Single Row vs Double Row: Which Light Bar Design is Actually Better?

If you’re in the market for a light bar you might’ve noticed that some lights are single row and some lights are double row. What the heck is the difference? A single row has fewer LEDs so isn’t it worse? Each design has its pros and cons. Let’s dive in and we’ll explain it to you.

Single Row – Pros and Cons

Single row light bars aren’t common on trucks or jeeps, however, are common on desert race vehicles. Why are the single row lights more common on desert race vehicles you might ask? The answer is mostly in how single row lights project their light. When you’re driving very fast through the desert you need to be able to see far ahead. If the light bar can’t project light far away then you could be risking your life going fast through the desert.

Baja Designs OnX6 Single Row 50″ Light Bar

The Baja Design OnX6, for example, uses 10W Cree LEDs and outputs an insane 32,250 lumens. This is because of it’s very large projectors which direct light in a very specific direction.
Check the latest prices for the Baja Designs OnX6 50″

Single row light bars also taking up less space vertically, meaning you can install more of them in a small area. Single row light bars also have much larger projectors which will direct more light in a single direction. This means less light is going up into the trees or down onto your hood.

Double Row – Pros and Cons

Most of the light bars you’ll find on trucks and Jeeps are double row. There are a couple reasons why double row lights are more common, but it mostly boils down to beam pattern. Most people are driving very fast when they’re off-roading. If you’re not going very fast then you don’t need your lights to go very far. Double row light bars typically provide a wide spread beam pattern. This is because of how small the projectors must be since they are double stacked.

Rigid Industries 50″ Arc Midnight Edition

The Rigid Industries E-Series 50″ uses 5W LEDs and outputs 26,150 lumens. This light bar outputs fewer lumens than the Baja Designs 50″ shown above because of the double row design. Less light is being directed forwards resulting in lost light. The Rigid Industries light bar, however, has a wider beam pattern which is better for simple trail riding.
Check the latest prices on the Rigid Industries 50″ Arc Midnight

One of the cons of a double stacked light bar is increased drag. Putting a big double stack on the roof of your truck could significantly impact your fuel economy. This is simply because how tall a double row light bar is. This also means a double row light bar can be hard to fit in tight spaces. For our 2015 Fiesta ST, we plan on installing a single row light bar to take up as little space as possible.

Summary

Don’t forget to check out our full Light Bar Buying Guide.
When deciding if you should buy a single row light bar or a double row light bar you need to know what kind of driving you’ll be doing. If you plan on driving fast you’ll want a single row light bar to project the light further. If you don’t plan on going fast you’ll want a double row light bar to project the light wider and closer.

About Bryce Cleveland 221 Articles
Bryce is a die hard car fanatic. When he's not working on his Jeep Cherokee, he's beating it up in the desert. He started Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 and continues to write content for it as much as possible.

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