Milwaukee Makes Utility Truck Lighting More Versatile
Standard utility vehicle lights are durable and put a lot of light on their subjects. But what if you could improve the design? That’s the question the team behind the Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light decided to tackle, and after years of development, we have it in our hands.
Designing the Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light
Challenge #1: The Beam
If you’re used to utility truck lights, you know they do a great job of spotlighting a good distance downrange. Milwaukee’s M18 utility light is no different throwing 3500 lumens of clean, natural Trueview light up to 1250 yards away.
Other lights stop there. Milwaukee doesn’t. They also include two flood modes (4250/1500 lumens) that can light up your work area, making it a legitimate 2-in-1 option.
Challenge #2: Permanent Installtion
Like similar lights, you can permanently install the Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light on your vehicle. Two wires come out from the base so you can connect it to the vehicle’s electrical system without modification.
Milwaukee’s gonna do what Milwaukee does and there’s also an M18 battery base you can attach the light to. Before we go into the details of that, yes, the light can wire directly to a 12V system in your truck or work on Milwaukee 18V batteries.
With an M18 battery for the power source, the battery base makes the light portable. Thanks to a handle integrated into the top of the light housing, you can easily carry it wherever you need light. There are also magnets on the bottom you can use to stick it to other points on your vehicle or any steel structure. Those magnets are strong enough to hold the light sideways or upside down, and on painted surfaces.
A word of warning: the magnets are strong, but they’re not designed to hold the light while you’re driving down the road.
Here’s the cool thing—you don’t have to choose one base or the other. You can swap them by simply loosening the hex bolt just below the light housing and sliding it onto the base you need at that moment.
Challenge #3 Durability
Power and utility Pros can end up in pretty remote locations and have to deal with some extreme weather. To deal with the environmental conditions, Milwaukee ensured the design is weatherproof to an IP56 rating. Whether you’re working in the Florida humidity with us, the deserts of Arizona, the wet northwest, or a northeast winter, it’s designed to survive.
For Milwaukee, this is the first motorized model in the lighting lineup and the team took the time to make sure that the motor can survive on-road and offroad vibrations for a long time.
While it may seem minor, there’s a very handy home button on the remote control. Press it for about a second and the light turns to the back and pivots down. It’s designed to make sure the lens is protected while you’re driving to and from the site.
The light housing is tool plastic. While metal housing offers a lot of strength, the light is impact-resistant and designed to handle any small debris that might hit it at highway and interstate speeds. Chances are, if you hit something that damages this light, it would damage a metal-housed light, too.
Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light Field Notes
Milwaukee’s One-Key technology is onboard to give you another option for control along with tracking, security, and inventory management.
The light rotates a little more than 360° and there’s a stop in the middle. That extra little bit of rotation in either direction ensures you can still put the light anywhere around the vehicle you want.
There’s roughly 90° of up and down pivoting, with 30° or so of downward movement and the other 60° on the upswing.
- Estimated runtime with 12.0Ah battery: 3.5 hours (high flood and spot), 12 hours (low flood)
- Remote control with power, direction, mode, and home buttons
- Lanyard included for remote control
- 100-foot line of sight remote control range
- Sealed battery door
Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light Price
There are three ways to get Milwaukee’s utility searchlight. Model 2123 includes the light and the remote control if you want to simply mount it to your vehicle. Model 2123-20 adds the magnetic battery base and a padded carry case for transportation. If you need a battery and charger, the 2123-21HD kit adds M18/M12 Rapid charger and a 12.0Ah High Output battery.
On the chance you decide you want to add the battery base later, you can get that along with the carry case on its own (model 49-16-2123B).
- Light and Remote (2123): $749
- Light, Remote, and Battery Base (2123-20): $949
- 120.Ah Kit with Light, Remote, and Battery Base (2123-21HD): $1149
- Battery Base (49-16-2123): $379
Compared to most LED work lights, the price seems steep. When you consider the build quality required for utility searchlights and the added versatility Milwaukee’s design offers, it’s worth it in our opinion.
The Bottom Line
When the product team set out to design the Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light, I’m not sure they realized they were going to completely change the way linemen and other power/utility tradesmen use their vehicle-mounted utility lights. But they did. Multiple modes, the ability to use it separately from the truck, and the attention to durability all help redefine what you should expect from your utility searchlight.
Milwaukee M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light Specifications
- Model: 2123
- Power Source: Milwaukee M18 battery or direct 12V wiring
- Ingress Rating: IP56
- Output: 4250/1500 lumens (flood), 3500 (spot)
- Range: 1250 yards (spot beam)
- Modes: Spot, low flood, high flood
- Control System: Remote control, app control via One-Key
- Warranty: 5 years on the light, lifetime on the LEDs