5 Best Off-Road Lights of 2018
If you have ever shopped around for off-roading lights, you’ve likely noticed how much jargon is used. All of that jargon can be confusing. Manufacturers often talk about how many lumens their lights can output and use fancy terms like “Hyperspot array.” Which light can last me the longest? Which light is actually the brightest?
Let’s answer these questions and see which lights are best for off-roading. Hopefully, after reading, you will have a better understanding of what to look for.
Top 5 Lights for Off-Roading
If you’re looking for true, top-of-the-line quality, then you can’t go wrong with the Rigid Industries SR2-Series 30’’ LED Light Bar. Rigid Industries truly outdid itself here.
First of all, installing this light bar couldn’t be easier. With a plug-and-play harness included in the box, there is no rewiring or extra fussing about. This 30’’ LED light bar from Rigid Industries is also incredibly durable. Its aluminum housings feature heat sinks, which help keep the LEDs cool. The LEDs themselves boast a powder coated finish, a rubber seal, and a lens that’s resistant to scratches.
Rigid Industries is famous for creating products with premium build quality and the SR2-Series is no exception. There’s no fretting over water damage in harsh weather conditions.
Of course, the most important part of any light bar is how bright it is and how well it projects its light. And in that regard, this light bar can’t be beaten. Rigid Industries’ patented “Specter Optics” design allows it to produce an intense beam with minimal wasted light. Its “Hyperspot” array is able to project a supremely focused beam, while the surrounding floodlights illuminate the road around you.
This light bar is by far the least affordable product on this list. But for sheer quality and reliability, it has no match.
Pros and cons
- Supremely Bright
- Focused and projects light very far
- Very durable. Not susceptible to water damage or overheating
- Easy set-up (harness included)
One of the most affordable options for a light bar of its size, the Auxbeam, for the most part doesn’t disappoint.
It has a fairly solid construction. However, the main pro of this 42’’ LED light bar from Auxbeam is its brightness. To put it mildly, the LEDs on this light bar are glaring. I wouldn’t want to be caught staring at them, even if I were a hundred feet away.
The curved design of the LEDs, which were made by Cree, also allows for a wider range of illumination. Light bars with a straight design tend to have a tougher time illuminating corners. That’s one way in which the Auxbeam excels over other light bars.
Still, this light bar isn’t without its problems. Specifically, the wire harness included is rather poor. Sadly, this light bar isn’t ready-to-go out of the box. If you’re planning on buying the Auxbeam 42’’ LED Light Bar, be prepared to spend a little more time and money on rewiring. Or possibly even purchasing a new harness. Other than that, this light bar works fairly well.
Pros and cons
- Incredibly bright
- Durable build
- Poor wire harness
If you’re looking for a pair of 4’’ LED lights, these Nilight Off Road LEDs are a very affordable option. Not only are they affordable, but they can be just as satisfying to use as the more expensive LED lights out there.
At 1260lm of light, these LEDs are surprisingly bright. You wouldn’t expect a pair of 4’’ LED lights at this price range to be as bright as these Nilights are, and don’t worry about them overheating. These LEDs boast die-cast aluminum cooling fins, which provide much-improved heat dissipation.
However, these lights have a few flaws worth mentioning too. Most notably, they aren’t as sturdy as they could be. While Nilight claims that they’re waterproof, they’re more than a little susceptible to wet weather. Or at the very least, longer periods of wet weather.
On the other hand, these lights are affordable enough that replacing one (or even both) won’t set you back by much. It’s still a flaw, and one that’s worth mentioning. Aside from that, the lights work surprisingly well for how cheap they are. If you’re in the market for a pair of 4’’ LEDs, these aren’t a bad choice.
Pros and cons
- Surprisingly bright for their size and price range
- Very affordable
- Not very durable. Susceptible to water damage
A cheap product doesn’t always have to be a bad one. If anything, these Kingopt 4’’ Off Road LED Lights prove that while they’re far from the best, for a pair of cheap LEDs, they work surprisingly well.
They’re fairly bright. They aren’t the brightest 4’’ LEDs by any means, but will probably work for most applications. For the price, they aren’t half-bad.
As far as build quality is concerned, again, they’re far from premium, but are surprisingly well-made. They feel hefty in your hands and the brackets are fairly solid. However, we recommend you waterproof these with silicone before you install them. They may not be ideal for off-roading, but they will work for most other purposes.
Pros and cons
- Fairly bright. Good for most applications.
- Respectable build quality.
- May not be bright enough for some outdoor activities.
These Cutequeen Off Road LED Lights wouldn’t be our first choice, but if you’re only looking for a cheap pair of 4’’ LED lights for your ATV, they may just do the trick for you.
First of all, they’re fairly bright. Maybe not quite as bright as some of us would prefer, but they can probably do the job. To be honest, we weren’t expecting them to be blaring or anything, with how affordable they are.
However, what holds these back the most is their somewhat poor design. The brackets are made of thin metal and are fairly flimsy, which isn’t a good sign. For what it’s worth, it looks as if that’s more of a quality control issue and not a problem with the product in general. That’s still not a very good sign, though.
They’re easy to install and for the price, they aren’t half-bad. If you’re looking for an extra-cheap pair of LEDs, these Cutequeen Off Road LED Lights might do the trick.
Pros and cons
- Fairly bright. Good enough for most applications
- Overall poor build quality
What to Look for in Off Roading Lights
Whether you’re shopping for a new light bar or even just a pair of 4’’ LED lights, it’s always important to have a clear idea of what to look for. Here are a few things you should note before you make a decision.
The first thing to think of is the application you plan to use your off roading lights for. Just because they are advertised for vehicles doesn’t mean you can’t use them for boats, ATVs, 4x4s, work equipment, etc. With that said, the lights that have multiple uses will usually be advertised as such.
Typically if you need a strong beam for your boat or ATV a 40” bar isn’t practical. Where-as two 4 inch LEDs will work perfect. There are also technical aspects to consider, for instance voltage requirements will vary, cable length, as well as mounting position for optimal beam positioning.
As the bulb produces light, the rays are directed towards the objects they are pointed at. These lights produce a specific pattern. When it comes to beam patterns, there are two that are most common: floodlights and spotlights.
Floodlights are capable of producing lots of light that is spread out in every direction. While they can’t reach very far, their radius is still quite large.
Spotlights are strong focused beams of light capable of seeing far off distances. With that said, you can’t see anything that is outside the line of sight.
Some off roading lights combine both of these beams. With that said these usually are lacking when it comes to beam strength in both categories.
Off roading lights are typically quite bright. You will see brightness rated in lumens. Off roading lights should have an average value of 5,000 or more. Typically the higher the rating, the brighter the light.
Most of these lights are quite durable. The housings or pods are fairly structurally sound. You want to avoid plastic and cheap parts. Look for high quality steel and aluminum parts and water proof ratings IP67 or above.
Choosing the right offroading lights can definitely be hard when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Hopefully our guide has put you on the right track and maybe a few of the options listed have given you inspiration. Basically pick a beam option, a housing that is durable, waterproof, and has more than 5,000 lumens and you’re already off to a good start!
Writer for TheVehicleLab.com
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