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Light Up The Night: How to Buy the Best LED Light Bar for Driving

Light Up The Night: How to Buy the Best LED Light Bar for Driving

Did you know that LED lights can last 25 times more than conventional lights and use 75% less energy? That's why they are so popular these days as many people use them in their houses, commercial buildings or even cars. That is why you see them almost everywhere these days, in homes, commercial buildings and factory fitted in many new cars.

If you routinely drive at night, have you ever considered the benefits of having the best LED light bar out there? There are many LED light bar sizes to choose from, according to the vehicle you drive and where on the vehicle they are to be mounted. For example, whilst LED Light Bars have traditionally been mounted below the leading bonnet edge or above the windscreen (State legislations differ) there are now many different shapes and sizes to best suit your needs.

For example,there are smaller models to suit mounting on the roof rack or rear of the vehicle to illuminate your camping area or assist when reversing.

Keep reading this article to learn how to buy the best light bars for your car needs.

What Is an LED Light Bar?

Just as the name implies, an LED light bar is a piece of equipment that houses multiple LED lights in different arrays depending on application. LED light bars can be mounted on various vehicles such as pick-up trucks, utes, SUVs, off-road vehicles, Prime movers and heavy vehicles, mining applications,  ATVs, and so on. The LED light bars main purpose is to provide better illumination for the driver during low-light conditions. This is especially useful on winding tracks and difficult terrain where having a wide beam of light is more important than a long throw- for which dedicated Driving Lights are best.

LED Light Bars are widely used in regional areas to illuminate the sides of long straight roads which are prone to having Kangaroos and other wildlife jumping out onto the road. A good wide light pattern can help spot these animals before they do so, helping avoid dangerous and costly collisions.

Why Would You Buy an LED Light Bar?

In many cases, vehicles come with stock headlights and lighting options. These are good, but not very efficient at illuminating the road ahead. You would want to invest in an LED light bar to have better visibility while you drive at night. LED light bars can be very bright and enhance your safety while you drive at night, especially(particularly?) if you go off-road.

Top Factors to Consider When Buying LED Light Bars

To make sure you get the best bang for your buck, it's important to know more about LED light bars and how to select the right one for your vehicle and your requirements. Here are the most popular factors to take into account when shopping for LED bars.

1. Length of the Bar

Some bars are shorter, others are longer, depending on the size of your vehicle. It's important to measure the mounting area on your truck or ATV first and see how wide it is. Based on this information, you can go select the appropriate light bar for your vehicle. It's not a problem if you get a bar shorter than the width of your vehicle, but if the bar is too long, it can look unsightly when installed and potentially become a hazard to pedestrians and/or catch things on narrow tracks.

2. Single Row or Double Row

LED light bars are made from one, two or more rows of LED lights stacked one on top of the other. Each row can have from a few LED lights up to 48 or more. You can go for a single-row bar, but if brightness is your top priority, you could also invest in a LED bar with 2 or 3 rows. These bars are slightly larger in size, so they need to be installed properly to avoid restricting your visibility while driving.

With many modern low profile roof rack systems, single row light bars are a good solution when space between the vehicle roof and the roof rack is limited.

3. Mounting options

As mentioned earlier, you can install your LED bar above your windscreen. This is a popular installation spot as it doesn't obstruct visibility and it can easily illuminate the entire road ahead of you. However, you can also install the bar under the front bumper or right on top of your car, depending on your preferences and needs. As rules differ from state to state, you’ll need to refer to your state's specific regulations in light bar placement. These regulations have changed and continue to change so ensure you are aware of what is legal and what isn’t in your state! 

4. Water resistance and Ingress Protection (IP)?

What is Ingress Protection and why does it matter?

IP ratings determine how well protected the light bar etc is against dust and water ingress.

Generally speaking, the higher the IP rating the better the product is protected. Here is a summary of the usual standards and what this means.

 

IP64

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from water spray from any direction.

IP65

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from low pressure water jets from any direction.

IP66

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from high pressure water jets from any direction.

IP67

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from immersion between 15 centimeters and 1 meter in depth.

IP68

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from long term immersion up to a specified pressure.

IP69K

Protected from total dust ingress.

Protected from steam-jet cleaning.

 

We recommend you choose a light bar with a minimum IP67 rating.

5. The Shape of the Bar

There are two categories here - straight bars and curved bars. You might want to go for a curved bar if you want to install it just above your windscreen. However, straight bars are also very popular and they can be installed on virtually any vehicle.  A poorly engineered curved light bar will not penetrate very far down the road, see here for more information

6. LED Colour

The most popular LED color for light bars is white. This color also is the most efficient when it comes to illuminating the road ahead of you. However, you can also go for other colors such as light blue, yellow, red or green. Such bars have RGB LED lights that can illuminate the area in different colors. You might choose a different color, depending on your preference or type of terrain you drive on. 

Remember that red, green or blue LED light bars will also make you stand out from the crowd at night but the use of red and blue lights is reserved for emergency services and the law takes a very dim view of this so choose wisely.

7. Lumens Vs Lux Vs Watts

Many manufacturers cite massive “lumens” ratings for their products but this does not provide an accurate indicator of brightness. One reason for this is that light bars have many different lens configurations. For example, some light bars are purpose designed to throw light further down the road, while others are designed to spread a very wide beam.

 Lux is a far truer indicator of how bright the light will be. Many are measured at XXX Lux at XXXX metres away. Now this won’t help if you're looking to buy a bar that you’ll be using between 20-200m in front of you- be aware of this!

 Watts- Wattage is indicative of brightness in older, incandescent style lighting but with LED technology, Watts is a good measurement of the input power to the light bar but not the output at all.

8. LED Colour

Kelvin is the measure of light colour. Natural daylight is considered to be between 5500-6500 Kelvin and this is a good range to have your LED lights in to make the most of mimicking daylight and thus reducing fatigue on your eyes.

Poor quality LED’s with inferior reflectors often result in a very bright but dazzling light that's very tiring to put up with for extended drives. Road signs are reflective and cheaper or poorly designed LED lights reflect back on the driver far worse than more high quality or better designed light bars.

Proper alignment is important with all lights fitted to vehicles, particularly driving lights and light bars. 

9. Spot or Flood Beam Pattern

These are two different types of beam patterns you can choose from. A spot beam pattern offers a more narrow beam of light that can penetrate a longer distance. It's ideal for on-road driving as it can illuminate the entire street in front of you. Flood beam patterns offer a wider beam of light. This is usually more suitable for off-road driving. You can get a bar with a combination of beam patterns (both spot and flood) but be prepared to pay more money for it.

Earlier in the article we mentioned that some of the very best LED light bar and driving light brands have light bars with very specific uses. We highly recommend discussing your particular requirements with a specialist retailer to ensure that you get exactly what you need and expect.

Now You Know How to Buy the Best LED Light Bar for Your Vehicle!

As you can see, there are many important factors you need to take into account when buying the best LED light bar. The next step would be to set a budget and then start looking at various models of light bars from multiple brands. That's how you'll find the best LED bar for your particular vehicle.

If you want to save time, make sure that you check out our collection of LED light bars for different types of vehicles. Our bars are carefully selected from reputable brands and they can be installed with little to no effort!

 

 

 

 


  • May 08, 2020
  • Category: 4WD Club
  • Comments: 3
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