If you’re in the market for a light bar you may have heard the terms “spot” or “flood” a few times. These are references to the type of beam that is projected by the light bar. In some situations you’ll want a tight beam of light and in some cases you’ll want a wide beam of light. Each beam pattern has it’s pros and cons. We have a lot of experience with all types of beam patterns, so we’ll help explain it all to you.
Spot beam is used for projecting light far out in front of you. It does this with a special designed projector that keeps the light in a tight pattern. Think of like a lighthouse, but not nearly as powerful. If the angle of the light is around 30 degrees it’s usually considered spot beam. Most desert racers use spot beam light bars because it helps them see further down the trail.
If you plan on doing very slow type of driving like rock crawling then a spot beam light bar isn’t a good idea. You’ll only be able to see a small portion of the road, leaving you mostly blind to what’s around you.
Flood beam is used for projecting light in a very broad pattern. This is great for illuminating anything near you, but it lacks long distance lighting. Think of it like a shotgun of light, it blasts light everywhere. If the angle of the light is around 120 degrees it’s usually considered flood beam. Many rock crawler type of trucks use flood beam light bars because it helps illuminate all the stuff around them.
If you plan on driving at high speed flood beam isn’t going to work well. Without the ability to project light far out, you could be risking your life.
A combo beam is used to fix the cons of spot and flood beam by combining them. The increased versatility of the combo beam makes it the most popular. Not only can you see far away, but you can also see what’s around you. This allows you to handle any situation at night safely.
If you do different kinds of driving you should definitely purchase a combo beam light bar. This is our favorite type of light bar because it allows use to do anything we want out in the desert.
A hyperspot beam is basically a more intense spot beam. These are great for using on the street thanks to their extremely tight light pattern. You’re much less likely to blind oncoming traffic with the tight beam. We’ve used hyperspot light bar pods on our personal cars and loved them.
It’s generally illegal to use any kind of light bars on the street, but we use hyperspot pods on the street without any issues. As long as the lights are aimed at the street and the light pattern is extremely tight you won’t blind oncoming traffic.
If you plan on doing various types of driving you’ll want to buy a combo beam light bar. If you plan on doing any racing you’ll want a spot or hyperspot light bar. If you plan on doing something like rock crawling you’ll want a flood beam light bar. Personally we like the combo beam the most and you probably will as well. Be sure to also check out our full Light Bar Buying Guide.