LED lights are one of the most popular aftermarket accessories for offroad vehicles, but with so many brands on the market, it can be hard to know which ones to trust. After all, if you’re investing in LED lights for your Jeep or other vehicle, you want to get the best qualities that LED lights offer: durability, a long lifespan, and high lighting output.
Whether you’re upgrading the headlights on your Wrangler, or installing fog lights on an emergency vehicle, we’ve put together this list of the best LED light manufacturers that specialize in offroad lighting. We’ve also included some of the most important qualities to look for in LED lights no matter who you buy them from.
What to look for in LED lights
First, what are some of the features that set the top LED light manufacturers apart from the rest? How do you know that you’re getting your money’s worth? While each of these brands sells lights at a variety of price points, they can all be compared with a standard set of criteria, such as IP rating (for durability) and lumens (for lighting output).
Here are 7 of the key characteristics that you should look for when buying offroad LED lights, depending on what kind of offroad driving you’ll be doing:
One of the most important qualities to look for in any LED lighting unit is how much light it actually produces. This might sound like common sense, but in fact there can be a lot of variation in how much light a single unit can provide.
That’s because in addition to the number of lumens it produces, there may be multiple bulbs or diodes within the same housing. Headlights usually include both high and low beams; light bars may include one or two rows of diodes.
As a general rule, you can expect any LED lighting unit to be more powerful than your factory-installed halogen bulbs, with an output of at least 5,000 lumens.
Beam pattern is another key characteristic to consider. When buying LED lights, you’ll generally have a choice between several beam patterns, such as flood and spot.
This is where knowing what kind of offroad driving you’ll be doing comes in. If you’ll be driving in areas where you need to see far ahead, choose a spot beam. If having good visibility on either side is more important to you, choose a flood beam.
Many manufacturers produce LED lighting units with combination beams, allowing you to switch between them instantly. Other options include driving beams, diffused beams for driving in foggy conditions, and infrared beams for driving in the dark.
DOT certification is important if you’ll be driving on paved roads, but this only applies to certain kinds of offroad lights. LEDs that flash or change colors are never street legal, so you can install any unit you want, as long as you only use it offroad.
Headlights, on the other hand, require a DOT certification in order to be street legal. You can typically find a DOT sticker on the lens itself, and many manufacturers will advertise their products as being DOT approved.
Keep in mind that meeting SAE standards is not the same as being DOT approved, so always check for the DOT designation.
IP rating is the best way to tell if your LED lighting unit can handle adverse driving and weather conditions. It stands for “ingress protection” and is the same scale that’s used to determine whether or not your smartphone is dust and waterproof.
The minimum standard to look for is IP67, but the most durable lights will have an even higher rating than that, all the way up to IP69K. The first digit (0 to 6) refers to how dust resistant the lights are, and the second digit (0 to 9) measures water resistance.
The best LED lights come with anti-flickering modules to prevent your lights from acting up if there are any interruptions to the current. These aren’t always required; it depends on whether your vehicle’s circuits were designed for LED or halogen lights.
Still, it’s a good idea to check the product description to see if the unit comes with an anti-flicker module or harness or if you’ll need to install one separately.
Bluetooth controls are an optional upgrade that can add some advanced technology to your auxiliary lighting setup. More and more lights come with the option to control them with a Bluetooth app installed on your smartphone.
These are especially common with RGB multicolor LEDs that can produce a variety of color and flashing patterns and even flash in sync with your music.
Ease of Installation
Finally, the last thing to consider is how easy your lights will be to install. The best units come with plug-and-play installation kits so you can install them easily at home.
You can choose from a variety of mounting options, including cradle and pillar mounts, flush and surface mounts, and more. Always check to make sure the lighting units are compatible with your vehicle, otherwise you may need to order additional adapters or wiring components to ensure a successful fit.
You can also consider protecting your lights from rocks and debris with light guards, or purchasing light covers to keep them hidden when driving on paved roads.
Top LED Light Brands
With that in mind, here are some of the best LED light brands on the market that offroad drivers know and trust. Many of them are available to purchase at Inspired Engineering, where you can search products by make and model, popular categories, and more.
RIGID Industries is known for producing a massive catalog of lights suitable for Jeeps, ATVs, and offroad vehicles of all kinds. Their options are sorted by series, such as the 360 Series round LED lights and the D-Series Pro versatile pod lights.
You can also choose from 30-, 40-, and 50-inch light bars, driving lights, infrared beams, and a whole lot more. Their most advanced units, the Adapt series, are “the world's first off-road lighting products that can change instantly according to conditions.” They have a built-in GPS module that can choose the ideal beam pattern for your speed.
RIGID lights are more expensive than some other brands, but many drivers say that the advanced features and high-quality designs make them worth it. They also produce light covers to make your offroad vehicle street legal when driving on paved roads.
KC HiLiTES is one of the oldest brands on the market, having been around since 1970. They produce the popular round headlights and light bars found on many Jeeps. You’ll find their products available with LED, HID, and halogen components.
KC HiLiTES is famous for its 23-year warranty, which assures that your product will be free of manufacturing defects, although damages from regular use aren’t covered.
You can choose from a variety of plug-and-play kits for easy installation. They also offer lights using Gravity® Reflective Diode technology for improving lighting efficiency.
Nilight is one of the newer brands on the market, with a focus on affordable lights that don’t compromise on quality. It produces light bars, including a 52-inch Curved Triple Row Light Bar, as well as flood lights that can be installed on a roof or bumper.
Their products are mostly built with an IP rating of 67, with die-cast aluminum housing, and some of them have cooling fins to help with heat dissipation.
Auxbeam is known for producing budget-friendly lights with CREE LED light chips that can last 30,000 hours or more. They have a high lighting output with a variety of beam patterns, although some users report that the mounting and wiring options have some shortcomings, so you may need to make some adjustments.
Still, Auxbeam is a trusted brand that makes high-quality products, including straight light bars, curved light bars, Jeep Wrangler headlight kits, and more.
Inspired Engineering’s Prismatic series features color-changing light bars with white and amber backlight options, as well as strobe and music-syncing features. You can buy this unit with or without the RGB control box, and choose from several mounting options.
The Bluetooth power module is waterproof and has its own wiring harness. This means you can use it to power four Prismatic units in any combination. This unit has an IP69K rating, which is the highest available rating for water and dust resistance.
Choose the best LED light brand for your vehicle
These are just a few of the manufacturers making LED lighting units today. The growing popularity of LED lights for offroad vehicles means that you can find everything from the most advanced hi-tech options, to cheap knock-offs that won’t do the job.
By buying your lights from one of these top brands, you’ll be able to count on the quality of the construction, and have somewhere to turn if something goes wrong.You can find more options on Inspired Engineering, where you can browse our products by category, make and model, trim, and more. If you have any questions about whether a particular lighting unit will meet your needs, give us a call we’ll help you out!