Trucks today have astounding versatility. Whether for recreational or occupational use, pickups can do a lot. But, this versatility is significantly reduced when the sun goes down, making it harder to see. However, with an LED light bar for trucks, visibility at night may no longer be an issue.
LED lightbars are not for on-road use, but when you need light on the trail or for work, a lightbar is hard to beat. We have installed many lightbars for off-road applications over the years so join us to explore more about LED light bars and discuss a few options that may work best for your lifestyle.
What Is an LED Light Bar on a Truck?
An LED light bar for trucks is a long, thin supplemental light source typically attached to the top of the roof or front near the bumper. LED light bars are most commonly used for recreational purposes.
LED light bars for trucks have intensely bright beams, and you don’t need them for day-to-day driving. These lights also have forward angles to increase the range. Facing forward makes the light spread further and wider, perfect for recreational activities like overlanding.
In contrast, most vehicle lights point down, lighting the road. Although the brightness of LED light bars works great for off-roading, the angle of the lights would blind oncoming vehicles on normal roadways.
Is It Best to Install on the Bumper or on the Roof?
You can install light bars for your truck on either the bumper or the roof. But which location is better? The answer to that question depends on your vehicle and the activities you need it for. Each area has its benefits and deficits.
The bumper is one of the most accessible places to mount an LED light bar on your truck. Many vehicles already have the necessary setup to install it quickly.
And, if it doesn’t, you can usually easily retrofit it for the mounting bar. This placement also provides optimal road illumination, which is great for off-roading in the dark.
But, LED lights mounted on the roof provide maximum area lighting. However, this location has a more difficult installation process. So, consider hiring an expert if you’re unsure.
Also, know that roof-mounted light bars can increase the required clearance for your vehicle, so if you need to drive in tight or low spaces, you may want a different option.
What to Research in a Truck Light Bar
When researching to buy a new LED light bar for your truck, there are a few things you need to understand. Keep reading to learn more about wattage, lumens, light type, and the importance of unbiased reviews.
Wattage measures the rate of power needed to make the light bar work. Generally, we measure lights in Watts because we initially measured incandescent bulbs in watts. Lower wattage meant dimmer lights, and higher wattage meant brighter lights.
But in the world of fluorescent or LED lights, this is no longer the case. These newer light types can shine as bright as an incandescent bulb but with a fraction of the wattage requirement. This is why lumens are more important than wattage.
Wattage measures power, and a lumen measures brightness. A watt can change with light type, but lumens always stay the same regardless of the bulb used.
You need to understand lumens because it measures light output, not power. Lumens measure the amount of light sent from a source. Essentially, the higher the lumens, the brighter your light. Therefore, you can directly compare two light bulbs using lumens, regardless of their type or wattage.
Type of Light/Beam Pattern
When choosing the type of LED light bar for your truck, consider the beam pattern. Beam pattern is the angle the light spreads using reflectors onto the ground. Common light bar beam patterns include flood, spot, and combo beams.
Flood beams spread light over a wide area and work well for lighting a large location right in front of your truck.
Spot beams illuminate a narrow space for a longer distance and shine very little on the sides. They mainly focus on a single point. Combo beams are a combination of both flood and spot.
Also, if you plan to use your light bar on the highway, you need to choose a street-legal beam pattern. Street legal light beams either have SAE or ECE certification for highway use.
Regulations can vary from state to state, so do your research. But ultimately, if you plan to use your light bar on the highway, it must meet the regulations, or you can get fined.
Pro Tip: Once you have your truck well lit, turn it into a camping machine by Camping in Your Truck Bed With a Comfy Truck Bed Mattress.
Reading reviews from previous consumers can help you find the perfect LED light bar for your truck. Additionally, these reviews can point out what works well and what things need improvement.
But, when reading reviews, try to focus on unbiased reviews. Reviews from employees or paid individuals are not as reliable as those unaffiliated with the company.
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The 5 Best LED Light Bars for Your Truck
Now that you know a little more about LEDs and light bars, it’s time to look at some of the best models on the market. Let’s get started.
1. Rigid Adapt 20” Light Bar
Best Features: The Rigid Adapt light bar has nine different beam patterns ranging from flood to spot. Additionally, the Active View Technology allows the bar to adapt the beam pattern to road conditions and speed.
The Active View Technology uses LED technology and optics to create a system that can adapt to new situations with no moving parts.
About the Rigid Adapt 20” LED Light Bar: The Rigid Adapt light bar also has a Rigid Dash Controller. This controller offers easy, user-friendly control of beam patterns, Active View Technology, accent lights (colors), and programmable presets.
You can also get it from 10” to 50” in size, and it includes an under-dash module, wiring harness, and mounting hardware.
- the rigid adapt led light bars are the world's first off-road...
- there are no moving parts within the adapt
- it also includes rigid's new active view technology, which allows...
2. Baja LP9 Lights
Best Features: Along with its nine forward-facing LEDs, the Baja LP9 has six LEDs with integrated Peripheral Technology. This technology provides an impressive 200 degrees of lighting dispersion, significantly improving your peripheral vision at night.
About the Baja LP9 Lights: The LP9 also has a modern, stylish design with a performance that rivals other LED light bars on the market.
Additionally, it has Direct Ducted Cooling, which uses an innovative design to disperse heat. The ducting allows air to travel unobstructed from the front of the housing to the rear, efficiently cooling the system.
- uService - Replaceable Lenses And Optics
- ClearView - All The Light Right Where You Need It
- MoistureBlock - Waterproof Rain Proof Submersible
3. NiLight ZH006 LED Light Bar
Best Features: The NiLight is the most economical option on our list, costing less than $50. But, it still has a lot to offer with an efficient design and high-quality LED chips emitting a combo beam pattern.
About the NiLight ZH006 Light Bar: The NiLight also features a waterproof, dustproof, and anticorrosive design to protect both the LEDs and your vehicle after installation.
Additionally, the high-quality LED chips emit a bright, white light great for illuminating nearby locations. And it has flood beams for further distances with spot beams.
It has a working lifespan of 30,000 hours and provides a wiring harness kit with an automotive relay, premium wire, and two sets of light output connectors.
- High brightness: Advanced LED chips and clear PC lens, powerful...
- Perfect combo beam: Excellent visual effect, spot beam for long...
- Adjustable mounting bracket: The light bar can be adjusted to...
4. Rigidhorse 32” LED Light Bar
Best Features: The Rigidhorse uses 8D reflective cup lenses and high-powered LEDs, with 30,000 Lumens. This unique combination illuminates the area, using a combo beam, more efficaciously than other single-row LED light bars.
About the Rigidhorse LED Light Bar: The Rigidhouse also touts a waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof design and has excellent heat dissipation. Its fully aluminum housing is also anti-corruption to ensure a long lifespan even in hard-working environments. And the whole kit comes with brackets to mount it on the front or top of your vehicle.
- 【High Brightness】8D reflective cup lens, 6,000K color...
- 【Durable Aluminum Alloy】Black aluminum housing and...
- 【IP67 Waterproof】The slim light bar with Die-cast 6063...
5. Baja Designs S8 Driving/Combo LED Light Bar, Black
Best Features: The Baja Designs S8 provides nearly 50,000 hours of light. This LED light bar for your truck has an impressive lifespan.
About the Baja Design S8: The Baja Design S8 also features a clean aluminum frame with a total of 8,000 lumens of light. It also features a low amp draw of 6.66 amps and has upgraded reflectors. It has an amber backlight feature and a new scalloped housing design.
- 5000K Daylight - Less Driver Fatigue, Natural Color;Front Lens:...
- Exceeds MIL-STD810G (Mil-Spec Testing)
- uService - Replaceable Lenses And Optics
Pro Tip: Looking for a new truck? We found the 11 Best Stock Trucks for Off-Roading Adventures.
Ready to Adventure?
So, there you have it — five of the best LED light bars for trucks on the market. These LED light bars check all the boxes with incredible lumens, wattage, beam patterns, and reviews. Consider these great options if you need something to help at work or increase the fun on your next off-roading trip.
You can mount them on your truck’s roof or bumper to illuminate your nighttime adventures. You may find the perfect lighting solution on this list.
Which one do you like best? Drop a comment below!
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