Red Rover, Red Rover Send the Milwaukee Rover M18 LED Light On Over

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

milwaukee rover

What's This?This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. It wasn’t long ago that lighting your jobsite or a dark DIY project meant finding a long extension cord and then firing up a caged halogen flood light monstrosity. Those lights were ugly, bulky, blinding, dangerously hot, and not at all convenient. Worst of all, they had a propensity to burn your hands and any other body parts that had the misfortune of brushing up against them. Trying to adjust their angle without fire-resistant Nomex gloves was a recipe for an ER visit. Thankfully cordless LED lights have become widespread, and our friends in red have been at the forefront of innovating in this product category. We have been testing out the Milwaukee Rover M18 LED flood light for a couple months now. It’s marketed as a durable, versatile cordless LED flood light that “Adapts. Performs. Survives.” – but does it live up to its marketing claims?

Milwaukee has always taken a fairly unconventional approach to their cordless LED work lights. That trend has continued in their M18 Rover cordless LED flood light. Although it looks like it’s designed to simply place on a flat surface (you can do that too), the Milwaukee Rover has quite a few versatile tricks up its sleeve.

Revamping the Clamping

milwaukee rover clamp
The clamp pulls out smoothly, and solidly grips up to 2″ materials

Remember those old halogen flood lights we mentioned in the introduction? Most of them had a triangular clamp (the one that burns you), that required huge force to open, and then the mechanism struggled to clamp to anything thicker than a half inch. The Milwaukee Rover has a robust clamp that can handle materials up to 2″ wide. Two rubberized clamping legs and a robust clamping force make for a very solid connection. Aside from the obvious target of clamping to a 2×4, I also found the Rover easy to securely clamp to doors, making it ideal for lighting up a more finished room that needs some illumination. The clamp design even has a cutout enabling you to clamp the Rover to pipe material 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ in diameter.

Carrying Your Milwaukee Rover – Not Quite Everyday Carry

rover carry handle
With a small battery or no battery, the Rover has a handy carry handle

While you’re not going to hook this guy to your toolbelt, the Milwaukee Rover is designed to be carried. At least it is if you don’t put a 5.0AH or larger capacity battery in it. With no battery, or a small capacity 2.0AH battery it’s easy to slide a few fingers into the carrying handle to tote the Rover around. The carrying handle definitely loses its functionality with higher capacity batteries, unless you happen to have very tiny fingers. If your Rover is loaded with a bigger battery, be prepared to transport it more like a football than a murse.

With a bigger battery, say 4.0AH and up, the carry handle looses much of its utility

The Rover’s handle also has a little notch making it easy to hammer a nail into a 2×4 wherever you’d like to hang it. With the nail hanging approach, keep in mind the power and mode buttons will likely be on the backside of the light, so you’ll have to take the Milwaukee Rover on and off the hook to toggle the power and adjust the brightness.

rover nail mount
You can even hang the Rover on a rusty nail (clean nails work too)!

Sticking it to the Man (Or, Something Metal)

milwaukee rover magnetic mount
The magnetic mount is surprisingly strong and useful, shown here on a street sign, helping with some late evening landscaping work.

If you’re an electrician, the beefy magnet mount on the bottom of the Milwaukee Rover makes mounting the light extremely easy. You’ll find countless circuit boxes, steel doors and other metal surfaces to instantly mount your Milwaukee Rover to. In one of my manic landscaping moments, I actually slapped the Rover onto a street sign pole which gave me plenty of light to wrap up some work I was doing to the nearby corner. The magnet mount will likely come in very handy, even if you’re not an electrician surrounded by metal boxes.

Be aware, beefier hi-cap batteries can inhibit the Rover’s magnetic and clamping mounts.

Ready, Aim, Rotate!

milwaukee rover rotation
The Milwaukee Rover works great simply set down. Shown here brightly illuminating a refrigerator repair.

The business end of the Milwaukee Rover flood light rotates out 180 degrees. Once it is folded out far enough to provide clearance, the head of the light rotates almost a full 360 degrees. One design detail I think could use some refinement on is the recess that you pull the light head out from – it is very shallow. While it doesn’t require Hulk-like force to fold the light out, the recess provided is so shallow, only your finger tips can make the pull. If you have gloves on, folding the light head out can be even more finicky. That ergonomic issue aside, the rotation and aiming flexibility of the Milwaukee Rover is excellent once you get the light unfolded.

We found the Rover a little tricky to unfold, especially with a gloved hand – the recess is just too small.

No matter how you carry, mount or simply place the Rover, the rotatability (is that a word?) lets you focus the flood of light wherever you need it most. Between the various configurations, I never ran into a situation where I couldn’t quickly aim the Milwaukee Rover where I needed it. The Rover’s rotatability is right on target!

Depress Mode

rover mode
Easy on/off and brightness functions.

No, we’re not referring to an 80’s cover band, although Depress Mode would be a totally rad name for one, dude! The Milwaukee Rover has two buttons for your light-flooding pleasure: a power button and a mode button. I’m pretty confident you know what the power button does. Once fired up, the mode button cycles the flood light between three different brightness levels. This feature is very handy, both in terms of maximizing runtime and because in some situations the Rover can actually be too bright. Milwaukee spec’s the light out at a blazing 1500 lumens on high (4.5 hours runtime with a 5.0AH battery), 600 lumens on medium (10 hours) and 300 lumens on low (20 hours). Your mileage will vary with different battery capacities.

If you’re looking for a versatile, long-running bright flood light that you can quickly relocate both on and off the jobsite, you should definitely check out the Milwaukee Rover. It’s IP54 rated, which means it’s unlikely to be phased by dust, dirt and even a little rain. It’s also rated for chemical and impact resistance (we’ve seen it dropped brutally and still function, but I decided not to dunk it in a bath of acid to test its chemical resistance). On future versions we’d love to see a more spacious handle, even more room for some of big red’s beefier batteries and a more ergonomic fold-out recess. But it’s still a product we’d recommend based on its quality lighting, durability and flexibility. You can pick up a Milwaukee Rover M18 LED Flood light for $99 at The Home Depot:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Photo of author

About Marc Lyman

Marc grew up under a brave single mom who "encouraged" home improvement on the family home. Early toddler gifts included a tool set, and even a cordless Bosch drill when cordless drills first came out. In grade school (give or take a few years), Marc's mom said, "We need to cut down some trees. . . . here's a chainsaw." A father figure also involved Marc in many home improvement projects, including a summer of home remodeling in Palo Alto, CA. Toss in some Obsessive Compulsive personality traits researching everything home improvement related. The end result: a genetically pre-disposed, socially sculpted home improvement machine! For his complete profile, please visit our About page. Really, it's worth it.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.