Best LED Light Bars: Shine Bright From Your Off-Roading Setup

The best light bars to enhance visibility in low-light, off-road driving conditions

byHeather Fishel| UPDATED Jul 21, 2022 5:09 AM
Best LED Light Bars: Shine Bright From Your Off-Roading Setup
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If you’ve ever found yourself on an unfamiliar trail in complete darkness, you know the frustration of working with less-than-ideal illumination. On unlit terrain, you can easily wind up in situations where you need extra light. That’s why an off-road light bar can be such a great addition. With extra brightness and better illumination, an LED light bar can help you see upcoming obstacles, terrain changes, and the path ahead of you better. As an added bonus, it’s also a helpful way to help others off the beaten path see you, too. And, of course, a light bar will only make your rig look better. No matter your reasons for equipping your off-road vehicle with one of these illuminating accessories, the benefits can be pretty significant.

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

I chose the following as the best LED light bars by seeking out highly rated and well-reviewed picks from reputable brands such as KC and Rough Country. From there, I compared light bars in brightness, or lumen level, fitment for different makes and models, and ease of installation. I also took a look at crucial off-roading and outdoor details and features, such as waterproofing or water resistance, visibility, and beam patterns to determine which offered the best durability and performance. Additionally, I looked at users’ reviews and comments on these light bars to assess how they held up in off-roading situations.

Best LED Light Bar Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Lumens: 19,616
  • Bar length: 50 inches
  • IP rating: IP68

Pros

  • Powerful lumens and illumination
  • Modular, configurable design
  • Sealed against dust, dirt, and water
  • Universal mounting setup

Cons

  • Expensive

When it comes to bright illumination, off-road readiness, and rugged style, the KC HiLites Gravity Pro6 LED Light Bar can’t be beat. This impressive lighting accessory will take your off-road adventures from dimly lit to hugely visible, with eight powerful LED light fixtures mounted across a 50-inch bar. This bar spans the top of your vehicle and casts a whole lot of light over the terrain ahead. The modular lights put out a total of 19,616 lumens when fully lit, and they can be reconfigured and changed to suit the coverage and beam direction you’re looking for. Plus, this light bar is sealed against all kinds of outdoor elements, from dirt and dust to water, with an IP68 rating for added protection. The one drawback to this standout LED light bar is the price.

Specs

  • Lumens: 18,000
  • Bar length: 20 inches
  • IP rating: IP67

Pros

  • 40 5-watt LEDs
  • 20 daytime running lights
  • Spot and flood beam patterns
  • Universal fitment

Cons

  • Somewhat short

If you’re looking for an LED light bar that works for your budget but doesn’t skimp on features, check out the Rough Country Black Series LED Light Bar. This light may be shorter than many competing products, but it offers a wealth of light and plenty of powerful features. It provides 18,000 lumens, via 40 5-watt high-intensity LEDs plus 20 amber daytime running-light LEDs. This combo gives you plenty of illumination, both soft and extra bright. Plus, you can control whether your light bar shines with spotlight beams or floodlight beams. Constructed out of durable die-cast aluminum, this light bar also features an IP67 rating to lock out water, and the light lenses feature Moisture Breather Technology to reduce moisture buildup that fogs up each light. The only slight disadvantage this LED light bar might present is its shorter. If you’re looking for a wider illumination range, this 20-inch model may be a little too small.

Specs

  • Lumens: 4,800
  • Bar length: 50 inches
  • IP rating: None

Pros

  • Eight LED pods
  • Ultra-high light intensity
  • Selectable backlight color

Cons

  • No waterproof or dust and dirt protection

This illuminating off-road light bar is made up of eight light pods linked together to stretch 50 inches long. This set of pods is extra bright. It provides 4,800 raw lumens, and the ultra-high light intensity allows you and your rig to be seen from up to a mile away. Plus, you can customize the lighting with a selectable backlight color of eight colors choices. In addition to visibility, this light bar is also tested for durability, with Diode Dynamics’ torture testing process and heavy-duty construction. Unfortunately, although this LED light bar has been torture tested and is built with heavy-duty details, it doesn’t advertise any waterproofing, dustproofing, or dirt protection. As a result, it’s tough to determine how the bar will hold up in rough weather or conditions.

Specs

  • Lumens: 4,752
  • Bar length: 10 inches
  • IP rating: IP68

Pros

  • 289-meter beam distance
  • Optimized projection optics
  • Built-in backlighting in multiple color choices
  • Includes wiring harness and multi-trigger switch

Cons

  • Short for some applications

The Rigid Industries Radiance Plus Series LED Light Bar is the perfect fit for those who have smaller vehicles or anyone who doesn’t need a full 50-inch bar. At just 10 inches, it’s a compact and convenient add-on that provides extra light, increased visibility, and all the perks of a larger LED light bar in a slim, short package. Made with high-impact polycarbonate lens and powder-coated components, it’s built for rough and rugged use. The six LEDs provide 4,752 raw lumens, with a beam distance of 289 meters. The entire bar is rated IP68 for dust and water protection, meaning you can trust the lights to handle the unexpected. And everything you need to get installed and set up, from wiring harness to multitrigger switch to brackets, is included. The compact nature of this LED light bar may also be a drawback. At only 10 inches long, it won’t provide as much illumination or coverage as larger bars. However, if you don’t need a lot of additional light, it’s a handy add-on to your vehicle.

Specs

  • Lumens: 23,040
  • Bar length: 50 inches
  • IP rating: IP67

Pros

  • 96 3-watt high-intensity LEDs
  • Spotlight and floodlight beam patterns
  • Prevents moisture buildup
  • Noise silencers limit humming and whistling

Cons

  • Confusing waterproof ratings

A curved LED light bar isn’t just sleek. It can extend your light coverage and give you visibility from more angles and viewpoints. The Rough Country Black Series Dual Row Curved LED Light Bar is a high-quality option. This capable and bright bar delivers 23,040 lumens from 96 3-watt high-intensity LEDs. You can choose to use the eight-degree spotlight beam pattern or the 90-degree flood combo pattern to illuminate what’s around you. The curved light bar, which is constructed out of durable die-cast aluminum, is also well-protected from moisture and humidity, which helps prevent moisture from building up underneath the lens of each light. As an added bonus, the Noise Silencer brackets also help reduce or eliminate humming, whistling, and other wind noises that can accompany a light bar mount. This LED light bar’s waterproof rating is listed as both IP67 and IP68, leading to some confusion about just how protected it is. Fortunately, even with an IP67 rating, your lights should be well protected even if they do happen to wind up submerged.

Our Verdict

The KC HiLites Gravity Pro6 LED Light Bar is my top pick because of its standout performance, durability in the face of unpredictable weather, and extra brightness. It’s an investment, but one that really stands out when you’re looking for extra light. The Rough Country Black Series LED Light Bar is another great choice, and it’s one with plenty of value thanks to its affordability and long list of features. 

Things to Consider Before Buying an LED Light Bar

Before you pick out any LED light bar, make sure to look for these important considerations, features, and details. They can make the difference both in the effectiveness of your light bar and the fun and safety of your future off-road adventures. 

Lumen Count

One of the most critical components of any LED light bar is how brightly it can shine and how well it can illuminate what’s ahead. Choose a product that offers a high enough lumen count and a solid number of lights. If you only want one light bar, make sure it has a lot of lumens for maximum brightness. The individual lights, either in the form of LED bulbs or chips, also matters as each contributes to the light emitted. 

Bar Size

In addition to the number of lumens and individual lights, take the overall size of the light bar into consideration. Light bars can be slim and somewhat small, or they can be wide, curved, and cover the entire width of your vehicle. There are a lot of options in height, width, and even shape when it comes to LED bars, so think about how much area you’re hoping to illuminate. Wider, longer bars will cover more space, while thinner and shorter bars will only give you a few extra feet of light.

Mounting Position

Where and how your LED off-road light bar is mounted matters. It affects the angle of your light, how well the area in front of your vehicle is illuminated, and how secure the light stays while you’re on unpredictable terrain. While there are a number of mounting options and each light bar offers its own specific mounting style, think about the position you prefer as you shop. Additionally, make sure your chosen light bar has all of the components and hardware you’ll need for mounting. Some can require additional purchases for hardware or wiring harnesses. 

Outdoor Protection

You never know what you’re going to face when off-roading. You could wind up in mud, an unexpected downpour, high winds, or extremely bumpy terrain. To make sure you’re getting a reliable and durable light bar, look for one built with outdoor protections. Think about the types of environments you drive in most often, and try to find protections that meet the surprises you come across. Details like waterproof housing, water-resistant components, dust protection and resistance, and corrosion protection can ensure your lights stay functional for many miles to come. 

Pricing 

An LED light bar can run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000. If you’re looking for a relatively small light bar, you can find options priced between $150 and $350. However, if you’re looking for a lot of light and want something more capable or with a higher lumen count, you’ll need to step up to the $375 to $600 range. The heaviest-duty and most premium LED light bars for off-roading are significantly more expensive; these can cost $1,000 to $2,000 or more. However, these models also tend to require specialized installation and are made to fit specific vehicle makes and models. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How many lumens is a good light bar?

A: It depends on how much brightness you’re looking for. The higher the lumen count, the more your light bar will illuminate. You can find solidly bright bars anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 lumens.

Q: How many watts should my light bar be?

A: Like lumens, watts can cover a wide range of options when you’re picking out a light bar. A good minimum is 120 watts; 240 watts is average. However, if you need a lot of power or a lot of brightness, you can go as high as 800 watts for some bars.

Q: How long do LED light bars last?

A: LED bulbs typically last about 20,000 to 30,000 hours in total. So, you can expect your LED light bar to get roughly the same lifespan.

Q: Can you use an LED light bar as headlights?

A: LED light bars are great for off-roading, but they aren’t the safest choice for driving on city streets or highways. In some states, it’s illegal to rely on a light bar instead of your standard headlights. Check local regulations about light bars, headlights, and fog lights and use them in compliance with the law.