How To Pick A LED Light Bar
Deciding to upgrade your lights is easy, but before you pick an LED light bar, you need to have a clear understanding as to why you want a light bar. There are typically three reasons for adding an LED light bar to your vehicle:
- You travel off the beaten path where adequate light can be scarce.
- You are going for the off-road rugged look
- Both 1 & 2
When looking for an LED light bar, there are a couple of factors to consider. Below we’ll discuss some important factors to consider before choosing the ideal light bar for your needs.
There are five types of beam patterns available for LED light bars. The two more well known patterns are spot lights and flood lights. Spot lights project light as far as possible while flood lights project light as wide as possible. A single product that utilizes both of these beams is known as a combination beam pattern, so you get the best of both worlds. Lastly, there are scene and driving beams. The scene pattern projects light wider than a flood light while the driving light is akin to that of your standard, factory headlights.
Light bars are available in only two colors. Black is the standard color and has remained the most popular since its introduction. However, the product is also available in white. White LED light bars are popular among boating enthusiasts as well as individuals with white vehicles who are looking to match their light bar with their vehicle.
When it comes to the color of the lights in your LED light bar, the most popular range is 6000K to 6500K. This provides a pure crisp white light and is perfect for backroads, trail riding, and any place with limited lighting. The second most popular color for an LED light bar is amber. Amber lights range from about 3000K to 3500K and is useful for navigating bad weather conditions due to it being less reflective.
If you’re on the fence about which color to go with for your next LED light bar, then you can look at Aurora’s All-Weather series LED light bars which combines a 6000K light and an amber 3500K light. Click the picture below to view the Aurora All Weather LED Light bar series
One of the most popular questions we get asked is “What’s the biggest LED light bar I can fit on my vehicle?”
In this case, size doesn’t always matter. When you pick a quality LED light bar from Aurora, you don’t need the biggest product to get more light. Aurora light bars are manufactured with better quality components that produce more light in a smaller package. That’s why the most popular Aurora LED light bars can range in size from 10” to 30”. Choosing to invest in smaller, higher quality product leaves you options for your ideal mounting location.
Of course, if you are more interested in the look rather than the function, or in addition to it, 40 to 50 in light bars are also available.
The construction of a LED light bar is extremely important because it dictates the longevity of the product. If you think that by purchasing the cheapest LED light bars from Amazon & eBay will save you money, you are mistaken. Once that lower quality product burns out, you can purchase another. And another. And another after that. It’s the logic a lot of us use, but at the end of the day it’s not the best decision. Purchase after purchase of cheap products that must be replaced will eventually add up.
Keep in mind that those cheap products will fail, and it won’t be convenient for you. At the end of the day it will be your hard-earned money and precious time being wasted. By taking the leap and investing just as much time and money into a product as you put into your vehicle, you will be doing yourself a huge favor.
There are a few things to look for when looking for in the construction of an LED light bar.
Ingress rating or IP rating separates the good light bars from the bad ones. For instance, the Aurora LED light bars have an IP69 rating. The number six means the product is sealed and protected from dust entering the LED light. The number nine mean the product is sealed from water damage. Anything below an IP 68 should be avoided like the plague.
The housing is important because the product needs to withstand harsh environmental factors. Most LED light bars are constructed from 6061 aluminum which has been used in the manufacturing world since the 1930’s. However, Aurora LED light bars are housed in 6063 aluminum, which is used in the manufacturing of structural products where safety is a concern. Since the 6063 aluminum is more durable, it allows for the creation of superior cooling fins which increases the LED light bars ability to dissipate heat.
Lens composition is important because if you choose an inferior product you can experience, scratching, cracking or discoloration/yellowing of the lens. Many of the LED light bars found on Amazon and eBay often use cheaper polycarbonate lenses which lowers the overall manufacturing cost of the product. Inferior lenses also don’t allow nearly as much light to pass through leading to a loss in lumen output. The Aurora LED light bars use a GE Lexan Lens which is 300 times harder than glass, anti-shock, and anti-scratch.
Sealing is an important factor to keep a light working at it’s top performance. High quality LED light bars use screws to seal the lens and housing together to create an impenetrable seal. It’s important that the manufacturer uses stainless steel screws. If the manufacturer doesn’t use stainless steel screws in their LED light bars, you can bet that the product will succumb to moisture and other foreign materials. Screws on Aurora LED light bars are positioned outside of the PCBA, and they also have a silicone seal rated at IP68 and IP69 meaning that the product is waterproof.
The LED chips located in a LED light bar are important because it will dictate the manufacturers quality level. There are three common chips to be found. The first is called Cree chips. Cree chips are a high quality, American made, and found in Aurora products. These chips are known for their high quality and affordable prices. These chips are known for reducing drive loss and improving overall system luminosity. Next are the Osram chips that are German made and can be found in high quality products. These chips are known for their efficiency and brightness, however products with these chips are also known to be more expensive. Lastly, the Epistar chips are Taiwanese made and can be found in a lot of light bars sold on Amazon and eBay. The cost for these is cheaper and the lighting output isn’t as much as a Cree or Osram LED chip.
Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are truthful with their LED chips in their light bars. It can also be difficult for the consumer to know which LED chip the LED light bar is equipped with.
The only method to verify the manufacture of the LED chips in your LED light bar is to take the LED light bar apart. However, that will void every manufacturer’s warranty. So, to be safe, it’s best to only buy your LED light bars from reputable manufacturers.
When looking at wattage per LED, testing has verified that 3 watts and 5 watts are the most efficient when considering the overall retail price of the LED light bar. The lower end products found on eBay and Amazon are notorious for using 1-watt LED chips in their products. Therefore, consumers are typically disappointed by the LED light bars lighting output.
Whether you’re searching for an optimum light source or the perfect addition to complete that rugged off-road look, it’s important to invest in a quality product that will last. If you’re going for looks, don’t skimp. If you’re looking for that next upgrade, remember that nothing looks worse than an off-road vehicle rockin’ faded lenses on its LED light bar that is also filled up with moisture.
Off Brand was started in order to bring everyday people easy access to quality and affordable LED light bars. By following this guide, you can now make an informed decision for your next purchase. It’s your time and money, and you deserve a quality LED light bar that will last.
Check out our selection of quality Aurora LED light bars HERE!