For those who drive emergency vehicles of any kind, the presence and prominence of emergency lights is of major importance. Lights need to be visible and easy to spot from any nearby location, including among those driving other cars at the time, and one important element to consider while sourcing the ideal lights for your vehicle is the sizing of your light setup.
At LED Equipped, we offer a huge range of emergency vehicle lighting options and templates, from LED light bars to beacon lights, dash lights and numerous others depending on your precise needs. Narrowing our focus specifically to the various light bar options that are available to emergency responders today, what are your typical size configuration choices? Furthermore, which is best for both your budget and your common emergency response type, and how will our team help you choose between these options? Here’s a full rundown of your choices and how to decide between them.
Full-Sized LED Light Bars
For vehicles that require them, full-size LED light bars stretch across the entire roof of vehicles, offering both front and rear lighting in addition to that covering each corner. As you might expect given this type of setup, full-sized light bars are usually ideal for larger vehicles, including trucks, SUVs and police cars.
A typical full-sized light bar is 85 inches in length, making it ideal for covering the windshield, front grill, rear window and each side of a vehicle without any issues. Standard full-sized configurations come with either 6 or 12 individual lights on the bar itself, but our team also offers custom setups for those who require more than this. These options are available in both single and double digit setups, often depending on how many lights you want to cover with a single bar.
Next is the size of each light itself, which can vary from 1″ all the way up to 9″ for some larger vehicles that need a greater reach. In most cases it’s the combination of bar length and individual light size that determines your visibility range, but for those seeking maximum coverage, you can alter each component based on your needs.
Another important consideration here will be flashing options, which vary depending on the number of lights you choose to install. If you need both front and rear flashing options, it’s 6 lights minimum for 6 different patterns, while if you want 6 light bars, this will allow for 12 different flashing combinations in total – double the visibility range!
As far as price is concerned, full-sized light bars are generally the most expensive option on the market, and for good reason. They offer a huge amount of coverage and bright light output so as to maximize your visibility range, and it’s this specialized setup that usually makes them ideal for high-risk emergency services such as police cars and fire engines.
Mini LED Light Bar
Next up is the mini LED light bar, which is a smaller light bar option with versatile installation options. While this light bar might be modest in size, it still offers 4″ high lights on the front and red 2″ backup lights at the rear. It’s also available with either 20 or 36 individual stops on each bar, making for a total of 76 diodes across both bars combined.
The length of your mini LED light bar will depend on your specific needs, as they can be purchased to a maximum length of 42 inches. This gives them the ability to fit onto any type of vehicle from trucks all the way down to smaller cars and SUVs.
In terms of brightness, mini light bars offer around 5-6 watts per individual bar stop, which is considered excellent for their overall size and setup. For greater brightness, you should consider our full-sized light option, but the mini LED light bar still offers around four times as much power as running your vehicle’s standard headlights.
Another key benefit to these kinds of mini light bars is their low cost compared to our other options. They’re not quite as bright as a full-sized light bar, but they’re much more economical and offer an excellent range of features for the price you pay. This is why they’re popular among those who require smaller lights that can fit multiple vehicles, including personal cars or commercial vans.
Visor Light Bars
Finally, for the smallest possible options that typically fit inside a vehicle, there are several varieties of visor light bars available. These lights combine practicality with compact design, allowing you to install them onto any vehicle in a matter of minutes. While they do vary in size depending on which model you buy, standard visor light bars are normally around 4″ tall and come with five 3W diodes – one small LED bulb per stop.
These visor lights are ideal for anyone who needs to be able to go under-the-radar, allowing them to be installed discreetly and without attracting too much attention to themselves. They’re also extremely affordable compared to other light bar options, making them an excellent choice for those who don’t need a full-sized setup and want something more suitable for personal vehicles.
For those looking for optimal visibility, it’s important that you give serious consideration into the size of your emergency lights. While it’s true that bigger isn’t always better, you should get the best results possible by following our sizing guidelines for each category of light bar available. Our next section will go over some basic questions to ask yourself (and your LED light experts) as you’re building your setup.
Choosing Ideal Light Bar
When selecting between the above options for your LED light bars, you should be asking a few specific things:
- How much mounting space is available? Larger vehicles will typically have larger light bar options, while smaller cars will have more compact setups. This has a direct correlation on the size of your lights to choose from – for example, if you want full-size lights, your vehicle must be large enough to support them.
- Can I afford the variety I’m looking at? Depending on what type of car or truck you have, you might not be able to go with the most expensive option in any category. However, budget vehicles are typically more affordable at low cost when it comes to LED light bars, making them an excellent choice for anyone on a fixed income who still wants something fully functional.
- What am I using lights for? This is an important question to ask yourself, as each light bar is designed for different purposes. Undercover law enforcement officers, for instance, will have a greater typical need for visor lights or other discreet options; on the flip side, tactical and military uses will generally need full-size light bars instead.
For more on choosing between various size templates for your emergency LED light bars, or to learn more about any of our emergency light options, speak to the staff at LED Equipped today.