Tool Review: Streamlight Knucklehead

The Streamlight Knucklehead is a lightweight C4 LED worklight that gives technicians a variety of ways to target bright white light wherever it is needed during auto inspection and repair. The major features are an innovative 360-degree rotating head and the ability to pivot up or down 210 degrees. Available with either rechargeable NiCd batteries or four AA alkaline batteries, the Knucklehead includes a powerful magnet with 135-lb. pull strength, a retractable hook and a replaceable rubber boot. Microprocessor-controlled technology provides multiple modes of operation, including high and low intensity, emergency flash and a long-running “moonlight” mode.

The Review

Lou Fort, Lead Tech at K.A.R.S. Inc. in Huntingburg, Ind., used the Knucklehead in the shop and reported that, depending on how it’s used, the light can indeed save some time.

“I found it quite handy to get good light when working out of reach of a conventional (corded) trouble light. The duel LED (200 lumens) output's a nice bright, wide light.”

He also reported that for the most part it’s easy to use but “it does take a bit getting used to (when) switching between the different settings. The instructions say ‘From the ON mode, depress and hold the button for one second to dim, two seconds to activate the strobe mode, and eight seconds to enter the moonlight mode with extended runtime.’ It is probably just me but it took several attempts to get to the moonlight mode.”

When asked if he would buy the Knucklehead, Lou eagerly replied that he would, but he would caution others to make sure they choose the power source that best suits their individual needs. The light Lou evaluated came with regular alkaline batteries, but he considers these best for emergency-use only. “I used it with rechargeable double-A’s without any complaints. Personally I am looking to replace the dual-voltage Steady Charger that came with my light with the Piggyback Fast Charger and a second battery pack offered by Streamlight.”

Lou said one of his favorite features was the strong magnet that “allowed for a solid attachment anywhere that I had a fair bit of metal. The built in hook came in handy on a few occasions too…The Knucklehead part of the Knucklehead light makes it easy to get the light to where it is needed. Being able to pivot the head in two different directions is a plus.” Lou also said the strobe feature makes this light an exceptional choice for doing recovery/rescue work out on the road. “Think of it as being ready no matter what the situation calls for.”

When asked if there was anything he didn’t like about the Knucklehead, Lou commented that, even though light output is still “useable” after being left on for six continuous hours, the light output decreases noticeably after about 2-1/2 hours running on his rechargeable batteries, “and the Steady Charger needs 10 hours to completely recharge the battery. But there is a fast charger for the Knucklehead that can get you back up and shinning in as little as 15 (minutes).” 

Lou also feels the hanging hook should be metal instead of plastic. “It is a small thing to be picking on though, for an otherwise outstanding light.”

Many people will agree with Lou’s final comments about the light. “The Knucklehead is quality quality quality, as is every other Streamlight product I own. Once you have used one of their products, it is easy to understand what makes them so popular with emergency responders worldwide. For me, that says a lot.”