6 Best Boat Spotlights - Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Having a spotlight at hand on your boat can be very beneficial. When sailing at night, the extra illumination is essential. They're also excellent for finding dropped items in clear water and serving as a signal if you should need to call for help.

If you don't have one of these on your vessel yet or you need a replacement for your existing one, our guide to the best boat spotlight picks is here to help!

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Boat Spotlight

Not sure what you should be looking for to find the best possible boat spotlight for your needs? Here are some factors you should be considering as you review the available options.

Hand-Held vs. Built-In

Boat spotlights tend to fit into one of two broader categories: the handheld and the built-in models. These two are just as the names suggest. One gives you the benefit of being easily transportable around your vessel, while the other option can serve a similar purpose to headlamps on a car. Depending on your needs, one may suit you better than the other.

If you choose to select a handheld model, you should take time to consider its size for storage, as well as its weight, so it's not too difficult to move around as needed. For built-in options, don't forget to consider the ease of installation.

Lightbulbs

The bulb of your spotlight is going to be one of the most critical factors. Brightness (measured in lumens) is something you'll want to keep in mind, as it will impact your field of vision. An excellent feature to see on a boat spotlight is variable brightness so that you can control the output as necessary.

Also, no lightbulb lasts forever! Check what kind of bulbs your spotlight uses and see if replacements are overly expensive or hard to find. A little planning ahead can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Durability

Your spotlight will be the rest of your boat, out in the elements, meaning it can still work even after it's gone through the wringer. You don't want to bump the thing and suddenly need to replace it. The picks on our list can stand up to rugged conditions.

Waterproofing

Naturally, no spotlight should ever come on your vessel if it can't handle exposure to water. If you sail in brackish or ocean conditions, you'll want to make sure your choice in a spotlight can handle expiring to saltwater as well.

Battery

Pay close attention to the power source for your boat spotlight pick. How long will it last? Will you need to replace the battery, or is it rechargeable? Make sure you have enough juice to meet your needs.

Cost

Finally, as when it comes to purchasing anything, you should consider the cost. Handheld boat spotlights tend to be less expensive than their built-in counterparts, but you can find a lot of variation in both categories. Know what you're willing to spend and then use that to narrow down your available options.

Best Boat Spotlight Under $50

Stanley FatMax FL5W10 LED Rechargeable Spotlight

For a balance of effectiveness and cost, Stanley's FatMax spotlight has a lot going for it. The black and yellow design stands out, and it has an easily accessible switch on the grip. There are two brightness settings to use. Additionally, it has some sturdy waterproofing. If you drop it in the water, the light will point upwards so that it's easy to spot.

The battery in the Stanley FatMax has a decent lifespan, capable of operating for up to ten hours from full. The included battery is also rechargeable, which saves some extra expense of replacements. Stanley also provides a one-year warranty that covers issues outside of boating and ocean accidents.

While it does a lot, this spotlight, unfortunately, has a short light range. It's suitable for close up items, but you won't be able to see far enough to navigate in full dark, which makes it less of an option for nighttime sailors.

Pros:

  • Two light settings
  • Has a one year warranty
  • Full waterproofing
  • Rechargeable

Cons:

  • Short light distance

Nilight LED Light Bar

If you're more interested in a mounted spotlight, then the Nilight LED light bar can do a lot for you. These lamps require you to fasten them to your boat, but they are sturdy enough to handle the job. The angle of illumination is also adjustable, making it simple to set up the light for nighttime fishing.

As you'd expect, the waterproofing helps keep these lights running without too much worry about exposure to the elements; one of these lamps can handle being fully submerged under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The design helps extend the lifespan of the light bar, giving you up to 30,000 hours of operation over their lifespan, which is rather impressive.

While the design of the light bar itself is excellent, the included hardware for installation isn't as sturdy. You can easily supplement this by switching out the screws for ones of better quality.

Pros:

  • Extensive lifespan
  • Stays securely attached to your boat
  • Waterproofing
  • 45-degree adjustable swing

Cons:

  • Moisture can get behind the glass
  • Included hardware could be better

Best Boat Spotlight Under $100

DEWALT 20V Max LED Work Light

This spotlight isn't specifically for use on boats, but it's still a reliable option that hits a lot of high points you'd want. In particular, the brightness on this work light can stretch up to five-hundred feet in the distance, which makes it a reliable choice for seeing far in the dark. In addition to the three main lamps, there's a fourth one that provides red light to help with night vision.

The head of the lamp is also adjustable, letting you get the best angle of your light when you need it. The DEWALT work light also has a belt clip, so you can easily keep it close at hand. With the adjustable head, you can even hang it from your belt and adjust it as necessary.

The one downside is that, since this lamp isn't a specialty one for boats, so it isn't waterproof, which can be a drawback.

Pros:

  • Durable lens cover
  • Can pivot 90-degrees
  • Long-range distance
  • Light settings can help with night vision

Cons:

  • Not waterproof

SUPAREE Cree LED Rotating Work Spotlight

While mountable spotlights can have the disadvantage of being stuck in one place, the SUPAREE Cree light circumvents that. Instead of needing permanent mounting, this spotlight uses magnetic connections to stay in place. This flexibility is excellent since it lets you have the benefits of a mounted light without their biggest drawback.

Rather than a battery, this light operates off a power cord, which has enough length that it won't be hard to move it about your boat. Additionally, the beam length is broad, and you can have reliable light for up to 500 yards. The lens cover is also sturdy so that it can handle getting moved around and some bumps.

While the magnet is convenient, it could be more durable, so keep that in mind so that you don't accidentally lose your spotlight.

Pros:

  • Sturdy lens
  • Long and durable power cord
  • Wide beam width
  • Shines up to 500 yards
  • Magnet connection for simple setup

Cons:

  • The magnet could be stronger

Best Boat Spotlight In Class

GOODSMANN Submersible LED Spotlight

If you're willing to spend the extra cash on a quality handheld boat spotlight experience, then GOODSMANN will have the product for you. Their submersible model is ready to roll with a durable design, complete waterproofing, and the ability to take the hit. This spotlight can even float and has a strap, so if you drop it in the water, there's no need to stress about losing it.

There are two versions available with different brightness ratings—one at 3000 and the other at 4500. The latter has a higher price point, but it also comes with a carrying case. Both iterations have three brightness levels for low, high, and SOS lighting. The battery in this GOODSMANN model is also rechargeable, and it can recharge by plugging into a USB compatible connector.

While this boat spotlight performs well, it is a bit smaller than expected based on advertisements. We don't think that's enough to break the deal, but it's still something to consider.

Pros:

  • Rechargeable via USB
  • Three brightness levels
  • Durable
  • Can float

Cons:

  • Not as big as advertised

LeaningTech LED Deck Light

For our top pick of mounted lights, we have the LeaningTech Deck Light Set. This pack comes with two mountable light bars, each of which consists of six LED bulbs. The brightness is overall intense, allowing for excellent vision. You'll need to install and attach the lamps, but they'll work out pretty well once you put them in place.

Since the set comes with two light bars, you can set them up in different places along your boat for better coverage. These light bars are also wholly waterproof, so they're an excellent fit for boating. Since the set is affordable, you can set up as many of these bars as you want.

The downside is that water can get inside the lamps. They'll work for a while, but you'll need to clean them out if you don't want mold to form.

Pros:

  • Completely waterproof
  • Bright lights
  • Comes with two lights

Cons:

  • Water can get inside the lights

Conclusion

For us, the obvious pick for the best boat spotlight is the GOODSMANN Submersible LED Spotlight. It's highly durable, and its waterproofing plus capacity to float make it an obvious choice for a light on the water. The two primary brightness levels can handle most of your needs, with the SOS setting an excellent option for emergencies. With USB connectivity, recharging the battery is a breeze.

Whether you go with our top choice or pick another option is up to you. Know that, regardless, you can count on all the picks on this list to make your boating adventures a little brighter.