In the past, cars had headlights, brake lights, and indicators. These days, many cars have a light bar in addition to their standard vehicle lights. These light bars offer more illumination while consuming less power, so they’re kinder of your battery, and on other drivers too!
The best LED light bar offers long-range rays without blinding other road users. But the type you buy depends on where you drive, how often, and at what time. There are other driving factors too, but first, let’s look at ten top light bar models. Then we can share shopping tips.
The Best LED Light Bar on the Market 2021
1. AutoFeel Dual Mode OSRAM LED Light Bar
Sometimes, drivers worry about the best place to mount their LED light bar. If you buy from AutoFeel, that’s not a problem. The product comes in six separate pieces, so you count mount it on your car roof, hood, and bumper for more effective overall illumination. This combination dual-mode light allows for both day and night driving and offers both spot and floodlighting.
It achieves this by alternating 30° spotlights with 60° floodlights. Both types are effective for daytime driving. Each bulb has OSRAM chips that use up 5W for extra brightness. The LED chips are fitted with an 8D lens. These chips can toggle into four angles: 0°, 15°, 90°, and 180°. AutoFeel has an IP rating of IP68, so it’s effectively protected against water and dust damage.
It can also resist melting, high temperatures, and bad weather. It conducts electricity well, so it utilizes energy effectively. In the box, you get a 22” light bar for your hood, a 52” light bar for your roof, and four 4-inch light pods for your bumper. All six pieces have separate mounting brackets. The whole set-up has a generous 3-year warranty, plus you get tech support forever.
As combo lights go, AutoFeel covers all the bases. It’s encased in aluminum alloy and is adjustable from zero to 180°. There’s no instruction manual though, so you’ll have to Google.
2. Nilight Relay Blade LED Light Bar
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Between light bars, brake lights, and headlights, your light controls may feel puzzling. So it helps if your lights are easily differentiated. For example, some light bars have indicators. The Nilight falls in this category. Its indicator is housed in a charming red rocker switch button for easy identification. And you can press it up to 10,000 times without it sticking.
This Nilight kit is covered by a 2-year warranty, and it includes 2 leads, so your electrical connection is more stable. The box includes a 12-foot wiring harness kit with an extension and clear instructions. It also comes with a high-quality blade fuse plus three additional ones. The fuse holder is waterproof and weatherproof. Nilight is a 15amp system with a total of 180W.
The circuit on the Nilight is protected by a relay. The 4 included fuses and highly conductive components help you stabilize your electrical systems. It’s a universal system, so it’s compatible with any car, boat, or truck that has a 12V battery. It’s a lightweight lighting system at 1.6 oz.
The Nilight is a popular piece. But because it’s so versatile, it comes highly specialized. Double-check the year and model of your car to be sure you’ve bought the right kit and fit.
3. Kohree 7-Inch Offroad LED Light Bar
Horizontal bars are just one configuration option for LED light bars. Another option? Cubes and pods such as this 7-inch Kohree. You can buy a single piece or a pair, and they are commonly mounted on the car roof. Each 7-inch light has 24 chips arranged four rows of six cups each. Each bulb is 3W, so you get a total wattage of 72W within a compact 7-inch aluminum housing.
This LED light bar has a color temperature of 6,500K and gives off 7,200 lumens, though it only puts out around 5,040 lumens. It’s a quick-cooling light, so it’s ideal for rooftop mounting. And it has been proven to last over 50,000 hours of use. It runs on a 12V to 30V DC battery, and its casing can withstand harsh weather including rain, hail, snowstorms, and even earthquakes.
It won’t scratch, crack, rust, or corrode. Every Kohree light has a 3-year warranty, and the LED chips retain their brightness even after years of use. The LED pod measures 11.4 by 7.2 by 5.8 inches and weighs 4.76 lbs. It safely operates from 40°C to 85°C and can emit both a floodlight beam and a pencil spotlight beam. It has a resistance rating of IP67 for dust and water.
When you’re looking for LED light pods, start with the Kohree. It emits 72W per pod, and you can buy two. But you’ll need to buy a switch if you want to spot and flood simultaneously.
4. KC HiLites Waterproof LED Light Bar
If you’re looking for an LED light bar that’s more compact, this 10-inch one does the trick. It has 16 LED chips that each emit 3W for a total of 48W. The light bar gives off 3,360 lumens at a color temperature of 6,000K. It’s been proven to work for more than 50,000 hours. KC HiLites are rated IP67 and housed in extruded aluminum. They have built-in thermal management.
This means they’re good at dissipating heat to prevent damage. It’s a combination light that has a 12° spot beam and a 30° flood beam. There’s no risk of electric shock because all the cables and circuits are insulated in waterproof materials. This kit has multiple components, but they’re all packed in the shipping box, including Allen keys, mounting brackets, and cable ties.
The lights are protected against interference from EMC/RFI. It’s shipped with a single wiring harness, but this brand has light bars ranging from 6 inches to 50 inches, so rather than buying multiple pieces, you can go a few sizes up (or down). The 10-inch version weighs 2 pounds. Unfortunately, even the longest models are straight, so buy something else if you want a curve.
As entry-level lighting goes, KC HiLites is a good starting point. It has all the necessary hardware and mounting tools, and the sizing range provides versatile fitting options.
5. Northpole Combo 20-Inch LED Light Bar
Do you prefer your lights in lines? Northpole Combo has a 3-piece LED light bar kit, and each piece has two rows of lights. The longest piece measures 20 inches and has 42 individual cree lights. The two shorter pieces have 6 chips each, arranged in two rows. They give off 18W each.
The 20-inch section of your light bar kit gives off 10,500 lumens and 126W at a color temperature of 6,000K. It contains both floodlights and spotlights. The spotlight section contains 30° chips in the center of the light bar. The last six cups on either end of the light bar are 60° floodlights. All these lights run and a DC battery of 10V to 30V. They lose heat quickly.
These eco-friendly LEDs are housed in black all-weather aluminum and have been guaranteed for up to 30,000 hours of use. They’re waterproof and dust-proof, with a rating of IP67. The matte black casing is shatterproof and the whole lighting system is held in place by stainless steel brackets. The whole kit is included in the shipping box, so you don’t need to buy extras.
When you order KC HiLites, you get a 3-piece light bar, wiring harness, mounting brackets, and a screw set. It has a 1-year warranty, but the longer 20-inch piece sometimes needs rewiring.
6. Bangbangche 20-Inch Offroad LED Light Bar
If you like the look of KC HiLites but need something … more …consider Bangbangche. It’s a 5-piece LED light bar comprising a long 20-inch bar and 4 shorter 4-inch pods. The long piece is 126W while the shorter ones are 18W. And just like KC HiLites, the middle LED chips on the longer bar are spotlights, while the 6 LED chips on either end are floodlights.
The typical configuration is to mount the 20-inch light bar on your bumper, leaving the four pods for your car roof. All sets of LED lights are quick-cooling to avoid heat damage. The casing is die-cast aluminum, and these lights continue to work effectively for up to 50,000 hours. All the necessary mounting hardware is included in the packaging. The lights have a 1-year warranty.
While the 20-inch light bar combines floodlighting and spotlighting, the 4 shorter pod lights only offer broad-beamed floodlighting. The whole set of 5 lights weighs 7.25 pounds, and the aluminum housing can withstand corrosion, rust, scratching, and extreme weather. The wiring isn’t included though, you’ll have to buy that separately since it only ships with 6-inch cables.
Bangbangche LED light bars are well-priced and are guaranteed for a year. But you’ll need an extra trip to the hardware store because it doesn’t ship with a wire harness.
7. YITAMOTOR LED 2-Piece LED Light Bar
All the light bars we’ve looked at so far have had two rows a piece. YITAMOTOR is a two-piece light bar, but each bar has a single row with 6 LED cups in it. The two pieces are each 6 inches long and emit 3W each for a total of 18W floodlights and a color temperature of 6,000K
The light bars are waterproof and have a 2-year warranty. It has a lifespan of over 50,000 hours and an IP rating of IP67. The grooves in the back of your LED casing help air circulate faster and more freely. This speeds up the cooling process, which minimizes the chance of heat damage.
They’ve been successfully tested against rust, corrosion, extreme weather, and earthquakes. The lights are encased in 1070 aluminum alloy housing with an aluminum fan. This ensures quick cooling and stretches the lifespan of your LED light bar. And while YITAMOTOR can’t provide a spotlight pattern, these lights can swivel 90° for directional floodlighting.
The lights can also slide sideways to widen your view path. Mounting screws and brackets are included, but wire harnesses are not. These light bars do well as roof lights, but you can also mount them on your rear bumper. Rear positioning is especially helpful for camping, mountaineering, and offroad driving through unpaved areas with wildlife.
For buyers who prefer one-row lights, YITAMOTOR fits the bill. These floodlights cool quickly, have aluminum fan blades, and can turn 90°. But they don’t have a spotlight option.
8. Auxbeam 7-Inch Military LED Light Bar
When you buy a light fixture, the stated size is sometimes rounded up. For example, this 7-inch LED light bar measures 6.5 inches in reality (and is 2.5 inches at its widest point). The AuxBeam has two pieces, each with 12 lighting chips, and each emitting 36W. They’re strictly spotlights though, with a 30° pencil beam. There’s no option for floodlighting on these.
The lights are housed in 6063 die-cast aluminum and supported on stainless steel brackets. They have an enlarged heat sink filled with grooves that let heat quickly dissipate. Auxbeam is a direct seller, so if you bought yours from a third party, it may be counterfeit. They do supply shopping sites, but even online dealers are fronted by an official Auxbeam sales rep.
Typical 6-inch lights have 6 LED chips housed in individual reflective cups, but because this one has 12, it offers twice the illumination of its class competitors. But because it can’t flood your viewing area, it’s limited in its usage scenarios. You may have to pair it with a longer light bar, one that has a broader pattern and proven versatility.
For basic spotlight functions, YITAMOTOR works well. It has double the illumination of other lights its size and is resistant to harsh weather. But its maximum lighting arc is just 30°.
9. Rigidhorse LED Light Bar
What’s better than a 6-light set-up? A folding 6-light set-up! And RigidHorse has just the thing. This 6-piece set has a 42-inch light, a 22-inch light, and four 4-inch lights. They all use OSRAM chips for enhanced illumination. And they all have dual rows of LED chips, sitting pretty in reflective cups. You can buy alternative configurations: 52” + 42” + 4” x 4 OR 52” + 22” + 4” x 4.
These light bars have both spotlight pencil beams and broader floodlight beams. Floodlights span 60° and cover a shorter distance but aren’t as focused or precise. The 30° pencil beam in spotlight mode reaches further, is sharper and more direct. It creates stronger shadows though, which could be detrimental to foggy driving or unfamiliar areas with wild brush or large game.
Each LED chip sits in the center of an 8D reflective cup and gives off a light temperature of 6,000K. The rating for Rigidhorse is IP68, meaning it’s completely dustproof and around 90% water-resistant. The wiring is made of silicon insulation that can resist heat and moisture damage. The fast-cooling casing is made of 6063 aluminum alloy with a grooved back.
The lights need a 10V to 50V battery. The longer light bar (42 inches) can fold 90° and 180° at the joint. You can also join several light bars at the joint. The 4 chips at the end of each light bar are floodlights while the center chips are spotlights. The 4-inch light pods are all spotlights.
6-piece lights are comprehensive and convenient, so Rigidhorse is a smart buy. It folds at right angles for flexible directional lighting, and can even fold flat for compact storage and transport.
10. Cutequeen 4-Piece LED Light Bar
You don’t necessarily need LED bars to light your path. You could buy several shorter light pods instead. Cutequeen offers a set of 4, each being 4 inches and each carrying 12 LED chips. The chips are cozy in reflective cups for safety and illumination. Every chip emits 3W, so every pod gives off 36W of spotlighting. These aren’t designed for diffuse lighting purposes.
These lights give off 3,600 lumens a piece, released in the form of a 30° spotlight beam. Their resistance rating is IP67, and like many other lights in class, they work best at 40C to 85C and give off a color temperature of 6,000K to 6,500K. That’s typical daytime light quality. Each light comes with a set of five screws that have matching washers, nuts, and bolts.
The LED pods need 10V to 30V batteries. Their housing is made of die-cast aluminum topped with toughened glass and installed on stainless steel brackets. They weigh 1.76 pounds in total and can last 50,000 hours. They can survive harsh weather, which may include cutting, burning, freezing, drowning, smashing, and scratching … but don’t hammer or drill them!
If you want individual directional lights rather than an elongated LED light bar, consider investing in Rigidhorse lighting pods. They can withstand intense manual damage too.
When you’re looking at a product box or hardware store aisle, all LEDs look the same. You might accidentally pick Christmas lights or disco bulbs. So how can you be sure you’ve picked the best LED light bar for your needs? Let’s explore some shopping criteria for your car lights.
Engines are measured in horsepower while bulbs are measured in amps, watts, or volts. LEDs are often measured in ‘lumens’ and ‘candles’. One candle is equal around a dozen lumens (12.57). But in addition to units if brightness, luminosity is affected by the type of light you buy.
Spotlights have a strong beam that has long reach but a narrow radius. Floodlights don’t shoot as far, but they cover a wider radius. If you regularly drive at night or in areas with low visibility, floodlights are ideal. For busy highway driving, spotlights do a better job of showing you fast-approaching cars. But for areas with wild game, floodlights might protect panicked animals.
Another element that can influence light volumes is the degree of your bulb. Pointing it straight ahead has a different effect from angling it to the side. If your driving needs are varied, consider getting adjustable light bars. That way, you can point it in your preferred direction.
Rows and Range
Wide floodlight beams can alert you as animals jump onto the road. They also warn animals to avoid the road, since they can spot the diffuse light from the sides of the road. On the other hand, if you do most of your driving in daylight, ensure your light bars are sufficiently visible in sunlight.
Rows can also play a role in luminosity. We assume more rows equal brighter light, but this generally increases spread, not intensity. The more chips you have, the more diffuse your lighting effect. So you could pick a single row for sharper lighting, or you could pick multiples.
Use those extra rows in different combinations. This means you can choose selected cups to get the right effect. They don’t all have to be turned on simultaneously. Instead, you can apply them in sequence to get the right range, distance, or beam pattern for your needs.
Often, IP readings will have two numbers after them. The first number – which ranges from 0 to 6 – shows how resistant your lights are to dust. 0 means completely susceptible to dust. 6 means verifiably dust-proof. The second figure shows resistance to water and goes from 0 to 9.
So a rating of IP69 will fully block water and dust from damaging your LED light bar. Avoid light bars rated lower than IP67. You also want your lights to resists corrosion, rust, salt, abrasion, and other forms of harmful exposure. Aluminum casings offer the best protection because they’re lightweight ad reflective. Opt for aluminum graded 6061 or 6063 for the best results.
Still, on the issue of resistance, some experts suggest you should focus on spread rather than intensity. So they advise you to focus on Lux (luminous flux per unit area) instead of Lumens (brightness). Lux describes how well the light diffuses within a given space. For night driving or foggy driving, you should emphasize how well you can see, not how far you can see.
Cars are functional, but they’re also highly personalized. They say a lot about your taste, character, and occupation. LED light bars are a big part of that unspoken message. Do you want rainbow lights that flash like a nightclub or holiday display? Would you prefer one, two, or three rows of lights? Do you want rounded, square, or wedge-shaped light casings?
Some lights are houses in oval cases, rounded pods, and linear cubes, so they resemble porch lights or bathroom lights. Others are arranged in tiny rows of casings, so they’re more reminiscent of glitter and rhinestones. Then there are mini lights or puddle lights. Your design options are broad, so if visuals are a key factor for you, shop widely to see what’s available.
Where will you install your LED light bar? Some drivers mount it on the roof while others prefer them on the bumper. You can mount them on either side of the car – above or below your headlights. Or you could position them under the license plate. Or on top of it. Some even install light bars next to the side mirrors, though those are more likely to be single bulbs.
Start by deciding on your mounting position, then shop for the right fit. As we’ve seen in the example above, it can be awkward trying to fit two rows of lights on your side mirror. And while a single spotlight on your car roof may be effective, it can also be a little jarring…
Plus, if you’re buying a roof light bar, it needs better heat dissipation. It directly faces the sun, so it’ll heat up faster. It will also be more exposed to the elements, so it needs high grade weatherproofing, waterproofing, rust-proofing, and superior protective housing.
Light the Way!
After all this chatter, what’s the best LED light bar for your car? We stand by the Nilight Relay:
- Its relay system provides additional protection for your circuits.
- It has a built-in 12-foot harness with options for extensions.
- It has 4 fuses and a waterproof fuse holder for extra stability.
- It runs on 18W and 15amps, and it has 2 leads.
- You can press the indicator light 5,000 to 10,000 times without breaking it.
Which LED light bar do you have on your car? Show us in the comments, we’d love to see!