There are a few key elements that will play a big role in your selection of truck light bars for any need, and color is naturally going to be high on most such lists. While there are several colors to choose from here, two of the most common and useful in the trucking and off-roading worlds are amber and white light bars.
At LED Equipped, we’re happy to offer a wide selection of the best LED light bars and floodlights for any of your off-roading or commercial needs, including both white and amber light bars, fog lights and more. What are some of the basics on each of these LED light types, and what are some factors to consider if you’re choosing between these two colors? Let’s dive in.
Neither is Necessarily “Better”
While there are certain areas of the LED light world where certain options will simply be superior, there’s no such thing as definitively “better” when it comes to white or amber lights. It all depends on the use case and what you need from your LED light bar setup.
We’ll be going over a number of specific variables to consider in this regard below, but the key takeaway here is that both options are good for different circumstances. There’s no “wrong” answer here that you should be worried about choosing.
For starters, one area that many clients are not aware of is the fact that LED lights (and all lights, in fact) are defined by temperature on the Kelvin scale. This scale rates color ranging from amber all the way up the blue, with “warmer” colors like amber and yellow sitting at the lower end of the scale, and “cooler” colors like blue and white at the higher end.
What does this mean for your truck light bar needs? Amber lights are generally going to be in a warm yellow/orange range, while white LED lights can be either cool or neutral in tone. Amber lights tend to sit between 2700 and 4000K, while white lights have a much higher range of 4300 to 6500K.
From a practical standpoint, these differences in temperature can be used to emphasize certain features, making warm colors like amber great for nighttime visibility and cool colors like white better at illuminating a focus area. If you want more information on how light temperature works or how to consider it for your needs, our team at LED Equipped will be happy to provide it.
While this shouldn’t necessarily be a defining factor in your search, it’s worth noting that within the truck world, amber is far and away the more popular of the two colors. This is due to the fact that amber offers superior nighttime visibility and brightness than other options, as well as a warmer, more inviting look on your truck.
While white can be used in certain off-roading applications and even commercial situations, you’re far more likely to find it paired with blue, green or red in order to create a multi-color, customized look.
For those who are interested in creating that custom look with their light bar setup, white is likely the better option here. It’s important to note, however, that you can’t just mix and match any two or three colors without considering their temperature and brightness properties. Our team of experts at LED Equipped can help you select the right colors to go with your white light bar setup.
Another possible reason why amber might be a more popular color is because of clients’ desire not to be confused with police or other emergency vehicles. White is a commonly-used color in police light bars, so those who want to be more discreet might opt for amber instead.
Multiple Amber Options
Don’t worry – we’ll be getting to some of the areas where white lights have an advantage in a moment! But for now, another area where amber is quite advantageous is within the fact that you can actually achieve amber color with an LED light in three different ways:
- Actual amber LED source: The most common version of this is a single LED diode with amber lenses, which will emit a strong, warm color. Light comes from an LED chip that defines the physical color output.
- Amber filters: These are often used in combination with white LED chips, where the emitted light is passed through a filter before it is seen by the customer. While this does not produce as much overall brightness, it will still be more than enough for most applications.
- Amber PC lens: A PC lens is a type of lens that is used to diffuse light and create a more even, softer tone. This can often be paired with either an amber LED source or white LEDs with amber filters in order to create the desired effect.
It’s important to note here, however, that you should always consult expert advice when attempting to mix and match color temperatures with your light bar setup.
One area where white LED lights have an advantage over amber is in available output. White LEDs tend to be more powerful than their amber counterparts, with the warm colors generally topping out around 1000 lumens while cooler colors can reach 1500 and above.
This also ties into another key element: power consumption. While both white and amber have relatively low energy draw when compared to halogen or HID lights, white will be slightly more efficient in this regard. Additionally, white light bars tend to have better uniformity than amber options, which may be beneficial depending on your particular application.
Uses for Specific Off-Road Work Projects
Another area where white and amber light bars may differ is in their specific application. White lights may be better suited for general off-roading purposes, where amber can provide a more clear view on the trail and aid in steering around obstacles. Amber also works well for utility and agricultural applications, as its warmer color will help you identify various hazards and changes in terrain.
White is much more common in many off-road work projects, especially when used in combination with other colors. This is a great option for those who need an all-around lighting solution that will be effective in more situations than amber would.
In Snowy Conditions
Flipping back around to the other side, those who know their trucks will regularly be in heavy snow conditions should generally look for amber light bars. This is because the warmer colors provide better visibility in such conditions, while colder colors can be easily diffused by the white flurries and therefore become less effective.
Finally, when it comes to refraction – or the light’s ability to penetrate fog, snow, or other such elements – amber light bars tend to be superior. They are much more effective at penetrating these layers and providing visibility than white lights, given the cooler colors’ tendency to quickly diffuse.
Because white light has a higher temperature and more output, as we’ve discussed above, this light will often “reflect” off of the environment rather than penetrate through it. This makes it less effective in those challenging conditions.
When selecting between white and amber light bars for your truck, there are a few things to consider. Color temperature and output will play a major role in choosing one over the other, as well as what type of off-road work you’ll be doing and what conditions you’ll likely encounter.
Ultimately, it will come down to your specific needs and preferences; both white and amber light bars are great options that can provide a level of visibility perfect for any situation. With the proper knowledge in hand, selecting the right color for your truck’s lighting setup should be easy and straightforward.
For more here, or to learn about any of our LED light products and services, speak to our team at LED Equipped today.