Best Off-Road Lights: Add Safety and Enjoyment to your Nighttime Explorations
Make your off-roading even more enjoyable with these powerful off-road lighting systems.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON August 1, 2021
No matter what type of off-road vehicle you drive, you can increase visibility significantly by investing in a good lighting system. Stock lights can only do so much and aren't particularly powerful. Aftermarket off-road lights, however, can make a big difference when it comes to seeing what's ahead of you and surrounding you in dark or low light conditions.
Your basic headlights can only do so much when you're traveling in a Jeep, SUV, or other off-road vehicle. It's important to be able to navigate the area safely to prevent damage to your truck and yourself. Investing in a high-quality set of off-road lights also adds some style to your ride. Check out our list of the best off-road lights available.
These are well-sized 6-inch round CREE LED lights, which are perfect for seeing clearly in dusty, foggy, or low light conditions.
- Installation is super easy and highly customizable.
- Backed by a 23-year warranty
- Suitable for a wide range of makes and models
- Light covers that come with the set look like bright yellow happy faces, which won’t appeal to all buyers
These lights are specifically designed for Jeeps, SUVs, pickups, ATVs, etc. and feature a 50,000-hour lifespan and 6000k color temperature.
- Dissipate heat well due to their aluminum alloy construction
- Waterproof, corrosion-resistant, shockproof, and dust-proof
- Beam may be difficult to adjust to your specifications
- One light in the pair may not work out of the box
Available in a variety of sizes, this light bar accommodates various types of vehicles, from trucks to boats and ATVs. It features both spot and flood beams.
- Bright with long-range visibility
- Rustproof and dust-proof
- Come with a two-year warranty
- Mounting hardware isn't the best quality
- Moisture may seep in even though the lights are supposed to be waterproof
Why Trust Us
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.
Benefits of Off-Road Lights
- Increase visibility. The number-one advantage to installing off-road lights on your vehicle is to illuminate the area in front of you and around you. The better you can see, the easier it will be for you to navigate the trail. This lets you extend your off-roading time well past daylight hours, keeping the fun going for as long as you like.
- Add some style. Off-road lighting systems come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. If you're the type of person who doesn't like looking like everyone else, you have a lot of options when it comes to lighting.
- Spend only what you want. A great thing about off-road lighting systems is they’re available in a wide range of prices. You don't have to spend a lot of money to put fog lights or a light bar on your SUV, Jeep, ATV, or UTV, but there are also many choices out there for higher-end racing use and hardcore off-roaders that can thin your wallet out pretty quickly.
Types of Beam Patterns
Spotlight or Pencil Beam
This is a narrow, concentrated beam that penetrates long distances in front of your vehicle. It’s great for straight, high-speed situations but is even more useful for racing, rather than typical recreational use.
A driving beam pattern illuminates a much wider area than a pencil beam and gives the driver a much more useful view of the trail ahead. They provide more intensity and reach than typical high-beam headlights.
Fog lights provide a wide, flat-topped beam that brightens the area near your vehicle, and gives a broader view of shoulders and curves. They are not designed for long-distance illumination, but rather to supplement a typical low-beam headlight by giving the driver a more complete view of their surroundings. The flat top of the beam is designed not to reflect fog, dust, snow, and rain back into the driver’s eyes.
Flood lights, as the name implies, are designed to flood an area with light. They are typically used as work lights or area lights for a campsite, or as reverse lamps, rather than to light your way down a road. However, this type of pattern is sometimes used for forward lighting at low speeds, on Jeeps, ATVs, and the like.
Types of Light Sources
LED, or Light Emitting Diodes, have in recent years become the dominant light source for off-road and auxiliary lighting in general. LEDs provide long life and use very little power compared to halogen bulbs, and are resistant to vibration and pounding on rough roads. These lights produce a whiter light as compared to halogens.
Prior to the rise of LEDs, halogen bulbs ruled the lighting world. There are still many halogen off-road lights available, and they are generally less expensive than LED lamps. Halogen bulbs, although easily replaceable, do not last anywhere near as long as LEDs.
Yes, laser! For very high-end racing applications, laser diodes are being used by some manufacturers for super long-range lighting that shines about 350 percent farther than other light sources.
Types of Lights
A pod lamp is simply an individual lamp in its own housing that can be mounted on a bumper, grille, cowl, or roof. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit individual tastes and mounting requirements.
A light bar houses a number of different individual lamps in one horizontal unit. They come in a variety of lengths and styles to provide different light patterns and output. They can be mounted in on the top or front of a vehicle.
KC has been around for more than 50 years. Headquartered in Williams, Arizona, the company has pioneered innovations in off-road lighting since its inception. Today, KC is an industry leader and innovator by delivering game-changing solutions like the Flex Era 3 S.
Rigid Industries is a Phoenix-based company that was launched in 2004. By 2014, the company had been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500|5000 Fastest Growing Companies list for two years in a row. It is considered to make some of the best lighting solutions in the business, including the Radiance Pod XL Off-Road Lights.
Baja Designs has more than twenty five years of lighting development and innovation with race-winning technology for off-road and street use. Based in San Diego, California, they are pioneers in the laser lighting field. They offer a number of high-quality products, such as the LP6 LED Driving/Combo Light.
HELLA is a well-known German automotive company that got its start in 1899. The company produces lighting and electronic components. It makes a variety of different lights, including headlamps and interior lighting. We recommend the HELLA 500 Series Driving Lamp Kit.
Based in California, Auxbeam has been around since 2008. The company produces a wide variety of LED lights and accessories, including off-road lights, driving lights, and motorcycle lights. One of its popular products is the Auxbeam LED Pods 18W Flood LED Light Bar.
Off-Road Lights Pricing
- $20-$100: One of the best things about off-road lighting is that it can be quite affordable. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get increased visibility. However, lower-priced systems may not offer the performance or durability of more expensive models.
- $100 to $350: This price range will net you some seriously impressive off-road lighting solutions. High-powered lights with large lumen outputs and substantial mounting systems can be found here. You’ll also find larger lighting options in this price range.
- $350 and up: This is where the creme-de-la-creme of off-road lighting lives. These are the best in the industry, backed by a lifetime warranty, and guaranteed to withstand wear and tear. This price range is usually reserved for the most serious off-road warriors who need a premium lighting product.
Since you're going to be off-roading with these lights, they need to be able to withstand a certain amount of vibration, impact, and a variety of weather conditions. As a result, they should be constructed with high-quality materials. To make sure they last, look for products that have durable lenses and high-quality housings and mounting brackets. Also, make sure they're waterproof, and check to see if they include stone guards.
Brightness and Beam Pattern
Since you probably chose to purchase off-road lights because you want to increase visibility, their brightness is very important. Check the specs and see how much light they will emit. Many are at least 5,000 lumens, but others can be closer to 500. Know what you’re getting before you buy. Also, take a look at the beam pattern. Many have a spot beam, but spread, driving, and flood beam patterns are also available.
Before spending your hard-earned cash on a set of off-road lights, think about where you want to install them. Lightbars and pods should be mounted in an area where they provide the best performance. Many large light bars are mounted above the windshield, while pods are typically placed on the front bumper.
- Added Features. Look for lights with an IP67 rating, which indicates they are waterproof and dustproof. Also, check to see if they have cooling fans for heat dissipation. Another feature to consider is the mounting hardware; some include brackets, while others don't. Color temperature is also important. Finally, check to see if there's a warranty.
- Installation. If you're not mechanically inclined, it may be a little challenging to install a set of off-road lights on your vehicle. The good news is that most manufacturers provide detailed instructions on how to set them up (or you can find some handy videos online).
Best Off-Road Lights Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Think about the space you have available. Make sure to measure the dimensions, and choose an off-road light that will fit correctly.
- Pick a lighting system that won't drain your battery. Some brands use more energy than others to produce brighter lights.
- Look for brands with long warranties. Some provide as little as six months of coverage, while others have two-year warranties, which can give you some peace of mind.
Q. What are the best off-road driving lights?
All of the products on our list are good off-road lights with a lot of positive feedback from users. There are many options available, and which one you choose is a personal preference.
Q. Are light bars better than pod lights?
That depends on a ton of factors, such as how they're mounted and what you need off-road lighting for. And of course, it's a matter of personal taste; some folks prefer the old-school look of (most) pod lights, while others like the high-tech appearance of light bars. To each his own.
Q. What is the brightest off-road light?
For really bright off-road lights, look for brands that are at least 6,000 lumens. They will provide the most visibility.
Q. How do I choose off-road lights?
First, choose what type you want. Then pick one that is bright enough for your needs and falls under your budget. Make sure it’s a high-quality product that’s waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof.
When it comes to our top pick in terms of performance, durability, and price, we have to go with the KC HiLites Daylighter Off-Road Lights System. You get well-sized 6-inch round CREE LED lights, which are perfect for seeing clearly in dusty, foggy, or low light conditions. They’re suitable for a wide variety of makes and models and offer a fully customizable positioning and easy installation.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that sacrifices nothing in the way of reliability and functionality, check out the Auxbeam LED Pods 18W Flood LED Light Bar. It has a lot of great features you’ll find in a higher-end model without the higher-end price tag.