20-INCH LED LIGHT BAR SHOOTOUT

This comparison has been a long time coming; join Unsealed 4X4 as we take a look at the top-performing LED light bars on the market today.

 

The Light Emitting Diode was first brought to market in 1963, by a 33 year-old scientist named Nick Holonyak Jnr. Fast forward forty-three years to the futuristic era better known as 2006, and this technology began to gain legs with off-road drivers and racers around the world in the form of LED light bars. Here we are ten years down the track, and it really must be noted that LED light bars have taken over the 4X4 fraternity. I dare you to find a modified four wheel drive that doesn’t have at least one form of LED lighting on it… go on, I dare you!

 

We now have a lighting solution that draws fewer amps, produces less heat and all things considering should last a heck of a lot longer than the equivalent halogen or HID counterparts. But the few-hundred-dollar-question on everyone’s mind is how do you know where to start when it comes to purchasing an LED light bar for your own vehicle? Do you need to spend top-dollar for a strong performer, or is there a bang-for-buck option on the market that could potentially tick many boxes for most four wheel drivers? Well my friends, the good news is you are about to find out.

Read the rest of this feature and check out the images in our Unsealed magazine HERE.

 

WHY IS LUX IMPORTANT?

Lux is the best measurement to gauge the brightness of a beam of light. A lux meter is considered to be the most scientific way of measuring the intensity a beam of light, and then record these findings. Which is exactly why we went out and bought one for this test. Lux readings are also used to calculate the light intensity travelling over distance. For example, a driving light should have a higher lux reading that a household light bulb, which won’t travel large distances, but will offer a good spread (or illumination) which is used to light a room.

 

WHAT IS LUMEN?

Lumen (known as luminous flux if you’re smarter than me) is a measurement that takes into account the total amount of output produced by a light. Lumen is not the ideal test of a light in this case though, as it measures the entire light being produced without taking into consideration the quality of beam patterns or how that light output is being utilised. This is why many driving light manufacturers will make tremendous claims regarding their lumen output, without supplying a claimed lux reading. This was also the deciding factor as to why we measured lights on this test in lux as it provided a much better indication into the real-world performance of each light bar.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR TEMPERATURE

You might not know it, but not all light bars will produce the same colour (or temperature) of light when in use. Just by looking at the images of each light bar we tested, you will see subtle differences in the light beam colour temperature. Some were yellow or gold, others almost blue. Halogen lighting for example would have a lower corrected colour temperature (CCT) than HID or LED lights, as they produce a yellow or gold light. The whiter the light beam, the higher the CCT will be. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins, which is why you will notice readings such as 5000K printed on promotional material and packaging when shopping for lights.  Choosing the right colour temperature for your requirements is a personal choice, just remember that direct sunlight is approximately 4,800K and make your decision from there. If you prefer a white or blue light, a light bar from the 5,000K to 7,000K range could work well for your needs.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks guys. Looking to set up lights on my new Mack Superliner and your research has been VERY helpful. Just a note. I have been buying some light bars from the guys at Sun Yee in Altona Melbourne. Very cheap. 40″ , 680 watt , $140 & 20″ 392 watt, $105. Good spread & loom etc included, but I’m hearing you , IP rating is lacking.

    1. Hi Graham,

      I also bought an Osram 23″ 336 W 5D light bar from them for $95 (:S now its like $65 on ebay), but I doubt it’s really 336W. Although the LED Chips don’t look like the one on Osram’s website, its really got some nice spread, but thats about it. When I compared it with my mate’s higher price light bar, the difference in terms of distance and beam pattern is day and night, the Sunyee one is only good at around 150m, for the higher price one however, I can see so much further like 400m ahead, yet its only 120W, so I think the wattage here is irrelevant. Yes you are right, the IP rating is lacking, after 5 months of use there are already condensation inside. I will see how it holds up, but since it is real cheap, I have no complains about it. However if Im buying a light bar again, I will definitely pay more for a better one justfor its performance and built quality.

  2. Pingback: Unsealed 4×4 Light Bar Comparison – Ultra Vision Lighting

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