How to Pick the Best Off Road Lighting for your Needs
So we all love off roading, that's a given. Waking up early, packing all your gear and heading out on uncharted trails. If only there was a way to keep the fun going long into the night.
Well EZ Wheeler is here to tell you that there is!! With the use of heavy duty off road lights you can stay on the trail long after the sun goes down.
In this post we will be informing you on the different types of off road lights, how and where they mount and things to be careful of. That way you can make an informed decision while making your purchase. So continue reading to learn all about off road lighting!
3 Types of Off Road Lights
When choosing off road lights the first thing you want to think about is the type of bulbs you want. There are 3 types of bulbs:
LED bulbs are solid-state devices that are highly resistant to damage from impact or vibration. They also last a very long time. The only downside to these bulbs is the price, they’re the most expensive option.
Halogen bulbs are the most common bulbs, and are found on pretty much every modern day vehicle. Halogens use a lot electrical power but they’re affordable, powerful, and pretty reliable.
HID lighting offers the highest levels of light output per watt of power when compared to LEDs and halogens. They’re also established, reliable technology.
Which Type is Best for Off Roading
As always your driving style is what is going to determine what type of light you should go with. Here we will be discussing the pros and cons of each light type so you can decide for yourself.
Halogen Off-Road Lights
The best thing about halogen bulbs is their price. They are easily the cheapest option out there, you can usually get a halogen bulb for about $10. The halogen bulb's life span of about 1,000 hours is another reason to consider this type of bulb.
Basically, if you want lights for occasional off-roading and/or you’re on a budget, halogens are a perfectly rational choice.
If you are looking for more visibility then this isn't the bulb for you. Halogen bulbs put out significantly less light than a HID or LED bulb.
These types of bulbs also use a lot of power and aren't very efficient.
The slightly yellow color that a halogen bulb puts out also isn't as crisp as the other types of bulbs. This means you will get more of a light bulb effect with halogen lights.
LED Off-Road Lights
LED bulbs are really growing in popularity and there are a ton of reasons why. They are extremely energy efficient, using about 1/10th the electricity as a halogen bulb.
They are also ver small, an array of about 5 or 6 LEDs will put out more light than a much larger halogen light.
Their durability is another reason to consider an LED.LEDs can last anywhere from 20-40 thousand hours. Meaning they will outlast your car.
The biggest down side is the relativly high costs of LEDs. Compared to halogen lights you will be paying a lot more for an LED light bulb.
LEDs are also very sensitive to temperature. If LEDs aren't made with a high quality heat sink attachment then they will burn out very quickly.
HID Off-Road Lighting
The biggest advantage of HID lighting is the brightness. HID lights give off a ton of light. They will generally shine twice as far as top end LED lights.
The bad thing is you are going to be paying a lot for this extra brightness. But if you plan on racing or off roading at night or in bad weather, you will likely benefit from HID lighting because they offer the most visibility.
Which Mounting System is Best?
Now that you've chosen which type of bulb is going to work best, you've got to decide how you are going to mount those bulbs to your truck.
- Light bars mount to your roof, bumper, or grille. They’re great when you need a combination flood/spot light for your vehicle, and they look impressive too. The bars are usually designed to focus light further down the road in the middle, and to flood light outwards on the edges.
- Flood/Fog Lights mount low on the front bumper and are made to shine in front of your truck, flood the road with light and cut through the fog. They’re good sources of light when you’re trying to focus on the trail immediately in front of your 4×4.
- Spot Lights shine in a more concentrated area instead of covering a wide path. This means they can shine a lot farther ahead, letting you know what’s coming in the distance, but it also makes them less useful for driving at speed. Most of the portable or hand-held lights you can buy are spot lights.
- Driving Lights are an all-around light designed to shine farther ahead than flood/fog lights, but not quite as bright as spot lights.
What to be Aware of When Purchasing Off Road Lights
When purchasing off road lights you have to be careful because a lot of them are not street legal. Some area's don't want lighting attached to the roof, while some area's have restrictions on how bright your lights can be. These guide lines should help you out.
General Guide Lines:
- Unless the weather conditions permit the use of your off-road lights, the best policy is not to use your off-road lights on city streets.
- If you replace any lights on your vehicle, such as the factory fog lights, make sure the replacements are DOT compliant, or make sure your state and local authorities don’t care about DOT rules.
- If you add lights to your 4×4 that you know to be illegal for onroad use, it’s a good idea to either disable them or cover them whenever you’re driving on the road. That way, a police officer is less likely to ticket you for a violation.
Now that you know all there is to know about off road lighting, you are probably ready to make a purchase. The only question left is where is the best place to get this lighting? Well we've got an answer for that too. Head over to EZ Wheeler's Off Road Lighting page to take a look at all the off road lights we offer!!