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In the world of offroading, there are a lot of unnecessary accessories that companies try and market to you. LED light bars aren’t one them. In fact, in terms of 4×4 accessories, it might be argued that the best LED light bar is nothing short of a must-have for your pickup truck, jeep, or ATV/UTV – an indispensable contraption that can literally be the difference between a successful trail outing, and a truly disastrous one.
However, with all the dirt-cheap online retailers and the ridiculous assortment of products out there to choose from, it can be a nightmare trying to pick out the best offroad light bar, or even to try and distinguish between a quality one and a garbage one.
In this article, Garage Chief editors have reviewed six products that we feel are the best LED light bars currently on the market for a practical price.
We know the vast majority of folks out there can’t afford to drop cash on the most expensive, boutique-style brands, so we’ve made an effort to hand pick the functional, durable, and high-performing bars that will be more than worth your time and hard-earned money.
Best LED Light Bar – Our Top Picks Compared
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
|item-title||Auxbeam 2-pack of 4” waterproof bars||Nilight 2-piece 12" LED Light Bar||Auxbeam 12" CREE LED light bar||126-watt Eyourlife Fish Eye LED||Autofeel quad-row 42" LED’s||54" Nilight Flood Spot Combo LED Light Bar|
|item-review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review|
|LED Power||LED Power|
18W (6 x 3W CREE LED Chips)
180W (60 x 3W High Intensity LED)
72W (24 x 3W High Intensity CREE LEDs)
126W (42 x 3W High Intensity LED)
496W (super efficient LEDs)
312W (104 x 3W High Intensity LED)
|Beam Pattern||Beam Pattern|
Flood Beam Pattern (60 degree)
Spot Flood Combo Beam
Spot (30 Degree) & Flood (60 Degree) Combo
4D, Flood beam pattern (60 degree), spot beam (30 degree)
Flood and Spot Beam Combo
Flood Spot Combo Beam
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
Best Light Bars on the Market: Are They All LED?
We get asked a lot whether the best offroading light bars are always LED. And our answer 100% of the time, is YES.
It used to be that LED lights were kind of a top-shelf item, meaning essentially that they were A) expensive, and B) unnecessary.
Now, however, it’s nearly unanimous throughout the entire offroading universe that LED bars are the only way to go in terms of quality lighting. And of course, now that brands like Auxbeam are offering excellent products at more than manageable prices, there’s absolutely no reason not to go LED.
LED Light Bar Reviews – These Bars Are Worth The Money
When shopping around for the best LED light bar, there are a few different things that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
One, you’ll want to look for a bar with a good IP Rating, typically IP65 or greater. This simply means it works great at keeping water and dirt out of the internal parts.
You’ll also need a bar that’s made out of quality materials, and you’ll want to look for one that comes with a complete package in terms of all the hardware and mounting platforms you’ll need to install it.
In these LED light bar reviews, we’ve picked out what in our minds are the TOP 6 units currently out there on the market in terms of a price to performance ratio.
Nilight 2-piece Best LED Light Bar
- Size: 12″
- LED Power: 180W (60 x 3W High Intensity LED)
- Beam Pattern: Spot Flood Combo Beam
This Nilight 2-piece 12″ LED Light Bar was an easy pick for our Best Product, as the price it’s available and the features that it comes with is unbeatable, hands down.
It boasts an IP rating of IP67, which is higher than some units have that are two, three, or four times greater in price. This means that it has an excellent waterproof ability, and a high rating for keeping things like dirt, dust, and moisture out of the internal componentry.
We also love how the mounting brackets are fully adjustable, meaning that you can align the transmitting beat to nearly anywhere you need it. This is mandatory in that it allows the bar to be used on practically any vehicle.
The LED light bar comes in three different sizes, including the mini 2-pack 4” bars (which are in our opinion the best LED light bars for ATV), the single 12” bar, and the full-size 52” bar, which is great for 4×4 pickups, Jeeps, and SUV’s.
And lastly, there is no denying the fact of sheer customer satisfaction – in terms of price this is THE best-rated and best-reviewed LED light bar for sale online, period.
Eyourlife Fish Eye 4D Lens Spot/Beam/Off-Road Work Light LED Bar
- Size: 20″
- LED Power: 126W (42 x 3W High Intensity LED)
- Beam Pattern: 4D, Flood beam pattern (60 degree), spot beam (30 degree)
At the end of the day, we couldn’t look past this 126-watt Eyourlife Fish Eye LED as the best cheap LED light bar. At under $30 (w/ free shipping), there’s simply no other product that compares in terms of price. There are other similarly-priced units out there, sure, but none that actually perform like this one does.
It has extremely positive and well-received reviews (just check them by yourself here), which is typically unheard for low-dollar products like these. Usually, the inexpensive units get exposed pretty quickly by the masses once they use them once or twice and realize they’re junk. Not this one, though. It’s inexpensive, functional, durable, and it actually works.
Also, we love the fact that it boasts an incredible twelve different size combinations, which make it nearly universal in terms of the array of different vehicles that it will fit on – from boats, trucks, jeeps, SUV’s, ATV’s, UTV’s, and more. (Have a look at all the different size combos here).
Like the Best Product Nilight, it has an IP Rating of 67, and the mounting hardware is fully adjustable, with swiveling potential of over 30-degrees. The only reason the Nilight took the Best Product over this one is that the transmittance (density of the beam) seemed to be a bit better – it’s likely that the quality of its LED’s is slightly better than the ones in this unit.
Nilight Best Flood Spot Combo LED Light Bar
- Size: 54″
- LED Power: 312W (104 x 3W High Intensity LED)
- Beam Pattern: Flood Spot Combo Beam
This full-size 54″ Nilight Flood Spot Combo LED Light Bar is one of the most popular choices online for full size pickup trucks, Jeeps, and SUV’s.
It boats a 312-watt (104 x 3W) high-intensity LED, with a toggle switch for multiple beam patterns, Multiple beam patterns are essential as it allows your LED to be functional in an array of different off-road conditions. The flood/spot combo beam is pretty much a mandatory requirement in today’s performance-driven market.
Also, the 9-30V DC power unit means that it is fully compatible with vehicles that have either 12V (standard) or 24V power supplies. It’s rated for a working lifespan of over 30,000 hours, which is a phenomenal rating for a full-size bar in this price range.
Additionally, the working temperature range of between 40 and 85-degrees Celsius is what you want to see in a full-size LED light bar. Any more than that and the heat sinks become unable to fully dissipate the accumulation of heat, meaning that your unit will be far more likely to overheat and burn out. And of course, it means that you can use the bar for a full night’s worth of 4×4’ing without having to worry about any overheating issues.
And lastly, it boasts and IP Rating of IP67, meaning it’s more than capable of withstanding the elements, even in a full-on downpour.
Auxbeam Best Jeep Light Bar Waterproof
- Size: 4″
- LED Power: 18W (6 x 3W CREE LED Chips)
- Beam Pattern: Flood Beam Pattern (60 degree)
Auxbeam has kind of taken the place of Rigid Industries over the last several years in terms of popular LED light bars for the “general masses.” While we still believe that Rigid makes the best units, their prices are simply not compatible with the majority population of off-roaders.
As such, Auxbeam has stepped on to the stage and is offering seriously good, durable units at a fraction of the price. Just check out their customer feedback ratings – nearly 5-stars across the board, and they come with a great warranty.
We chose this particular Auxbeam 2-pack of 4” waterproof bars because they are by far our favorite corner units (to be installed on either side of the full-size bar), and what are we feel to be the best Jeep light bars. Due to their size, you can also call them the best LED light bar UTV’s.
The 18-watt units come with Cree LED’s, which if you’re unfamiliar with them, are simply the best quality LED source around (read more on that later in our buyer’s guide).
Also, they boast upwards of 1,800 lumens (translation: they’re bright as hell), as well as a 60-degree beam on the flood beam pattern. And of course, the IP67 rating means that they’re fully waterproof and capable of withstanding a beating out on the trails.
Autofeel Quad Row Best Curved LED Light Bar
- Size: 42″
- LED Power: 496W (super efficient LEDs)
- Beam Pattern: Flood and Spot Beam Combo
Why use a curved LED light bar? These unique Autofeel quad-row 42″ LED’s allow for a slightly increased transmittance angle, in that the extra row (most light bars only come with three) allows for the beam angle to curve beyond 180-degrees, which translates to a broader field of view.
We also love these particular units because the multi-beam patterns can selectively combine the flood and spot toggle options to deliver a super long-distance beam when navigating straightaway trail driving.
In addition to 4×4 rigs, these are actually great and really popular units for tractors and boats because the open-field situation of farms (and the open-water situation of boats, respectively) naturally calls for an ultra-long-distance beam.
Additionally, these units also have the highest IP Rating of any of our top 6 selections (IP68), meaning that they’re the best for keeping out water, moisture, dust, and mud. Overall, a fantastic, unique LED unit that’s more than worth its weight in gold, even in the harshest of conditions.
Auxbeam Best CREE LED Light Bar
- Size: 12″
- LED Power: 72W (24 x 3W High Intensity CREE LEDs)
- Beam Pattern: Spot (30 Degree) & Flood (60 Degree) Combo
Cree LED’s have been changing the game for decades. If you’ve never heard of Cree, they’re an LED manufacturer that are legitimately light years (no pun intended) ahead of other LED manufacturers. They’ve spent decades developing construction and engineering techniques to conserve energy consumption, increase transmittance and performance, and decrease internal heat accumulation. These are the kinds of lights that military and emergency-grade vehicles use in the direst situations, so why wouldn’t you want them out on the trail with you for your dire 4×4 situation?
There are certainly a lot of gimmicks out there and a lot of market mumbo-jumbo, but investing in a Cree LED light bar is absolutely not one of them – Cree LED’s are legit, and they are far and away the best option currently on the market.
This particular Auxbeam 12″ CREE LED light bar includes 24pcs * 3W high-intensity CREE LEDs that altogether total to 72W of power. Combine this with 5040lm~7200lm luminous flux, 30 degrees (spot beam) & 60 degrees (flood beam) combo beam and you get a best-of-class LED system for your Off-road vehicle, car, SUV, truck or even a special vehicle like a fire engine, rescue vehicle, military command vehicle, forklift and so on.
Practical Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best LED Light Bar For Your Needs?
There are several different things that you want to consider when shopping around for the best LED light bars.
Probably the first and foremost is build quality. Even if you’re not wanting to spend top dollar and get into something like a $4000+ Vision Xmitter (don’t believe? just click to see it), that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice things like functionality and quality in construction materials.
You want to make sure that your LED bar has an efficient and well-engineered heat sink, which is crucial for dissipating the vast amounts of heat that these high-energy lights give off.
A lot of the sinks (cooling fins) on low dollar units might look exactly the same when put up side by next to quality units, but in reality they’re exponentially less efficient at dissipating high amounts of energy, usually due to the fact they’re built with cheap, low-quality material like mild gauge steel.
When you’re out for a night long offroading adventure, your LED bar(s) will often be on high power for hours at a time. While these cheap units may work just fine for fifteen minutes or a half an hour, they’re almost guaranteed to overheat and short out on a multiple-hour 4×4 expedition.
And guess what? Most of the manufacturers realize this and they actually put in the fine print that their warranty is voided if the unit fails due to overheating.
Sounds absurd, but it’s the truth in a lot of cases.
As far as the actual material, the housing on most of the best LED light bars will be constructed with a quality aluminum stock, such as aluminum PCB with Smart Board.
In most instances, this offers the best performance in terms of minimizing energy consumption and maximizing heat dissipation.
Other key things that you’ll want to look for when searching out the best LED light bars is:
A Practical and ADJUSTABLE Mounting System
The mounting system on the best units are tough, durable, practical, and most importantly, adjustable so that they’re able to fit any vehicle and suit any application.
IP rating stands for Ingress Protection Rating, and it’s basically a system that’s used to rate how it easy it is for things like water and dust to get inside a unit. Offroad LED light bars need to be able to be used and abused in the harshest of conditions, without things like water, mud, and dust and dirt being able to get inside (trust us, these things are going to get caked).
Basically, the higher the IP Rating, the better sealed the unit will be and the less likely water will get inside. The best light bars typically higher an IP Rating of IP65; try and steer clear of anything less than this, unless you want your unit to short out at the first drop of rain or mud.
Please, whatever you do don’t get yourself one of these ONE SIZE FITS ALL units. They might seem like a practical idea, but really they’re just a gimmick that makes you think the bar will fit and be functional on any kind of vehicle – from a 40ft cabin cruiser to an electric moped.
You need to make sure that the light you get will actually work for the conditions you’re in, and for the vehicle you’re using it on.
Sure, some manufacturers offer several different lengths of bars, but the length is just one factor you need to consider for functionality and efficiency. What you need to look for is completely customizable lens options that are designed to suit any and every situation.
They need to have an option for spot, flood, diffusion and drive patterns in order to suit the demands of the range of conditions that you’ll encounter on the trail.
Warranty and after sale support
This one gets overlooked and/or undervalued far too often; most manufacturers will offer what they claim is a full 12 month warranty, but as we mentioned earlier if you read the fine print it’s often the case that they set any number of ridiculous ways to void the warranty, including just taking it out of the box!
Most of the best offroad LED light bars will be able to offer a complete 3-year, no hassle, no B.S. warranty. Your bar is going to take some serious use and abuse out on the trails, and you want to make sure that the company you buy from is going to back up the product it makes.
A lot of new LED lighting products won’t have everything you need to get going, and thus what you think is only a $40 or $50 bar, will end up turning into a $100+ bar after you purchase all the “additional” accessories that you need to actually install it.
Don’t cave into this garbage; the best LED light bars will come complete with a plug and play wiring harness, waterproof connections, an illuminated dash switch, and read-to-go relays. You wouldn’t buy a new sweatshirt that doesn’t come with a zipper, so don’t buy an LED light bar that doesn’t come with everything you need to set it up and use it.
Once you find a product and set your sights on something that meets all of these requirements, you then have to figure out if there’s any difference between a light bar for a 4×4 pickup truck, for example, and a light bar for an ATV or UTV.
Fortunately, the best offroad LED lights will be more or less universal in terms of mounting and using. Here are a few differences you might come across, though, on your search for your specific vehicle:
Best Offroading LED Light Bars for Trucks
As you might suspect, the vast majority of LED light bars will be geared specifically for offroad, 4×4 trucks and Jeeps. Each one of our top 6 selections is a perfect option for mounting on a truck.
Best Light Bars for ATV’s
Naturally, the main thing that you’ll be looking at when considering the best LED bars for UTV’s and ATV’s is a simple size difference; you’re obviously not going to be mounting a full size 54” bar on a Honda Pioneer 1000, for example.
It is also important to properly choose the power supply, so reading more about UTV/ATV batteries may be a wise thing to do.
Best LED Light Bars for On-Road Driving
You might hear some of your offroad buddies try and argue and tell you that there’s a difference between offroad LED light bars and on-road. Don’t let them fool you; the best offroad LED light bars will do the same exact thing and serve the same exact functions as the best LED light bars for on road driving.
LED Light Bars for Emergency Vehicles
A lot of people seem to think that they can go out and get themselves the same light bars that are on emergency vehicles like ambulances, firetrucks, and police cruisers. This isn’t necessarily true, as most of these government-issue vehicles will have set contracts with private companies that manufacture highly specific, highly customized bars that are tailored to each specific vehicle they go on.
But if you need, here you can find LED light bars for emergency vehicles.
Best LED Strobe/Warning Lights
There’s no sense in going out and getting yourself a separate emergency/strobe light bar; most of the best LED bars will come an emergency mode that you simply toggle on if (or when) you find yourself in that dire road or trailside situation.
Here you can find out more.
Light Bars for Construction Vehicles
Actually, a lot of high-end construction vehicles that you see working on big roadside projects will be using the same LED light bars that we’ve got recommended here in this article. A quality light bar is a quality light bar, no matter if you’re using it for offroading, on-roading, or serious construction projects.
Get light bars for construction vehicles here, at Amazon.
Best LED Light Bars for Boats
Again, there’s not a great deal of difference between the best light bars for 4×4’s, and the best LED light bars for boats. Really, the only thing that you’ll want to make sure of is that the housing is made of aluminum and the hardware is stainless steel. This is particularly true if you’ll be cruising in a salty marine environment, as untreated steel will rust and corrode before you barely even pull the bar out of the package.
And don’t forget to get highest IP rating available – here are some of them at Amazon.
What is a Cree LED Light Bar, and Are Cree Light Bars Really Better?
Basically, Cree LED bars are a lighting revolution that is superior to any and every form of LED competition. They have been the undeniable leaders in the LED industry for nearly two decades, and have dedicated vast amounts of resources into engineering and manufacturing safe, energy conserving, and environmentally-friendly LED’s.
While their exact technology involves some pretty hefty and complex electrical engineering jargon, the foundation of their system involves using silicon carbide (SiC) as a high-efficiency semiconductor application. This allows for an unrivaled combination of performance, durability, longevity, heat dissipation, and energy conservation – everything you need in the best LED bars for 4×4 offroading.
Cree LED’s are essentially universal and standard on every emergency and military-grade LED, so if you want the absolute best bar for your 4×4 rig, you’ve got no other option than to go Cree.
How to Tell a Cheap LED Light Bar from a Good One
This can admittedly be a little bit difficult. Like we talked about earlier, it’s often borderline impossible to tell a good light bar from a cheap one, even if you’ve got them sitting side by side.
What you need to do then, is look at the specs. Remember that quality light bars will have heat sinks that dissipate enough energy to keep the conductor from overheating. Long, thin fins are typically much more efficient than short, thick fins, as it gives the heat less material to radiate through.
Also, if you’re able to, toss the light bar up and down a couple times and catch it (just make sure not to drop it and smash it on the ground). If you hear/feel the hardware and internal componentry rattling around a lot, that’s not a good sign. A well-built light bar will be rock solid, and you shouldn’t hear any kind of clinking around when you knock the unit about.
And lastly, don’t forget to check on that IP Rating. Whether or not your unit can keep water, mud, and moisture out will often time be the only thing that keeps it functioning and performing at a high level.
How to Install an LED Light Bar
Usually, this is pretty simple and self-explanatory. The best LED light bars will come with a detailed set of instructions telling you how to install, wire, mount, and operate the unit. They’ll also give you a detailed list of everything that you’ll need to get the job done:
What you need
The only tools you’ll usually need to install your LED light bar is a drill and drill bits (only if drilling is necessary… it should say on the product description), a wrench/socket wrench (size should be noted in instructions), and something to drive the hardware with (drill, screwdriver, allen key, etc.) The best units make installation a breeze, so make sure that all the accompanying hardware comes in the package. This way you don’t have to go scouting around trying to find some random installation piece.
Installing LED Light Bars
Instructions, Tips, and Safety. In short, make sure you read the instructions packet that comes with your unit. While you might think you know what you’re doing, these LED bars often run on a high voltage, and there is a serious risk for injury/electrocution if you make a mistake. Take precaution, and READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
How to Wire an LED Light Bar without a relay
First off, we recommend never to wire an LED light bar without a relay, as it ensures safety and it also ensures that your bar doesn’t draw power when not in use. However, if for some reason if find yourself in a situation where you need to install the unit without a relay, this is a good video that can help safely guide you through the process.
Here is how to wire an LED light bar without a relay.
Who Makes the Best LED Light Bars?
In terms of pure performance, we’ve got to say hands down that Rigid Industries makes the best LED light bars for offroading. These units have a fantastic, no hassle 3-year warranty, they’re solid as a rock, and they’re designed, developed, and manufactured right here in the USA.
However, you probably know that these are not inexpensive units (check here for yourself) – if you’re buying Rigid, you’re going to have to fork over a pretty penny.
If you can’t afford to drop that kind of money, then we recommend going with one of our top picks – either Nilight or Auxbeam. There are a lot of inexpensive units out there on the market right now, but in our book, these brands are easily the most reliable and best performing for the price; the best cheap LED light bars, hands down.
LED Light Bars for Sale: Where to Buy?
Like we mentioned a few times already, the market is absolutely flooded (no pun intended) right now with a variety of different LED light bar brands; it can be virtually impossible to try and keep up with them, in fact.
That being said, it’s basically our job to scour the net and try out any and every product out there, and what we’ve come to notice is that the Nilight and Auxbeam units at Amazon are legitimately our favorites – in terms of both price and performance.
These bars are insanely popular and have thousands of 5-star ratings from hardcore 4×4’ers just like us who put them to the test every weekend, only to have them survive and endure time after time.
It might seem odd buying a 4×4 specific unit from a mass-supplier like Amazon, but like we said, they’re a really good option if you’re on a search for the best performing units at the pocket-friendly prices.
The Bottom Line – Best LED Light Bars for 4×4 Off-Roading
We hope that you’ve found this research effective and useful, and we hope that you’ll be able to put the information here to good use when you go searching on your own for the best LED light bar.
If you’ve skimmed down here to the bottom in order to find our best overall pick, though, we’ll go ahead and reiterate that after considering all of our LED light bar reviews and weighing out all of our different options, we think the Nilight 2-piece 12″ LED Light Bar is the best overall product, while the best value for the money is the 126-watt Eyourlife Fish Eye LED.
If you’re looking for functional, durable, reliable, high performing units at phenomenal prices, you can’t go wrong with either of these picks.
Last update on 2020-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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