Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

A couple years back, Milwaukee Tool changed the way Job Site lighting was viewed.  Instead of using incandescent lights, Milwaukee started using more powerful and longer lasting LED lights. While that is a big step forward, Milwaukee also added an extra and truly useful feature, they cut the cord. Instead of relying on a light to be stationary and fixed to an outlet, they introduced battery-powered Job Site lighting with their M18 line of lights.  As you would expect, the market ate up the cordless lights and couldn’t get enough. So now, Milwaukee is taking it another step further. Instead of only 18V batteries, they designed a new light around a 12V battery. So let’s take a look at the Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review and see what we love and would like like to see changed with future models.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review Overview

I have been remodeling my house for, well longer than I would like to admit. I gutted the house completely removing all the electric except for two outlets, so as you would expect, those two outlets are constantly being used. I am using the outlets to run a miter saw, fridge and a full bank of battery chargers. So, in reality, there isn’t any room to plug anything else in.

I am working from all hours of the day so the one thing I really rely on is lights. I have been using four different Milwaukee Lights and have been cruising through a bunch of batteries each day. So when I got the M12 Rocket Light I was pretty excited as I know I would put this to good use, which I have.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review Features

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The M12 Rocket Light is an extremely compact light and has a 45% smaller footprint than the M18 Rocket Lights, which makes this perfect for those smaller areas. The light is very compact and is only 31″ tall when closed up. The light only weights 6.65 lbs. The light will set up in about 10 seconds from a closed compact position to a fully extended position which is 5’8″.

When folded up, the legs act as a handle which has three places to grasp.

This is a hybrid light which means you can run it off a Milwaukee M12 battery or use an extension cord to get all day runtime. According to Milwaukee, you will get about 10 hours of runtime. I am guessing that is on low since I run mine on high and have to change it about twice in a day.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The light has 12 powerful LED lights that put out 1,400 lumens on high and 700 on low.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

To open the tripod base, a user can depress two black pushbuttons, which are easy to operate.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The legs are reinforced and offer a wide base.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The pole is an aluminum pole that extends. It doesn’t lock in place using a push button.  Just pull to extend and push back in to collapse.

There is a push button on/off switch that also allows the user to control the light output of high or low.

When you first turn on the light, there is a battery fuel gauge right above the push button light switch.

The light rotates 210° and pivots 270°

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review Performance

Overall I am extremely happy with the performance of this light. I love how light it is and easy to move around. Since I don’t have lights in the house, I am moving this light from room to room and floor to floor. Don’t get me wrong, the M18 lights are easy to move also, but this is more compact and lighter which makes me end up moving and using this light much more.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The quality of the light is top notch. I have knocked it over and banged into and it takes abuse. I love how easy it is to set up and also put away.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

The tripod base is wide which means it’s fairly stable. I have knocked it over a couple of times but that was because I was moving large items. Overall, it’s a stable light and will stand its ground.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

One huge problem I have with this light is the battery. Since the battery sits on the bottom of the light, it;’s a pain to change. With the M18 battery, I can easily change the battery.  With the M12, you have to get your fingers into a tight spot and try and depress two tabs to remove the battery. So you will always need both hands free.

Since I am changing it twice a day, this is something I do notice and wish it had a better design for changing the battery.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review

One note, be careful when changing the battery. The second time I changed the battery, I grabbed the aluminum pole, right above the plastic housing. As I pushed the battery into the bottom, the pole closed into the plastic head and my hand was cut pretty bad on the plastic housing. Again it’s because I always feel like it’s a fight when changing the battery on this light.

My last gripe, which is on all the Rocket lights is the flashing lights when the battery is low.  I get it and it’s a nice feature to let the user know the battery is going to die, but these lights start flashing every minute until it dies. I wish it would just flash for once every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes. These lights always seem to start flashing at the worst times. Moments like when I am pouring epoxy, painting the stairs or other times it’s not convenient to change the battery. Now I have to try and finish the stairs and am distracted every minute with the lights flashing.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review Value

The Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light retails for about $150 at The Home Depot.  I know some people might balk at the price tag, but I think it’s a decent value. Considering the brightness of the light, the lightweight of moving it around, the run time of the battery or you have the option of an extension cord, plus the build quality, the price is justified on my end.

Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light Review Final Thoughts

Bottom line, I love this light. The light is small and powerful. I use this light all over the house remodeling project and this is the one I am always moving around from room to room. The runtime is decent as well. In the next generation, I hope for a couple of small changes. The first being the design of the battery change. The second is that the light doesn’t persist in its blinking. Despite that, this light is a great light to own and my new favorite Rocket Light.


  1. Just bought this Eric. It was listed as sold out on Toolnut but alas, I received it three days later…almost if not the same speed as Amazon. Have not used it yet but I will be using this over at my lathe station till I wire in a new shop light.

  2. Eric, what have you used more between the m12 and m18 rocket lights?

    I’m stuck and can’t decide between the two. I want the m12 for the portability but unfortunately here in Australia our version doesn’t have the ac option but the m18 does. I can definitely see the ac option being handy but not sure if I want to lug the bigger version around.

    Can you comment and tell me if the m18 is awkward and heavy to bring around?

    • I use them both but have been using the M18 far more only reason is because of the house project. The M18 isn’t bad to carry around since it folds up nicely. I love how bright the light is and the fact you can plug it in. The M12 is nice also. If portability is the only issues, the M18 isn’t bad to carry around plus it’s bright and you have the plugin option.

  3. I recently bought the M12 Rocket, and like you, removing the battery is a royal PIA. It takes me about 3 minutes just to remove it. Other than this huge design flaw, the light itself is excellent. I’m just scared I might one day break either the battery or the battery port on the light. I’m even thinking of shaving the hooks on the battery tabs to see if that helps. I feel like that’s the problem that’s causing the battery to not slide out smoothly while pressing both tabs.

  4. Do you wish it could extend higher so that it’s not so close to eye height? Based on the design, would it be possible to add an extension? Thanks

  5. I would like to use the Milwaukee M12 Rocket Light to light up an outdoor tennis court at night. How many lights do you think I would need to buy in order to light an outdoor tennis court in order to track the ball, and will there be a lot of shadowing on the court?


    • Awesome idea but I would have no idea how many to buy. This is a total guess but if you had one at each corner and each side of the net, that would be 6. However I am not sure that would be enough but might be a nice starting point.


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