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What is an LED Light Bar?

An LED light bar is a type of auxiliary light used primarily for off-road 4x4 lighting and truck lighting. In contrast to traditional forms of auxiliary lights such as round LED driving lights, an LED bar light consists of a single row or double row of LED lights, and is usually between 3 and 48 LED’s wide. LED light bars are usually mounted onto a bullbar, in front of a roof rack or above the windscreen using a special bracket.

LED Light Bars vs Other Auxiliary Lights

The technology and shape of LED light bars provides for several performance advantages compared to other 4x4 auxiliary lighting solutions currently available for sale.

Firstly, the rectangular shape of the light bar is only possibly due to LED technology. Older-style Halogen and HID lights use a single globe in a necessarily circular housing. This meant that each light could generally only do one thing well (spot light or flood light). LED technology, which uses many tiny LED “bulbs”, has given reflector engineers significantly more options when they are designing the light beam. The LED bar light is where this benefit is most apparent; with their long, rectangular shape, it is nowadays possible to craft a light beam that is an even mixture of spot and flood, with no perceptible dark spots in the driver’s field of view.

Secondly, with LED being a solid-state technology, LED light bars are significantly more durable than Halogen or HID, which contain glass bulbs, filaments etc. LED lights are very shock and vibration-resistant, which is handy if you are looking for 12v led lighting for your off-road 4wd vehicle.

Third, LED light bars can be fitted into places where round LED driving lights cannot be. For example, LED bars can be fitted along roof lines without significantly increasing the height of the vehicle. Some aftermarket bullbars also contain cut-outs where you can fit LED bar lights.

What Separates High-Quality LED Bar Lights from Cheap LED Light Bars?

High quality LED bar lights differ from cheap LED light bars in several ways. If you’re looking to buy an LED light bar, the following tips may help.

Firstly, a high quality light bar will use genuine CREE LED chips or OSRAM LED chips, to ensure maximum light output, longest lifespan and best colour temperature. A cheap LED light bar, particularly those often available for sale on eBay, will use a lesser-known brand such as Meanwell, or even fake knock-off CREE or OSRAM LED chips.

Secondly, the reflectors play a very important role in ensuring even light distribution and longest travel. A high quality LED bar light will have reflectors designed and extensively tested by an expert reflector engineer, and the reflectors will be perfectly matched to the LED chips. Conversely, a cheap LED light will often be manufactured by a factory that has tried (and usually failed) to copy someone else’s design, leading to inefficient use of the available light, black spots in certain parts of the beam, etc.

Thirdly, the other materials used, and the way they are manufactured and assembled, will be far superior in a good quality LED bar light. Using quality materials, and manufacturing and assembling them to a high standard, provides several benefits. For example, the light bar will be much more resistant to impact and vibration, will be more waterproof, and will be less likely to fail due to constant exposure to the elements.