This website explains how truck light bars operate, examines how they stack up against other lighting methods, describes various ways they can be used, and shows you how to distinguish the good ones from the poorly manufactured ones. It also presents LED light bar reviews. With the knowledge offered here, you’ll be able to effectively pair the best LED light bar with your needs.
At the heart of these devices are LED bulbs. Like other diodes, LEDs allow current to flow in just one direction. but they generate light in the process. For a better understanding, an advance degree in solid state physics is helpful. Keep in mind that LED bulbs are limited in their size. Beyond a certain mass, the heat retention quickly eats into the light’s efficiency. LED light bars consist of individual bulbs arranged in one or more strips of varying length. They are designed to remain lit even if one or more bulbs cease working.
What To Look For When Buying a LED Light Bar
The LED lights in these arrays can be arranged in everything from a square pattern of four lights to a circular formation to the recognizable elongated bar that’s either straight or curved. These arrays can span just a few inches to over 4 feet in width with one or two rows of lights. LED light bars can operate as either spotlights or floodlights. Spotlights project beams between 10 and 30 degrees while floodlights span from 40 to 120 degrees. The positioning of reflectors, lenses, and the shape of the bar determine which of these two patterns is produced. It’s possible to have both types created by a single unit by either having separate divisions of a single row perform one or the other of these two functions or by using two unique rows. The LEDs also have an incredible range of color options that run from infrared to the visible spectrum from red to violet to ultraviolet on the high end. Within the visible light range, higher frequencies that move towards the violet end provide better illumination, but the trade-off is they cause greater eye strain. The ideal color matches typical daylight with a color temperature of 5,500K. a light bar relies on a driver to keep current constant inside the voltage range it’s rated for. Some light bars offer pulse width modulation or PWM drivers that conserve power by pulsing the light at hundreds of cycles per second. At this speed, the light appears continuous. LED light bars also have dust and water resistance capacity designated by an international protection or IP code. The first number goes from 0 to 6 and specifies dust resistance. The second one goes from 0 to 8 and specifies water resistance with a 9K rating for high-temperature, high-pressure water exposure.
Go with the Best
Reputable companies normally offer a wide assortment of light bars that are built with durable housing and include corrosion-proof mounting parts. An extra-large heat dissipation feature usually made of aluminum is a necessity. At the very least, both the housing and the wiring of the unit should have an IP rank of 65. An IP68 mark is preferred, and IP69K is ideal but rare. The light bar must have quality drivers that hold light output steady at any voltage within the operating ranges of either 9-30 DC volts or 10-70 DC volts. The better light bars use Cree LEDs that include specially-designed reflectors and lenses for the highest efficiency levels of 150 lumens per watt. They’re also estimated to operate up to 100,000 hours. Finally, if the device isn’t backed by a solid warranty, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Best 50'' LED Light Bar
The Oslamp 50” Curved Light Bar has distinguished itself from other competitors by having, the strongest output of any of the popular light bars. It accomplishes this by containing two strips of Osram LED lights with 48 bulbs in each string. These lights consume three watts of power each, and they top other LEDs by including a fisheye lens that focuses the light in a narrow beam. The result is a fixture that can effectively penetrate hundreds of yards ahead of the vehicle. All this is achieved with a total power usage of just 288 watts. Also, the Oslamp 50” Light Bar uses a curved arrangement that aims the center lights in a spotlight configuration of ten degrees while the outer bulbs throw a wider floodlight array of 40 degrees.
Best 40'' LED Light Bar
The Shanren 42” Curved Light Bar uses 80 individual LED lights arranged in two lines of 40 to create an evenly dispersed glow that spans the entire forward area with no weak spots. With a combined output of 19,200 lumens, these bulbs also penetrate deeper into the night than the average headlights that only produce one-sixth as much light at best. This same luminosity make this light bar easy to spot at a distance, so there’s far less chance of collision if multiple vehicles are close by.
Best 30'' LED Light Bar
Made up of 60 individual LED lights in two rows, the Auxbeam 32″ Light Bar outputs 18000 lumens at a color temperature of 6000K, pure white. Whether you use it as an auxiliary light for driving or as a work light, you will be well-lit. If you want to use it as a work light, you can rest assured that thanks to the all-LED construction, it will be very energy efficient. It consumes only 1/5 the energy of a similarly bright incandescent light, meaning you can run this light off of your battery for a much longer time.
Best 20'' LED Light Bar
The Penton 24-inch Light Bar is one economical option that is worth a closer look. It has just 40 LED pieces, but the EPISTAR bulbs are 3w and emit 6000k color temperature. This 120w light bar also projects spot/flood combo beam of 60/30 degrees. This means that although it is a smaller product on the market, it nonetheless creates lighting of sufficient quality and quantity for most purposes.
Comparing the Competition
There are several ways to create light for vehicles and other settings. Here’s a list of the most popular methods.
*High-pressure Sodium or HPS
*High-intensity Discharge or HID
*Light-emitting Diode or LED
This is most familiar as the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb. Their well-deserved reputation includes lots of excess heat, low efficiency, and short lifespans of around 2,000 hours. These bulbs are noted for developing a haze inside the glass as the tungsten filament is vaporized.
This is an improved version of the incandescent bulb that’s much smaller. It’s filled with iodine or bromine, collectively called halogens, that, at very high temperatures, redeposit vaporized tungsten on the filament so it lasts longer.
High-pressure Sodium Vapor Lighting
HPS lighting is recognized as the bluish street lights that have existed for decades. They’re highly efficient and last up to 10,000 hours, but their color is a bit on the harsh side. They also require a ballast to activate them. Low-pressure sodium lights are an alternative that generates 50-100% more light per watt and can last up to 18,000 hours, but it’s light is confined to an amber hue that distorts the colors of illuminated objects.
High-intensity Discharge Lighting
HID lights are also known as xenon lights. These are the headlights used in luxury sports cars. To confuse things, the xenon gas is used to get the reaction started, but metal halides produce most of the light once they kick in after a few minutes. They’re not quite as efficient as HPS lights, but their light roughly matches the spectrum of sunlight. Like HPS lights, they require a ballast.
Light-emitting Diode Lighting
A high initial cost is the only real drawback of LEDs, but over time, they pay for themselves through their very long lifespans and energy savings. They don’t need a ballast, and there’s no excess heat. They also don’t require a warm-up period. By adding chemicals to their composition, they can produce light anywhere along the spectrum.
Putting LED Light Bars to Good Use
LED light bars are meant to supply ample illumination beyond what standard headlights can achieve in circumstances where visibility is impaired due to darkness, bad weather, or obscured terrain. Of course, as the following examples show, they’re adaptable to a variety of uses.
Off the Road
Off-roading is what LED light bars are most closely associated with. They have huge advantages in this venue. Because they come in assorted sizes, there’s a light bar to fit anything from a small ATV to a massive 4WD pickup. Since the lights are solid pieces, they won’t get shaken apart on rough trails. There’s also little power consumption, so they’re perfect for ATVs that can’t afford the weight of more batteries. If overnight camping awaits at the end of an off-road adventure, they provide superb illumination when getting things established, and their low electricity usage means you can shut off the engine.
There are times when an LED light bar can come in handy on the road. You’ll need to determine what your state’s laws say about this, though. While a small light bar might be permitted, there are legal limits on how much brightness a vehicle on the road can produce due to safety concerns involving blinding oncoming drivers.
While you might not be able to employ an LED light bar on a moving vehicle, there’s rarely restrictions against having one available to make the vehicle noticeable when it’s stationary. A detachable one is also helpful for putting plenty of light on the auto for emergency repairs like tire changes.
Red LED light bars can greatly boost visibility of vehicles from behind when used to augment standard tail lights. Standard lights often burn out without notice. They’re also not easily seen in daylight. Since they last much longer, LEDs should prove to be more reliable while also being easier to spot.
Another category of off-road vehicles that can benefit from extra lighting are construction vehicles like backhoes or excavators. These circumstances almost guarantee uneven surfaces with lots of shadows.
LED light bars with high water resistance ratings make excellent additions for any size boat. Fog is a common problem off-shore that these fixtures can deal with effectively. Small light bars can supply interior illumination in the various sections of larger craft.
LED light bars don’t have to be limited to vehicles. They can also serve as stand-alone warning beacons at construction sites, factories, and similar locations. These are the situations where light bars equipped with strobe capacity make the most sense.
Coupled with a portable power source, LED light bars, flood lights in particular, are a boon for both indoor and outdoor needs. They can supply more than enough lighting for backyard events, and smaller ones can accommodate interior spots where the wiring doesn’t reach. With an independent electricity source, they’re also useful when the public grid has been knocked out.