We sell a lot of lightbars, lightpods, and brushbars. And I get asked all the time for: “the best lights possible” So I am writing a series of articles on DRIVING LIGHTS to help dispel some myths and shed some light on the many factors that go into choosing the best lights for your needs. PART 1
What are you using your lights for? Some things to consider:
* State and Local Laws (such as number, position, and covered vs uncovered)
* Urban or Country use (primarily)
* True OFF-ROAD (off highway) or just back roads… be honest
* What’s more important seeing something 1000 yards out or good fill of light 100-400 yards out?
* How much extreme weather, SNOW/DUST/FOG/RAIN will you typically be driving in?
* Have you upgraded your stock HEADLIGHTS and FOG LIGHTS (if applicable). (yes, we can help with that especially on 6-15 year old cars)
* How much WIRING do you want to do?
* Are you concerned about lamp and/or bulb REPLACEMENT costs?
* How much drain do you wanna put on your alternator?
* How much do/will you really use your auxiliary lights?
The honest answers to these questions can really help to determine what lights you really need. As you can begin to see, the “BEST” lights will be different for different situations. Here I will give you just a typical example that I have seen and experienced with my own eyes (many more to come in Part 2 and Part 3).
All the rage these days are LED Lightbars with their promise of ultra bright lights, 50,000 hour bulb life, and low amperage draw. Why wouldn’t just everyone want to get these lightbars and especially now that a hundred low cost Chinese brands are becoming available. Things to consider: FORWARD FACING LED lights, especially from no-name brands or cheap re-branded products tend to throw a lot of light in all directions in front of the car. This is really impressive when you stand 20 feet in front of the car and your buddy turns on the lights, but is a complete pain-in-the-ass when you hit any fog or snow or dust from a car ahead of you. Why? Because without a good “cut-off” line at about hood level, all that light going upward reflects back directly into your eyes making the lights worthless. Also, since a lot of the light just goes “up” it is not being concentrated in a good beam outward. So although the lights “look” bright when viewed at a distance, the actual usable lumens out at 800 yards is near nil.
Although BULB life in LED’s is long, we have seen a number of other electrical failures internally that leave the LED’s useless and dark (think about your Habor Freight “free” flashlight). So if you really want to see that deer or moose out at 800 yards because you are travelling quickly, you may want something a little different.