Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Feb. 5, 2019

Off-road driving at night is a great experience. However, without the correct lighting, it can also be dangerous. There are numerous obstacles that you need to be able to see in order to avoid them. This includes animals, vehicles, and people as well as uneven surfaces that could damage your vehicle or cause you to lose control. Luckily, there is a way that you can enjoy off-roading even at night, in low light, or in weather conditions that cause poor visibility. The way to achieve this is with an LED light bar.

An LED light bar gives you high-quality light that cuts through rain and fog and illuminates the space in front of and around your vehicle. The best LED light bars can be adjusted to provide the best possible lighting for your specific needs. However, with so many LED light bars on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the best. Our panel of car experts and off-road enthusiasts compiled a list of the best LED light bars to point you in the right direction.

Best LED Light Bar

The LED Light Bar by Nilight offers the exact combination of spot beams and flood beams that you need for clear visibility. The bar provides a clear, broad view and a long irradiation distance so that there are far fewer surprises when driving off-road at night. The LED light bar uses high-quality heat conduction silicone gel and a carefully designed aluminum alloy housing. These offer a better cooling effect than most light bar competitors. This, in turn, results in a longer lifespan and better performance. The light bar comes with an adjustable mounting bracket that is anticorrosive and rustproof and is suitable for a wide range of applications, including use on motor vehicles and boats and as backyard lighting.

Key Features
  • 20 Inch LED light bar
  • 126W and 9-30V DC operating voltage
  • High lumen chips and lifespan of 50,000+ hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating – up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes
  • Rustproof and anticorrosive mounting bracket
  • Brackets adjustable to 45 degrees
Specification
  • Brand Nilight
  • Model 1-126C3CR
  • Weight 4.25 pounds

The YITAMOTOR LED Light Bar provides a single row of LED lights to extend your field of vision and improve the driving experience. The die-cast aluminum housing is specifically designed for strength and durability so that it can withstand even the harshest conditions. The 1070 aluminum alloy also provides exceptional heat dissipation, which is further improved by the fan design of the housing. This also increases the lifespan of the lights to over 50,000 hours. The light mounting bracket is adjustable and with accessories can adjust through 90 degrees. The lights are compatible with most cars, trucks, 4X4s, and Jeeps. They are also suitable for use with golf carts as well as for construction lighting and road lighting.

Key Features
  • Single row of 6 LED lights
  • Total of 18W, operating voltage 10-30V DC
  • 1680 lumens and life span of 50,000+ hours
  • 6-inch light bar
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • 1070 aluminum alloy housing
  • Adjustable up to 90 degrees
Specification
  • Brand YITAMOTOR
  • Model 4333223054
  • Weight 1.25 pounds

The Nilight Spot Driving Fog Light emits a bright white light from its high-quality LED chip. The light produces a concentrated spot beam of 1260LM that reaches further than many of its competitors. The adjustable mounting bracket allows you to adjust the spotlight and gives you complete control over where the light beam is directed. The light’s die-cast aluminum alloy cooling fins help to better disperse the heat that is created by the lights. This improves the lifespan of the lights, so they are effective for over 30,000 hours. The lights have an IP67 waterproof rating and are designed to be completely waterproof for up to 30 minutes in around three feet of water.

Key Features
  • Pack of 2 spot beams with 1260LM
  • 18W, operating voltage 9-30V
  • 1260 lumens and lifespan of 30,000+ hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • Adjustable up to 45 degrees
Specification
  • Brand Nilight
  • Model 18W 30 Degree High LED Lights
  • Weight 2.3 pounds

The Northpole Waterproof Spot Flood Combo LED Light Bar offers both spot and flood beams to give you the best possible light in low light conditions. The light bar has a 30,000-hour lifespan and low power consumption, making it an eco-friendly LED lighting option for your vehicle. The housing is made from high-quality, tough aluminum with a stainless steel mounting bracket and shatterproof lenses. The light bar has an IP67 Waterproof Ranking, making it suitable to use in harsh and wet conditions.

Key Features
  • Dual spot and flood light bar
  • 20 Inches in length
  • 126W, operating voltage 10-30V DC
  • 10500 lumens and lifespan of 30,000+ hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
Specification
  • Brand Northpole Light
  • Model 126W
  • Weight 4.5 pounds

The Senlips 126W 20inch Cree Bar offers a combination of spot and flood light beams to give you perfect visibility in any conditions. The combo beam pattern provides 10500 lumens and 6000K bright cool white light. The spot reflective cup is positioned in the middle of the light bar to illuminate further and make the central light more concentrated. The mounting bracket is adjustable and easy to fix to your vehicle. The LED light bar has a lifespan of over 30,000 hours and an IP67 waterproof rating, meaning it can withstand harsh driving conditions and terrains.

Key Features
  • 20-inch combo LED light bar
  • 10500 Lumens and lifespan of 30,000+ hours
  • Adjustable mounting brackets
  • 126W operating voltage 10-30V DC
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
Specification
  • Brand Senlips
  • Model 126W
  • Weight 4.5 pounds

The Auxbeam LED Light Bar provides an extremely broad viewing area with a combination of both spot and floodlights. While the spots provide 30-degree beams, the floods provide 60 degrees of light. The bar has a bottom mounting bracket that is adjustable and easy to install. It is IP67 Waterproof Rated and can withstand up to three feet of water for 30 minutes.

Key Features
  • 12-inch combo light bar
  • 30-degree spotlights and 60-degree floodlights
  • 72W, operating voltage 9-32V DC
  • 7200 lumens and lifespan of 30,000+ hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • Adjustable mounting bracket
Specification
  • Brand Auxbeam
  • Model 77707207AX
  • Weight 2.55 pounds

The Bangbangche 126W Flood Spot Combo CREE LED Light Bar comes complete with four 18W Flood LED Pods, giving you complete light in any conditions and on almost any vehicle. The light bar and pods are compatible with a wide range of vehicles and can also be used for construction lighting, backyard lighting, and even for indoor use. The diecast aluminum housing is heat resistant and durable; extending the bar’s lifespan to over 50,000 hours. The heat from the lights dissipates quickly, ensuring the unit does not overheat while it is in use. The unit is low cost and consumes less energy than many of its competitors. It is IP67 waterproof rated and uses Italian optical reflectivity projector lenses to increase the reflective distance of the light.

Key Features
  • Set includes 20” light bar and 4 light pods
  • 126W, operating voltage 10-30V DC
  • Lifespan 50,000+ hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • Aluminum mounting bracket
  • Low energy consumption
Specification
  • Brand Bangbangche
  • Model 4332996155
  • Weight 7.1 pounds

The 32 inch LED Light Bar by Nilight includes a clear PC lens and powerful high-quality LED chips that create super bright white light. The bar offers a combination of spot and flood beams to give you the clearest view possible of the road ahead while offering long-distance illumination. The light bar has a sturdy side mounting bracket that makes the bar suitable for all terrains. It also has an IP67 Waterproof Rating that is effective in up to 3.3 feet of water for 40 minutes.

Key Features
  • Offers a combination of spot and flood beams
  • Side mounting bracket for stability
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • 180W, operating voltage 9-30V DC
  • High lumen chips and lifespan 30,000 hours
Specification
  • Brand Nilight
  • Model 70004C-A
  • Weight 6.5 pounds

Each Cutequeen 36w 3600 Lumens Cree LED Spot Light has flood reflector cups that offer a 60-degree spot beam to widen your field of vision even on the darkest roads. Each light sits in an adjustable mounting bracket that provides 45 degrees of motion so you can angle the light to best fit your needs and vehicle. The thick housing on the spotlights improves cooling and increases the lifespan of the lights while the IP67 waterproof rating ensures that the lights are resistant to condensation, moisture, water, and dust. The Lumens Cree LED Spot Lights are suitable for a wide range of applications, including off-road driving, industrial lighting, and for use on boats.

Key Features
  • Set of 4 spotlights each measuring 6.5” x 4”
  • 36W and 10-30V DC operating voltage
  • 1800 lumens and lifespan of 50,000 hours
  • IP67 Waterproof Rating
  • Resistant to condensation, moisture, water, and dust
  • Brackets adjustable to 45 degrees
  • 60-degree spot beam
Specification
  • Brand Cutequeen
  • Model 4350370339
  • Weight 1.76 pounds

Best LED Light Bars Buying Guide & FAQ

LED light bars can make a huge difference to your visibility at night. While we are primarily concerned with how they improve driving conditions and create a safer and more enjoyable off-road experience at night, LED light bars are also useful in a whole host of other situations. LED light bars make excellent lighting for boats, construction sites, storage sites, and even backyards and gardens. Some light bars can even be used indoors and are ideal for basements and attics. However, not all LED light bars are the same and it is important to purchase one that is designed to fit your specific needs. In this section of the buying guide, we look at the things you need to consider when buying LED light bars, their different applications, and the different types of LED light bars that are available. We also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about LED light bars.

Things to Consider When Buying LED Light Bars

One of the main considerations when buying an LED light bar is going to be its intended purpose. If you want it to go on your 4X4, then you will need to choose one that fits and is compatible. If you are looking to drive off-road at night, then one that provides luminosity at a good distance is going to be an important factor. However, there some other key considerations that you need to know about.

  • Lumens

When shopping for LED light bars it is lumens and not Watts that determine the brightness of the light. The higher the lumens the brighter the light. This does not mean that Watts are not important. The wattage still determines the amount of energy the light draws. So if you are looking for low energy consumption bulbs, you still need to take the wattage into consideration.

  • Cost

LED light bars may have come down in price over recent years, but they are still more expensive than many other options. However, if you consider them as a longer-term investment, then they are actually more cost effective than other options. One of the reasons for this is their longevity. LED light bars can last well past 50,000 hours of usage.

  • Beam type

LED light bars can offer flood or spot beams, or a combination of both. Flood beams give you a much wider arc of light. This is great for being able to see the general layout of the area around the front of your vehicle. If you more concentrated light focused on a specific area, then you want a spot beam. While driving off-road, you often need both to ensure you miss all potential hazards.

  • Beam angle

Depending on the terrain you are driving through, you may find that you need your lights at a different angle to normal. The best LED light bars are easily adjustable, usually through at least 45 degrees, so you can focus the light at the best angle for your driving needs. It also means that if you are stopping, camping, or just meeting friends, you can change the angle to illuminate the area where you are setting up.

  • Resistance

Off-road driving often involves cold, damp, dusty, and sometimes very wet conditions. Given this, you need to ensure that the light bar you have purchased is up to these conditions and will not let you down halfway through your drive. LED lights are rated using IP or Ingress Protection scale. The lower the IP number the less your lights are capable of withstanding. Most of the best LED light bars are rated at IP67. This gives protection from dirt, dust, condensation, moisture, and temporary water immersion in around three feet of water.

Light Bar Applications

LED light bars have numerous applications. While we are focusing primarily on off-road driving, they can be useful for a range of other activities. Off-roading LED light bars are ideal for checking the general terrain for problems and obstacles before setting off on the next stage of your journey. They can be used for checking wildlife, ensuring that you are less likely to interrupt habitats or run into animal herds that are on the move.

LED light bars are also useful if you are driving long distances and intend to camp along the route. They can be used to illuminate the area where you stop; this is very useful if you don’t stop until the sun has started to set. Without them, you could find yourself trying to pitch camp under just your headlights, which if you have tried, you know is far from easy.

LED light bars can be added to a range of the vehicle, other than those being used for off-road activities. Golf carts are a prime example where pods, spots, or short LED light bars are particularly useful. They can also be used on construction vehicles to allow safe driving in low light and poor visibility. Boats, yachts, and other nautical craft can benefit from LED light bars, particularly in foggy conditions as the light can cut through the fog to create a safer passage.

Other potential applications include yard lighting, building, and storage illumination, and garden lighting. The applications are endless and only depend on purchasing the right type of light for the job at hand. And, of course, specialized light bars are found on emergency vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, and in other hazardous or dangerous work areas.

Types of LED Light Bars

Off-road LED light bars come in several shapes and sizes. While they are all designed to do the same basic job, light the road in front of you, the configuration of lights you choose will depend greatly on a range of different aspects. These may include the reason for the off-road journey, the weather conditions, and the terrain. The main types of off-road LED light bars are:

  • Single Row LED lights
  • Dual Row LED lights
  • Square Pods or Cubes
  • Round LED lights
  • Mini or Puddle LED lights

Within these main categories, you also have combinations of beam patterns. These are most commonly found on the single and dual row LED light bars. Each of these can either contain flood beams, spot beams, or a combination of both. Other differences to look for in LED light bars include whether the light bar is adjustable. This enables you to change the angle of the light beam to suit your specific needs. It also makes installing the lights easier.

Best LED Light Bars FAQ:

Q: What is a LED light bar?

A LED light bar is a strip of light emitting diodes (LED) that project bright light using electroluminescence. When used for off-road driving, the light bar is usually attached to the roof of the vehicle to light the path in front of it as the vehicle moves through low light or poor weather conditions. LED light bars require a source of electricity to work and the brightness that they provide is measured in lumens, rather than Watts. One of the benefits that LED light bars have over incandescent bulbs is that they have no filament. This means that they do not burn out and therefore have much longer life spans than other light sources.

Q: How to distinguish a quality LED light bar from cheap ones?

It is important to purchase a high-quality LED light bar if you are to reap the benefits that a LED light bar can provide. Distinguishing between a high-quality bar and a cheap one is not always easy. However, checking the following points will help. Firstly, always check the reviews left by verified buyers. Look for a light bar that has positive reviews. But, more importantly, look for reviews that cover aspects such as the IP rating, heat dissipation, mounting stability, and light quality. The IP rating is important as it ensures that your light bar is suitable for use in a range of weather conditions and is not susceptible to dust, dirt, and moisture. Ideally, you should be looking for a LED light bar with at least an IP67 Waterproof Rating. This means that it can cope with being submerged in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes, as well as being dust, condensation, and moisture proof. Heat is not the friend of your LED light bar, so finding one with good heat dissipation is essential. Design and materials play a big part in this and the best LED light bars have tight current control and oversized heat sinks. LED light bars are known for their durability and longevity, much of this is down to the quality of the mounting bar and the brackets that are used to connect everything together. The mounting points, brackets, and any other hardware needs to be corrosion proof and sturdy. It should create a tight fit that can deal with any terrain without coming loose. Other considerations include the lifespan of the light and whether the light beam angles can be adjusted. While this latter consideration may be a personal choice, it shows forward thinking on the part of the manufacturer.

Q: Should I use a relay with my LED light bar?

A relay switch is an essential part of your set up if you are using a LED light bar with a large amp draw. A relay allows a low current circuit to control a high current one, such as that found in larger LED light bars. Whether you need a relay switch depends on the amp draw of your LED light bar. If it has a large amp draw and you do not use a relay, then you may find it burns out an ordinary switch.

Q: Can I run my light bar at a higher voltage to make them brighter?

LED light bars are designed to work within a specific voltage range. Limiting the amp draw to the narrow current range manages the life and heat of each LED. Given this, increasing the voltage should not brighten your LED light bar. If this does happen your drivers are poorly designed, and you risk shortening the lifespan of your LED light bar.

Q: My newly installed light bar does not light up. What should I do?

If you have just installed your LED light bar and it does not work, the first thing you need to do is check each component for faults or damage. If there is nothing obvious, then you need to check your wiring. Work through each connection and check that the right wires are connected. Be careful when you do this as crossed or touching wires carry with them the risk of electrical shock. Also, test the polarity of your wires with a multimeter. While checking your wiring also look for loose wires or obstructed connections. If a wire is not stripped back far enough it may not be making an effective connection. This will be enough to stop your LED lights from working. Frayed and overlapping wires are other common causes of your Led light bar not working. Voltage drop is another common issue that can cause your LED lights not to work. The main cause of this is usually that you have created a serial connection, rather than a parallel connection. The latter type of connection always provides a more consistent and even output. If there is still no light, then check your users’ guide or manufacturer’s guide for other possible faults or issues that are specific to the LED light bar you have purchased. Check whether you need to install a relay to reduce the risk of burn out. If you still have no luck in getting them started, then call your seller or manufacturer.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is the LED Light Bar by Nilight. This 20 inch LED light bar offers the exact combination of spot beams and flood beams that you need for clear visibility. The bar provides a clear, broad view and a long irradiation distance so there are far fewer surprises when driving off-road at night. The LED light bar uses high-quality heat conduction silicone gel and a carefully designed aluminum alloy housing. These offer a better cooling effect than most of its competitors. This, in turn, gives it a longer lifespan and better performance. The light bar comes with an adjustable mounting bracket that is anticorrosive and rust proof and is suitable for a wide range of applications including use on motor vehicles and boats, and as backyard lighting.

Sources:

  1. LED Troubleshooting – Wiring – Ecolocity
  2. How to Distinguish a Quality LED Light Bar from Cheap Ones – AUXBEAM BLOG
  3. Five things to consider before buying LED Bulbs – CNET

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