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Ultimate LED Light Bar Buying Guide

As LED light bars have grown in popularity, so too has their market. Once a specialty product, there are now numerous models of LED light bars from which to choose, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. If this is your first time shopping for a mounted light for your truck or off-road vehicle, you may be unclear as to what the differences are between these models and how you can be certain that the product you choose best suits your needs. Thankfully, there are a few distinguishing factors you can use to separate unreliable models from those that are worth your money, to ensure that the LED light bar you choose will provide unmatched illumination when you need it the most.

Why LED Light Bars?

First, it should be mentioned that not all light bars make use of LED bulbs. There are also a fair number of models out there that utilize halogen or high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting, and you may be curious as to why an LED light bar is the superior choice. The difference is five-fold:

  • Efficiency - LED bulbs are among the most efficient on the market, using up to half as much wattage as their HID counterparts and as much as a tenth as halogen models.
  • Size - LED bulbs are very small despite their power, meaning that the mount you choose will take up very little space and add very little weight to your vehicle.
  • Length - With an average lifespan of up to 40,000 hours, there’s a good chance that the bulbs in your mount will outlive your vehicle.
  • Durability - LED circuit boards are not susceptible to damage caused by vibrations or impact, making them an excellent choice for the bumpiness and unpredictability of off-roading.
  • Style - LED lights can be created in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and styles. If customizability is your thing, you’ll be certain to find a model that perfectly suits the look of your vehicle.

All these benefits admittedly make LED light bars more expensive than halogen or HID models. For that extra cost, though, you’re getting a superior product and one whose durability and long life will save you money in the long run. And while environmental heat can play a larger role in the performance of LED lights than it does for other bulbs, that problem can be remedied by purchasing a quality model with a dedicated heat sink. The question, then, is what makes for a quality LED light bar.

 

LED Light Bar Brands

As the LED market has grown, certain manufacturers have distanced themselves from the pack by consistently producing bulbs that surpass the competition regarding both performance and reliability. One such manufacturer is CREE, which has spent over twenty years developing and honing its LED technology. Their bulbs are used by many companies as the lighting component of their mounts and have earned their place as the industry standard. What’s more, the previously mentioned issue with environmental heat is much less pronounced for models that make use of CREE bulbs, as their protective heatsinks are typically much more effective than those offered by cheaper and less reliable models.

 

LED Light Bar Features

Now that you know the benefit of LED lighting and of going with a trusted manufacturer, the only question that remains is what exactly you plan on using your LED light bar for. As mentioned, LED light bars now come in a wide range of features and capabilities, which means that there’s almost certainly a model out there that fits your exact needs.

As our selection of high quality LED light bars and pods continue to grow, we wanted to provide a few more details on purchasing.  

Beam Pattern - We use multiple combinations of LED technologies, reflectors and lenses to get the best results for the installation.  This results in different beam patterns that vary by different product lines. As a generalization the following terms are true across our products lines:

  • Spot - Spot lights will throw a far narrow beam.
  • Flood - Flood lights will have a wide beam that does not go as far as a Spot beam. 
  • Combo - Combo lights have a combination of spot and flood technologies typically giving the furthest light toward the center of the bar or pod and the widest light toward the outside. 
  • Scene - Scene lights are even more concentrated at close range than our flood lights.  Scene lights are great for work light scenarios. 

Light Color - We use a combination of colored LEDs and colored lenses to create different lighting effects depending on the line of product you are interested in.  As a generalization, the following terms are true across our product lines: 

  • White (Clear) - Under normal conditions white lights are going to provide the brightest lighting experience. 
  • Amber - When there are particles in the air (dust, fog, rain, snow), white can reflect off of these particles making it difficult to see.  In comparison, amber will cut through the particles better.  
  • Combination - We provide a number of combined options in both our light bars and pods so you can switch to the most appropriate color for the occasion. 
  • Other Colors - Other colors of lights serve a number of purposes such as hunting at night and can be achieved by adding one of our lens covers to our white lights.

Sizes - The named size of our light bars and pods is a general measurement of the size.  Depending on whether you are looking to put the light in a coutout or mount the light, the sizing charts for the light should be your primary reference to make sure it will fit. 

Conclusion

Adding an LED light bar to your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to improve its capabilities, to add a new degree of safety and usefulness to your everyday truck or off-roader. We hope that this guide has given you the information you need in your search for the perfect model. If you have any further questions as to which LED light bar best suits your needs - or if you have any other questions about the remarkable power of LED lighting - please feel free to contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives.

 

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