Perhaps you just noticed that your neighbor has lighted up his SUV with flashy LED light bars. Now you also want to illuminate your vehicle with LEDs. Great going!
LED light bars enhance the appearance of your vehicle. They also improve visibility and safety when driving at dusk or night.
You have a plethora of options when it comes to LED light bars. However, not all brands are equal in terms of quality. If you are a first-time buyer, choosing ideal LED light bars could be a hard row to hoe.
Do not worry. I will make you familiar with the steps that will assist you in purchasing LED light bars.
However, before that, let’s get to know what exactly LED light bars are?
What are LED Light Bars?
An LED light bar features a series of LED lights in a row. In comparison to halogen lights, it is brighter and broader. It also uses less energy and is more durable.
You can install LED bars on your vehicle. They serve as emergency signers, security beams and help with night driving.
Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing LED light Bars
Without a doubt, purchasing LED light bars is fun. However, for first-time buyers, it might be overwhelming. So you do not end up making the wrong choice, do adequate research before buying them. From size to beam pattern to color to row numbers, plenty of things are there to pay attention to.
Let us talk about these factors in detail.
1. Size of LED light bars
Most first-time buyers overlook it, but the size of LED light bars matters a lot. You should select them according to the size of your automobile. Pick them based on the amount of illumination you require for your car.
Generally, LED light bars range in size from four inches to fifty inches. The larger the LED bar, the more lights it will have.
Nowadays, small LED light bars also provide a decent amount of light. However, if you want a brighter output, go for the light bar with the most LEDs.
We can break down the size of LED light bars into three categories.
a) Mini LED Light Bars
These light bars come with eight to ten pint-sized LEDs at most. These lights are suitable for trucks, SUVs, Police cars, and non transporting EMS vehicles. You also use them to complement other lights on your automobile.
b) Off-road light bars
As the name suggests, these LED light bars are suitable for off-road driving. These full-sized light bars have three rows of LEDs.
c) Low-Profile Light Bars
Low-profile light bars are approximately twenty inches long. You can use them for the front bumper of your car.
2. The shape of LED light Bars
The shape of light bars is another crucial factor to consider. There are two options for the shape of LED bars:
- Straight LED light bars
- Curved LED light bars
Prefer the shape that appeals to you. You can use both to do experiments with visuals and aesthetics of your car.
For those who do not know, lumens determine the brightness of a light. The higher the lumen number is, the more light the light bar will produce.
Remember, lumens are different from watts. Lumens are for LEDs, while watts are for CFLs. An incandescent bulb generates about fourteen lumens per watt on average.
Generally, the efficiency of LED luminous ranges between 55lm/w to 180lm/w.
It is surprising that, despite high lumen output, LED lights produce a cool white tone light. You won’t feel much heat.
4. Number of Rows
This perplexed me as well when I was purchasing LED light bars for the first time. There are two options when it comes to the number of rows in LED light bars. These are single row and double row.
For your convenience, I’ve listed the advantages below.
Single-row LED light bars
- These are small enough to fit in places where larger lights won’t be suitable.
- As these light bars are modest in height, you can match them with the look of most cars.
- Individuals with a limited budget can also go for single-row light bars.
- Because they are light in weight, you can mount them anywhere you want.
Dual-row LED light bars
- Dual-row LED light bars have more LED bulbs, resulting in more powerful illumination.
- You get more flexibility in terms of design.
- Double-row light bars feature a wide range of built-in functions.
If you ask for my opinion, I would advise you to make a selection based on the size of your car and your budget.
5. Beam Pattern
The beam pattern represents the angle at which an LED light bar throws or emits light. While shopping for light bars, you will come across several light beam options.
Nevertheless, flood beam pattern, spot beam pattern, and combination beam pattern are three popular choices.
Choose a spot beam pattern if you want a narrow yet long-distance beam. On the other hand, the flood beam pattern is suitable for those who need a wide beam.
As the name suggests, the combination beam pattern is a blend of both spot beam and flood beam.
If you’re not sure whether you want a flood or a spot beam, I would suggest you go with combination beam light bars.
It will provide excellent visibility in almost all terrains. There are situations when alone the spot beam or the flood beam will be insufficient. In such conditions combination beam light bars will come to your rescue.
I have installed flood beams on my SUV as I often go for cross-country driving. People who drive on-road majorly should consider spot beam patterns.
6. Color of LED Light Bars
LED light bars are available in different colors. While the color of LEDs does not impact their quality, you should choose them with care. I have invested in two LED light colors, i.e., white and yellow.
When there is poor vision, such as fog, I use yellow light; otherwise, white light is sufficient. If you want LED light bars for emergency vehicles, you may go with red, green, blue light bars.
Note: In the majority of US states, only white and amber flashlights are legal. So, before making a decision, verify with your local automotive lighting law.
7. Water & Dirt Resistant Ability
Water & dirt resistance quality is another crucial aspect you need to pay attention to when buying LED light bars.
Look for a manufacturer who produces light bars that can endure dirt, wind, and water. If you go off-roading more often, you should pay extra attention to it.
To check the water-resistance capacity of light bars, look for an ingress protection grade. The rating shows the degree of resistance to water.
I advise you to go for LED light bars with ratings of either IP67 or IP68. These ratings ensure the light bar is fully protected against dust, sand, and water.
8. Choose the Right LED light bar Manufacturer
As I said before, there are thousands of firms manufacturing LED light bars. Therefore, you should prefer a reputable one only. Choose the manufacturer having at least ten years of expertise. They must have a state-of-the-art workshop as well.
9. Connector Type
You must choose light bars that work with your vehicle perfectly. Check all the brackets, wires, and connectors carefully. You will get two options for connector types: ATP and DT. Make sure the connector type you choose matches with your wires.
Most manufacturers don’t provide connectors and wiring with light bars. So you will have to buy them separately.
10. Installation and Mounting of Light Bars
Though installation of LED light bars is easy, you should know where you want to mount them.
For example, I have installed one LED light bar on the top of my SUV and another on the bumper. You can decide on the installation spot based on the size of your vehicle.
LED Light Bar Maintenance
While LED light bars are long-lasting, you may extend their life more by following simple tips.
Read User Manual
Read the user manual thoroughly. If you can’t read at least the warnings available in the user manual before assembling and using light bars.
Clean your light bars regularly as dirt might damage them and reduce their efficiency. Put your light bar under running water and gently scrub debris away with a sponge. You can use a mild soap if necessary. Do not use soap-containing solvents or petroleum agents. Let them dry. Wipe away excess water.
Perform inspection from time to time. It will help you repair minor breakdowns before they get worse.
LED light bars can enhance your vehicle’s appearance to a great extent. Installing light bars is a practical and highly effective way to make your automobile noticeable.
Moreover, they help you drive in poor weather and low visibility conditions. Additionally, they require low maintenance. They can serve your purpose for years.
So these are a few points that helped me choose ideal LED light bars. I hope they will help you too. So keep them in mind when buying your next set of LED light bars.