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Product Review: Brinkmann TuffMax Dual LED Pivot Spotlight

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Swirls are evident if you look at the paint in direct sunlight but otherwise they can be very difficult to see. The Brinkmann Tuff Max LED Spotlight (800-2280-0) can be used to see what your vehicle’s paint truly looks like. Simply shine it on your paint and you’ll be amazed at how it reveals the paint’s true condition. The 2 intensity settings on this dual LED spotlight can provide you up to 300 lumens! It can reveal different imperfections as compared to the traditional xenon bulbs so it’s great to have both types around. The two heads also pivot at a 45 degree angle in both directions so you can cover a larger surface area if desired. The innovative design will also allow the unit to be held in your hand or you can rest it on it’s back for hands free usage. The handle and trim pieces are rubberized so it’s comfortable to hold and safe to place virtually anywhere. The rubber and ABS plastic is very durable so it’s built to last. The manufacturer offers a one year limited warranty as well to back up this top quality product. To power this unit you’ll need 6 AA batteries (included) and it will shine for up to 3 hours. If you are tired of guessing how bad the swirls are and how your polishing results are coming out than try the Brinkmann TuffMax Dual LED Pivot Spotlight.

This review has been a long time coming, but I always had something more important on the to-do list, so here it is at last.  As many here already know, I’m a big fan of the Brinkmann spotlights and wrote a thorough review on the original Maxfire Xenon and LED spotlights.  With that, I’m sad to say that the Brinkmann TuffMax Dual LED Pivot Spotlight is greatly disappointing compared to it’s predecessors.  With that, I will simply give some positives and negatives on the light to make it very clear why I’m so disappointed with it.

Positive

As a light in its simplest form, it performs just fine.  It’s a bit brighter than the original MaxFire LED and shows off defects in the paint well.  It has a nice grip and protective rubber all over to allow the user not only to hold it easily in just about any position, but also to protect the paint from any accidental bumps.  Another good thing about it is the 2 different output settings, which allow for quick adjustment on different paints as necessary.  The pivoting heads on both bulbs are also a nice touch as it helps with finding that hard to catch marring in the paint during final polishing on soft paints.  By slightly pivoting one of the bulbs and aiming the other straight at the paint where you’re looking, it makes it much easier to catch the marring from the corner of your eye as the other bulb will shine on it.

Negative

Onto the disappointment… First off, the build quality is horrendous.  It feels cheap overall and the plastic parts don’t seem to “click” too well at all.  The first one of these I purchased (1st of 2) immediately broke as I was trying to put the cover back on after installing the batteries.  Granted I was rushing it, but it’s a bit tricky to put on and broke very easily.  It was still able to hold the batteries as one of the tabs was in, but was a bit loose.  Speaking of batteries, well, it has batteries, non-rechargeable batteries!  Yes you could buy the rechargeable AA batteries and keep a charger handy, but I think it was probably one of the dumbest ideas on such a product.  The main issue with the batteries is that it loses the power very quickly and within a few detail jobs you’re looking at replacing the batteries because the light will be weak and not do its job as it should.  The other issue with batteries is that you will have to invest in a bulky charger if you decide to get the rechargeable AA batteries, or you’ll be carrying around tons of AA batteries in case the ones in the light slowly die out or get weaker.  As you can probably tell, I’m extremely disappointed in the fact that this light is not rechargeable like the MaxFire spotlights.

But wait, there’s more.  Going back to the bad build quality.  I dropped the first light from about 2 feet up and one of the LED bulbs was dislocated from the housing.  It simply fell into it a bit and while it was still shining, it wasn’t a spotlight anymore, rather just a bit of light coming out of that hole.  The other one followed suit within a few weeks, simply from being placed on the floor a bit harsher than laying down an egg without breaking it :).  By this time, I had already ordered a new one, with the intention of returning the original so it can be fixed.  The 2nd unit was a bit sturdier and I was extremely careful when placing it down after using to inspect the paint.  However, the pivoting stopped working on one of the bulbs after maybe a couple months, then the other LED simply went out and stopped working.  To make a long story short, these lights were not durable whatsoever and didn’t last more than a couple months of regular use during detailing.  On the other hand, the MaxFire spotlight I purchased a good 3-4 years ago has been working great after going through a lot more abuse, such as being used when working on my car, getting brake rotors dropped on top of it, constantly thrown out of my work chair when I move around quickly, etc.  In other words, if I had to rate the two on a 1-10 scale of durability, MaxFire would be a solid 9-10 and the TuffMax (ironic name) a disappointing 2-3.

Conclusion

As you can tell, there are definitely great attributes about this light, but the negatives far outweigh any positives.  If I didn’t have experiences with the MaxFire spotlights for many years before I tried the TuffMax, I may have said that maybe I purchased two bad lights, had bad luck with them, or mistreated them.  However, the truth of the matter is, they seem like a good light to simply have around for an emergency situation around the house, but certainly no for any sort of use in a detail shop.  Believe it or not, even if they were made 10x sturdier in the future, I would never purchase another one simply because of the battery setup.  There’s no way the extra 50 lumens (probably not noticeable without reading the specs)  difference compared to the MaxFire LED make up for all the negatives I noticed with the light.  Well I guess I’ve been harsh enough :).

I’d love to hear from those who are very happy with the light as well as anyone who had similar or same issues as I, so please feel free to leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Ivan Rajic Lustr Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Auto Detail
481 W Wise Road
Schaumburg, IL 60193
LustrDetail.com
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2 comments on Product Review: Brinkmann TuffMax Dual LED Pivot Spotlight

  1. Derek says:

    Love the honesty of your review, great job, Ivan.

  2. Shawn Sullivan says:

    I completely agree with the review – I threw mine away last week – it stopped working quite a long time ago.

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