12 Best Off Road Lights in 2017
Auxiliary lights have increased in popularity over the years, especially in the off-road world. That’s due in part to the cheapness of LED lighting, which has changed the game and opened the floodgates to a slew of new consumers. That also means finding the best off-road lights can be more difficult today than it was several years ago.
While you don’t have to take a class to learn about LEDs vs. HIDs, there are a lot of things to consider before pulling the trigger on a new light bar or spotlight. We’ll discuss some things you will need to keep in mind, but first, let’s take a quick look at our Top 12.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Off Road Lights Comparison Table
- Off Road Light Buying Information
- Mounting Style
- Flood or Spotlight?
- Bulb Type
- Top 5 Best Off Road Lights Reviews
Top 12 Off Road Lights Comparison Table
Off Road Light Buying Information
Whether you are planning an outdoor adventure or just need help to get home, lights are necessary. Off road lights can be tough to figure out, so we’ve tried to simplify things with our quick buying tips below.
This area comes down to the type of vehicle you have and the kind of light setup you’re looking for. The options are plentiful as there are half-dozen styles and hundreds of sizes to choose from. Looking for a light bar to sit up top and shine a light through the dark? That’s simple, but do you want curved light bar you can set in your grill or a straight light bar?
As you can see, there is quite a bit to think about, and that’s just with bar-style setups. There are also single lights that can be attached to a roll bar or on the side of a vehicle to be used a spotlight for hunting. You can even purchase kits with rows of smaller lights that allow for a full range of coverage. Whatever style you choose, you will also want to take into account the amount of wiring included vs. what you may actually need depending on your installation point.
Flood or Spotlight?
Are you stuck trying to decide between a floodlight or a spotlight? Don’t worry; you are far from the only one as certain types of bulbs or panels only allow for one style. As the name implies, a floodlight is built to “flood” the area around you with light and offers up extensive coverage. Spotlights, on the other hand, are basically large flashlights – some will remain fixed while others allow for a measure of adjustment.
When it comes to LED lights, you can actually have the best of both worlds. Many light bars that utilize LED technology have rows of lights and can be used as both a spot or floodlight in some cases. Consider your needs in this area before beginning to think about the types of bulbs that lie behind the glass or plastic housings.
When it comes to lighting, there are dozens of types of bulbs on the market, but for our purposes, there are only three. Those would be LED lighting, Halogen bulbs, and HIDs. Most consumers will be familiar with the first two, while the third is a bit of a rarity in the off road world.
- LED – These can typically be the cheapest and don’t get “hot” like other types of bulbs. They are capable of putting out incredible amounts of light, but cannot be replaced like the other types of bulbs. If it breaks, it’s going to the trash can in most cases.
- Halogen – While you can find some Halogen-based bars on the market, most of the picks on our list of the best off road lights are single lights. They have bulbs that can be replaced, but you will need to consider the strain it may put on your battery if you run too many of them.
- HID – This stand for high-intensity discharge bulbs, otherwise known as Xenon or Blues. These lights can blister your eyeballs and are more than twice as bright as traditional Halogen bulbs. On the downside, they take more time to brighten up and are the most expensive type of light on the market.
Top 5 Best Off Road Lights Reviews
KC HiLiTES is a name off roaders will know well, and they slid into the top spot on our list of the best off road lights with the Apollo 151’s. These lights come two to a set and are 100w Halogen lights built to endure the rigors of the road. They are pretty darned bright to boot with a rating equivalent to 200,000 candlepower.
These rugged lights are made in the USA and feature an integrated stone guard to keep rocks at bay. The 6” lights are encased in Polymax for additional protection as well. As for that bulb, it’s a 100 watt H3 Halogen, which can be easily replaced when it burns out and features a “spread” beam pattern for better visibility in the dark.
The KC HiLiTES Apollo 151 lights are an excellent replacement for vehicles with factory fog lights that don’t cut the mustard on the trail or road. They will mount to anything on the road and come complete with a switch kit and relay wiring harness to get you started.
Our first light bar for off road use comes from TMH and is a 20” single bar setup with two mounting points. The bar features two rows of lights for a total of 13,000 Lumens and is listed at 126 watts. While tech specs are nice, the most important factor with this setup is the bulb, and you will be pleased to know they use CREE’s.
CREE is the best brand of LED light and something you’ll want to look for when choosing lighting for your off road vehicle. They tend to have a longer lifespan than other brands, which is important unless you want a dead spot in your panel. You won’t have to worry about that with this one, and you will get a dual setup as well with 18 LED lights for “spot” and 24 LEDs for the floodlight feature. The former are angled at 30-degrees while the floodlights are angled at 60-degrees.
The TMH light bar has a strong black aluminum housing, glass lenses and an IP67 rating to keep water and moisture out. The lifespan of the bulbs is rated at 50,000 working hours. It’s a great bar that will work up top or in your grill although you may need a pro if you opt to install it in your grill.
Auxbeam’s top off road lighting set offers consumers several options in the style department. You can choose between a set of 4” floods or 7” spotlights but can opt for a massive 52” bar as well. We decided to go with their smaller 4” light pods, which are rated at 18 watts of power.
This pair of LED lights is built for consumers that need floodlights that leave a small footprint. They won’t take up much space at 3.9” x 2.8” x 4.2” including the mounting bracket. Despite its size, they put out a tremendous amount of light with a 60-degree beam that floods the road or trail ahead of you. Other specifications of interest include a color temp of 6000k, a lumen rating of 1260 – 1800lm and a lifespan of 50,000 hours. You will get plenty of use out of these.
If you are in the market for something small and powerful, you’ll want to consider these or their 7” counterparts which can work as a spotlight or floodlight. There are four sizes of bars as well including a 42” curved Cross Series LED bar with a whopping 240 watts. All their lights use CREE’s and have the IP67 tag for water-resistance.
At first glance, these LED lights from DT MOTO could easily be mistaken for the two-piece setup from Auxbeam. They are dead ringers in the design department, but are actually spotlights and come four to a set. Each light has a color temperature of 6000K, are rated at 18 watts and have an angle of 30-degrees. As you might suspect, they are resistant from dirt and water as well.
The DT MOTO Off Road lights come in a sturdy cast aluminum housing and have a PMMA shatter resistant lens to keep those bulbs safe. They mount in a similar fashion to other single lights of this nature and come with a complete set of screws and mounting brackets. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the massive heat sinks as well which are oversized to help dissipate heat with extended use.
If you’re not a fan of having four lights mounting on your vehicle, you can opt for a larger 2 piece set with 6.5” spot lights instead. There is also a 6.5” pair of floodlights as well in case you like the light but need something with wider coverage in the dark.
If you haven’t noticed by now, LED lights are extremely popular. They are also affordable, and if budget is a concern, you may have found your next set of off road lights. MicTuning’s MIC-06F18 lights are spotlights with 18W of power courtesy of CREE’s popular bulbs. They will brighten the road ahead with a 1260 lumens spot beam, and you can adjust the angle thanks to the flexible mounting brackets.
MicTuning’s lights come in three different styles, and while we went for the 18-watt spotlights, they also have a set of 18-watt floodlights. There is a 36-watt flood light “bar” as well although it is not a true bar – just a pair of lights that are around 7” long. Like the rest of our picks, these lights are water and dust-resistant to a degree with aluminum housings that are built to take a beating. Dust, moisture and road grit won’t stand a chance against these.
There is really no downside to these lights considering you can get them in multiple sizes and they are very affordable. The only negative in our eyes would be their lifespan as they carry a rating of 30,000 hours compared to 50,000 hours on similar bulbs.