You’ve no doubt seen emergency LED light bars on ambulances, police cars, fire trucks and other official first responder vehicles. LEDs provide instant, ultra-bright illumination and clear visibility in all weather conditions – plus, they’re incredibly durable, highly efficient and function for up to 50,000 hours. Given all of their advantages, it’s really no surprise that LED lights are the top choice for emergency vehicles.
These days, many EMTs, police officers and volunteer firefighters are also choosing to install emergency LED lights on their personal cars, trucks and SUVs – and for good reason. They can be called on to help at any time, even during off-duty hours, and having powerful and reliable vehicle lighting allows for a safe, rapid response.
But, light bars aren’t just for first responders – they can be installed on any vehicle. They’re frequently found on tow trucks, utility service vehicles, construction trucks, farm equipment and private security patrol cars. Off-road enthusiasts also mount LEDs on their trucks, SUVs and ATVs.
If you’d like to install a light bar on your personal vehicle, you can do so. Here, we explain the types to choose from, the possible mounting locations and what to consider when shopping for LED lighting.
Types of Emergency LED Light Bars
LED lighting suppliers offer a vast array of emergency light bars in various sizes and configurations. But when you get right down to it, each option falls into one of the following three categories.
Full-Size Light Bars
Ranging from 37 inches to 63 inches in size, full-size bars have more LED bulbs than other types of bars. As such, they illuminate a larger area, making it easy to see the road ahead. But, full-size bars can be more difficult to install, as the placement must be strategically planned for stability.
Mini LED Light Bars
As their name suggests, mini emergency LED light bars are smaller than full-size bars, coming in at lengths between 12 and 27 inches. With fewer bulbs, they produce less illumination – but they pack nearly as big a punch as larger models. And, mini bars can be easily installed with permanent mounting brackets or temporary magnet mounts.
Interior LED Visor Light Bars
Much like mini emergency LED light bars, interior visor bars are on the smaller side as they’re designed to be placed inside the windshield or along the dashboard. However, visor bars produce intense illumination that can is visible from afar. Plus, they’re a discreet vehicle lighting solution, remaining out of sight until powered up.
Exterior Mounting Locations for Emergency LED Light Bars
If you’ve decided on an interior visor bar, you already know it’ll go inside your vehicle at the top or bottom of the windshield. But what if you’re interested in a full-size or mini light bar? Where can it be mounted? And perhaps more importantly, where should it be mounted?
The decision is yours, but most people opt for one of these mounting locations:
The front bumper of your vehicle can likely accommodate a light bar of just about any size, and it may even have pre-drilled holes to make installation a breeze. If yours doesn’t, drilling them yourself won’t take much effort. Wiring is simple with front bumper mounting, too.
Placing your LEDs on the bumper will put them at nearly the same level as your headlights. But, you’ll have broader, brighter light that shines farther ahead and, therefore, allows for safer high-speed driving.
Mounting emergency lights along the bottom of your vehicle’s windshield instead of on the bumper can be a good choice if you want greater illumination. However, your options for size are more limited with this placement, and you can expect wiring to be more of a challenge.
With a lower windshield mount, your LEDs will produce a different angle of illumination than that produced by your headlights. As a result, you’ll enjoy improved visibility.
The roof of your vehicle can accommodate a large light bar, and the large difference in angle from your headlights ensures optimal illumination and visibility. That said, wiring is most difficult with a rooftop mount, and the exact placement must be carefully planned so as to avoid hood reflection.
Mount your LEDs as high as possible on your vehicle, and they’ll cast shorter shadows. That means you’ll have an easier time spotting potholes and road hazards than you would with lighting placed on your front bumper or lower windshield area.
Emergency LED Light Bar Features
As you shop for vehicle lighting, you’ll notice LED lights with different features. Therefore, you’ll have several choices to make as you look for the right model to install.
The beam pattern of an LED light refers to how far and how wide its illumination will reach. The options include:
- Spot beam – A spot beam pattern produces a narrow, focused light that allows you to easily see objects that are far away. Best mounted on your vehicle’s roof, a spot beam is a great choice for driving long distances and on straight country roads.
- Flood beam – The wider beam of light produced by a flood beam makes roadside hazards more visible, but the tradeoff is a decrease in distance. Vehicle lighting with a flood beam pattern is ideally suited for front bumper mounting, as placing it higher can create a glare on the windshield and hood.
- Combination beam – With both a spot beam and a flood beam, LED lights that feature a combination beam are incredibly versatile and can be mounted in any forward-facing location. The potential downside is that neither will be as powerful as vehicle lighting with only a spot or flood beam pattern.
The flash pattern refers to the type of visual effect produced by an emergency LED light bar.
Many models – including those we offer here at LED Equipped — come with multiple flash patterns. You can choose a light bar that allows you to easily switch between rotating, chaser and strobe lighting as well as steady-burning, side-by-side flashing, progressive flash and split quad-burst patterns. Directional advisors are also commonly available, enabling you to easily control traffic.
LED Light Colors
Another decision you’ll have is which color or colors your emergency LED lights will produce.
White and amber are popular for their ability to create bright illumination and clear visibility, but you can also go with red, blue or green to grab the attention of other motorists. Single-color and dual-color LED lights are available, so you’ll be able to get vehicle lighting that perfectly meets your needs.
Shopping for Emergency LED Light Bars
Now that you understand the options and features, you’re ready to start shopping for emergency LED light bars. But before you do, consider the following practical advice:
- Check the local and state laws on vehicle lighting. You may not be legally allowed to use certain colors, and your region may restrict the beam patterns, flash patterns and placement of your LED lights.
- Measure your vehicle before you buy an emergency LED light bar. You’re going to want lighting that fits well in the space you have available, and if you don’t take measurements, you might end up with the wrong size.
- Look for LED lights from industry-leading brands. You might be able to save a few bucks by purchasing off-brand vehicle lighting, but going that route may not give you the long-term reliability and performance you need.
Are you ready to shop for emergency LED light bars? LED Equipped is a leading vehicle lighting supplier, and we offer a broad selection of affordable, high-quality products – all of which come with a 3-year warranty.
We’re a Shopper Approved company with an A+ rating and nearly 800 reviews. Get your vehicle lighting from LED Equipped, and you’ll come away completely satisfied. For more information, or for personal assistance exploring our emergency LED light bars, reach out to us today.