Neck lights are my favorite-Is Snap On’s the best option?
Snap On neck lights have been around since late 2020. It seems to be recently though, I’ve heard more discussion regarding the hands free lights. I’ve even seen several YouTube reviews on the Snap On hands-free neck lights.
In this post, I’m going to tell you my experience with six pairs of neck lights (PN ECHDC038) that I purchased from my Snap On Dealer. Hopefully I can help you determine whether Snap On neck lights are worth the money? Or if there might be an alternative to the Snap On version of these neck lights that works better.
Like these EZ Red neck lights, the same ones made for Snap-On and rebranded?
Who makes Snap On neck lights?
If you have ever owned a set of Snap On neck lights, you can see that the EZ Red alternative closely resembles them. That’s because EZ Red makes them for Snap On.
EZ Red makes the Snap On neck light and you can find the EZ Red version on Amazon for around $40 a set.
As you are going to soon find out, the original EZ Red NK15 rechargeable neck lights that I linked to above are actually much better than Snap On’s and cost half the price. They also cost half the price and come in three different colors versus Snap On’s one at the time of this writing.
As of today, Snap On neck lights (ECHDC038G) are back ordered. The neck lights with detachable ends are finally back and available on eBay through that link. They were back-ordered forever, so if you want them get a pair fast before they sell out again.
Make no mistake though, at least some variation of Snap-On neck lights will be back in stock. Question is, are they worth the money? At $73 and change per pair at list price, it’s worth finding out if they meet expectations.
Update: As of December 2022, Milwaukee is now selling Red Lithium Neck Lights
I originally wrote this post in early 2022. Since then, several companies have started to sell one version of the neck light or another. Caterpillar and Matco Tools are both using the EZ Red NK15 as their own neck lights but one company has decided to go astray.
Milwaukee is now selling the “Red Lithium USB 400 Lumen Neck Light” at Home Depot and a few other select online retailers. I can’t say first-hand how good the Milwaukee neck lights are because I haven’t bought a pair yet but I will soon and edit this post with my review of the Milwaukee 2117-21.
The Milwaukee brand is introducing the other trades (carpenters, plumbers and HVAC etc.) to the neck light concept which is awesome. I still recommend buying the $40 brand that started the neck lights.
Although initial reviews of the Red Lithium neck lights seem good, they don’t justify spending $60 more per pair to me. I like the shorter design of the lights, offering a slightly higher and lower pivot point and they are attractive because that’s what Milwaukee does is make Sexy tools.
If I change my mind and decide to buy a pair of these Milwaukee neck lights at some point, I will update the post to let you guys know.
Edited: I reviewed the Milwaukee 2117-21 TRUEVIEW™ neck-lights.
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Pro’s of the Snap On neck light
- Hands free, adjustable light is the biggest pro to the Snap On neck lights. A headlight can achieve similar results and I own a couple. The problem is they are uncomfortable and look kinda silly.
- Battery life is another pro to the Snap On neck lights. I will say this, it straddles the line. Snap On claims 3 Hours of continuous run time with these. My experience is 2 or less.
- The Snap On neck light is reasonably priced at roughly $75 a unit. For a quality light that is bright enough to make a difference, auto technicians will pay. Less than $100 is a definite pro to buying these neck lights. EZ Red’s version can be had for around $40!
- The Snap On neck lights ability to aim each light in a different direction is something I find handy. I’ve used the lights many times without my hands pointing it at objects. Inside the engine or under the hood was another place I used my Snap On neck lights. Finding the problem and making the auto repair is a benefit of neck lights.
So, there are reasons to buy a Snap On neck light.
Now, some of what I tell you next could make you not want to buy a new set of Snap On neck lights. It’s a love-hate thing in all honestly. I love the crap out of my neck lights. Ever since my first set I was hooked on these hands free lights because of their functionality. My ability to find the issue with good lighting and make the proper repair went up drastically. All thanks to my new method of hands free lighting.
Neck lights made my life easier, and isn’t that what a good tool does?
There is no doubt the Snap On neck light is a valuable tool. The 250 Lumen LED’s apply themselves extremely well. Working with both hands is much easier with a Snap On neck lights. The problem is the quality of this particular hands free light.
Snap-On neck lights are disposable.
The above statement is not usually associated with Snap On tools. When I bought my first set of Snap On neck lights, I assumed they were warrantied for a year. Admittedly, it was my own ignorance of Snap On’s warranty policy on lighting tools. However, I did not expect to be attempting a warranty after just two months.
Right around two months after I bought my first Snap On neck light, I attempted to warranty them. The band that went around my neck had cracked and caused one side to fall apart. I walked on the truck and asked my rep to warranty my “new” neck lights. He informed me that there wasn’t a replacement warranty and they would have to be sent in to Snap-On for repair with a six week turnaround.
”I can’t live without a pair of neck lights, whether EZ Red or Snap On”
I didn’t wanna be without my new favorite light. So, my logic was to buy a second set of neck lights. Once my first pair was back from repair, I would have a back up in case I broke one. I purchased the back up set of lights and began using them immediately when I had to replace the alternator in my ‘14 Grand Caravan.
Soon after that, I broke a second pair. At this point, I could tell the Snap On neck lights were not going to be durable. I used them for everything though, so I bought a third pair. And a fourth. And a fifth. Finally, a solution seemed to arise.
Snap On releases detachable neck lights!
After a year of buying the old Snap On neck lights, they came out with a detachable version. Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to remove the lights, the biggest weakness of Snap On’s neck light was erased. No longer could the band break where it meets the battery because it was detachable. Of course I bought the first pair my dealer had available. But the experience with my Snap On pair had me asking a question. Are Snap On neck lights the best you can buy?
This new style of neck light with detachable lights was a much better design and outlasted the old version ten fold. I would still have mine if I didn’t lose one of the lights in the engine of a Nissan Rogue. Unfortunately, now the detachable lights are back ordered or discontinued. The original designed Snap On neck lights are also back ordered according to Snap On’s website.
I have an alternative to Snap On neck lights.
At the moment, I do not own a set of Snap On neck lights. I do have an “order” in for the detachable style if they become available. Since I was basically addicted to my neck lights, I had to find an alternative to the Snap On version when I could no longer buy them. I had a similar dilemma when my Snap On cordless ratchet “let the smoke out”. My search led to an interesting discovery.
Let me introduce you to the EZ Red NK15 rechargeable neck lights.
Searching the web for neck lights didn’t yield a ton of results. There were a few versions that took batteries. I can’t afford 8 hours a day worth of batteries. I eventually came across the EZ RED NK15 rechargeable neck lights. At a price point around $40 I ordered them off Amazon and had them two days later.
The EZ RED version of the neck lights has one downfall and that’s the charger. Each side has a separate micro usb charger and it’s a pain if you break the original cord. Other than that, the quality of EZ RED vs Snap On was very comparable. Later on I’d find out there’s a reason for that. EZ RED actually makes the Snap On neck lights that mechanics know and love. So, for half the price you can own the same lights less the Snap On logo.
It turns out that EZ RED makes the Snap On neck lights sold on the truck and online. So, I got a pair of neck lights without the Snap On logo for half price. A year later-with the help of some electrical tape-I still use them every day.
Matco Tools now sells NK15 neck lights also
Searching the internet for neck lights now, in late 2022 I see that Matco Tools has also taken the EZ Red NK15 and rebranded them as their own also. The only difference between Matco and Snap On is the former didn’t even ask EZ Red to change anything. Matco just stamped their logo on the side of the EZ Red neck lights.
Which is par for the course. That’s forever been the difference between Matco, Mac Tool and Snap On. The first two truck brands just license out tools and sell them as their own. At least Snap On attempts to differentiate and then adds their own logo and the Snap On touch to tools they rebrand.
I just ordered a new pair of EZ Red neck lights for $40 because Snap On is unable to get their version- apparently it’s back ordered.
At a price point double that of the EZ Red version, I can’t say Snap On neck lights are worth the money. If EZ Red had a detachable version, I would not own or be interested in either Snap On version. Considering that EZ RED manufactures the Snap On neck lights, a mechanic can’t go wrong buying a set on Amazon
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