An off-road LED light bar is a strip of lights installed on a vehicle that allows you to have a broader, brighter, more penetrating beam of light in the direction you are driving. Although they can be used in a variety of different ways, they have become popular additions or replacement lights for off-road vehicles, such as ATVs, jeeps, and boats. Unlike a standard light bar, an off-road light bar is made to withstand the bumps and shocks associated with rough terrain. When choosing an off-road light bar, there are several factors to consider including the size, shape, beam pattern and mounting options.
LED light bars are available in rectangular, round and square shapes. The shape will have an effect on how the light is distributed. The shape should also be selected according to where and how you want to mount it on the vehicle as well as the overall look you are going for.
The size of an off-road LED light bar is based off of the length, which is typically measured in inches. When measuring the area where you will install the light bar, it is important to keep in mind that the type of mounting you choose will have an effect on the measurements, so it is best to decide on the preferred type of mounting before selecting the size of the light bar. LED light bars are sold in a variety of lengths, typically ranging from 4-50 inches.
There are three types of beam pattern options; flood, spot and combo beam:
- A flood beam pattern has a larger irradiation range, but the light intensity in the center is somewhat weak, which reduces the length of the beam. This type of beam is best when you want more light in a close area.
- A spot beam pattern is often referred to as a pencil beam because it has a narrow pattern, which makes the light more concentrated. A spot beam pattern is ideal for off-road driving at night when you want the lights to be more intense and focused in a further, more specific area.
- A combo beam pattern is a combination of a flood beam and a spot beam. Typically for a combo beam, the flood beam is on both the sides and the spot beam is in the middle. A combo beam will produce a high brightness and focus in both short and long distances. This is the most popular type of LED light bar for off-road vehicles.
There are several factors to consider when determining where to mount an off-road LED light bar, including the intended use, your technical abilities, your budget, and your personal preference. Some locations are easier to mount than others. For example, the front bumper is often the easiest location because there usually already holes in the bumper, so you won't need to buy additional mounting hardware. Mounting the light bar on the lower windshield will provide a different angle of light than the headlights, which increases visibility, but this location requires additional mounting hardware. Mounting the light bar above the windshield will give you the greatest amount of light angle differentiation, but it does require additional mounting hardware, including some drilling for the wiring.