There are a number of different LED light styles and options out there for a variety of needs, including everything from first responders and emergency response professionals to volunteer services and many others. Two of the most common types here, notable because many will find themselves choosing between them for their upcoming LED light needs, are the full-sized LED light bar and the smaller LED visor light bar setup.
At LED Equipped, we’re proud to offer both these products and numerous others, with a wide selection of emergency vehicle LED light bars, visor lights, dash lights and many more — in a variety of colors and light styles, as well. What are these two primary products found in this area, how do they compare, and which is likely best for your upcoming needs? Here’s a rundown on everything you need to know.
Full-Sized LED Light Bars
One of the single most common formats utilized for emergency and volunteer vehicles for many years now has been the full-sized LED light bar. These are long, horizontal light bars that can be mounted to the roof of your truck, SUV or other such vehicle in a number of ways (magnetic mounts are popular) and that provide an impressive amount of light — often 360 degrees around the vehicle, as well.
The advantages of these bars are numerous. First, the light output is often quite high, making them ideal for many different purposes from simple volunteer needs to those of an emergency responder out on a call during the dead of night. Second, thanks to that 360-degree light output, they’re visible from nearly any angle — meaning that, no matter where someone is on the road, they’re going to see your vehicle coming from a distance.
The disadvantages? These bars can be expensive, and they do require some amount of roof space in order to be mounted properly. If you’re working with a smaller vehicle or need to save on costs, this might not be the right solution.
However, these limitations are less and less common using modern LED technology. Prices have come down significantly in recent years while output and efficacy have increased, making full-sized LED light bars a very viable option for many different needs and purposes — especially if you’re looking to be seen from great distances away.
Another major benefit of full-sized LED lights is overall performance and quality. These are some of the longest lasting, most reliable and most effective lights on the market today. If you’re looking for a top-tier solution that’s going to provide great results for many years to come, this might be the right format for your needs.
Full-sized LED lights are available in a wide range of colors, as well, including traditional options like red and blue along with some more unique choices like green, amber and even purple in some cases. To be clear, though, this is not technically an advantage over visor lights — which also come in a full range of color options.
LED Visor Lights
LED visor lights, available in both light bar and other formats, are another popular solution found in this space. These are typically shorter light bars that are mounted on or near the windshield of your vehicle, inside on the dash or visor, or even outside in some cases (depending on the size and style).
Visor lights offer a wide range of advantages. First, they’re often less expensive than full-sized light bars, making them a more budget-friendly solution in some cases. Second, they don’t require the same amount of roof space to be mounted properly, which can again be an advantage depending on the vehicle you’re working with and your needs in this area.
Third, some visor lights are designed to provide light only in a forward-facing direction. This can be an advantage if you don’t need (or want) 360-degree light output and would prefer to focus the light only in front of the vehicle.
The disadvantages of visor lights are relatively minor, but they’re worth mentioning. First, because these lights are often smaller and not as powerful, they might not be the right choice if you’re looking for maximum light output and visibility. In some cases, you might need to supplement your visor lights with another solution (like additional dash lights or even a full-sized light bar) in order to achieve the results you’re after.
Second, windshield-mounted visor lights can create some degree of glare for the driver, which can be a problem depending on the light output and your specific needs. In general, this is less of an issue with visor-mounted or dash-mounted lights, but it’s something to keep in mind nonetheless.
Factors to Consider When Selecting LED Light Options
One note before we proceed here: There is absolutely no rule saying you can only have one of these light types on your vehicle. In fact, in many cases, it might make sense to combine both full-sized light bars and visor lights (or other smaller LED lights) in order to achieve the results you’re looking for.
The important thing is to understand the various tradeoffs and advantages of each before making a decision about what’s right for your needs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key factors you should consider when making your decision:
- Light Output and Visibility: As we’ve discussed, one of the main advantages of full-sized LED light bars is light output. If you’re looking for maximum visibility and want to be sure you’ll be seen from long distances away, this is probably the right format for your needs. Visor lights, on the other hand, are typically not as bright (although there are some high-output options available).
- Cost: Another important consideration here is cost. In general, full-sized light bars will be more expensive than visor lights — although, again, there are some high-end exceptions to this rule. If cost is a major concern for you, visor lights might be the way to go.
- Purpose and usage of lights: A major factor to consider here is what you’ll be using the lights for. If you need maximum light output and visibility (for example, if you’re using them in a law enforcement or emergency response capacity), a full-sized light bar is probably your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for some additional light and visibility around your vehicle (for example, if you’re a volunteer firefighter), visor lights or other smaller options might be a better solution.
- Vehicle Space and Mounting Requirements: One additional factor to consider is the amount of space you have on your vehicle (and where you’re able to mount lights). If you have a large vehicle with plenty of roof space, a full-sized light bar might not be a problem. If you’re working with a smaller car or truck, though, you might not have the space to mount a full-sized light bar — in which case, visor lights or other smaller options would be a better solution.
- Legal needs: For certain professional users (like law enforcement and emergency response professionals), there might be specific legal requirements or regulations dictating the type of light you can use. In these cases, it’s important to make sure you choose a light that meets all relevant legal standards. For instance, uniformed police officers driving in marked vehicles are typically required to use a light bar of some sort (although, again, there might be some exceptions depending on the specific regulations in your area).
- Personal preferences: Finally, it’s worth noting that, in many cases, the decision about which type of light to choose will come down to personal preferences. Some people simply prefer the look of a full-sized light bar, while others might prefer the more streamlined look of visor lights or other smaller options. Ultimately, the best solution for you is the one that meets your specific needs and preferences.
For more on comparing full-sized LED light bars with LED visor lights, or to learn about any of our emergency LED lights and related products, speak to the team at LED Equipped today.