Written By
Published Feb. 18, 2019

Tailgate light bars are a really useful addition the back of almost any truck. They can act in a whole host of capacities, performing as brake lights, turning signals, or simply for general visibility.

On top of this functionality, the lights can give your vehicle a unique and attractive appearance. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, plus they’re easy to install with just a little auto DIY knowhow. With so many options on the market, however, it can be challenging to know which set of lights are the right option for you and your vehicle. That’s why we’ve put together this handy buying guide; to walk you through the best options available right now. We’ve also taken the time to address some common questions and concerns about these lights.

The Best Tailgate Light Bar

The first set of lights to earn themselves a spot on our list is made by Nilight. The lights come in the form of a flexible, 60 inch rod, embedded with 108 LED bulbs. Each bulb has been proven to shine 35% brighter than regular chips, making sure you’re seen even in the worst weather conditions.

The tightly sealed, flexible housing protects the lights against wear and tear from the weather, as well as from dust and dirt. This great durability adds up to an estimated lifetime of up to 30,000 hours of use. As well as this, they’re easy to install – there’s no drilling required, thanks to a powerful adhesive included in the set. The set is versatile, too, coming with five useful settings; reverse light, left and right turn signals, a brake light, and running light. Overall, the lights are a tough and versatile way to make sure you’re seen on the road no matter what.

Key Features
  • Flexible rod houses 108 LED bulbs
  • Bulbs are 35% brighter than regular LEDs
  • Resistant to weather, dust, and dirt
  • 30,000 hour lifetime
  • Easy to install with a potent adhesive – no drilling required
  • Includes reversing light, brake light, running light, and turn signals
Specification
  • Brand Nilight
  • Model TR-01
  • Weight 3.2 ounces

OPT7’s LED tailgate light bar is an easy and attractive way to make sure you’re seen on the road, no matter the conditions. Designed to synchronise with your factory lights, the bright LED bulbs act as brake lights, reversing light, turn signals, and running light.

The Tiple-Core Alpha LEDs are the brightest and longest-lasting bulbs around; powerful enough to cut through mist and darkness to keep you seen and safe. The lights are mounted on a lightweight, rust resistant aluminum frame, and housed in flexible, watertight silicone. With all this protection, the lights are capable of functioning even at extreme temperatures – as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. With their 30,000 hour lifespan and easy to use mounting system, these user-friendly lights will keep you seen on the road for years to come, hassle free.

Key Features
  • Light bar fitted with 90 LED bulbs
  • Synchronises with factory lights, to act as brake light, reversing light, running light, and turning signals
  • Powerful Triple-Core Alpha LEDs offer unbeatable brightness
  • Mounted on a lightweight, rust-resistant aluminum frame
  • Housed in water and weatherproof silicone
  • 30,000 hour lifespan
  • Easy to fit with powerful adhesive
Specification
  • Brand OPT7
  • Model 60TGSTP5050M
  • Weight 2 pounds

The next set of LED tail lights to make our list is the first to be available in both RGB and white color options, making it easy to keep your truck highly visible while also adding a dash of eye-catching colors.

Each light strip in this two piece set houses 90 premium LED lights, housed in flexible and waterproof epoxy rubber. The bulbs can emit light in eight different colors, with optional flash speeds and brightness. All this adds up to significant control over your car’s appearance, and a fun, colorful appearance that’s particularly at home during the holiday season. Another fun feature of this set is the fact that the lights are sound activated – this means they can ‘dance’ to whatever style of music you try to play. Finally, these lights are simple and easy to install, thanks to an included set of 3M tape, fixed ties, and screws. The lights are a great addition to any truck bed, tailgate, grille, bumper, or footboard.

Key Features
  • Set of two 90 light strips
  • Housed in flexible and durable epoxy rubber
  • Available in both white, and varied RGB colors
  • Capable of emitting light in eight different colors
  • Sound activated lights will ‘dance’ when music is played
  • Easy to attach with included installation kit
Specification
  • Brand MICTUNING
  • Model 4350385403
  • Weight 1.26 pounds

Partsam’s super bright tailgate light is a great way to make sure that your rig is seen come rain or shine. Its 90 LED bulbs are housed within a flexible tube, which protects the bulbs against the elements, ensuring the product will last and last. Each set of lights is compatible with almost any SUV, RV, or van, and is simple to install with an included adhesive strip and a few screws and clips.

The lights function as turning signals, brake light, reverse light, and running light, letting other drivers know exactly what your intentions are, and helping you to avoid collisions. The bar can also withstand temperatures of up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal no matter the season. These lights even come with a one year warranty, demonstrating the faith that Partsam have in their products.

Key Features
  • 90 LED bulbs housed in a flexible, waterproof tube
  • Compatible with almost any SUV, RV, or van
  • Simple to install with adhesive strip, clips, and screws
  • Functions as turning signals, brake light, reversing light, and running light
  • Capable of withstanding temperatures of up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Bright LEDs can be seen no matter the conditions
Specification
  • Brand Partsam
  • Model 107978
  • Weight 10.4 ounces

Inside this tailgate bar, 72 bright LED bulbs spring to life, making you instantly visible to other road users. The five-function lights act as turn signals, brake light, and tail lights, ensuring other drivers can always see exactly what you’re doing.

The bulbs are nestled inside high quality rubber tubing, which can withstand the various assaults of debris, rain, wind, and snow. The bar is also easy to install, thanks to a powerful automotive adhesive that comes with every set. The low power-consumption is another factor making these lights easy and efficient to use. Finally, because the lights are transparent when not in use, they’re a great option if you’re seeking a subtler look.

Key Features
  • Tailgate light bar housing 72 bright LED bulbs
  • LEDs housed inside high quality rubber tubing, which is weather and dust proof
  • Easy to install thanks to a powerful automotive adhesive included with every set
  • Low-energy consumption
  • Transparent when not in use for a subtle look
Specification
  • Brand AMBOTHER
  • Model 3.2 ounces
  • Weight NI-04

Mictuning’s unique design features a double row of LED lights, making it one of the brightest options on our list. Featuring both red and while bulbs, the bar makes it abundantly clear whenever you reverse, brake, or switch on a turning signal.

Each LED bulb is housed inside a waterproof silicone tube, which also keeps out dust and dirt from the road. The durable material allows this product to offer drivers a whopping 100,000 hour lifetime. As well as being long-lasting, it’s easy to install too – simply attach to the back of your truck with the self-adhesive strip, and plug wires into the corresponding ports on your tail light connector. Users report that the lights look great, and is bright enough to be clearly seen even during the daytime.

Key Features
  • Double row of bright LED lights
  • Bulbs housed in waterproof and dustproof silicone tubing
  • Features red and white bulbs
  • Functions as brake light, reversing light, running light, and turning signals
  • Offers users a staggering 100,000 hour lifetime
  • Easy to install with powerful adhesive included
  • Bright enough to be easily visible even in the daytime
Specification
  • Brand MICTUNING
  • Weight 10.6 ounces

With a whopping 672 LEDs, organized in four rows, AKS Part’s LED tail light strip is around 400% brighter than a regular light strip. The bulbs feature three colors – amber, red, and white, making it totally clear to other drivers whenever you brake, reverse, or activate a turning signal. Bright red lights also act as a tail light booster, keeping the driver behind you at bay.

The light strips are easy to install, too – simply use the adhesive strip included, and you can be sure the bar won’t fall away come rain or shine. The bar itself is protected against dust, dirt, and rain from end to end with its flexible silicone housing. The bulbs themselves are equally durable, lasting for up to 50,000 hours of use. Overall, it’s a simple and durable solution that’s compatible with almost all SUVs, RVs, vans, and trailers.

Key Features
  • Light strip includes 672 LED bulbs arranged in four rows
  • Bar is around 400% brighter than regular light strips
  • Features three colors – amber, red, and white
  • Provides turning signals, reversing light, brake light, and tail light
  • Easy to install with powerful adhesive
  • Stands up against dust, dirt, and water
  • Lasts for up to 50,000 hours use
Specification
  • Brand AKD Part
  • Weight 13.8 ounces

This tailgate bar features 30 white and 60 red LED bulbs, housed inside a flexible and waterproof ABS tube. The bright LEDs light up in response to your driving, emitting a bright light that lets other drivers see you with ease, be it night or day. Its four functions allow it to act as an LED brake light strip, reversing light, and left and right turning light signals.

It’s also compatible with a wide range of vehicles, including most models produced by Ford, GMC, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Dodge, and Chevrolet. The lights are easy to install thanks to a simple system of self adhesive tape and screws. The system not only gives your truck an attractive appearance, but also improves overall safety by increasing your visibility in any and all conditions. Users report that the device looks great in place, is built to last, and can be easily installed.

Key Features
  • Tailgate bar featuring 30 white and 60 red LED bulbs
  • Lights housed inside a waterproof and flexible ABS tube
  • Functions as turning signal, brake light, and reversing light
  • Compatible with a huge range of vehicles
  • Easy to install
  • Improves your visibility in all road conditions
Specification
  • Brand Danti
  • Model YH-YHL34
  • Weight 4 ounces

SPE’s tail light strip fits the vast majority of trucks, featuring 72 bright LEDs, which deliver clear and bright signals that ensure other road users can see you no matter what. The LEDs perform at 50% brightness at all times, ratcheting up to 100% when you hit the brakes.

The strip also hooks up to your truck’s turning signals, lighting up bulbs on either side of the strip to boost your current signalling brightness. The device makes reversing easier too, providing a bright light out the back so you can more easily see where you’re going. The whole kit can be installed on your car in as little as 10 minutes, thanks to its easy to use four pin harness, and self-adhesive strip securing system. Customers say that the lights last for years, at a great price.

Key Features
  • Strip including 72 LEDs, which emit white and red light
  • Provides turning signals, brake light, reversing light, and tail light
  • Easy to install in as little as 10 minutes
  • Facilitates easier manoeuvring while in reverse
Specification
  • Brand SPE
  • Model Tailgate FlexLite
  • Weight 8 ounces

The final item to earn a spot on today’s list is Probasto’s 60 inch tailgate light bar. The light is easy to attach, no drilling required, and can be hooked up to the majority of passenger vehicles, trucks, and SUVs, for a quick plug-and-play installation.

The waterproof aluminum and silicone body is home to 90 LEDs, each of which is 40% brighter than a standard LED. This protective housing keeps the bulbs safe from water, dirt, and other debris from the road, making the device a durable safety option. The strip has four distinct functions; left and right turning signals, brake light, and reverse light. Users report that the lights are quick and easy to install, as well as throwing out a lot of light for optimum visibility. 

Key Features
  • Easy to install with plug-and-play action and a powerful adhesive
  • Waterproof aluminum and silicone housing protects bulbs against water and dirt
  • Each of the 90 LED bulbs are 40% brighter than a standard LED
  • Suitable for the majority of passenger vehicles, trucks, and SUVs
  • Functions as turning signal, brake light, and reversing light
  • Provides optimum visibility both for you and other road users
Specification
  • Brand PROAUTO
  • Weight 1.1 pounds

Best Tailgate Light Bar Buying Guide

And there you have it – our selection of the best LED tailgate light bars available to buy right now. We hope our top 10 list has given you an overview of your options, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing this simple but effective piece of kit.

We’ve taken the time to answer some common questions about this clever lighting solution, so you can rest assured you know all you need to know about using a tailgate bar to improve your backlighting.

truck tailgate light bar

What to Consider When Buying

Exactly which tailgate bar is right for you will depend a lot on your individual circumstances – as with many car accessories, there’s rarely a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Below we discuss some key factors to bear in mind when making this useful purchase.

  • Functionality

When choosing your tailgate lights, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is exactly what it does. Some bars are designed just for visibility and decoration, whereas others actually perform functions – such as letting other car on the road know you’re braking, or about to make a turn. We’ve found included both options on the list above.

  • Compatibility

The majority of tailgate light strips are compatible with virtually all cars, but if you have an unusual or older vehicle it might be worth checking with the manufacturer before making the final purchase.

  • Length

A standard tailgate light bar is 60 inches in length, which is ideal for the back of most vehicles – shorter options are available too. We recommend taking a tape measure to the back of your car prior to choosing a set of lights, to be on the safe side.

  • Color

It might seem like a purely aesthetic concern, but the color of your tailgate lights can be important. If you tend to drive in poor weather conditions, such as fog, snow, and rain, we’d recommend choosing a set of lights that have different color displays for different driving functions. For example, number seven on our list features red, white, and amber bulbs; white for the reverse light, red for the brake light, and amber for turning signals. This differentiation makes your driving intentions clearer to other road users than a single-color setup would.

  • Installation Method

All of the tailgate lights on our list come with installation equipment included, and there are a few different methods to choose from:

  • Glue – One of the most popular installation options is a powerful automotive glue. The main benefit of this installation method is how easy it is – just be sure to allow plenty of drying time.
  • Adhesive Strip – Some tailgate bars come with a strip of self-adhesive tape attached to their back. This allows them to be quickly and easily put into place on the back of your car. However, these strips often need to be supplemented by other installation equipment.
  • Clips and Screws – Other light bars are simply screwed into place. This is the most secure method of attaching one, but it is time consuming and means that holes must be drilled in the back of your vehicle. In some cases, clips that hold the bar in place are attached to these screws.

What Is The Purpose Of Tailgate Light Bars?

Tailgate lights have a few main functions:

  • Improving Visibility

Having extra lights on your vehicle is a simple but effective way to help other drivers see you, particular in dark, rainy, or foggy conditions. The LEDs used in these lights are usually brighter than factory installed lights, making them capable of cutting through the air no matter what.

  • Making Signals clearer

Many tailgate lights are plugged into your car’s existing wiring, allowing them to synchronise with your brake light, reversing light, and turn signals. This brightens up your existing display, making your intentions clear to other road users.

  • Improving Appearance

Another reason to install a light bar is to simply improve your car’s appearance. These lights look very attractive and distinctive on the back of your truck.

Setup and Installation

Installation instructions for tailgate bars will vary between manufacturers, and it’s important to follow them as closely as possible to achieve a secure fit. We’ve compiled a few tips to help make sure your installation is a breeze:

  • Be sure to thoroughly clean the back of your vehicle prior to installing the lights
  • Attach the lights to a 12v bench tester and ensure they’re working correctly before installation
  • Before purchasing a set of lights, check the laws in your state regarding auxiliary vehicle lighting to ensure you’ll be driving legally
  • Always disconnect the negative terminal of your vehicle’s battery when installing any lighting

Best Tailgate Light Bar FAQ:

Q: How long it will Last on Your Vehicle

This will depend on the product you choose – most come with an adhesive designed especially for automotive use, so it’s unlikely that the bar itself will come unstuck. As for the LED lights, durability will vary. A good quality set will last for anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 hours of use. In real-life terms, this means you’ll be able to cover well over 100,000 miles before you need to worry about replacing the lights! This incredible durability stems from the low energy usage of LEDs.

Q: Are tailgate light bars waterproof?

Yes, they are. Although the bulbs themselves are not resistant to water, they’re housed within a waterproof and weatherproof tube. This waterproof exterior is clearly vital, since this type of lighting is at its most useful in poor visibility conditions such as rain, snow, hail, and sleet. Most light bars are also tough enough to withstand the onslaught of mud and debris from the road. Despite this great durability, it’s a good idea to clean your new tailgate bar regularly. This ensures it doesn’t become damaged, and continues to be highly visible hence perform its function properly.

Q: How do I determine what length light bar I will need?

This depends on where you plan to install it, and what type of vehicle you have. Use a tape measure to gauge the length of the surface you plan on adhering the light strip to, and use this as a guide to inform your purchasing decision.

Q: Can tailgate light bar sync to my truck’s hazard lights?

Yes – your tailgate light bar can be synchronised so it flashes when your car’s hazard lights are switched on. Assuming it has been properly connected to the lighting wiring, the light bar will give your hazard lights a boost, allowing you to be more easily seen. truck light bar

Our Top Pick

For us, the best tailgate light bar has to be Nilight’s 60 inch flexible strip. The 108 LED lights housed inside each device shine 35% brighter than standard LEDs, throwing out enough light to ensure that, no matter the conditions, other drivers can see exactly where you are and avoid collisions. The strip light is durable too, thanks to its flexible housing that keeps snow, wind, dirt, and rain at bay, making it ideal for any season. Synchronising with your existing lights, the device can function as a turn signal, brake light, reverse light, and tail light all in one – boosting your existing signaling power with ease.

The fact that it’s so easy to install is another bonus: the powerful adhesive includes precludes the need for any time-consuming drilling, and allows you to mount the light any time, anywhere. At under $25, the device is a great option for anyone who wants to see and be seen better on the road, or simply to improve the appearance of their vehicle.

Sources:

  1. Trunk LED Tailgate Strip Light Installation – IFIXIT
  2. How to Make Your Truck Look Cool – wikiHow

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