December 2017 Top 22 Best LED Light Bars for Sale

One of the best modifications you can put on your truck or car is an LED light bar. Not only do they look awesome but they really light up the road at night. If you live in an area that doesn’t have lots of street lights an LED light bar may be necessary to even drive at night. In our case, we love to go off-roading at night because it’s so hot during the day. An LED light bar is absolutely necessary to see where you’re going in the middle of the desert.

The great thing about LED light bars is that they come in many different sizes and forms. This means that an LED light bar can be easily mounted anywhere on your vehicle. Even if you have a smaller car you’ll be able to install a powerful LED light bar easily. If you have a large vehicle like a truck then you can install multiple large LED light bars.

The most popular sizes are 2” pods, 12” LED light bars, 20” LED light bars, 24” LED light bars, 30” LED light bars, 40” LED light bars, and finally 50-54” LED light bars. If you have a truck the best option is a 50” or 52” LED light bar for your roof. Mounting an LED light bar on your roof helps to eliminate the shadows that off-road lights can produce if they’re mounted low.

Brand Type of LEDs Waterproofing Warranty Price Check
Rigid Industries Cree IP68 Lifetime Check Latest Price
Baja Designs Cree IP68 Lifetime Check Latest Price
KC HiLites Cree IP68 27 Years Check Latest Price
Rough Country Cree IP67 3 Years Check Latest Price
Rigid Horse Cree/Philips IP67 None Check Latest Price
Auxbeam Cree/Philips No Waterproofing 1 Year Check Latest Price

This article is fairly long so you can jump to different sections here:

Best LED Pods
Best 12” – 24” LED Light Bars
Best 30” – 40” LED Light Bars
Best 40” – 54” LED Light Bars
Best UTV LED Light Bars
Best Motorcycle LED Light Bars

Quality vs Price

Something I want to talk about before we start is the importance of quality. You wouldn’t be proud of your cell phone if it was a knock-off iPhone, would you? Just because you found a 50” LED light bar on Amazon for $75 doesn’t mean you should buy it. Super cheap LED light bars have extremely poor light output, light pattern, and build quality. If your friend claims his cheap LED light bar is as bright as a Rigid Industries LED light bar, then your friend has never actually seen a Rigid Industries LED light bar.

Time and time again I see 20” Rigid Industries LED light bars that outperform 2x cheap 50” LED light bars. I am telling you after years of selling LED light bars locally, don’t buy cheap Chinese LED light bars. You’ll be buying a low-quality product that will break and effectively waste your money. Buy a product you’re proud of and buy from a company that will always stand behind their products.

Best LED Light Pods

If you want LED light but don’t want a big bulky LED light bar than these LED light pods are definitely the way to go. They all pack a ton of power into very small packages. These pods also give you more options for mounting locations and how you have them angled. They also work great on something small like a motorcycle, ATV, or UTV.

#1 Rigid Industries D-SS


We wanted to start out the list of pods with one of our favorite products, the Rigid Industries D-SS. One of the problems that occurs with LED lighting, is not having enough lighting going to the side of the trail. You do want to see in front of you obviously, but knowing what’s to the left or right is really nice as well. These LED light pods are great because of their unique design. Not only do they feature normal forward facing LEDs, but also diagonal facing LEDs to help illuminate the sides of the trail.

Although these light pods are a little pricey their innovative design is completely worth it. Just like every other Rigid Industries product out there, these are built to the tough possible standards with waterproof, dustproof and shock proofing. They only consume 24W of power each, and output 2,400 lumens which is a very impressive watt/lumen ratio. If you have the money for these little pods, they’re pretty hard to beat.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 24W each
  • Output: 2,400 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#2 Baja Designs Squadron Sport


Coming in on our #2 spot is Baja Designs. Although we like Baja Designs quite a lot, these pods are pretty pricey so we couldn’t justify putting them in the #1 spot. They do, however, offer quite a few different style LED light pods ranging from $200 to $700. Unlike the pods listed above, these ones don’t feature any sort of ground breaking innovation, but they are top notch.

The Squadron Sport LED light pods consume 20W of power each, and output 1,800 lumens. This is slightly fewer lumens/watt, but Baja Designs primarily focuses on making good projectors. This means if you plan on doing any sort of racing, these are the lights you’ll need. These light pods are fully waterproof, dust proof, and they’re covered by a lifetime warranty. We don’t think they look the prettiest, but these pods are definitely great for racing.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 20W each
  • Output: 1,800 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#3 Rigid Industries D2 Midnight (Editor’s Choice)


In our #3 spot is Rigid Industries. Rigid offers a few different kinds of LED light pods, but the Midnight edition is the best looking. On top of looking pretty good, they aren’t very expensive for the kind of quality you’re getting. Unlike the D-SS pods, the D2 pods are just the typical 2×2 design. Other than being blacked out, there is nothing special about these pods.

Just like pretty much every other Rigid Industries product, these little light pods are fully waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. They output 1,600 lumens in a full spot beam pattern at 16W. Once again this is a really good lumen/watt ratio. Overall we think these are the best high quality LED light pods for the money. If you need pods for a street legal specific application, Rigid Industries has a variant of the D2 that can help you out.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 16W each
  • Output: 1,600 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#4 Rough Country 2” X5


Last but certainly not least are the Rough Country X5 LED light pods. Although Rough Country doesn’t have the same authority in the LED light bar market as Rigid Industries or Baja Designs, they still make really good lights. The X5 LED pods use the standard 2×2 pod design, and jam one more LED in the center of it all. This creates an X shaped pattern, hence the name X5.

We don’t really think they look very good, but it provides a good light output at a low price. These light pods are IP67 water resistant and dust resistant. They output a claimed 2,250 lumens at 25W thanks to the 5th LED diode in the middle. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money but still get a halfway decent product this is definitely the way to go.

  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Power: 25W each
  • Output: 2,250 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP67
  • Build Quality: Good

Best 12” – 24” LED Light Bars

The 12” – 24” LED light bars are great for a number of reasons. You can easily fit one of these LED light bars behind the grill of pretty much any car. These LED light bars also output a ton of light for their size which really helps justify spending the money on a quality one.

#1 Baja Designs OnX6 20″


Up first is Baja Designs with their OnX6 light bars. Although this light bar is pretty expensive, the amount of light it outputs is absolutely insane. Part of this is because of Baja Designs’ single row design which allows them to use very large projectors. Those large projectors really put the light where you want it, and doesn’t waste any of it. Other than that, this LED light bar isn’t really innovative in any way, it’s just extremely high quality.

The OnX6 20″ uses 10W Cree chips for a total of 120W of power and an absolutely insane 14,700 lumens. This LED light bar is also IP69 water and dust proof, as well as IK10 mechanical impact resistant. If you can manage to break it, however, Baja Designs covers this LED light bar with a lifetime warranty. Although this LED light bar is very expensive, it outputs nearly twice as many lumens as the next best 20” light bar.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 120W
  • Output: 14,700 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#2 Rigid Industries E-Series 20” Midnight (Editor’s Choice)


Second on our list is the Rigid Industries E-Series 20” Midnight. We would’ve put this LED light bar first on the list, but it lacks in total lumen output. We absolutely love how the blacked out Midnight Edition looks and plan on installing one behind the grill of our 2015 Fiesta ST. Being all blacked out makes it less noticeable which makes it less susceptible to theft.

Just like any other Rigid Industries LED light bar, this one is water, dust, and shock resistant. It outputs an impressive 9,200 lumens at 110W. It should be noted, however, that the Baja Designs OnX6 outputs 5,500 more lumens while only consuming 10W more. If you want the blacked out look, then this is the LED light bar for you. Plus it’s priced very competitively.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 110W
  • Output: 9,200 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#3 Rigid Industries Radiance 20″


Third on our list is the Radiance 20” which is one of the most affordable products that Rigid Industries makes. The design isn’t the best looking but definitely isn’t the worst. You still get Rigid’s legendary build quality and light output, but at a much lower cost. One of the cool things about the Radiance series of LED light bars is the ambient lighting. Different versions have different colors of ambient lighting which can accent your truck really well.

Just like any other Rigid Industries product, the 20” Radiance is water, dust, and shock resistant. The Radiance 20” outputs 5,300 lumens at 94W. This is significantly less than than the E-Series listed above, but the Radiance is quite a bit cheaper. If you want Rigid Industries legendary quality but don’t want to spend a lot of money then this is the LED light bar for you.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 94W
  • Output: 5,300 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#4 Rough Country 20” Black Series


To finish this list off we found the best bang for buck 20” LED light bar possible. We ended up with the Rough Country Black Series. Just like before, we picked the Black Series because of its awesome looks. Rough Country makes a chrome version of this LED light bar if you would rather have that.

This light bar is IP67 water and dust resistant, uses 120 watts of power, and outputs 9,600 lumens. If you’ve been keeping track of numbers then you might’ve noticed this LED light bar outputs more Rigid Industries E-Series. The light beam isn’t going to nearly as good as the other light bars on this list, neither will the build quality. If you’re on a tight budget but still want a quality product then this LED light bar is pretty hard to beat.

  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Power: 120W
  • Output: 9,600 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP67
  • Build Quality: Good

Best 30” – 40” LED Light Bars

We love the 30″ to 40″ light bar size because it’s perfect for mounting on a front bumper. Mounting the light bar down low on a bumper does create more shadows, but unlike a roof mounted light bar it won’t cause any windshield glare. An amber light bar is ideal on the front bumper because it won’t light up the dust in front of the windshield making it much easier to see where you’re going in dusty conditions.

#1 Rigid Industries E-38” Amber/White


In the 30”+ size we love the Rigid Industries amber and white LED light bars. This allows you to switch back and forth from amber to white color. Amber is much better at cutting through the dust than just plain white so this LED light bar will be perfect if you plan on driving in dusty environments or racing.

Just like all Rigid Industries products, this LED light bar is water, dust, and shock proof. If you can somehow manage to break it, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty. This LED light bar outputs an impressive 12,578 lumens at 152W. Although this LED light bar is fairly expensive, the amber feature makes it well worth it.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 152W
  • Output: 12,578 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#2 Baja Designs OnX6 30″


Second on our list is the OnX6 30” from Baja Designs. Just like the other Baja Designs products we’ve talked about, this one isn’t really innovative. The design is pretty standard, but the components used are the best available. Baja Designs focuses on making sure the projectors inside their LED light bars are as good as possible.

This LED light bar uses 18 Cree LEDs that add up to 175W and output an insane 22,050 lumens. This light bar is impact, dust, and waterproof just like all Baja Designs products. Although this doesn’t have the ability to switch from white to amber like the E-38, you can buy an all amber version of this LED light bar. We would recommend getting the all amber version if you plan on driving in dusty conditions.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 175W
  • Output: 22,050 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#3 Rigid Industries E-Series 30” Midnight Edition (Editor’s Choice)


Third on our list is the E-Series 30” Midnight. Unfortunately, this LED light bar doesn’t use the amber design of the E-Series listed above, but the awesome looking all black design makes up for it. Once again, the all-black design helps keep your LED light bar less noticeable, helping to keep thieves at bay.

This LED light bar uses 165W and outputs an impressive 13,800 lumens. Of course, it’s water, dust, and impact proof just like all Rigid Industries products. We think this 30” has the best bang for back in this category. Rigid Industries does offer a chrome version of this LED light bar if you don’t like the all black design.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 165W
  • Output: 13,800 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#4 Rigid Industries Radiance 40″


Last but definitely not least is the Rigid Industries Radiance 40”. This 40” LED light bar comes in at half the cost of the other light bars while actually being the largest in size. It features that legendary Rigid Industries reliability that we love, in a small form factor. It also features an ambient lighting system if you’re into that.

Of course, it’s also water, dust, and shock resistant. It outputs an impressive 12,348 lumens at 217W making it super bright for the money. If you’re on a budget then this is the perfect LED light bar for you. If you have a little bit of extra money laying around, however, we would recommend the E-Series midnight listed above.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 217W
  • Output: 12,348 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

Best 42” – 54” LED Light Bars

The 42″ – 54″ light bars are great for installing on the roof of your vehicle. Since most car/truck roofs are curved we recommend purchasing a curved light bar to properly fit your roof. If you drive a Jeep Wrangler, don’t worry, there are straight versions of every single LED light bar listed below.

#1 Baja Designs OnX6 50” Arc Series


First up is the Baja Designs OnX6 50” Arc. This LED light bar doesn’t bring any groundbreaking innovation to the table, but it does offer an insane amount of light output. Baja Designs’ main focus with their product is using high-quality LEDs and the best projectors possible. We know some people don’t want a single row light bar on their roof, but if you want to best light pattern possible, this is the way to go.

The OnX6 50” outputs an insane 32,250 lumens at 315 watts which is a pretty good lumen/watt ratio indicating a good design. The curved design works well with the spot/flood design providing excellent coverage on the trail. It also features a 5000K color which is a very natural shade of white. Of course, this LED light bar also features a lifetime warranty and it’s water/dust/impact proof. If you plan on doing a lot of desert racing we would recommend getting the ‘racer’ version of this light bar.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 315W
  • Output: 32,250 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#2 Rigid Industries RDS 50” Midnight (Editor’s Choice)


Second on our list is the RDS 50” from Rigid Industries. Although we recommend the Rigid Industries E-Series a lot, it’s good reason. If you want the best of the best, then this is it, plus the midnight edition looks awesome. This LED light bar doesn’t really bring any sort of new innovations, but the new Pro versions of these light bars are even brighter than the older version. Just like every other E-Series, this light bar is pretty expensive, but again, if you want the best of the best you have to pay for it.

This LED light bar outputs 26,150 lumens at 375W which is a surprisingly low lumen/watt ratio, but still a lot of lumens non-the-less. Just like most Rigid Industries products this LED light bar is water, dust, and shock proof. If you really don’t like the all black look this LED light bar is offered in the standard chrome E-Series design.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 375W
  • Output: 26,150 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#3 Rigid Industries 50” SR-Series Midnight Edition


Third on our list is another product from Rigid Industries, this time it’s the SR-Series. This is perfect if you want a single row design like the Baja Designs OnX6 but with the Midnight Edition look from Rigid Industries. The SR-Series also has the benefit of being quite a bit cheaper than the standard E-Series LED light bar.

This light bar outputs 18,750 lumens and consumes 200W. This is a much better lumen/watt ratio than the E-Series LED light bar listed above, but still not as good as the OnX6 from Baja Designs. Of course, this LED light bar is water, dust, and shock proof so you won’t have to worry about it breaking when you’re going hard off-road.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 200W
  • Output: 18,750 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

#4 Rigid Industries Radiance 50″


Last but certainly not list on the list is the 50” Radiance from Rigid Industries. Its low cost makes it the perfect middle ground between the typical E-Series light bar from Rigid and a cheap Chinese LED light bar. One of our favorite features of this light bar is its ambient lighting system which will really set off the look of your truck, Jeep, or UTV.

Although it’s not as good looking as the SR-Series it outputs lots of light, 21,384 lumens at 243 watts to be exact. It’s also water, dust, and shock resistant so it can take a beating. It should be noted that it’s only resistant to the elements and is more likely to fail under extreme conditions, but still much stronger than a cheap Chinese LED light bar.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 278W
  • Output: 15,876 lumens
  • Water Proofing: IP68
  • Build Quality: Excellent

Best UTV LED Light Bars

UTVs have become extremely popular in the last 5 years. Can-Am took the UTV market to the next level with their Maverick XRS. UTVs have become extremely fast and can blast through the desert at insane speeds. The only problem is most UTV owners live in the desert where night off-roading is common. If you want to blast through the desert at night you need to be able to see enough to not crash.

#1 Baja Designs OnX6 30”

Most UTVs are pretty narrow and a 30” LED light bar is basically the biggest size that will fit. Although the OnX6 30” is pretty expensive, it projects light extremely far which is important if you want to go fast. We specifically chose the amber version of this light bar because often times UTVs travel in packs making conditions extremely dusty. The amber light will cut through the dust and make it easier to see where you’re going.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 175W
  • Output: 22,050 lumens

#2 Rigid Industries Capture (Editor’s Choice)

Next up on our list is the Rigid Industries Capture LED light bar. We know that driving in a UTV can take you to incredible places and racing around through the desert can make for some really awesome looking footage. Rigid Industries is the only company to offer an LED light bar with integrated charging for a GoPro camera. These means you drive all night long and record awesome footage without having to worry about your GoPro dying.

The LED light bar itself is around 12” and includes a high/low beam. On the low setting it outputs 1764 lumens, and on the high setting, it outputs 5,880 lumens.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 71W/12W
  • Output: 5,880/1,764 lumens

#3 Rigid Industries Dually XL Hyperspot

Third on our list is the Dually XL Hyperspot LED light cubes. We chose these because of their hyper spot projectors which will help you see significantly father. Plus these cubes are relatively small which is important on a small vehicle like a UTV. These cubes have twice as many LEDs as the normal Dually lineup which gives them a ton of light output.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 33W
  • Output: 2,736 lumens

Best Motorcycle LED Light Bars

One of the best things about LED light bars is the ability to install them on anything you want. If you have a “naked” bike or a dirt bike an LED light bar can help you see and be seen. This will ultimately make riding safer and much more enjoyable.

#1 Rigid Industries Ignite Motorcycle Kit

When it comes to motorcycle lighting Rigid Industries is pretty much the only way to go. Especially since Rigid offers a kit that makes it super easy to install a light on your motorcycle. Their kit comes with 2x high/low beam LED light pods and a simple wiring system that makes installation a breeze.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 12W each
  • Output: 1,000 lumens each

#2 Baja Designs XL Racer Edition

Second on our list are the Baja Designs XL Racer Edition LED light pods. Although these pods are extremely pricey, they’re specifically engineered for speeds over 100mph. Being able to see at high speeds is incredibly important, especially on two wheels. This kit also includes a simple wiring harness to make installation nice and easy. You’ll probably need an upgraded stator since these pods use quite a bit of power.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 40W each
  • Output: 4,300 lumens each

#3 Rigid Industries 6” Midnight Edition (Editor’s Choice)

Third on our list is yet another Rigid Industries product. We absolutely love the midnight edition LED light bars. The small 6” design will fit on most bikes. The blacked out look will definitely improve the look of your motorcycle and improve your vision at night. Although this LED light bar isn’t as cheap as the Rigid Industries motorcycle kit, it will output way more light. Rigid Industries also offers an SAE street legal 6” LED light bar if you’re worried about getting a ticket.

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Power: 45W
  • Output: 4,500 lumens

What to Look For

I know it’s tempting to just buy the cheapest light bar possible. After selling light bars locally for over two years I learned one very important thing, low cost will always equal very low quality. If you think that companies like Rigid Industries or Baja Designs are expensive for no reason then you are wrong. Companies that produce super cheap lights bar have to make some sort of profit. To turn a profit they’ll use the cheapest components possible and lie about the quality. The end result is something like a cheap 50” light bar that outputs less light than a 6” Rigid Industries light bar.

I totally understand if you can’t afford a super expensive light bar because I can’t either. I’m going to tell you what you need to look for in a light bar so you don’t buy one that sucks.

Different Types of LEDs

The first thing you need to look for is the type of LEDs that the light bar uses. A lot of Chinese LED light bar manufacturers lie about what kind of LEDs they use. I’ve sold thousands of light bars and know how to tell the different LEDs apart from each other.

Epistar LEDs are always completely round. These are different than most LEDs which are square. Back in the day sellers would claim their light bars used Cree LEDs, but they actually used Epistar LEDs to lower their cost. I would stay away from these Epistar LEDs because they have really poor light output and a very bad light color.

CREE LEDs are always square and look kind of small. These are typically easy to identify because of their smaller footprint. These are a massive step up from Epistar LEDs but don’t provide the best possible light output or color.

Osram LEDs are always square, but the yellow diode is always round. These are easy to identify because of the little projector that’s on top of the diode. Osram LEDs output the most lumens of all these LEDs thanks to their advanced design. I would argue that the light color is acceptable but it could be slightly warmer.

Philips LEDs are also square with a round diode. You can tell these apart from the Osram LEDs because they don’t have a large projector on the diode. These output about as much light as Cree LEDs, but they have the best light color.

Different Types of Projectors

The projectors are what forces the light into a pattern instead of letting it go everywhere. There are a few different kind of projectors although many of the older designs are starting to be phased out in favor of better designs.

Reflector Cup The first design that came onto the light bar scene was the reflector cup. This design continues to appear in low-end light bars today but is starting to die off. This design uses a simple upside-down cone that’s super reflective to direct the light. The problem with this design is that it allows a lot of light to go way outside the usable beam. I would stay away from any light bar using this design because the light output will be poor and the beam will be even worse.

3D Projectors use a very similar design as reflector cups but with a small projector over the diode. This helped eliminate so much light spilling far outside the beam which resulted in a tighter and brighter beam. This is much better than the reflector cup design but it’s still not very good at putting the light in a tight beam.

4D Projectors are much better than the first two designs. Gone is the upside down reflector cone in favor of an actual projector. The 4D design provides a way better light pattern and ultimately a far more light output. The only problem with this design is that the light isn’t directed into the projector. This allows for light to spill internally which limits light output.

5D Projectors fix the design issue of the 4D projectors and add a reflector cup under the projector. This directs all the light into projector resulting in more light output. The beam is the same as a 4D projector but with an increased light output. We strongly recommend getting a 5D light bar since it performs so much better than any other design.

6D and 7D Projectors are pretty much the same as a 5D projector. Unfortunately, the Chinese LED light bar industry became obsessed with incrementing the number in front of the D every time a new feature was added. The main features on these are the daytime running lights and light sensors built in. This makes them safer for road use, but light bars aren’t legal on the street so I wouldn’t bother paying extra for 6D or 7D LED light bars.

8D Projectors are typically a quad row design for the spot beam projectors and sometimes a dual row design for the flood beam projectors. Like I mentioned above, the Chine LED light bar industry is obsessed with increasing the number before the D because of the massive sales increases when the 4D design hit the market. I strongly recommend staying away from 8D LED light bars. They may have a super high lumen count but the small projectors won’t put all those lumens to good use.

Water and Dust Resistance

Considering that most of you are buying a LED light bar for your truck or Jeep it’s important that you buy something water and dust resistant. If you find a light bar you like but it’s not at least IP67 then stay away from it. If it’s IP67 rated that means it’s fully dust resistant and water resistant up to 1m deep. An IP68 rating that also means that it is fully dust resistant, and is water resistant up to 1.5m deep for 30 minutes.

As long as the light bar you’re looking at is at least IP67 you’ll probably be fine. Also be sure to check all the little bolts on the face are tight. If those little bolts wiggle loose dust and water will get into your light bar and ruin it. It’s especially common for dust and water to get into light bars that don’t have bolts on the face (ask us how we know).

Importance of a Warranty

Obviously, if a manufacturer is selling a low-quality product they know it. If the warranty is only 3 months long that’s a clear indicator that it’s a bad product. The manufacturer knows the super cheap components aren’t reliable so they’ll offer a very short warranty to save money on returns. We don’t recommend buying another without a lifetime warranty. Anything less than a lifetime warranty is a clear sign of a poorly manufactured product.

Curved vs Straight

A big topic of discussion is curved light bars vs straight light bars. Each design has its pros and cons, and each person has a different opinion about which one is better. For light off-roading, we prefer curved light bars because they light up a broader area than straight light bars. Conversely, for heavy off-roading, we prefer straight light bars because it puts more light right on the trail.

Many off-road racers prefer straight light bars because it puts more light on the trail and less light off the trail. Straight light bars also project the light much further thanks to their tighter beam pattern. If you’re serious about off-roading then I would definitely recommend a straight light bar.

LED vs HID

If you were around in the off-road scene before light bars become popular you know about HIDs. If you didn’t know, HIDs we’re the best form of lighting back in the day. You’ve probably seen Jeeps with big circle lights on the top before, and those circle lights are likely HIDs. Many people still use HID off-road lights, but at this point, most people have made the switch.

HIDs do one thing very well, and that’s project light an extremely far distance. This is one area where cheap light bars are still struggling, but quality light bars like Rigid Industries and Baja Designs are thriving. This is why many well-paid race teams have switched to Rigid Industries LED light bars, but race teams that are still on a budget often use HIDs.

Although HIDs can project light a very far distance, they’re fairly inefficient and produce a very blue colored light. As you may know, blue colored light is bad for off-roading because it lights up dust particles. This phenomenon will make you practically blind while driving, which is why some HIDs have amber tint or amber covers on them.

Spot vs Flood

Another thing you’ll see when buying a light bar is spot beam and flood beam. Flood beam is designed to flood the light everywhere. In theory, this sounds great because it illuminates more stuff, but in the real world it doesn’t work out so well. The problem is that flood beam spreads the light way too much. The end result is really poor light output and lots of light going straight up, or straight down. What use is your light bar if it’s lighting up the trees above you?

Spot beam is much more useful thanks to its tighter beam pattern. It puts more light where you need it, and less where you don’t. Spot + Flood light bars combine the best of both worlds, although we prefer full spot beam.

Amber Color vs White Color

One of the biggest problems you’ll face when using a light bar is being able to see through the dust. There have been times when we actually turned our light bars off because they were making it even harder to see through the dust. The easiest way to have a light go through the dust is to make it the same color as the dust. Some light bars are completely amber colored and some light bars can switch from white to amber. The choice is yours but we highly recommend an amber light bar if you plan on doing any desert racing.

Single Row vs Double Row

We’ve already covered this topic extensively in our Single Row vs Double Row article, but we want to quickly touch base on it. Most light bars use a double row design because of its high lumen output and good projector design. When space is a constraint, a single row LED light bar must be used. This is common when mounting in hood scoops or bumper slots. Single row LED light bars can also use deeper and larger projectors to send the light further down the trail.

One of the most innovative LED light bars to come out in the ADAPT series from Rigid Industries uses a single row design. The single row design allowed to use massive projectors which is how they use their adaptive lighting technology.

Importance of Vehicle Specific Brackets

I know it’s really tempting to save a couple bucks and use the brackets that come with light bars. If you’re planning on mounting the light bar somewhere other than your roof then that might be okay, but if you’re planning on mounting your light bar on your roof then we highly recommend purchasing vehicle specific brackets.

The brackets that come with a light bar are made to be mounted on a flat surface. The roof of your truck or SUV isn’t completely flat. Furthermore, the stock mounts require holes to be drilled directly into your roof. The roof isn’t designed to hold the weight of a light bar and eventually there will be massive dents where your light bar was mounted.

Vehicle specific brackets fix this by mounting the light bar to your door jambs or roof rack. Both the door jambs and roof rack are designed for holding up weight indefinitely. Vehicle specific brackets also position the light bar in a much more optimal position and look WAY better.

A good place to look for vehicle specific prices is Rough Country. They offer brackets for many different vehicles ranging from Ford trucks to Jeeps. We’ve used Rough Country brackets in the past and they were great. Another option is to have a local fabrication shop make custom brackets for you. Although custom-made brackets are more expensive they’ll probably look better.

About Bryce Cleveland 249 Articles

Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. When he’s not writing for Dust Runners he’s writing for Power Automedia as a freelancer. He currently drives a 2015 Fiesta ST and absolutely loves it.

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