How to choose the best LED light bar for your vehicle
It's fair to say that we are currently in the heyday of the aftermarket LED Light bar. These auto accessories have become more affordable in recent years, and drivers everywhere are participating in the trend.
There are many reasons why you might be interested in a vehicle's LED Light bar. Here are some of the most common applications:
Drive on back roads with little Light while avoiding natural disasters and wildlife.
Ride on cross-country trails that require heavy lighting. Use heavy equipment (trailers, snow plows, etc.) at night. Fresh from completing our guide to Truck LED light bars, we've put together important tips for choosing the best LED bar for any vehicle.
About LED lights
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of light bars, let's talk about why LED technology is seeing such a big increase in vehicle applications.
LED lights are very efficient -- they last about 10 times longer than traditional halogen lights, and they don't use as much energy to generate heat.
This technology has driven all others out of the market, not least because it is so much cheaper to produce. We strongly recommend that you read our guide to Cheap versus expensive light bars so that you can identify product logos that are unable to stand on the road.
LED light bars for vehicles
LED light bars are no longer just for trucks. Many drivers also attach them to their cars.
The narrower light bars can be attached to a car's grille or even clipped to a license plate frame. For this, be sure to find low-key light bars, as many cars have less mounting space.
LED light bars for trucks and other vehicles
Many of our customers install light bars on trucks, snowplows, side-by-side vehicles, and many other recreational and work vehicles.
Usually, this means that the light bar unit has more installation options, and different dedicated lights can be used together for a complete lighting system.
Types of LED light bars
Light bars can be classified by two main characteristics: their shape and size.
Straight Light bars are the most common shape, but curved Light bars have a wider beam pattern which provides more lighting to both sides of the truck.
Light bar sizes can be divided into three main categories.
Mini Light bar
These small light bars have up to 8-10 LEDs and are used to complement other lighting on the truck, such as spotlights or portable work lights.
Slim light bar
These are the most common Light bars on the road. Slim light bars are less than 1 row and are usually attached to the truck's grille to provide some additional forward lighting.
Full-size/off-road Light bar
This category is where the interesting features come in. Full-size light bars, with two or even three rows of LEDs, can be more than 20 inches long and can be installed anywhere a large amount of Light is needed.
These products feature the highest weatherproof and lighting standards, designed to keep you safe in challenging off-road situations.
Color of LED lights
Today, the market is huge for LED Light bars. Accessories associated with the auto industry are cheap these days. You may be interested in LED lights for your vehicle due to the following reasons:
Avoid any natural disasters while driving at night.
If you are driving on a cross-country track or trail that needs better lighting
When working on heavy machinery or equipment.
LED lights are very efficient and much better than traditional lights. When energy is produced, these lights do not use that energy. As a result, the efficiency is 10% higher than conventional lights.
Double-row and single row
Double-row LED light bar
Dual rows won't charge the vehicle's system much. It is IP67-rated water resistant. The Light has a color temperature of 6000k, at which it emits white Light.
Reflectors are designed to be more efficient and provide better light availability. The lens is made of polycarbonate material, which effectively prevents any impact. It consists of a switch, harness, and bracket.
Single row on the other hand, is made of brighter individual LED lights. It is readily available in the market and lasts a long time.
Both off-road and on-road, these lights are the first choice for all users. Lights can generate LED flash for the driver with the help of a single-row light.
Although there is only one row of lights, it emits an enormous amount of Light.
This is the right choice for the Light in terms of economy and durability. Mainly Marine LED lights, ATV LED lights and car LED lights covered a single row.
Spotlight and beam lighting mode
The light bars emit two types of lighting patterns -- spotlights (or pencil lights) and beam lights (or floodlights). Spot beams focus directly and cover longer distances, which are best for road driving.
Floodlight bars illuminate the front and shoulder of the road, giving you a better all-around view, which is best for off-road driving.
If you don't know which to choose between these two, you can choose a light bar that combines both lighting modes.
Protection rating (IP) (Waterproof and Dustproof)
IP (inlet protection) rating indicates the product's sensitivity to water and dust penetration. The higher the IP level, the better the waterproof and dust resistance.
IP levels range from 64 to 69K. Bars with IP between 64 and 67 are completely protected from dust and water sprays or jets but not from flooding.
Quality LED light bars have IPs of at least 67 and can withstand soaking up to 1m. Bars with higher IP ratings can prevent deeper dips of more than 3 meters.
The 69K can withstand steam jet cleaning.
Main features and notes
LED light bars can have a lot of confusing specifications. Thankfully, you don't need a degree in electrical engineering to read light bar reviews. Keep these features in mind when looking for the right product.
The brightness of the light bar is expressed in lumens. At nilight Light Bars, we measure our products in raw lumens, while other retailers use effective lumens.
The difference between these two is explained here, but keep in mind to compare the correct measurements when choosing a light bar.
This measures the power required to run the light bar in watts. If your vehicle is running, the higher-wattage light bars will work fine, but you will need to limit your use when the vehicle is off so as not to drain the battery power.
All light bars have some kind of weatherproof capability, and the Protection rating (IP) provides a standard to measure their ability to withstand a variety of factors. We've posted another in-depth post on IP levels, and we recommend any light bar between IP67-IP69K.
Provide brightness where you need.
Finding the perfect Light bar for your vehicle shouldn't be a daunting task. You could spend hours reading LED bar reviews and trying to find the best product.
Nilight Light Bars Our experienced team can help you make the right decision so you can embark on your journey with confidence and start your next adventure on time.
You can find more details below these articles:
1. How many amperes does the led light bar consume
2. Fuse sizes for 12v LED lights: Use and Prevention
4. What size wire should I use for my LED light bar
5. My light bar has completely or partially stopped working
6. How to Wire a Light Bar with a 5 Pin Rocker Switch
7. Best placement for auxiliary LED lights
8. Why do you need a harness kit for Off-road LED light bars
9. How many watts of good LED light bars are suitable for car use