Tool Review: Milwaukee Tool M12 LED Underhood Light Kit

Feb. 13, 2018
The reviewer dubbed this underhood light the "brightest, whitest" light of them all.

The Milwaukee Tool M12 LED Underhood Light Kit, No. 2125-21XC, comes with the light, extended battery pack and battery charger. The light can run on 1,350 lm of high definition output for four hours, has a large gripping surface for maximum hold and has stainless steel hooks that resist wear to protect against scratches to vehicle finish. The light bar can rotate, slide or be removed and hung for versatility. The light  covers 47" to 78" wide cars and trucks. 

The Review  

For Lou Fort, lead technician at K.A.R.S. Inc. in Indiana, the M12 LED Underhood light offers straightforward setup, easy adjustability and, most importantly, bright, clear light.  

"The TrueView LED’s are, well, just WOW," Fort says. He has used both corded florescent and other cordless LED underhood lights, but says, "This is hands down the brightest, whitest light of any of my underhood lamps." 

The underhood light can be rotated and slid while attached to the underhood, both functions Fort considers "effortless." The light bar can also be removed and hung for different applications.  

"The light bar does not have to be removed from the carrier when attaching to a hood, and it detaches from the carrier with ease," Fort explains.  

Fort used the underhood light while working on water pumps, radiator replacements, tune-ups and more.  

"I even stuffed it up into the front of a [GMC] Yukon while replacing timing components," Fort says. "Boy, did it shed some light on that one."  

He also removed the light bar from its carrier for under-vehicle work, like rebuilding differentials and suspensions. In those cases, Fort says it would be helpful to have more attachment flexibility.  

"I think it would be nice to be able to reverse the carrier’s hooks and lock the extending arms for undercarriage attachments," Fort says. "Simply put, 'Flip-It, Extend-It, Lock-It'." 

In all applications, Fort says he was impressed with the light payoff, ability to use different modes of light, and ease of use and set up. On average, setup required 5 to 10 minutes per use.  

When it comes to charging, Fort says it was a no-brainer. Between different uses and battery swapping, the light will 'remember' the last level it was set at, a feature Fort found helpful.  

But Fort also says he's not a "huge fan" of how the light first turns on.  

"It is a two-stage initialization no matter what the power level is at," Fort says. "Most of the time I find I am double checking that I have it set [how] I want it to be set, and that I don’t have a low battery or failing LED. Not a real issue, maybe [I’m] being a bit [obsessive compulsive] with that." 

Overall, Fort is a fan of the 'brightest' underhood light he's ever used.  

"I have found the Milwaukee 2125-21XC Underhood Light to be another great ‘Bang for the Buck’ tool," Fort says. "I am expecting to get years of problem-free use from it." 

About the Author

Vesna Brajkovic | Associate Editor - Vehicle Repair Group

Vesna Brajkovic is a former associate editor for the Vehicle Repair Group.

Brajkovic has covered the transportation industry for a number of trade publications, with a focus on the vehicle maintenance and automotive aftermarket industries since 2016. Prior to that, she covered the global aviation industry as assistant editor for Endeavor Business Media's AviationPros.com, and held a number of editorial positions at an award-winning community newspaper.

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