We spent 4 weeks testing 23 different kinds of LED light bars to come up with this list of top 5 best light bars. We focused on the type (spot, flood or combo), light output, light angle and versatility as the main criteria for reviewing and ranking our selection. The best LED light bar is TMH 20″ Xb-d SMD LED Work Light because it impressed on all of the checklist items. This is a combo floodlight and spotlight so you don’t have to choose between the two.
A good LED light bar can be very useful for off-roading and emergency situations among other applications but choosing the right one can prove to be a challenge. We selected 23 of the most popular LED light bars on the market for testing to come up with this top 5 list. We primarily looked at the type of light i.e. flood, beam or a combination of both.
If you need an LED light bar for your SUV, truck or any other vehicle really, the TMH 20 Inch Xb-d SMD LED Work Light is the best choice. The light bar has an output of 13,000 lumens from its 42 individual bright LED’s for any illumination you might need.
We loved how flexible this light bar is in terms of where you can install it. It comes with ready-to-mount aluminum mounting brackets that you can install on the bumper, below the bumper, behind the front grill, by the tailgate or trunk or on the roof of the car. The LED’s are protected by a cast aluminum shell so this is a durable light bar that will follow your SUV to the toughest environments.
The light bar scored high points on the spot or flood options. You can easily switch between the two depending on the kind of illumination you need. The “Flood” option gives you 60 degrees while the “Spot” offers 30 degree beam spread. We also love that this light bar is also a combo meaning you can use both light spreads at one. This gives you a 30 degree center with 60 degree coverage.
We mounted this light bar low on the vehicle and we were concerned about damage from rough roads. This TMH light bar lens is impact resistant so you don’t have to worry about off-roading though we do recommend you install it higher up on your vehicle where possible. The equipment is also weatherproof so you can still use it in snowy or rainy weather.
We recommend this for virtually anywhere you would need a light bar including a courtyard, crane or excavator and yacht or boat.
This Glotech light bar comes a close second and was actually a decent contender for first place. It’s light intensity output comes at a respectable 12,600 lumens. The bar features 48 individual LED lights protected from the elements with a waterproof lens.
The mounting brackets are a little different from what we are used to as they are placed in the bottom rather than on the ends of the bar as is customary. This positioning makes the bar slightly shorter than any other 20″ light bar we have seen in case you anticipate issues installing longer bars on your vehicle.
The bright white light comes at 6000K same as the TMH although this model loses a few points on lumens. This is also a combo which we are always looking for. The spot comes at 20 degrees while the flood at 45 degrees. You notice it is a little less than the TMH but you’d barely notice unless you need very particular spot and flood specifications.
The price tag is also very fair. We recommend this option for a UTV, Pickup truck or ATV.
We did not know that they make LED light bars this thin until we encountered this U-Box Extreme Slim LED Light Bar. This is a flood light offering a color temperature of 6500K and output of 2880 lumens. You don’t always need heavy illumination so this model works well on a boat, caravan or heavy equipment. It’s also great for your off-road vehicle when all you need is a floodlight.
We liked that the casing is certified vibration proof so you don’t have to worry about short circuits or any other issues while off-roading. Each light also works independently so you still have good lighting in case one burns out and you can get it fixed or replaced immediately.
The light bar also features a polyester coating for weatherproofing so it won’t fade no matter how long you leave it out in the sun. We recommend this if you have assessed what you need and settled on a light, portable light bar that you can use for multiple jobs.
4th Place: Nilight 20″ 126W LED Flood Spotlight Combo
Back to spot and flood light combos, this Nilight 20″ 126w LED Flood Spotlight Combo met all our expectations. The light bar has 42 individual lights so you can expect good illumination here. We liked the heat sinks installed on the light bar to avoid overheating. This comes in handy when you need your lights on for prolonged periods of time while driving or on a work site.
The floodlight offers a 30-degree angle while the spotlight a 30-degree beam spread sufficiently for night driving or for a work site. There is also the option of combining the two to get the best of both worlds. The frame is solid so it will serve you well for off-road driving or working in rough environments.
The LED color temperature varies between 6000-6500 and output. You can use this light bar virtually anywhere including on a boat, SUV, excavator or in your garage or back yard. We, however, recommend this option if you need consistent and continuous lighting for whatever reason. As a word of caution, this product is not D.O.T approved. You might want to check with your state laws whether you can legally have this on the highway though this shouldn’t be a problem for off-roading.
Finally, we have the AuxBeam 12″ 72W LED Light Bar Combo if you are looking for something small but still packs a punch. This mini light bar has an output of 7200 Lumens and provides up to 30,000 hours of light. It also comes with a quick cooling heatsink so you don’t have to worry about running it continuously for prolonged periods of time.
This model is the best combo of its size. You get 30-degrees for a spotlight and 60-degrees for the flood light. You also have the option to use both at once so overall it’s a functional LED light bar to have.
The housing is made from strong durable aluminum and has some great safety features including dustproof, shockproof and waterproof. This one, of course, comes with a mounting kit and installation is easy to figure out from the included directions.
You can use this light bar virtually anywhere you want including on excavators and boats. Overall we liked the great value for money we got on this model.
LED Light Bar Buying Guide
What is an LED Light Bar?
An LED light bar is a long, curved frame (usually made from aluminum) containing multiple LED lights. These lights all work together to either flood a large area with light or concentrate the light to a specific spot.
What is an LED Light Bar Used For?
LED light bars have multiple uses including;
Off-Roading: This is the most common application. Some roads don’t have yellow or white lines and your headlights alone may not be sufficient to see the entire road. There is also the risk of animals jumping out of the woods in these environments. A good set of LED spotlights and floodlights can help you navigate your way easily at night.
Heavy Duty Equipment: From snow plows to excavators, any heavy duty equipment can benefit from better illumination provided by LED light bars during night or dusk operations.
Marine Applications: You generally don’t see boats or other marine crafts using LED light bars in open water but this can be invaluable while landing or docking especially at night.
Home Use: It’s not uncommon to see light bars in back yards. Typical situations include during an outdoor party. These lights are also great for a campsite.
Emergency Situations: You typically see LED light bars at scenes of accidents or on emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police cars and fire engines.
Types of LED Light Bars
The three main types of LED light bars are flood light, spot light, and combination or combo. The one you choose entirely depends on your application.
The beams out of flood lights typically don’t go very far but the light does cover a wide area. You can get an angle of up to 120 degrees depending on the type of light bar.
Floodlight isn’t ideal for normal driving conditions since you don’t see very far ahead. The light can, however, be invaluable on narrow roads or off-roading where you’d be able to see where the road ends and other potential hazards such as animals, branches, rocks, and holes.
Floodlights are also great for illuminating a camp site, work area or anywhere there is outdoor activity at night.
A spotlight will enable you to see far ahead but it won’t illuminate a wide area. You can expect a 30-degree angle. This light is great for an off-road situation where there is a clear road but you need to see far ahead for potential hazards. If you expect to drive primarily on paved roads, a spotlight would be a good choice.
Finally, you don’t have to choose between a spotlight and floodlight if you don’t want to. Combo LED light bars enables you to use both and easily switch between the two. Unless you will be using your light bar for a very specific purpose (such as only for outdoor lighting), a combination comes highly recommended since you have the choice between the two as the situation demands. You may want to ensure that you are getting at least 30-degrees angle for your spotlight and at least 60-degree beam spread on your flood light.
Where to Mount your LED Light Bar
There is a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can mount your light bar. The models we have reviewed here offer multiple mounting options so it’s all up to you.
Above The Windshield
Above the windshield is a great choice for an off-road vehicle such as an SUV or jeep. This position offers the best illumination for this type of vehicle and also looks good. You may have to work harder to install the light bar and do the wiring should you opt for above the windshield.
This position only works with smaller light bars and light pods. Mounting the lights may also be difficult but it’s worth it for the visibility and multiple light angles you enjoy. This would be a great position to install on a UTV or ATV.
Finally, you see most LED light bars located on the front bumper. Installation is easy, quick and simple in this position. You also have more options to choose from since the size of the light bar isn’t much of a concern in this case. The only disadvantage is the LED’s won’t seem as bright when using them together with your headlights.
We tested more than 20 LED light bars to come up with this top 5 list so you wouldn’t have to struggle when going to buy one for yourself. We highly recommend the spotlight and floodlight combo since you have both options readily available anytime you need them.
Finally, pay attention to lumens, white light temperature and beam angle and beam spread should you choose to buy other options that are not on this list. You may also want to consider professional installation especially if you are not very handy around wires and tools. Overall we are proud to recommend these options and they should prove useful.