LED Warning Light Bar: The Ultimate Buying Guide

LED Warning Light Bars are devices that project light outward using a one-way switch, also known as a diode or a semiconductor diode.

LED warning lights come in different varieties and can be used in varying places.

It is best to be well informed of all contributing factors before you decide to purchase a LED Warning Light Bar.

Uses of LED Warning Light Bar

Strobe warning light bar

Strobe warning light bar

LED Warning Light Bar can be used to light emergency response vehicles like ambulance, firetrucks, and police cars.

The lights produced by the bars are highly visible and hard to miss making them the best for these types of vehicles.

Other than the police LED Warning Light Bar can be used in emergency vehicles as;

  • Take Down Lights are mostly found in police cars. It serves to blind suspects giving the police added advantage in a dangerous situation.
  • Strobe lights are meant to bring attention to obstructions on the road, change in traffic patterns, and other dangerous situations.
  • Alley lights are added to emergency vehicles to help navigate darker areas.

Strobe warning light bar

Strobe warning light bar

Construction vehicles, tow trucks, standard vehicles, motorcycles, off-road trucks, etc., are also fitted with LED warning lights.

LED Warning Light Bars can also be used at home as security lights and in other places that require bright light.

Most Commons LED Warning Light Bar Applications

The most common use of LED Warning Light Bar is in emergency vehicles.

The flashing lights found in police cars, ambulances, and firefighting trucks are usually red and blue.

There are also the yellow ones found in tow trucks and other roadside assistance vehicles.

Their increased brightness makes LED Warning Light Bars perfect for nighttime driving.

They give the driver a broader field of vision of dark roads and increase the vehicle’s visibility.

Off-road trucks particularly benefit from LED Warning Light Bars; increased visibility and a broader field of view are added advantages.

Increased visibility of LED Warning Lights is highly convenient for boats in the dark.

The LED Lights help during docking and sailing in the dark as well.

It is common for heavy-duty commercial vehicles to be fitted with LED Warning Lights.

Tow trucks, snowplow trucks, construction trucks, among others, benefit from the increased field of vision afforded by the lights.

Who uses LED Warning Light Bar?

LED Warning Light Bar is used by emergency responders such as;

Warning light bar on police car

Warning light bar on police car

  • Police officers.
  • First responders.
  • Firefighter.

other drivers who operate heavy-duty equipment and commercial vehicles like;

  • Runway clearance.
  • Tow trucks.
  • Construction trucks.
  • Off-road trucks.
  • Snowplows.

Advantages of LED Warning Light over other forms of Warning Lights

LED Warning Lights are energy efficient.

They are capable of an output of up to 135 watts.

LED Warning Lights come with stronger solid material.

They are more durable and do not break or burn out easily.

These LED Warning Lights, if properly made, can remain functional for very long.

They could last for 50,000 hours, if not more.

LED Warning lights come in various colors, and the brightness can be adjusted accordingly to suit your needs.

Although bright LED Warning Lights do not dull out colors like other warning lights.

This makes them suitable for displays.

LED Warning Lights light up instantly without a warm-up period.

This makes it highly convenient, especially for emergency responders.

Types of LED Warning Light Bars you can choose

You can choose any of the following options:

Off-Road Lights

Off-Road Lights are used as supplementary light sources to light up areas that are inaccessible by headlights.

They brighten areas further away from the vehicle and also have a broader range.

They can be as broad as 50 inches. Off-road lights come in various sizes, and each size has a different power range.

Mini LED Warning Light Bars

Mini LED Warning Light Bars are small and can be used in various places in a vehicle.

Their power output can range from 3 to 48 watts; they are just as effective as their bigger counterparts.

Visor LED Warning Light Bars

LED Visor lights can be installed in the front or the back of your vehicle, with sizes ranging from 13- 17 inches.

They are inconspicuous and easily adjustable, with a power output of 90 watts.

Full-Size LED Warning Light Bars

Full- Size LED Warning Light Bars are large, reaching up to 48 inches in size, multifaceted, and are usually waterproof.

Their power output can be as high as 80 watts meaning they are intense and provide up to 360 degrees’ visibility.

Deck and Dash LED Warning Light Bars

These LED Warning Light Bars are mid-sized, ranging from 6-40 inches.

Their power output ranges from 6-78 watts; they are long-lasting as well mobile.

Parts of LED Warning Light Bar

Some of the main components include;

Outer Shell

This extension is fitted with plastic parts that include the outer shell and lens cover.

The plastic material is waterproof and serves to protect the inner parts of the LED Warning Light Bar.

Electronic Control Board

The control board controls the flashing patterns and can, in some models can turn different pairs of light modules on and off.

Lighting Control Module

It controls the different lighting systems.

You can have more than one lighting control module, depending on how much you are willing to spend.

Optical Lens

They have superior quality lenses that transmit bright light.

LED Chips

These are the main component of the LED Warning LED Light Bars.

The chips produce the LED lights.

Material Considerations for LED Warning Light Bar

You can consider any of the following material types:

LED Warning Light Bar Housing.

The housing is very important and greatly determines the LED Warning Light Bar’s durability as it protects the inner components.

It is important to ensure that the housing material is sturdy and will last long under strenuous conditions.

The main materials used for the housing are;

  • Aluminum: it is lightweight, strong, is not affected by adverse weather conditions, a great heat sink, odorless, and non-toxic. Because of all these properties, aluminum is the most common housing material.
  • Polycarbonate; is clear and has up to 90% transparency. It is strong and can withstand heavy impact, adverse weather, and very easy to clean.

LED Warning Light Bar Lens.

The types of LED Warning Light Bar lens include;

  • Total Internal Reflector (TIR) lens shines all the LED Warning Lights in a direct beam. This makes it great for spotlight uses.
  • The linear lens allows you to remove possible hotspots to achieve a uniform glow. It is, therefore, great for floodlights as well as combo lights.

Circuit Board Wiring.

In most LED Warning Light Bars, the circuit is linear with a connection that is end to end.

This allows for the cathodes and anodes to take a simple length along the bar that can easily be followed.

This type of circuit is found in many full-size 12V circuits.

LED Warning Light mounts.

Hard mounts.

These are protected bracket clamps.

They include internal mounts and surface mount brackets which are screwed, clamped, or hooked into a platform, allowing for a measure of control.

They are hard to remove and are therefore safe from thieves.

They are also stable and act as shock absorbers.

Magnetic Mounts.

These are a magnetized connection that helps keep the LED Warning Light Bar to your vehicle.

They are portable and are therefore better suited to LED Lights that have several uses like the mini LED lights.

They are not as secure or as stable as hard mounts.

They can only be used by smaller lights as they are incapable of supporting larger weights.

Recommended Light Color for LED Warning Light Bar

There is a wide color range for LED Warning Light Bars.

The most common colors are, however, as follows:

Different colors of LED Warning light bar

Different colors of LED warning light bar

Red

Red is mostly used during emergencies and dangerous situations.

Emergency response vehicles like fire trucks, police vehicles, and rescue squad vehicles use red lights.

Blue

Blue lights are usually combined with red lights and used by law enforcement.

In some countries, however, Volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members use it on their personal vehicles when responding to emergency situations.

Yellow or Amber

Yellow/amber lights are used to indicate caution.

When combined with red lights, they can also be used to indicate an emergency.

Yellow lights are mostly used by heavy-duty commercial trucks.

Tow trucks and other roadside assistant vehicles also use yellow or amber lights.

School buses in some states use yellow lights and red lights when offloading as well as when loading.

White

The flashing white light is commonly used by school buses or fueling tanker trucks.

 Green

In some states, the Green warning lights are used to indicate temporary or mobile command posts.

How LED Warning Light Bars are powered

They are a prime source of light.

This means that the LED warning Light Bar needs a power source.

The LED Warning Light Bar to construct’s the source of power differs according to their manufacturers.

There are some LED Warning Light Bar that uses unique LED light batteries.

Others use the plug-in cigarette lighters, which are easier.

There are Battery-powered LED Warning Light Bars.

They save on power but are just as bright and are less likely to overheat.

The typical car battery has 12 v.

LED Warning Light Bars that use plug-in cigarette lighters are easier to set up.

Plugging in the power cord is all that needs to be done.

The average cigarette lighter has 7v.

How Straight vs. Curved LED Warning Light Bars Compare

Curved LED warning light

Curved LED warning light

Straight LED warning light

Straight LED warning light

Straight

The one major difference between them is the shape. Straight bars, just as the name suggests, are straight and flat.

They produce the greatest amount of light shining straight forward and work as decent spotlights in most off-roading setups.

Curved

When you add a gentle bend into the design, you get a curved LED Warning Light Bar.

Casting a greater illumination angle, this type of LED Warning Light Bar is better suited when you want to light a wider area in front of you while not covering as much distance.

Typically, most off-roading setups can have at least one curved bar for general illumination.

Wiring Options for LED Warning Light Bar

the idea of wiring may seem daunting to most people who more often than not choose to leave it to the professionals.

LED Warning Light Bar is a simple process that anyone can complete given the proper instructions.

If you are concerned about the warranty being voided, then it is best to leave the wiring to the professionals.

However, the wiring process is simple as long as you have all the components.

The main component required are the LED Warning Light Bar, cabling, and power source.

There are two main power sources the battery and the plug-in cigarette lighter.

The plug-in cigarette lighter is really simple.

After that, you plug the cable in the port and allow the LED to do its thing.

The first step is to identify the anode (the positive) and the cathode (the negative) wires with batteries.

If it is not indicated on the cables, it is safer to ask the manufacturer.

After confirming the correct voltage, connect the anode and cathode to the battery’s positive and negative with a soldering gun.

Most Popular Places you can Mount LED Warning Light Bar

It is recommended that the lights should be mounted by a professional so that you do not void vehicle warranties.

A vehicle manufacturer cannot legally void the warranty on a vehicle due to a different market product.

Unless they can prove that the particular part caused or directly caused the vehicle’s failure.

The parts can be mounted in the following places;

It can be put at the top of the roof near the windshield and near the rear window.

Also, it can be placed out of sight inside the front grill.

It can be mounted directly onto the front bumper.

It can also be placed on the mirrors.

The LED Lights can be mounted behind the tailgate.

Some types of LED lights can be mounted inside the fog lights.

Easy Tips to Mount and Wire LED Warning Light Bar

There is the option of contracting professionals to help you mount and wire your LED lights.

However, it is more economical to try the process yourself.

It may seem like a monumental challenge for a beginner.

It is, however, very simple to do so with proper guidance.

The first step is to start by mounting your LED Warning Light Bar at the best place on your vehicle using the choice between permanent and magnetic positions.

The next step is done with the help of a self-taping screw.

Find the best location to mount the fuse and relay.

The inner guard is highly recommended.

The fuse wire must reach the battery conveniently even as you continue mounting.

The ring terminal should be connected to the positive end.

Locating the end of your high beam headlight globe follows.

This is found right next to the relay and then remove from the plug from the end.

It enables your LED Warning Light Bar to start up when the LED Warning Light Bar is turned on.

After that, you join the headlamp adapter, usually in the harness.

Then join it to the factory plug, ensuring that an end is attached to the headlamp globe and the last plug is attached to the new harness.

You then proceed with mounting the switch in the cab

After mounting the switch, run the connected wire through a hole to the engine.

This can be done by splitting or piercing through it.

You then connect the two harnesses, the plug and the other one extending from the relay.

Connecting the plugs is the next step.

Connect the singular pin to the relay and earth the terminal ring using the bolt in metal contact with the body or the negative terminal.

Tape the second plug.

You then try out the LED Warning Light Bar by switching on to your LED lights.

The LED Warning Light Bar should not light until the high beam is turned on.

Switch it off when the high beam and the LED Warning Light Bar are in position.

The endeavor is a success when the LED Warning Light Bar goes off while the high beam remains on.

Features to Consider when Buying LED Warning Light Bar

Some of the main features to consider include

Size and Length

The size and length of the LED Warning Lights are important.

You should buy the one that is best suited to the size and type of your vehicle.

Mini LED Warning lights are not recommended for emergency response vehicles.

In contrast, normal LED Warning lights may not be suitable for standard cars.

Resistance

All LED Warning Light Bar requires a voltage limiting resistor to prevent the burning of the LED chip.

There are ballast resistors that limit the current through the LED Warning Light Bar in simple circuits.

Beam Angle

The beam angle is determined by the type of LED Warning Light Bar and its position on the vehicle.

For instance, in off-road trucks

LED Spot Light Beam’s angle of light beam reflectors and optics ranges from 10 to 20 degrees.

The Flood Light Beam’s angle of light beam reflectors and optics ranges from 40 to 60 degrees.

Besides, the Fog Light Beam’s angle of light beam reflectors and optics ranges from 60 to100 degrees.

The Combination Light Beam combines both the spotlight and the floodlight increasing the angle of coverage.

Additionally, the Driving Light Beam’s angle of light beam reflectors and optics ranges from 70 to90 degrees.

The Light Diffusion Beam’s angle of reflectors and optics is degrees

Light Color

When it comes to the LED Warning Light Bar, the color of the light is very important.

Some colors increase the field of vision while others increase the vehicle’s visibility.

For example, red and blue LED Warning Light Bars are mostly used by emergency responders like the police and the first responders.

Brilliant white light is used by the take-down LED Warning Light Bars.

Yellow LED Warning Light Bars are used by tow trucks and roadside assistance vehicles.

Amber strobe light is usually for traffic advisory.

Mounting Options

There are different mounting options recommended by manufacturers.

They include;

The LED Warning Light Bar can be mounted at the top of the roof near the windshield and near the rear window.

It can also be placed out of sight inside the front grill.

It can be mounted directly onto the front bumper; it can also be placed on the mirrors.

The LED Lights can be mounted behind the tailgate, and other types of LED lights can be mounted inside the fog lights.

Durability

One reason why LED Warning Light Bars are becoming more and more popular is their long lifespan.

With the proper maintenance, the LED Warning Light Bars can last for 30,000 hours to an upward of 50,000 hours.

The LED Warning Light Bars are rugged as well as long-lasting.

They have solid covers and do not have filaments that easily burn out, making them the best warning lights choice.

Input Voltage

The input voltage varies depending on the size and types of LED Warning Light Bars.

Knowing the input voltage is very important as it also determines the power source for the LED Warning Light Bars.

LED Warning Light Bars are manufactured to operate within the 13.8 DC voltage, usually supplied by most vehicles and trucks.

The bar input voltage range is normally indicated, for example, 9-30VDC.

The input voltage range means operating the LED Warning Light Bars in 12V, 24V, OR 48V.

This is long as your system falls under the voltage range.

Brightness

Light brightness is measured by effective lumens.

The effective lumens are usually obtained by multiplying the raw lumens by 0.8.

There are different levels of lumens depending on the manufacturer and the type of LED Warning Light Bars.

The best quality LED Warning Light Bars can produce an upward of 30,000 lumens.

Color Temperature

The color temperature determines how the color appears, especially at night.

Higher temperatures of 6000K and above are brighter and are more likely to cause eye damage when there is prolonged exposure.

A color temperature of about 5000K is recommended as they help render colors correctly.

LED light color temperature

LED light color temperature

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of LED Warning Light Bars

LED Warning Light Bars normally have a long life span.

You can get up to 50,000 hours as long as you properly maintain your LED Warning Light Bars.

There are, however, factors that can affect the lifespan of your LED Warning Light Bars.

They include;

Ambient Temperature

The LED chip and power supply affect the lifespan of the LED Warning Light Bar.

These two components can also be affected by outside temperature.

Increased temperature affects the quality of light produced and the life span of the LED Warning Light Bar.

Electrical Stress

Wrongly matched drivers could lead to higher currents running through the LED Warning Light Bar, putting stress on the LED Warning Light Bar.

This stress could greatly impact the lifespan of your LED Warning Light Bar.

Heat Sink

This is mostly dependent on the cover material used for the housing.

High temperatures above 85°C will severely shorten the lifespan of your LED Warning Light Bars.

The brightness of the LED Warning Light Bar is also affected by the high temperatures.

The case should have superior heat sink properties to conduct excess heat away from the LED chip.

There LED Warning Light Bar cooling system affects the lifespan as it is a key determinant of your LED Warning Light Bar’s temperature.

There are two types of cooling systems

  • An active cooling system, an electric motorized fan is installed to help turn down the LED Warning Light Bar’s temperature. It is mostly used for commercial LED Warning Light Bars.
  • A passive cooling system; involves the use of aluminum fined heat sinks. The aluminum or ceramic fins conduct heat away from the LED chip.

Importance of IP Rating for LED Warning Light Bar

IP Rating

IP Rating

The IP rating system is a protection standard developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

IP rating for LED Warning Light Bars indicates how much your light is protected from liquid and solid objects.

There IP system has two numbers; the first number indicates the IP solid rating.

It usually ranges from 0-6.

The next number indicates the IP liquid rating ranging from 0-8.

For example, IP67 Rating indicates complete protection against water and solid.

IP65 Rating indicates the LED lights’ protection against water spurts and foreign bodies, making them perfect for both commercial and individual use, and so on.

Other Quality and Safety Standards you should consider for LED Warning Light Bars

When buying LED Warning light bar, they should meet the following quality and safety standards:

  • IP Rating
  • UL Certified
  • ETL Listed
  • RoHS
  • CE
  • TUV Rheinland

Remember, these standards vary from one region to another.

Factors Determining LED Warning Light Bar Pricing

There are different price brackets for LED Warning Light Bar.

For cheaper LED Warning Light Bars of 100$ and under, you must conduct extensive research before purchasing.

The cheaper versions are not always up to standard and could ultimately do more harm than good.

For mid-ranged prices of 100$ to 500$ are more available but are not always the best.

Some may have passed through quality and safety assurance but are not always guaranteed to last long.

The best quality LED Warning Light Bars are often expensive.

They are approved by the appropriate organizations.

They are durable, strong, and come with additional features that ensure your experience is satisfactory.

These LED Warning Lights are usually 500$ and above.

Evaluating LED Warning Light Bar Quality before Buying

Several factors should be analyzed before you decide to buy a particular LED Warning Light Bar.

 Heat and Current Management.

Heat greatly reduces the lifespan of LED Warning Light Bars.

Airflow in the LED Warning Light Bar housing, the raw material for the circuit board, the presence of heat sinks is all things that should be considered when choosing a LED Warning Light Bar.

Wiring

You should commit to buying high-quality LED Warning Light Bars.

They come complete with long wires, a switch, a relay, a fuse box, and waterproof connectors.

Brackets

Better quality LED Warning Light Bars are strong, hard to remove, and are therefore safe from thieves.

They are also stable and act as shock absorbers.

Warranties

Longer warranties are better when purchasing your LED Warning Light Bars.

Products with over ten-year warranties are of better quality.

How to choose the Best LED Warning Light Bar for your Application?

There are different types of LED Warning Light Bars in the market.

They can be purchased both locally and internationally as well as online.

The fact that there are several available LED Warning Light Bars should not be synonymous with owning one.

These LED Warning lights come in various sizes, have different power input and output, come in different colors, and are used for multiple reasons.

You must conduct extensive research of the product and your state’s laws so as not to incur any fines.

The best LED Warning Light Bars are those that have passed the quality and safety assurances and have been approved by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Regulations for using LED Warning Light Bars

There are several regulations for LED Warning Light Bars.

Some of them include;

UN ECE Regulation 65 (R65) is the standard directive concerned with the approval of special warning lamps for different vehicles.

It defines requirements for light and sound signals for new cars.

The regulations extend to labeling, light output, flash rate, color for beacons, minibars, LED Warning Light Bars, and directional lights.

The ECE R10 regulation deals with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) in emission and immunity

LED Warning Light Bars Accessories and Customization Options

There are several LED Warning Light Bar accessories and customization options.

The most important thing while purchasing these accessories is to not only ensure that the parts being installed are up to the appropriate standards.

It is also important to determine if the LED Warning Light Bars being fitted are not illegal in your country.

Emergency response vehicles can be customized by different countries according to their laws.

Warranty Considerations for LED Warning Light Bar

Most LED Warning Light Bars are warranted from 3 to 10 years.

The cheaper LED Warning Light Bars are warrantied for shorter periods, while the more expensive ones are warranted for longer periods.

Most manufactures can void the warranty if they suspect that damage could have occurred during installation.

They have to, however, prove that the damage was not their fault.

LED Warning Light Bar Laws

Many states have different laws concerning Warning LED Warning Light Bars.

Given the intensity of the Warning LED Warning Light Bars, there is a high risk of blinding oncoming drivers and causing accidents.

For this and many other reasons, it is illegal for standard vehicles to be fitted with warning LED Warning Light Bars in some states.

Some types of LED lights are cleared for off-road vehicles as well as standard vehicles.

It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state before attempting to mount the LED Warning Light Bars

Importance of SAE Certification for LED Warning Light Bars

The Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) come up with a quality standard that measures the intensity of a light beam and then categorizes the LED Warning Light Bars into three classes.

These classes indicate how intense the light beams produced by the LED Warning Light Bars are.

Class one is the brightest, followed by class two, and the least bright in class three.

Difference between SAE J595 and J845 LED Warning Light Bars

SAE J595 deals with the directional flashing LED warning lights. An example of LED Warning Light Bars is spotlight LED Warning Light Bars.

SAE J845 deals with 360° optical LED warning lights or omnidirectional LED Warning Light Bars, for example, emergency lights or navigational LED Warning Light Bars.

Depending on your unique application requirements, GoldMore designs and manufactures high quality LED warning light bar.

We offer competitive prices on all our LED warning lights.

Contact us now for OEM partnership and flexible MOQs.

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