed for use in the garage/workshop and around the home with a clever, rotating design that can be arranged in a number of configurations.
It is part of the Ryobi One+ system which allows you to buy a single 18V battery and use it across multiple tools/devices. Ryobi says this means customers aren’t paying for multiple batteries that they don’t need but its tools are still far from cheap, and this light comes in at around £63 before you buy the battery and charger.
Two individually switchable banks of lights contain a total of 20 LEDs producing 850 Lumens at 5,700K. Unless you’re big on your light ratings that’s pretty meaningless but it is bright enough to light up a double garage with a natural-feeling white light. Fitting with the 4Ah battery, Ryobi says it will provide six hours of light before needing charged.
The folding design allows you to flip one bank over through 180 degrees, meaning you can move from a two-sided lantern to full-length light bar or angle-poise lamp quickly and easily.
That design is incredibly practical, especially for working on vehicles or other handy projects where you need both hands free. The lantern mode gives a useful all-round light but being able to fold it over gives far more flexibility and the ability to direct all the light exactly where you need it. The neck adjusts almost infinitely through 180 degrees so you can angle it exactly as you need it and you can switch each bank of lights on and off separately to control how bright your work environment is.
Whichever mode it’s in, the base, which houses the battery, is steady and stable but there are a variety of fold-away hooks should you need to hang the lamp in any of its various layouts.
There are brighter work lights available but I found the light from the R18ALF more than bright enough for a handful of car-related jobs as well as being useful around the house.
The light’s only real drawback is its size. At 41cm long (minimum) and 10cm wide, it’s too big to squeeze into smaller spaces such as engine bays, meaning it’s not great for really hard-to-reach places.
Apart from that downside, which will have you reaching for a headtorch occasionally, the R18ALF is a clever, practical addition to any home workshop where you need close-up adaptable lighting.