If you enjoy night boating and fishing, then the best 12v spotlight is a must-have. It allows for easier navigation, and warns others in the water about your presence. Whether you are preparing bait or casting a line, a high-quality spotlight makes everything easier!
A 12v marine spotlight creates a strong beam that guides your boat in the dark. You can see hazards in an instant. It also serves as a signal for help, making it a versatile addition to any boat.
Not all spotlights are the same. From construction to installation, the options vary. If you need help with picking the brightest 12-volt spotlight, keep on reading. We’ll discuss some of the top picks and essential considerations.
Table of Contents
- Best 12V Spotlight Reviews
- 1. GOODSMANN Rechargeable Spotlight
- 2. Brinkmann 800-2301-0 12V Spotlight
- 3. StreamLight 44900 12V Spotlight
- 4. LemonBest 12V LED Spotlight
- 5. Cyclops Marine 12v Spotlight
- 6. Attwood 11794-7 12V Spotlight
- 7. OttoNavi Remote Control Spotlight
- 8. ZhanGe 100-watt Spotlight
- 9. GOODSMANN 12v Spotlight
- 10. Brinkmann 800-2380-W Spotlight
- What is a 12V Spotlight and How Does It Work
- Types of 12V Spotlights
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Using 12V Spotlights
- Buyer’s Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best 12V Spotlight Reviews
1. GOODSMANN Rechargeable Spotlight
No need to worry about complicated installation with this 12 v LED spotlight. It has a portable handheld design, which means that you don’t have to plug it in or connect it to a power source. Instead, the spotlight uses a rechargeable 2,000mAh battery. The contained lithium-ion battery has a runtime of up to three hours in high-mode.
More so, I love how it is built for use in the water because of its buoyancy. If you accidentally drop the spotlight in the water, it will not sink. It is made of a combination of ABS plastic, rubber, and aluminum, which will allow it to float face up. Even better, it has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means that it is submersible at a depth of one meter for half an hour.
The versatility of this 12-volt LED waterproof spotlight is also notable. It offers three functions to suit different applications. Under the high mode, it produces 3,000 lumens. As for low mode, it produces 1,500 lumens. Additionally, there is a handy SOS mode for when you need help.
At first glance, I am already impressed with the construction of this 12v spotlight. It has an impact-resistant body, allowing it to withstand many years of use. Moreover, it is protected against bumps and drops!
2. Brinkmann 800-2301-0 12V Spotlight
Turn the night into daylight with this best 12-volt spotlight. Thanks to its powerful halogen light, it can cast a high-intensity beam, which will allow you to see a quarter of a mile or even more from your boat! The 100-watt bulb creates up to 1,200 lumens, allowing you to see clearly in the dark.
To make it even brighter, the spotlight is equipped with an aluminum parabolic reflector. It collects light from the bulb and increases its intensity as the light bounces off the surface.
I also love how the spotlight has an ergonomic handle and a well-balanced design. The textured grip makes it easy to hold, even for a long time. Plus, it comes with an 8-foot foiled cord, which will allow you to hold it easily even without being next to the cigarette plug. If you don’t want to hold the spotlight, there is also a convenient metal bracket for hanging.
Weatherproof housing is another good reason to choose this product. ABS plastic is lightweight without compromising durability. It protects the internal components from wear. Additionally, the lens is sealed with a rubber gasket for shock and water resistance, which also ensures clarity.
3. StreamLight 44900 12V Spotlight
Lightweight but powerful – that is what you can expect from this 12V handheld spotlight. Weighing only 1.8 pounds with batteries, it is effortless to hold. The pistol grip is also a plus, making it comfortable to handle. Alternatively, there is also an integrated stand, which allows the spotlight to stand on its own.
Unlike most of the options for 12-volt LED spotlights, this model utilizes C4 technology, making it more powerful. Controlled collapse chip connection or C4 refers to soldering the LEDs. Along with the reflector created by StreamLight, it creates an intense beam that can instantly illuminate the darkest surroundings.
I also admire this product because of its versatility. It offers three operating modes. You can choose from high, low, and emergency mode. The mode chosen will dictate the energy consumption. There are separate mode switches depending on the desired mode. To add, you can press the trigger switch lightly if you need momentary illumination.
Another good thing about this spotlight is that it has a dual power source. You can use four C-sized batteries for portability. Otherwise, if you prefer an unlimited runtime, there is also a 12-volt DC power cord.
It is also notable because of its exceptional construction. With its high-impact polycarbonate housing, it will withstand many years of use. It has a rubberized ring, which protects the lens from water penetration. Apart from that, the spotlight has an IPX4 water-resistance rating. It withstands water splashes from all directions, but it is not submersible.
4. LemonBest 12V LED Spotlight
Originally designed as outdoor lighting, this product is versatile enough to be useful even on boats. It is built to impress regardless of the weather conditions. You can leave it out in the open knowing that it is guarded against rain and sun. It is coated with UV-protected paint, which shields the finish from the harmful UV rays.
If you are looking for a corded spotlight with minimal power consumption, this is a top-rated option. It has three 2-watt LED bulbs. With the low wattage, it is energy-efficient. Even with extended use, I am happy that it does not drain power.
Ease of installation is another good reason to go for this 12v spotlight. There’s no need to hire a pro to assemble the light! You can do it by yourself using basic tools. The unit is already wired and all you need to do is connect it to a power source.
The adjustable angle is one more thing that I love! The built-in base screws on the surface allows for customization of the light’s position. You can tilt the spotlight up or down depending on where you want to concentrate its beam.
5. Cyclops Marine 12v Spotlight
Equipped with a 100-watt halogen bulb, it offers exceptional brightness that covers hundreds of yards. It may not be as energy-efficient as 12v spotlights that use LED, but it is still commendable because of its high intensity. With its 450-meter beam range, it is easy to see everything even when you are blanketed in darkness.
This cigarette lighter spotlight has a direct-plug design that simplifies its installation. There’s no need for complicated wiring. Unpack it right out of the box, plug it, turn it on, and enjoy its brightness. It also has a 10-foot heavy-gauge coiled cord. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing batteries, this plug-in spotlight is a great alternative.
It also has a plethora of features that will make it convenient to use. The polycarbonate housing makes it easy to hold, and protects the internal components from water as well as dust. It is water-resistant but not waterproof. Plus, it has a convenient handle with a textured grip. I also like the back placement of the power button, making it easy to turn on and off when gripped.
I have used a lot of boat spotlights in the past, and their weight is one of the recurring issues. Luckily, that isn’t a problem with this product. The lightweight housing makes sure that gripping the spotlight is effortless.
6. Attwood 11794-7 12V Spotlight
Tired of spotlights that require frequent battery charges? Then this product is an exceptional alternative! It connects directly to a cigarette plug, which means that there’s no need for internal batteries! This 12-volt marine spotlight has long-lasting LEDs with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
Despite being economical, this is a durable spotlight. It has a tough rust-resistant plastic case, which also protects the internal components from wear. Even if it is a hard-hitting spotlight, it is lightweight. It does not have a stand, so you have to hold it. Good thing, doing so is easy because of its weight and grip.
The ten-foot long cord is also a plus. It is long enough so that you don’t have to be next to the plug when using the spotlight. Instead, you can continue to move around easily. It has a straight wire, unlike most of the options on this list with a spiral wire.
More so, I also applaud the strategic placement of the on and off trigger. With its pistol-gun design, it is effortless to activate the power switch.
Nights don’t have to be pitch black! This 12v corded spotlight has 10 LEDs to illuminate even the darkest environments. It does not come with just any light. Rather, it has CREE LEDs! This makes the light brighter than what you can expect from a conventional LED.
It is a great investment because of its versatility. While I use it mostly for boating, it is impressive in other applications. You can use it as a 12v spotlight for deer during your night hunting trips. The light also makes a great addition to off-road vehicles. Plus, you can use it to improve your home security system.
Speaking of versatility, it comes with a removable magnetic base that you can install almost anywhere you want. The spotlight attaches directly to the base, so no need for screws. You can easily lift it if you want to use the spotlight for taking a closer look at specific objects. It also has a 360-degree rotation, allowing you to customize the position of the beam as necessary.
To add, it has a clear polycarbonate lens, which adds to the toughness of the light. It is scratch-resistant, protecting it from wear. You can submerge it in a one-meter water depth for 30 minutes without worrying about any damages.
Another thing that makes its stand out is the remote control. It allows easy operation of the spotlight even from a distance. You can remotely move the spotlight up, down, left, and/or right.
8. ZhanGe 100-watt Spotlight
This handheld LED 12-volt spotlight promises superior brightness despite being lightweight and compact. It weighs less than one pound, making it one of the lightest on our list. Aside from its lightweight body, it is also easy to hold because it comes with a rubber grip. It prevents the spotlight from slipping, even if your hand is wet.
The spotlight has a high-intensity LED chip, resulting in an intense brightness that can be seen even at 1.5 miles. It has a rated output of 100 watts and a brightness of 1,000 lumens. Meanwhile, the bulb lifespan is approximately 3,000 to 5,000 hours.
Another thing that makes it stand out from the other 12v DC LED spotlights on this list is its versatile power supply. Like most of the products that I have reviewed, it can be powered through a cigarette lighter adapter. What makes it different, however, is that there is a battery conversion clip. The light has clamps so you can use a battery. Although, the clamps are sold separately.
You don’t have to be scared of using this spotlight in the water! It has a lightweight ABS plastic housing, which also makes it waterproof. It protects against splashes from all angles, making sure that it can withstand the harsh outdoors.
9. GOODSMANN 12v Spotlight
Out of all the 12-volt spotlights for sale that are included on this list, this has the highest output. With a brightness rating of 2,000 lumens, it illuminates even the darkest environments. It can cast brightness at a maximum of 850 meters.
This is a high-intensity discharge lamp that produces a high-quality light. It takes approximately one minute when turned on to reach its maximum brightness. It relies on the vaporized metallic salts in its arc chamber to produce incredible illumination.
Aside from being brighter, its convertible design differentiates it from the other products in this guide. There is a strategically positioned switch that will allow you to transition from a spotlight to a floodlight and vice versa. You can use the spotlight mode for a narrow beam and switch to floodlight if you need a wider beam.
As it is common with the other options for high-power 12-volt handheld spotlight, there is also a rubberized handle. At the bottom of the molded handle, there is an 8-foot coiled wire that you have to connect to a cigarette lighter plug.
10. Brinkmann 800-2380-W Spotlight
If you are looking for the perfect alternative to a traditional 12v corded LED spotlight, then this product should be on your list. With its cordless design, there’s no cord that will limit your movements. Thus, it is more convenient to use..
More so, it does not rely on conventional LED bulbs. Instead, this model is equipped with a halogen bulb. The lifespan is shorter compared to LED but it is still pretty impressive at over 2,000 hours. The best thing about halogen is that it creates a remarkably bright white light. Even better, there is a polished aluminum reflector to enhance brightness.
The tempered glass lens is also worth emphasizing. It protects the bulb from impact, ensuring longevity. A tough ABS plastic body complements the lens, protecting the light from external elements that can speed up wear.
While you can use it while it is plugged into a cigarette lighter adapter, it also comes with an easy-to-remove rechargeable battery. You can recharge the 12-volt battery whether it is in or out of the spotlight. There is a built-in notification light to let you know the status of charging.
What is a 12V Spotlight and How Does It Work
A 12v spotlight is a versatile corded or cordless lighting that can serve multiple purposes. Whether you are boating or hunting, you can use it to project a narrow and intense beam, which will let you see and be seen. The light output is highly converged, with an angle that is often below 45 degrees.
Types of 12V Spotlights
Choosing a top-notch 12v spotlight is not a walk in the park. The choices are plenty but they are not all the same in terms of performance. An easy way to differentiate the possibilities is to consider the type of bulb that powers the spotlight. Based on my recommendations above, there are two main options:
- LED Spotlight: LED stands for light-emitting diodes. It does not have a filament that can eventually be burnt. In recent years, LED has been a popular material in spotlights because of its energy-efficiency and longevity. It also does not produce UV radiation and generates less heat than halogen bulbs. However, it can be quite expensive.
- Halogen Spotlight: This is a more traditional option for 12v spotlights. It is initially cheaper but operating it in the long run is not as economical as LEDs. Another common problem is that it can get extremely hot. When this happens, holding the spotlight is uncomfortable.
Aside from the bulb, another good way to classify the types of 12v spotlights is by their design.
- Built-in Spotlight: As the name implies, this type of spotlight is in a fixed position. You often need to drill holes and deal with wiring to complete its assembly. This is usually more powerful compared to their portable counterpart.
- Handheld Spotlight: This spotlight is meant to be held in your hand and used as a flashlight instead of being mounted in a fixed position. It can be plugged in using a cigarette lighter adapter. For your convenience, there are also cordless options powered by rechargeable batteries.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using 12V Spotlights
Not sure if you should invest in a 12v spotlight? Wondering if it is a waste of money? Let’s weigh the pros and cons below.
- Improve Visibility: Using a 12v spotlight will allow you to see others and allow others to see you. By improving visibility, it also helps to keep you safe in the water. However, a spotlight should not be seen as a replacement to other important boat lighting.
- Make Fishing Easier: If you are out on a fishing trip at night, you will appreciate having a spotlight with you. From checking a fishing line to preparing bait, it is useful in many ways.
- Versatile Power Supply: Using a 12v spotlight is also beneficial because you can have different sources of power. The most common is through a cigarette lighter plug but there are also others that you can connect using a battery plug. Portable handheld units, meanwhile, will have rechargeable batteries.
- Multiple Applications: Another good thing about a spotlight is that you can use it beyond boating and fishing. It also works as 12v car spotlights. If it is handheld, you can use it for hunting and camping as well.
- Narrow Beam: The biggest disadvantage of a spotlight is that it reflects a narrow beam. This is good only for spotting specific objects but not for wide illumination. A small lighting range limits applications.
- Limited Brightness: Aside from having a narrower beam, the brightness output is also limited compared to other types of lights. Permanent lighting fixtures, such as underwater boat lights, can be brighter.
As you try to narrow down your options, below are some of the most important considerations.
The primary function of a spotlight is to provide illumination. However, this is impossible when the lights aren’t bright. Pay attention to the brightness rating, which will be stated by the manufacturer in lumens. Lumens measure the amount of visible light from a source. The higher the number, the brighter the spotlight is.
While you will often hear and read about lumens, most people have no idea about how bright one lumen is. For reference, one lumen is approximately equal to one birthday candle. A spotlight with 750 to 850 lumens is as bright as a 60-watt bulb.
Another thing that influences the brightness is the design of the spotlight. One of the must-haves is an aluminum parabolic reflector. It allows light to bounce, creating a brighter output.
Enjoy variable brightness by choosing a spotlight that offers multiple lighting modes. Most products will have at least two settings – high and low. You can instantly adjust the brightness output by flicking a switch. This is handy when you need lighting in different situations. Some spotlights also have an SOS mode for emergencies.
The material used is indicative of durability, comfort, and price, among others. ABS plastic is the most common. I recommend this material because it is lightweight but durable. Some spotlights have a rubber gasket around the lens, which will protect it from water. Speaking of the lens, polycarbonate glass is a common material, which is also popular for its longevity.
I have encountered some spotlights made of impact-resistant materials, which is a plus. Even if you accidentally drop the spotlight, it will not break. Manufacturers will indicate the maximum height at which the spotlight can be dropped without shattering.
For the handle, aside from plastic, some have molded rubber. This makes it more comfortable to grip, especially for a long time. It also effectively minimizes the heat that you feel.
Most of the 12v spotlights I have mentioned above have IPX7 rating. This means you can submerge them in the water at a depth of one meter for a maximum of 30 minutes. This is important for boating and fishing because you are around the water all the time. At the very least, choose one that is water-resistant so that it can withstand splashes.
Size and Weight
Many of the 12v spotlights are handheld, so you need to consider the size and weight of the product you will choose. For portability, go for a lightweight and compact spotlight. Make sure that it is easy to hold, even for a long time. However, if you choose a small spotlight, take note that the brightness may also be limited.
The design of the 12v spotlight is important beyond aesthetics. It is crucial because of functionality. A good spotlight must combine both form and function. One of the most important is to have an ergonomic handle, which will make it easy to grip. Some have molded rubber while others are contoured to follow the shape of your hand.
If you intend to use the spotlight in a fixed position, then look for one with a self-standing design. Others come with a base, which you can screw on the surface. Some also have an adjustable angle, allowing you to tilt the position of the light depending on where you would like the beam to focus.
The floatability of the 12v spotlight is another design must-have. If you drop the spotlight in the water, it must not sink. Instead, it should remain afloat, which also means that it is easier to retrieve.
For versatility, a lot of 12v spotlights are equipped with a battery. It is best if the battery is rechargeable. If it is, then consider how long it takes to fully charge the battery and how long before it drains. It is also good if the battery is removable compared to ones that are built-in. This makes it more economical to use the spotlight in the long run.
Consider the length of the cord when you are choosing a 12v spotlight. Most will have a 10-foot coiled cord, which you can extend. If the cord is too short, you will need to fix the light near the source of power, which can be inconvenient.
For the best bang for the buck, choose a 12v spotlight that you can use for other purposes aside from illumination. Aside from boating and fishing, you should be able to use it in cars, for camping, hunting, and hiking, among other activities. Some spotlights can also be functional as outdoor lights at home.
A lot of people will decide based on price. However, I suggest that you do not pick a 12v spotlight only because it is the cheapest. I believe that you should not hesitate to spend more if this means being able to enjoy better quality and performance. Most of the high-quality spotlights are quite expensive but they are worth every dollar!
Care and Maintenance
A high-quality spotlight withstands many years of use. Aside from the durable construction of the product, this also depends on how proactive you are in taking care of it. Here are some of the best things to do:
- Inspect the spotlight regularly. Watch out for any signs of damage, especially on the lens. From cracks to dents, execute the necessary repairments before using the spotlight.
- Clean the spotlight as soon as you notice dirt. The dirt will harden if you wait too long and will be more difficult to remove. Use a moist cloth with mild soap to clean the spotlight.
- Do not submerge the spotlight in water unless the manufacturer notes that you can do so. It may not be waterproof, and hence, water can get through the lens and battery. When these components are wet, they can eventually be damaged.
- When you are cleaning the lens, use gentle materials and fine fabrics. Stay away from abrasives. They will leave unsightly scratches, which can also indirectly affect the light output.
- If you are not using the spotlight, store it in a cool and dry place. Keep the 12v spotlight in a bag to protect it against dirt and dust, among other external elements that can speed up wear. Keep it somewhere it won’t collide with heavy objects as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for more insights about 12v spotlights? I will answer a few questions you might have before concluding this buying guide.
Who makes the best 12v spotlight?
Some of the most popular manufacturers of 12v spotlights are GOODSMANN, Brinkmann, Streamlight, Cyclops, and Attwood. These are amongst the most reliable brands, so you can be confident that they have high-quality products.
How do you use a 12v spotlight?
This depends on the type of 12v spotlight that you choose and the purpose of the spotlight. It is often used like a flashlight. There is a strategically positioned trigger switch to turn the spotlight on and off. Grab it from the handle and use it as a normal flashlight. Select the mode depending on if you want the brightness to be low or high. Point it exactly where you need light.
How do you install a 12v spotlight?
Installing a 12v spotlight is pretty much straightforward. There is no need for complicated wiring. If it is in a fixed position, find a place to install the spotlight. Drill holes to attach the base. Connect the wire to the cigarette lighter plug and the spotlight is ready. If it is adjustable, tilt the light depending on where you want to direct the beam.
Where is the best place to position a 12v spotlight?
It is a matter of personal preference. The intended application will also dictate the best place for installation of the spotlight. The best place would be in front of the boat where you can see everything clearly. Consider a handheld spotlight if you want to use it at any parts of the boat.
What is the warranty of a 12v spotlight?
It depends on the manufacturer. At the minimum, choose a product with a one-year warranty for your peace of mind. Some companies can offer up to a three-year warranty. The longer the warranty, the better. Within the warranty period, you can rely on support from the manufacturer when there are problems.
How far can a spotlight reach?
A 12v spotlight usually reaches half a mile. This is common in the products that I have mentioned above. If you want it to reach a further distance, then you will need to choose one with a more powerful light output.
How many bulbs does a 12v spotlight have?
Based on the products that I have reviewed above, a 12v spotlight can have as many as 10 bulbs. While having more bulbs can make the spotlight brighter, this will still depend on the overall lumen rating.
Does a 12v spotlight get hot?
Yes, a 12-volt spotlight can get hot. This can be a problem in handheld units. You might end up being uncomfortable! Avoid touching the lens and the metal ring that surrounds the spotlight since these are often the parts that get the hottest.
Where can I buy?
You can buy 12v spotlights in stores selling boat accessories or marine supplies. For a more convenient alternative, however, it is best to buy online. Websites like Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart are some of the places worth checking out. It is easier to shop online because you can quickly compare your options and read reviews.
Boating at night does not have to be difficult! Not to mention, it shouldn’t be dangerous. For a safer experience, you need the best 12v spotlight, including the products that I have reviewed above. Do not rely on the moonlight to help you see and be seen! Whether corded or cordless, use a high-quality spotlight and uncover its many benefits!