Due to modern technology available today, emergency and first responders who operate vehicles have a huge range of options for ideal emergency vehicle lights to warn other drivers of their presence. Two options that are often compared to one another, and may even be chosen between by certain emergency responders, are dash lights and visor lights.
At LED Equipped, we’re happy to offer a wide range of high-quality LED dash lights, visor lights and other options for any kind of emergency response need. How do these options compare, what are some of their chief pros and cons, and what are some of the emergency settings or situations where one or the other might be more useful? Here’s a rundown of everything you should know.
Basics on LED Dash Lights
For those who are just familiarizing themselves with the field, dash lights are designed to be mounted onto or within a vehicle’s dashboard. From there, they emit warning signals in various directions via bright LED light systems.
Dash lights can be found in many different shapes and sizes, making them perfect for installation into smaller vehicles such as motorcycles and ATVs, as well as larger trucks. They typically utilize a simple cupping system that allows for easy, tool-free installation and removal in most any kind of vehicle.
This cupping system is ideal for those who may need to move a dash light from one vehicle to another in the event of an emergency, or those who may need to quickly move it out of the way for better visibility in certain areas. They’re also perfect for undercover emergency response vehicles, as they can be easily tucked and hidden away when needed.
Basics on LED Visor Lights
Visor lights are similarly designed to emit warning signals via bright LED light systems – the only key difference is that they are typically not mounted onto or within a vehicle’s dashboard. Instead, visor lights often attach directly to the vehicle’s sun visor or interior roof, allowing for an even wider range of warning signals and visibility.
Visor lights are especially helpful in larger vehicles such as SUVs, vans, and trucks, due to their ability to emit warning signals at a much higher angle than dash lights are able to. They also typically come equipped with multiple light heads for even greater visibility, and may even be used in smaller vehicles too.
Both Are Easy to Hide
As we touched on in both of our above sections, one of the chief pros of both dash lights and visor lights is their ability to be easily hidden away when needed. This is perfect for those who may need to engage in undercover law enforcement, or who may be responding to a medical emergency that requires more subtlety.
However, these options achieve this in different ways. Dash lights, with their suction cup system that allows for easy installation and removal, can be moved to a hidden area of the vehicle in moments. Visor lights, on the other hand, may not be easily removed but they do come equipped with dimming capabilities that allow them to be toned down or even turned off entirely when needed – and because they can often be partially hidden by visors or other interior areas, they can still provide some degree of safety and visibility when necessary.
One area where dash lights hold an advantage here, at least in a vacuum, is cost. Dash lights often come with a lower price tag than visor lights, due in part to the fact that they require fewer components and less installation work. However, the actual cost difference between these two options can vary widely depending on the exact model and features you choose.
In addition, it’s important not to only think about up-front costs when assessing these options, as you should also factor in maintenance costs over the long term. Both dash lights and visor lights can require occasional upkeep and repair, while some models may even include additional features such as remote control systems that come at a premium cost.
Ease of Installation
Both of these items are quite simple to install, but again this is an area where dash lights may have a small advantage. If you’re looking for something that can be installed quickly and easily, then dash lights may be the better option for you. Visor lights require a bit more effort to install since they must be attached to the interior roof or sun visor of your vehicle, while dash lights are much simpler with their suction cup system.
And as we’ve already noted, movement after installation is much easier for dash lights since they can simply be detached and moved to a different area of the vehicle – while visor lights, once installed, stay put.
On the flip side, an area where visor lights tend to be a bit more robust than dash lights is output. Visor lights will have anywhere up to 90 separate LEDs installed in their light heads, while dash lights tend to have a maximum of around 30.
This means that visor lights can emit warning signals with a much broader coverage area and at greater distances – great for those who may be responding to calls or providing medical services in rural areas. Dash lights are still quite effective up close, but they may not be able to provide the same degree of visibility at a distance as visor lights can.
Common Settings Where Dash Lights Are Used
While these are not hard and fast rules or requirements, here are some of the settings or responder types that tend to benefit most from dash lights:
- Undercover officers: Because they can be removed quickly and easily, dash lights are perfect for those who may need to go undercover and stay unseen. Their suction cups also make them great for those who may need to move their lights frequently.
- Tow trucks: As their duties often require them to move frequently and respond quickly, tow truck drivers may benefit from having dash lights.
- Emergency medical responders: Many EMTs and paramedics opt for dash lights so that they can have a bright warning signal with them in the vehicle at all times, but also be able to hide it away quickly when needed.
- Security vehicles: For various security operations, dash lights may be a great choice due to their portability and easy installation. They allow for a lot of flexibility, so the vehicle can quickly and easily be adapted to different situations.
- Construction vehicles: Many construction vehicles and heavy equipment may require more specialized lighting setups, but dash lights can still provide a great warning signal when needed.
- Storm chasers: If you’re going to be trying to track down a storm, dash lights can provide an easy way to get a brightly flashing warning signal up and running quickly.
Common Settings Where Visor Lights Are Used
On the flip side, visor lights – with their greater visibility – are often used in some different scenarios:
- Standard police vehicles: Most police cruisers opt for visor lights, as they provide a wider coverage area and greater visibility at a distance. They can also be quickly and easily customized with different colors and flashing patterns.
- Fire trucks: Fire department vehicles – which may need to alert other drivers of their presence at a much greater distance – tend to opt for visor lights instead of dash lights.
- Emergency medical vehicles: In some cases, EMTs and paramedics may choose visor lights over dash lights for greater visibility, especially for those who may be dealing with rural or remote calls.
So overall, it really depends on what your needs are and how you plan to use these lights. For more here, or to learn about any of our emergency LED lights for any purpose or need, speak to our team at LED Equipped today.