If you love to fish at night, having access to the best boat spotlight is critical.
There is nothing more relaxing than a nighttime boat ride. Without the proper light, you could become lost.
I love being able to take my boat for a spin at night. It would be difficult to maneuver in some waters if I wasn't the owner of an LED spotlight.
How they can help you:
- Navigate through dark waters
- Detect rocks and other obstructions
- Check your fishing line
- Pull in a fish
- Find items on your boat
- Signal for help
- Prevent boat collisions
Types of Marine Spotlights
Before I give you details on boat spotlight reviews, let’s talk about the two types.
- Built-In models – These are installed on your boat and are not removable. If you choose this type of spotlight, installation is key. Improper installation can be a light hazard. If the light is mounted in the wrong area, it creates a hazy light force that impedes your vision. I would recommend you temporarily mount a light and use it at night. If the light creates a haze, it needs a new position.
- Hand-held models – There are both wireless and wired hand-held spotlights. If you plan on purchasing this type, I would advise you to purchase a receptacle. A receptacle will lock the male plug in place. This will ensure the light is more secure. Hand-held models range in size and power.
Benefits of Using a Boat Spotlight
As a boat owner, I enjoy going at night when the waters are quiet. Some of my best fishing takes place at night. If you are like me, you need the best spotlight for your boat. Believe me, that big catch will be easier to claim with light.
If you have gotten into trouble on your boat, you know stress. Try being stranded at night! A spotlight can assist you in getting help. The light will pinpoint your location for rescuers.
If you have a spotlight on your boat, you will be able to avoid boat damage. Running into a rock or other obstruction can cause damage. I advise boat owners to consider the best rated spotlight for boats.
Without one, you are stuck using your boat in the day. However, there are plenty of good reasons to want to use your boat at night.
For example, I am an avid catfish fisherman and catfish become active at night. I use mine to pull them in. When you’re trying to catch a catfish, keep the light off while they are biting, for best results. Once you feel that tug, turn on the light. Putting the spotlight on lets you pull that big one in with ease. A find the light helps me remove the hook and secure my catch.
When I set out to do this review, I decided only the best names would do. A cheap option will not cut it!
9 Highly Recommended Spotlight For Your Boat
OUR TOP PICK
I have plenty of Stanley tools in my arsenal and knew I wanted to test this one. Stanley is a name many people trust. Their products are durable and a good value. This rechargeable option is no exception.
This spotlight features a trigger design that makes one-handed operation simple. I found it easy to use from the start. Like most options, this model is water-proof.
It is submersible up to six feet. If you drop it in the water, it will float face up. Don’t ask me how I know this!
If you are looking for a high level of illumination, this is your model. This boat spotlight delivers up to 520 lumens. It offers a bright 5W LED light.
The long-life battery is what really sold me, however. The longer the battery life, the longer I can stay out on my boat at night.
I like that you can recharge the light in your vehicle. It comes with adapters for 120-volt AC and 12-volt DC. Overall, this is a solid lighting option that will give you good service.
- Bright light from 5W LED
- Can be charged in your vehicle
- Easy to use with a rugged pistol grip
- Water-proof and submersible up to six feet
- Takes up to 6 hours to charge
The Cyclops Marine Style spotlight is a great choice. It is made from durable ABS. It has plastic housing.
This is something that is important when looking for a marine spotlight as you want to ensure that it will not get damaged when you are using it.
It comes with a retractable metal bracket to allow you to hook it up. This is great if you are fishing or carrying out a task that requires you to use both hands.
You will not have to worry about dropping the light. It makes the spotlight particularly versatile. It is something that I found particularly useful when trying this spotlight out.
I found this spotlight to be particularly bright which is great for use in foggy weather or at night. It will increase your visibility significantly. It uses a halogen bulb with a high intensity instead of an LED bulb.
The only downside to this spotlight was that I found the 10-foot cord to run a little short.
- Has durable ABS plastic housing
- Retractable bracket allows you to hang up the spotlight
- Bright halogen bulb is great for use at night
- Versatile spotlight
- The power cord does run a little short
Many boat owners are worried about dropping their spotlights in the water. This can cause water damage and some lights can sink. This GOODSMANN submersible light is made to deliver on water protection.
This light is practically indestructible because it is impact-resistant, submersible, and will not sink. As I have discussed many times, I am hard on my tools and fishing gear. This light was able to stand up to my abuse and that is saying something!
One of my favorite features about this best boat light is the three different light settings.
This super bright light uses a 30 W LED with 3000 lumens. You can set it on high, low (with flashing SOS), or off. Switching between the different light functions is simple.
Another cool thing about this light is you do not need to replace the batteries. The battery charges via USB which makes it less of a hassle.
To test this baby, I threw it overboard and the thing floated! Although it was submerged in the water, it was working beautifully. As a side note, the blue and white design of this Goodsmann is awesome and matches my boat décor.
- Is completely waterproof and will not sink
- Three light settings that include an SOS flash warning
- Does not need battery replacements and is easy to charge
- Extremely bright with 3000 lumens so you can see great distances
- High setting greatly reduces battery life
I cannot say enough good things about Dewalt. I own one of their saws. The company is focused on quality, so I could not wait to give this light a try and see it perform out on my boat.
Although this light is not marketed as a marine light, I found it versatile on my boat. I found myself using it for all types of work, including being able to see to remove hooks from fish and bait my line.
I love that this light has a belt clip on it because this keeps it in place for hands-free use. Because of the pivoting head, you can attach it to your belt clip and move the head to focus the light.
This spotlight has three super-bright LED bulbs and one red LED to offer night vision. This light will allow you to see into the darkness for at least 508 feet. The head pivots 90 degrees, making it a versatile light for use on your boat, on the job site, or around the house.
The over-molded lens cover provides an extreme level of durability. The only problem I discovered with this light is it is not waterproof, but if you keep it on deck, it will bring you a lot of light and illuminate the darkness in the distance.
- Works with any Dewalt 20V battery
- The durable lens cover ensures your bulbs stay protected
- The 90-degree pivotal head shines the light in all directions you need
- Ultra-bright LED lights allow you to see in the distance up to 508 feet
- Although durable, it is not waterproof
Streamlight is a trusted name in lighting products and they do not disappoint with this waypoint spotlight. This light offers a solid 550 lumens at an affordable price.
This light operates on a 12V DC power cord which is ideal for those who hate purchasing replacement batteries. If you prefer, there is the option of powering this light with 4C batteries.
This light comes with a C4 bulb that is resistant to shock and has a lifespan of 50,000 hours so you will be able to use it a long time before needing to think about replacing the bulb.
I like how light this model feels in your hand and the ease of use. With the high setting, you can expect 550 lumens and the low setting offers 50 lumens. At its high setting, this light is able to pierce the darkness and provide a waypoint that can be vital during nighttime fishing.
This spotlight is built to provide durability. Its polycarbonate housing stands up to all types of abuse and believe me, I put it through it all!
I was really pleased with this light. I like being able to switch between the power cord and batteries, depending on how I am using the light. You can use the stand or mount to offer hands-free use.
- Two brightness settings with bright LED lights (Highest setting at 550 lumens)
- This light can be used with the power cord or 4C batteries
- Tough and durable polycarbonate housing is impact-resistant and waterproof
- Trigger design makes this light easy to use
- Not as bright as some spotlights on the market
I know this light is not marketed as marine light option, but hear me out. If you are like me, you spend a lot of time on your boat and camping or RVing so it helps to have a versatile light you can rely on for all types of uses. This is where the LE camping light shines.
This light has five light settings and at its highest level offers an amazing 1000 lumens.
The battery charges via a USB cable, so there is no need to purchase replacement batteries or worry about cords getting in the way on the boat.
The five lighting modes include the front spotlight, left side mode, and right side mode red. The front light offers two levels of brightness and is ideal for all types of uses, including on your fishing boat.
While you cannot submerge this light and expect it to survive, it does have water-resistance, meaning it can survive water splashes and mild rain. This is a light you will find many uses for, including at the campsite, in your RV, and for light while working on your truck.
Although this light is durable, you will not find it to be heavy! Children will be able to carry the light which is perfect for those father/child fishing excursions.
- Five powerful light options, including red SOS and two front brightness settings
- Perfect for boating, camping, RVing, and all types of activities
- Easily charged with the included USB cord so no more battery purchases
- Lightweight and easy to carry and use
- Cannot be submerged in the water because it is only water-resistant
Now this is a grand little spotlight that’s perfect for boating in low light or darkness.
The brightness is adjustable, which can be a real handy feature. You can set it to high, and it will throw out a whopping 1300 lumens of light, which is bright enough to make out shapes of objects and identify their color.
There’s also a medium setting, in case you find the 1300 too bright for you, and a low setting, which is a good one to use if you want to preserve your night vision.
But what makes it good for boating is its waterproofing. With an IP rating of an impressive IPX6, it can handle drops of rain and hold its own if it was dropped in water. It can drop 3 whole feet without getting damaged, and it’s designed to float to the top of the water, so you can just grab it and carry on.
Speaking of being dropped, it’s impact resistant thanks to its durable Polystyrene and ABS build, so it can handle being dropped inside the boat.
If you start to get tired of holding it, you can go hands-free thanks to the pivoting flip over stand. You can choose what angle you want it to shine at.
And it can keep on working through the darkest hours of the night, up to 5 hours to be exact. It’s rechargeable, and if you don’t need the light on all through the night, you can choose to use the light as a power supply for your cell phone or other mobile device.
- Up to 1300 lumens of light
- Adjustable brightness
- High IP rating IPX6
- Long battery life
- Go completely hands free
- Great value for money
- Although it comes with a hands free option, it doesn’t come with a special mount for your boat
This model is portable and cordless: perfect for boating. It offers up to 1,100 bright lumens. This halogen model offers a bright, continuous light. It comes with a nice LED flashlight for free.
The 12-volt battery is rechargeable and easy to replace once it won't hold a charge. You will find this spotlight to be perfect for boating and camping. If I hear a noise in the distance, this light lets me know what it is!
This heavy-duty light is lightweight and portable. It charges in 8-10 hours. I love the charging indicator light. It lets me know this baby is ready.
The trigger design is easy to use and the mode can be locked in place. I found it super-simple to use. I will caution you not to drop this one in water. It is not waterproof or it would be higher in the list.
I recommend using the mounting stand so you can use it hands-free for greater control. This one is a keeper. You will find you will use it in your car, boat, and home.
- Offers high and low settings
- Charging indicator light for convenience
- Can be charged in your car or at a wall outlet
- Powerful light shines far out into the darkness
- Is not waterproof
This marine light is made from a strong polycarbonate material which is one of the reasons I wanted to check it out. I am constantly banging up my boat lights and I need something that is tough to stand up to the abuse.
I was surprised by the durability, given the lightweight feel of the light. The trigger is easy to use and the ergonomic design made it fit comfortably in my hand. This is the type of light you can grab quickly when you see something that needs to be identified in the water.
I like this model because you can use it hands-free with the stand or a lanyard. The spotlight operates on 4C batteries so there are no pesky cords to get in the way. If you are like me, this is something you want to avoid because I am a klutz!
This light is waterproof and it will float in the water, should you make the mistake of dropping it. On its max setting, it offers 1000 lumens and the low setting is 90. Browning has tested this boat light for an effective reach of up to 725 yards. It gives you a lot of light for a little money.
- Made of a tough polycarbonate material
- Completely waterproof and floats in water
- At its highest level, it offers an amazing 1000 lumens
- Bulb color is white for a bright shine that stands out in the darkness
- Does not have a plug option for those who need one
Understanding Wattage, Size, and Weight
Before you set out to find the best boat handheld spotlight, what should you consider?
I want you to be prepared with all the info you need. An informed spotlight buyer is a better buyer!
Wattage and Lumens
Wattage and lumens often get confused. The wattage means the power it takes to burn the bulb. Lumens describe the brightness of the bulb.
You should consider both when making your purchase. The factor you will want to focus on is lumens.
The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. You will want to make sure the light is as bright as possible. The best lights should have multiple lumen settings.
Size and Weight
One of the next things you need to consider is size and weight. In this case, bigger is not better.
The lighter the weight, the easier to hold. A compact, lightweight design is best.
Unless you need extreme brightness, compact design is best. You do not want a heavy model or your hands will wear out.
As with anything, durability matters. I put my spotlights through lots of abuse on my boat, because I'm clumsy and drops happen.
If they happen to you, durable materials are a must. You want spotlight materials that can take a beating and keep working. Choose one that is scratch, dent, and break-resistant.
Ergonomics is a big issue in these lights. Trigger designs are best for hand-helds.
A proper design should cradle your fingers. If the spotlight is not comfortable, you won’t use it. Choose a design that mimics the curvatures of the hand. The right design will lessen hand fatigue.
Frequently Asked Questions & Tips
I’ve gotten quite a few questions so I thought I’d try to answer some.
Which is the best searchlight for a boat: floodlight vs spotlight?
I get asked this question quite a lot so I would like to address it. A floodlight floods an area with a broad beam of light. Spotlights project the beam at a concentrated point. In terms of boating, spotlights are preferred.
Spotlights allow you to see greater distances. Spotlights are typically brighter than floodlights. I use spotlights for fishing. They help me see out into the water and avoid obstacles. I also use them to prevent boating accidents.
If you want to light up your deck for a party, floodlights are great. If you want to see into the distance, get yourself a spotlight. Hand-held spotlights offer many uses over floodlights.
Which is better: halogen or LED?
Answer: WLED light is considered superior for boating. They are more expensive than halogen.
LED lights do not produce much heat and require less power. LED lights burn longer than halogen.
Can you replace the battery in a spotlight?
Answer: This is an option that varies among models. Some models do allow for easy replacement. Some batteries cannot be replaced.
It is wise to check out this option before buying. Some people prefer the option of replacing the battery so they can have a backup on the boat.
What distance does the average beam offer?
Answer: The spotlights I tested all shined out at least 500 feet. Most models were better at 300 feet.
The longer the beam length, the lesser the light at the end. Choose a high-lumen spotlight for the longest shine length.
I would feel comfortable taking any of these spotlights on my boat.
If you have never boated at night, try one of these best boat spotlights. These lights give you greater security. You will be amazed at how much you use these lights onboard your boat.
I couldn’t boat at night without one.