Choosing the right LED Light Bar can greatly improve safety and your enjoyment of driving at night. Nowhere is that more true than off-road, and particularly when the territory is unfamiliar. There are a few things you might consider upfront before parting with a little, or lot, of your hard-earned cash though, that’ll hopefully help make sure you don’t end up with a glorified oil lamp, or cursing a light which has given up the ghost after a few months!
Firstly, consider some basics. Where will you be using your lights? Is it just for off-road, or for use on public roads as well (to come on with your standard high beams), in which case you’ll need to buy lamps with an E-mark approval if in the UK and Europe. Look for the logo on the lens of the light to be sure; if there isn’t an E-mark then the light is for off-road only and should be operated by an independent switch. As an easy guide, all 4 and 8 LED units from Lazer Lamps have E-mark approval. If budget allows for it, consider a best of both world’s solution, with E-marked lights at the front of the vehicle and whooping light bar on the top of the vehicle for some serious off-road illumination.
Next, do you want more visibility close to the vehicle, at distance, or a bit of both? This might depend on your driving style, and where you expect to mostly use the lights. A combination, or hybrid, beam pattern such as the Lazer ST/RS/T ranges can often be a decent compromise between spread of light close to the vehicle, while still being able to see a decent way down the road or track. By comparison, a long-range ‘spot’ beam pattern, such as our Triple-R range, will likely give less illumination at the side of the vehicle in the first 20m, but the advantage is you’ll get better mid/long-range visibility. Have a think too if you need some dedicated work lights to provide ambient lighting once your vehicle is parked up. How often you drive at night, and how extreme (or otherwise!) the conditions you’ll be driving in, should also have a bearing on how much budget to set aside for your lighting.
Then do your research…carefully. It’s easy to be baffled by a load of (often unverified) technical specifications and info about light output, power, beam pattern, or build quality, that doesn’t necessarily give an accurate representation of how the lights perform. Instead, wherever possible seek independent advice from friends, fellow enthusiasts, owners’ clubs, or online forums where people have experience of different products and brands. Then, try to get a demonstration; at Lazer Lamps we have a broad network of dealers across the country, and between us and our dealers we’re prevalent at events where you can see the lights in action. At the least, check out video and photos which clearly show the lighting performance, on our website we show photos from an elevated and ground level perspective so you can see exactly how the beam pattern from each light compares. As with most technical equipment, as a general rule of thumb, ‘you get what you pay for’ so be mindful that what can seem like too good an offer upfront, may leave you wanting once you’ve got the product in front of you.
Finally, think about mounting and electrical installation. There is a plethora of solutions, some universal, some bespoke to different vehicles, but typically mounting onto a 4x4 vehicle provides for more opportunities to achieve a nice integrated look, especially at the front of the vehicle when you can benefit from the lower profile design of LED light bars generally. Speak to the manufacturer or specialist off-road outlets; we’re always happy to take time to speak with customers and share examples of installations that have come before. So too, wiring your auxiliary lights needn’t be complicated. At Lazer Lamps we have a comprehensive range of wiring looms for different lamps and setups. Look for LED lamps that operate on 12V or 24V, and they’ll want to be installed complete with relay and fuse.
Then you’re good to go, and no longer limited to daylight hours for your fun and exploration!