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What is a Snake Light?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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A snake light is a type of battery-powered light that resembles a flashlight, with the head attached to a long, flexible base that bends for precise spot lighting. A snake light is ideal for task lighting and various sizes and bulb wattage are available for different tasks. Snake lights are sold alongside many tools, other flashlights, and even in office supply stores.

The popularity of the snake light is directly related to its flexibility. As a tool, a snake light is useful because it can be adjusted to direct light at a specific point and because the snake light can be attached to something or stand alone, it frees up both hands for a task. Similarly, a snake light is also a useful accessory for reading and computer related tasks.

Routine tasks for which a snake light makes a useful tool include automotive repairs, household repairs, such as under a sink or in a utility closet, and any other chore that might require working in tight or dark spaces. Most work-related snake lights are LED lights and can stand by themselves. Because the work duty snake light is typically larger than computer or book snake lights, they usually aren’t clip-on styles, but can still be wrapped around a nearby object.

A snake light is also useful for on-the-go lighting. A book snake light, which is much smaller than a work light, clips directly onto a book. They are ideal for reading while traveling or reading in bed at night. Other uses for a small snake light include use with a laptop computer. A computer snake light will plug directly into an available USB port for power. Similarly, there are also flexible lights designed for use with handheld gaming systems.

Before buying a snake light, consider the various uses you might have for one. It’s best if you can actually test the light before buying to make sure it provides adequate light for your use. In addition to the brightness of the light, the expected battery life is another consideration. Some work snake lights are available with rechargeable batteries and a computer snake light is powered by USB, however remember that using one will put additional strain on your laptop’s battery if going cordless. You can purchase snake lights from numerous retailers including tool stores, office supply stores, electronic stores, and online.

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Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Nov 07, 2011

I find that a snake light is really good to have if you are going on a camping trip. I'll bring along a head lamp as well, which can be useful, but a snake light will stay where you put it.

If you get an LED snake light that lasts a while you can string it up in front of the toilet pit, for example and just keep it there all night.

This is particularly good if you are camping with kids, as you really don't want them wandering around in the dark, in the woods, looking for the toilet.

This way it is clearly marked, and you don't have to worry about it. You also don't have to worry about finding it sooner than you expected in the dark!

By umbra21 — On Nov 07, 2011

@mamamartel - I think that it's just a thick bunch of wires, covered with plastic. I can't be sure of that, though. I know sometimes they use interconnected plastic gears, but more usually it just seemed to be a bunch of bendy wires.

I imagine the best place to find something similar would be a hardware store. If you go in and ask for help, they will generally be able to find exactly what you need.

But if you are looking for something with similar properties, I wouldn't be afraid to experiment, because I'm not sure you'll be able to find the exact same substance without the light attached.

By mamamartel — On Nov 22, 2007

Can anyone tell me where I can buy the material used to make the bendable 'neck' portion of a snake light?

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