Are Milwaukee’s Neck Lights Comparable to Snap-On or EZ Red?
With the wild success of the Snap-On line of hands-free neck lights, it was inevitable that Milwaukee would soon come out with a set of it’s own. They did so recently with the REDLITHIUM 2117-21 neck flashlights featuring the company’s patented TRUEVIEW™ High-Definition LED lighting technology.
In this post, I want to take a look at some of the key aspects of the Milwaukee neck light and see if there are enough differences to distinguish the 2117-21 from Snap-On’s neck light or the original EZ Red neck light that started the trend.
Hopefully by the end of this comparison, we can say for sure which neck light is better between the top three from Snap-On, EZ Red and now Milwaukee.
What’s Good About Milwaukee’s Neck Light?
If we want to come up with a decisive answer to the question of how good the Milwaukee 2117-21 is, we have to take a look at the features it comes with versus the other two most popular neck lights. Is there anything that sets the Milwaukee neck light apart from Snap-On, which has continuously added more features like detachable LED’s to its neck light?
Or does Milwaukee’s version of the neck light even compare to the ones EZ Red (the company that makes Snap-On neck lights) sells on Amazon for under $50? Let’s take a dive into the specs, reviews, pricing and warranty on the Milwaukee neck light and see where it stands in relation to the top brands already being sold.
Features of the Milwaukee 2117-21 Neck Light
Here is a list of some features that you’ll get when you buy a MIlwaukee neck light.
- REDLITHIUM USB-rechargeable battery with up to 4 hours continuous run-time.
- Milwaukees’s patented TRUEVIEW™ Light technology.
- Hands-Free use with 400 lumens of light across two separate pivoting bulbs.
- Two Lighting modes for longer run-time and different light outputs.
- Milwaukee 2117-21 neck light comes with a built-in battery gauge to monitor power.
- IP54 protection from outside contaminants like dust and water plus “chemical resistance” from things like grease and oil found in auto shops.
- 130 Degree (compared to EZ RED’s 70) pivoting heads on each side of the neck light with a 6ft drop rating.
How do These Compare to Snap-On and EZ Red?
Now that you have the main features of the Milwaukee USB rechargeable neck light, it’s time to see how these compare versus the Snap-On and EZ Red models. Does Milwaukee have an advantage over the other neck lights?
I personally own both the EZ Red neck lights which I use every day and a set of the Snap-On neck lights that I don’t use much anymore. I also had a set of the original detachable neck lights from Snap-On that have since been replaced by the ECHDD012 in 2023.
Although these neck lights made by Milwaukee are nice-looking and feature the company’s TRUEVIEW™ High-Definition Output, the reviews suggest that they are no better than a set of Snap-On or EZ Red neck lights. According to one review of the Milwaukee 2117-21, the neck lights are heavy and the band size is designed for small people with narrow neck sizes.
As far as the main intended purpose of the neck lights, which is light– some reviewers pointed out that the TRUEVIEW gave off a sense of false light that seemed dull compared to Snap-On’s.
What Advantage Does Snap-On, EZ Red Have Over Milwaukee?
Im a fan of almost everything Milwaukee. I love the companies FUEL cordless tools. I love it’s 1/2 inch drive M18 impact wrenches and I have a bunch of M12 cordless Milwaukee Tools. Since Milwaukee started gearing up to take on the tool trucks, I have been buying its tools because they are cheaper, the warranty is as-good or better and I can buy my Milwaukee tools from several different places always getting the best price possible.
When it comes to neck lights though, Milwaukee’s 2117-21 is only around twenty dollars cheaper than the ECHDD012A from Snap-On (even less price difference on eBay) and it’s double the price of a set of EZ Red. Snap-On’s main advantage is the detachable function of each light while EZ Red neck lights are extremely durable and the lights are ridiculously bright for a $50 set.
Aside from that, Snap-On’s neck lights aren’t a lot better than the Milwaukee- the problem is they aren’t worse either. What I mean is, there isn’t a ton of reasons to buy a Milwaukee neck light versus a Snap-On or EZ Red NK15.
Whats the Warranty on Milwaukee Neck Lights?
One aspect of every tool purchase that should be heavily considered is the warranty. Although Milwaukee claims it’s neck lights are resistant to dust, chemicals and water plus have a six-foot drop rating, it’s a rough life in the trades and tools sometimes can’t hang.
I learned when I bought my first-ever pair of neck lights from Snap-On to look at the replacement policies before buying another pair. Due to the flimsy neck band on those first-generation Snap-On lights, I ended up buying a half dozen sets over the course of a year.
According to its product page, the Milwaukee 2117-21 neck light is “backed by the company’s Limited Lifetime Warranty”. The question is, what’s the warranty process going to look like? Am I going to have to wait a month to get my neck lights replaced?
Milwaukee Neck Lights are Sent In for Warranty
Upon investigating the Milwaukee neck light warranty, I found that it does come with an impressive limited lifetime warranty but the downside is if your neck light breaks it will have to be sent in for repair versus receiving a new one.
Although sending tools in for repair instead of replacing them is pretty standard warranty process– especially for lighting tools- it is a little disappointing that you might have to wait a while to have your neck lights back. If you have a service center locally, the turnaround might be quicker but most buyers will have to send out to a Milwaukee service center for warranty.
Who are Neck Lights For- What are the Benefits?
The neck light has become so popular for one major reason. Hands-free lighting is a need for workers in almost every single trade. Obviously Snap-On and EZ Red partnered up to bring neck lights into automotive repair shops primarily, but the uses for neck lights have grown a ton since they were introduced.
It’s clear that now in 2023 with Milwaukee, Matco, Cat and even Realtree branding themselves a set- neck lights are an excellent choice for everyone from mechanics, carpenters and plumbers to hunters, trappers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Anyone that could use a hands-free light can benefit from a pair of neck lights.
Before the use of neck lights became popular, mechanics had to rely on cheesy and uncomfortable head-lights if he or she desired a hands-free light. I’ve owned several over the years, starting with replaceable battery headlights all the way up to the Coast XPH30R that I still use and has since been replaced by the XPH34R by Coast.
Head-Lights Versus Neck Lights
If you are thinking about buying a neck light no matter the brand, it’s important to know what the advantages are versus head-lights. Here are a few of the main reasons people are buying neck lights instead of head-lights.
Neck Lights are More Functional
One major advantage that neck lights have versus head-lights is the ability to use one or both sides and to point the lights in different directions easier than with a head-light. Although most head mounted lights do have a way to point the lights, their pivoting action is limited and the fact that they mount on either a hat or the users forehead limits the range of lighting.
Easier to Forget About
Possibly the biggest benefit that I found when using a neck light versus a head light was the ability to just forget about them until I need them. I’ve never been a big fan of head-lights because they feel awkward and I could never “forget” they were on my head.
With my neck lights, I leave them on for an 8,10, 12 hour shift and forget about them until I need them. Because they sit on my neck versus in the middle of my forehead, neck lights are forgettable when I’m not using them but always there when I do need light.
Battery Life is Better in Neck Lights
Although most neck lights claim a four hour run-time on the USB rechargeable batteries, I have found that unless I’m working on a big job, my EZ Red neck lights will easily last a full day because I can easily turn them off when I’m not using them and I can use just one side when I need to limiting the output and the power used.
Are Milwaukee Neck Lights Worth Buying?
Now that we have looked at the features and benefits of the Milwaukee neck lights and compared them to EZ Red and Snap-On it’s time to get back to the big question. Are Milwaukee’s 2117-21 neck lights worth spending around $100 on?
The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no- it’s more of an “it depends” when it comes to whether these Milwaukee neck lights are actually worth buying. Are you buying for the warranty? If so, Milwaukee is probably a good option. If you are a carpenter or plumber, the short extra pivot of the Milwaukee neck lights will probably benefit you more compared to the NK15 or ECHDD012A from Snap-On.
I love neck lights in general because I have found so many uses for them, so I would recommend the Milwaukee pair versus none at all every day of the week. In concluding, I would say that it doesn’t matter which neck lights you buy. Everyone has a brand preference and a price preference.
EZ Red is the best bargain at less than $50 a set. Snap-On has the best functionality with the remove-able lights and Milwaukee wins in the warranty and price versus the ECHDD012A. It’s your choice which neck light you buy, just buy one.
Author- John Green