Accomplishing tasks one-handed is often challenging — hence the phrase “with one hand tied behind my back.” Whether you're cleaning a gun, changing your truck's oil, or preparing dinner, simple undertakings can become frustrating ordeals if you can't use both hands. This reinforces the importance of hands-free lighting.

Without it, you may find yourself clenching the light in your teeth, balancing the light in a precarious position, or wishing you could grow a third hand that can hold the flashlight as you work.

In previous issues, we addressed three common forms of hands-free lights: headlamps (Issue 2), lanterns (Issue 6), and angle-head flashlights (Issue 15). In this issue, we focus on an often-overlooked fourth variety: magnetic lights. These magnetized flashlights can be indispensable in urban areas where metal surfaces abound. Snap one onto a toolbox, door frame, ceiling joist, handlebar, trunk lid, or the underside of a desk to quickly free up both of your hands. It's easy to adjust and re-aim the light as you work, and in an emergency, you can detach it in a swift motion without fiddling with clips or straps.


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Due to their many uses in and around vehicles, it's common to find magnetic lights in auto parts stores. However, these lights aren't restricted to automotive use. In fact, you might be surprised how often they come in handy during your daily routine.

Magnetic Flashlights

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