If you’ve ever wheeled at night, or been traveling on a dark 2-lane rural road, you know how important good off-road lighting can be. I’m talking about 100+ watt off-road lights and LED light bars. A good set of off-road lights will light up the trail and the surrounding area at night, and project farther down the road to see hazards long before you get to them.
How To Choose An Off-Road Light:
For information on how to choose the right off-road light for you, check out: How To Choose An Off-Road Light.
Off-Road Light Patterns:
There are (3) different light patterns found in auxiliary lighting:
- Spot / Long Range
This diagram should help visualize the difference between these lights as compared to your OE (original equipment) factory lights:
Halogen off-road lights are still the best bang for your buck. They’re inexpensive, and if the light goes out, you can simply change the bulb.
Halogen Light Brands:
Although more and more people are converting to LED, there are still halogen options out there from:
– – – – Halogen Lights – – – –
KC HiLites has been the leader in off-road lighting since 1970, and offers a 23-Year Warranty on their lights. One of the nice features about KC is that they sell their lights as complete kits that include quality wiring harnesses, switches, and relays. If you’ve ever spent time properly wiring up off-road lights, you know how much money it costs to buy all the wire, connectors, switches, and relays to do a proper installation. You also know how time consuming it can be putting it all together.
The tried and true workhorse of KC lights is the 6-inch round Daylighter. These lights come in a spot or flood (spread) pattern.
KC HiLiTES 238 Daylighter Black 100w Spot Beam Light System:
KC HiLiTES 631 Daylighter Black 130w Spot Beam Light System:
KC HiLiTES 634 Daylighter Black 130w Driving Light System:
If you want a light that’s not as deep as the Daylighter, you can choose KC’s Slimlite:
KC HiLiTES 121 SlimLite Black 130w Spot Beam Light System:
KC HiLiTES 124 SlimLite Black 100w Driving Light System:
KC HiLiTES 127 SlimLite Black 100w Fog Light System:
Designed, engineered, and tested to stand up to the rigors of off road use, our lights are constructed with heavy-duty stamped steel housings, and crystal glass lenses set in shock absorbent weatherproof rubber gaskets. The brilliant 12V 100 watt halogen bulbs slice through fog, rain or snow to help illuminate the road even under the toughest conditions. Available in Round, Rectangular and Slim housings in either a black or stainless steel finish to best suit your application.
Rugged Ridge 15207.01 100-Watt 6-Inch Black Round Off-Road Light:
Rugged Ridge 15207.10 100-Watt 6-Inch Round Black Off-Road Slim Light:
Rugged Ridge 15207.58 100-Watt 6-Inch Round Off-Road Slim Light Kit:
Rugged Ridge 15207.05 100-Watt 5″x7″ Black Off-Road Fog Light:
Rugged Ridge 15207.55 100-Watt 5″x7″ Black Off Road Fog Light Kit:
Rugged Ridge 15210.82 H3 100-Watt 12-Volt Halogen Replacement Bulb:
– – – – LED Light Bars – – – –
LED Light Beam Degrees:
When you start looking at LED lights, you’ll see that in addition to listing how many watts the lights are, they usually indicate the degree of the LED beam. For example, you’ll commonly find a light bar listed as a 30 degree spot, and 60 degree flood combo. The diagram below will give you a better idea of what that means:
LED Light Brands:
Rigid Industries is an industry leader when it comes to LED light bars and light pods. However, I have yet to spend big money for a LED light bar. I have used LED bars from Nilight and found them to be extremely bright and effective. Just like the halogen lights, you can purchase LED lights in a spot or flood pattern. If I was putting lights on the back of my truck, I would choose a flood pattern. If I was purchasing a light bar to go on the front of my truck, I would use a flood / spot combination.
Suggested brands are:
I’m not going to suggest any LED lights because there are so many different sizes to choose from. I would however recommend that you stick to double and single row light bars, and avoid triple row light bars.
For information on how to choose the right off-road light for you, check out: How To Choose An Off-Road Light
– – – – HID Lights – – – –
Although HID lights have been around for a while, they’re still fairly expensive. If I was going to invest the money in HID lights, I would buy KC HiLites. But for the cost of the lights, I would probably buy LED instead.
KC HiLiTES 850 Pro-Sport 8-Inch Black Polymax 35w Internal Ballast HID Spot Beam Light System:
KC HiLiTES 861 Rally 800 Series Black Coated Stainless Steel 50w HID Spot Beam Light System:
Combining Different Types Of Lights:
My Super Duty used a combination of a 30-inch LED light bar and (2) 130-watt halogen spot lights. Why the combination? Because the light bar had a 30 degree spot, and 60 degree flood combination. If you go back to the LED light pattern diagram above, you’ll see how far (roughly) the 30 degree spot reaches. I wanted a long range light that could reach the 10 degree range, and accomplished it with the LED / halogen combination. This combination not only illuminated well off to the sides of the road, but extended a long way down the highway. I could see deer or anything else near the road long before I got to it. I could have found some long range LED lights, but they are very expensive.
Warning About Roof Mounted Lighting:
You see a lot of people that mount their LED light bars above their windshield. The LED light will reflect off of the snow and heavy rain that’s in front of your windshield. It can be so bad, that you won’t be able to see with the lights on.
Also, getting the light bar in to the air stream can cause it to whistle, or make a high pitch sound like metal on metal.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it, I’m just making sure that you’re aware of the possibilities when mounting your lights.