Best CREE LED Light Bars – Unbiased User Reviews
One of your best options for increasing driving visibility is adding a LED light bar. Whether it’s a car, truck, boat, or off-road vehicle, these devices create a wide field of bright illumination that provide extra safety when you’re out in the dark. This website explains how truck light bars operate, examines how they stack up against other lighting methods, describes various ways they can be used, and shows you how to distinguish the good ones from the poorly manufactured ones. It also presents LED light bar reviews. With the knowledge offered here, you’ll be able to effectively pair the best LED light bar with your needs.
At the heart of these devices are LED bulbs. Like other diodes, LEDs allow current to flow in just one direction. but they generate light in the process. For a better understanding, an advance degree in solid state physics is helpful. Keep in mind that LED bulbs are limited in their size. Beyond a certain mass, the heat retention quickly eats into the light’s efficiency. LED light bars consist of individual bulbs arranged in one or more strips of varying length. They are designed to remain lit even if one or more bulbs cease working.
When you’re ready to install a light bar on your car or truck, you want to get the most impact from your new product. Numerous manufacturers offer light bars, but that doesn’t mean that these products are all the same. When it comes to performance, the type of LEDs used the the light bar make a huge difference. Cree LEDs are some of the most popular for a good reason! The latest Cree LEDS in the 5D series have more power and output than ever. These LEDs are built to withstand the test of time, and they offer up to 50,000 hours of incredible illumination.
Cree LEDS provide a great value for your purchasing dollars since they can last up to 23 years! In addition, these lights use significantly less energy than traditional incandescents or CFLs. These lights do not use any mercury or other toxic materials, so they are also better for the environment. When you choose a Cree LED light bar, you’ll enjoy exceptional performance, impressive output and reduced energy consumption.
What to look for when buying a LED light bar
The LED lights in these arrays can be arranged in everything from a square pattern of four lights to a circular formation to the recognizable elongated bar that’s either straight or curved. These arrays can span just a few inches to over 4 feet in width with one or two rows of lights. LED light bars can operate as either spotlights or floodlights. Spotlights project beams between 10 and 30 degrees while floodlights span from 40 to 120 degrees. The positioning of reflectors, lenses, and the shape of the bar determine which of these two patterns is produced. It’s possible to have both types created by a single unit by either having separate divisions of a single row perform one or the other of these two functions or by using two unique rows.
The LEDs also have an incredible range of color options that run from infrared to the visible spectrum from red to violet to ultraviolet on the high end. Within the visible light range, higher frequencies that move towards the violet end provide better illumination, but the trade-off is they cause greater eye strain. The ideal color matches typical daylight with a color temperature of 5,500K. a light bar relies on a driver to keep current constant inside the voltage range it’s rated for. Some light bars offer pulse width modulation or PWM drivers that conserve power by pulsing the light at hundreds of cycles per second. At this speed, the light appears continuous. LED light bars also have dust and water resistance capacity designated by an international protection or IP code. The first number goes from 0 to 6 and specifies dust resistance. The second one goes from 0 to 8 and specifies water resistance with a 9K rating for high-temperature, high-pressure water exposure.
Go with the best
Reputable companies normally offer a wide assortment of light bars that are built with durable housing and include corrosion-proof mounting parts. An extra-large heat dissipation feature usually made of aluminum is a necessity. At the very least, both the housing and the wiring of the unit should have an IP rank of 65. An IP68 mark is preferred, and IP69K is ideal but rare. The light bar must have quality drivers that hold light output steady at any voltage within the operating ranges of either 9-30 DC volts or 10-70 DC volts. The better light bars use Cree LEDs that include specially-designed reflectors and lenses for the highest efficiency levels of 150 lumens per watt. They’re also estimated to operate up to 100,000 hours. Finally, if the device isn’t backed by a solid warranty, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Rigidhorse – The Best 50 Inch CREE LED Light Bar
The Rigidhorse light bar boasts up to 50,000 lumens at 5000 watts of power. A 52″x8″x5″ size fits neatly over the front end of most vehicles to supplement head lights, but can also fit smaller vehicles like ATVs. This creates a bright source of white light for navigating back roads and trails, or illuminating campsites and work sites.
Weighing in at just under 15 pounds, the Rigidhorse Curved 52″ lightbar features:
- An array of 100 5W Cree LED light chips, which give off a fierce glow with minimal power consumption to make it one of the most efficient lighting devices around.
- A curved design combining lenses and reflectors for a broader field of vision.
- A new 5D design combines fish-eye focused spotlights and flood lights in the same device for optimized light spread over a distance.
- A sturdy, handsome brushed-aluminum frame, highly shock-resistant polycarbonate lenses, and a military-grade moisture breather ensure that the rugged lightbar is reliable and water-tight even in the worst weather or environmental conditions.
- The Rigidhorse can be run from 10V to 30V battery power sources, making it suitable for any size 4×4, boat, truck, or SUV.
The Rigidhorse lightbar comes with wiring harness and mounting brackets. Rugged, water-proof design and an LED lifespan of 50,000 hours (5.7 years) provide for many years of super-bright lighting for your nighttime activities. Anyone needing extra visibility and safety for their work or vehicles will find the Rigidhorse 52″ Curved LED lightbar is an excellent solution.
Autofeel – The Best 40 Inch CREE LED Light Bar
The Autofeel 42 inch curved LED light bar offers uncompromising quality with unparalleled performance. This LED light bar is easy to install and is virtually indestructible. It includes everything you need to get started right out of the box. The housing is made from durable, high-quality aluminum. The stainless steel brackets will resist rust and corrosion. The polycarbonate lens is virtually indestructible. The genuine CREE LED light bulbs output 36,000 Lumens and have a lifespan of 50,000 hours. The light from the LED bulbs is always crisp and clear. This light bar is dustproof, quakeproof, waterproof, and even explosion resistant. It’s truly built to last a lifetime no matter what you throw at it. The lens and reflector combination offers the best of both worlds. You get a wide beam of light to cover a large area, as well as focused beams of light like you may expect from a traditional spotlight. The curved design enables you to see the sides of the road much easier at night. This light bar will easily outshine your headlights and provide you with an unparalleled view for driving.
Rigidhorse – The Best 30 Inch CREE LED Light Bar
The Rigidhorse 32 Inch Curved LED Light Bar features ultra bright CREE LED bulbs, polycarbonate lenses, shock and impact resistance, IP67 waterproofing, and professional grade stainless steel hardware. It’s perfect for any automotive or marine application and installation is a breeze. The polycarbonate lenses pinpoint light while the reflector creates a wide beam. This combination creates a 3D effect that’s bright like a spotlight and wide like a floodlight. You get the best of both worlds with excellent overall illumination and impressive accuracy. The Rigidhorse can really take a beating. It’s both shock and impact resistant, making it ideal for extreme motorsports. This light bar is so strong that driving a truck over it will barely leave a scratch. These next generation 5D CREE bulbs are up to 50% brighter than the competition and offer a full 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. The LEDs provide a bright, white light that’s more natural looking that traditional bulbs. This LED light bar will truly light up your night. The mounting brackets, nuts, bolts, and washers are all made from 100% stainless steel. You won’t have to worry about your mounting brackets rusting off or nuts that rust into place. With everything being made out of stainless steel or high-grade plastic, you won’t actually have to worry about rust at all.
Rough Country x5 – The Best 20 Inch CREE LED Light Bar
Rough Country’s 20-inch X5 Series LED Light Bar provides some of the most powerful illumination currently on the market. The bar’s 10,800 Lumen 120 Watt output is bright enough to light even the darkest evenings. Much of the impressive brightness comes from the product’s unique X-pattern design. This gives customers an extra half-row of Cree LEDs compared to similar dual-row bars from other manufacturers. In fact, the 20-inch X5 Series LED light bar offers more LED lights per square inch than any other light bar. This makes off-roading more safe and enjoyable at any time of night.
Plenty of companies offer smaller bars, but you don’t have to settle for less! Although this light bar is powerful, it is also designed for usability. The product’s noise-reducing design minimizes annoying vibration sounds. All Rough Country light bars in the X5 LED series also feature IP67 waterproof housing made of top quality aluminum for protection against the elements.
Rough Country products are designed for toughness and durability, and this product is no exception. The light bar withstands everything from heavy force to water immersion easily, so customers can enjoy years of illumination from their investment.
This product has an average installation time of 2-3 hours, and it is designed only for off-road usage. Other exciting features include:
- Moisture Breather technology to reduce annoying moisture build-up behind each lens
- 8 degree spot and 90 degree flood combo pattern
- A total of 40, 3-watt high-intensity CREE LED lights
- Durable, flat-wound wiring harness
- 8-millimeter bolt diameter
- 3 year manufacturer’s warranty
Take your off-road vehicle to the next level and enjoy an illuminated driving experience at any time with the Rough Country 20-inch X5 Series LED Light Bar.
Comparing the competition
There are several ways to create light for vehicles and other settings. Here’s a list of the most popular methods.
*High-pressure Sodium or HPS
*High-intensity Discharge or HID
*Light-emitting Diode or LED
This is most familiar as the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb. Their well-deserved reputation includes lots of excess heat, low efficiency, and short lifespans of around 2,000 hours. These bulbs are noted for developing a haze inside the glass as the tungsten filament is vaporized.
This is an improved version of the incandescent bulb that’s much smaller. It’s filled with iodine or bromine, collectively called halogens, that, at very high temperatures, redeposit vaporized tungsten on the filament so it lasts longer.
HIGH-PRESSURE SODIUM VAPOR LIGHTING
HPS lighting is recognized as the bluish street lights that have existed for decades. They’re highly efficient and last up to 10,000 hours, but their color is a bit on the harsh side. They also require a ballast to activate them. Low-pressure sodium lights are an alternative that generates 50-100% more light per watt and can last up to 18,000 hours, but it’s light is confined to an amber hue that distorts the colors of illuminated objects.
HIGH-INTENSITY DISCHARGE LIGHTING
HID lights are also known as xenon lights. These are the headlights used in luxury sports cars. To confuse things, the xenon gas is used to get the reaction started, but metal halides produce most of the light once they kick in after a few minutes. They’re not quite as efficient as HPS lights, but their light roughly matches the spectrum of sunlight. Like HPS lights, they require a ballast.
LIGHT-EMITTING DIODE LIGHTING
A high initial cost is the only real drawback of LEDs, but over time, they pay for themselves through their very long lifespans and energy savings. They don’t need a ballast, and there’s no excess heat. They also don’t require a warm-up period. By adding chemicals to their composition, they can produce light anywhere along the spectrum.
Putting LED light bars to good use
LED light bars are meant to supply ample illumination beyond what standard headlights can achieve in circumstances where visibility is impaired due to darkness, bad weather, or obscured terrain. Of course, as the following examples show, they’re adaptable to a variety of uses.
OFF THE ROAD
Off-roading is what LED light bars are most closely associated with. They have huge advantages in this venue. Because they come in assorted sizes, there’s a light bar to fit anything from a small ATV to a massive 4WD pickup. Since the lights are solid pieces, they won’t get shaken apart on rough trails. There’s also little power consumption, so they’re perfect for ATVs that can’t afford the weight of more batteries. If overnight camping awaits at the end of an off-road adventure, they provide superb illumination when getting things established, and their low electricity usage means you can shut off the engine.
There are times when an LED light bar can come in handy on the road. You’ll need to determine what your state’s laws say about this, though. While a small light bar might be permitted, there are legal limits on how much brightness a vehicle on the road can produce due to safety concerns involving blinding oncoming drivers.
While you might not be able to employ an LED light bar on a moving vehicle, there’s rarely restrictions against having one available to make the vehicle noticeable when it’s stationary. A detachable one is also helpful for putting plenty of light on the auto for emergency repairs like tire changes.
Red LED light bars can greatly boost visibility of vehicles from behind when used to augment standard tail lights. Standard lights often burn out without notice. They’re also not easily seen in daylight. Since they last much longer, LEDs should prove to be more reliable while also being easier to spot.
Another category of off-road vehicles that can benefit from extra lighting are construction vehicles like backhoes or excavators. These circumstances almost guarantee uneven surfaces with lots of shadows.
LED light bars with high water resistance ratings make excellent additions for any size boat. Fog is a common problem off-shore that these fixtures can deal with effectively. Small light bars can supply interior illumination in the various sections of larger craft.
LED light bars don’t have to be limited to vehicles. They can also serve as stand-alone warning beacons at construction sites, factories, and similar locations. These are the situations where light bars equipped with strobe capacity make the most sense.
Coupled with a portable power source, LED light bars, flood lights in particular, are a boon for both indoor and outdoor needs. They can supply more than enough lighting for backyard events, and smaller ones can accommodate interior spots where the wiring doesn’t reach. With an independent electricity source, they’re also useful when the public grid has been knocked out.