LED pods are some of the most customizable lighting accessories on the market. They allow you to get creative with your lighting designs by choosing exactly how you want to arrange them. Unlike halo headlights, you aren’t limited to installing them on the front of your vehicle. They can go on the hood, grille, bumper, rooftop and more.
What are LED Pod Mounts?
LED pod mounts allow you to attach any number of auxiliary LED lights to your vehicle. These pods usually come in the form of a 3 or 4-inch cube made up of diodes.
LEDs last longer and are more powerful than incandescent lights, which is why they're often used for halo headlights, fog lights, and light bars. In many cases, LED lights will last longer than the life of your vehicle.
LED lights also come in multiple colors, allowing you to customize the appearance of your car. Keep in mind, though, that many auxiliary lights aren’t street-legal, so if you plan on getting creative with LED pod lights, you’ll have to take them off-road.
Once you go off-road, you aren’t limited by how bright your lights can be or by how many auxiliary lights you can have.
LED pod mounts are easy to install, and are more versatile than light bars, which are typically longer and are mounted on the roof or grille of the vehicle.
LED pod mounts can go anywhere on your car or truck, which means you can get as creative as you want. But all those options can be a little overwhelming.
In this article, we’re going to show you exactly what you need to know about LED pod lights, including what kind of beam pattern to choose and how to mount them.
Brightness and beam patterns
LED pod lights essentially come in four beam patterns: spot, flood, driving, and spread. Driving beams are perfect for use on dark roads and have a diamond-shaped pattern, giving you enough light to see the road ahead of you and a little bit to either side.
These types of lights are best mounted on the bumper or front grille. They don’t provide as much light as spot or flood lights, so aren’t the best choice for off-road driving.
Spread beams provide slightly more visibility than driving beams, because they have a wider shape, making them more suitable for off-road driving.
Flood beams are wider than driving beams, but don’t reach as far into the distance. A flood beam pattern is typically 60 degrees wide. They’re great for maximising visibility on off-road trails and dark, winding roads, illuminating any obstacles.
You should mount these on your bumper for the best results. Although they can go on the roof, this can produce an unwanted glare that impacts your visibility.
Spot beams are precisely the opposite of flood beams: they cast a narrow beam with a 10-degree angle that reaches far into the distance.
This allows you to drive faster on straight roads and trails, although it does reduce your ability to see what’s on either side of you.
The best place to mount a spot beam is on the roof or the top of the windshield, so that it can reach as far as possible from the highest point on your vehicle.
For the most flexibility, you can choose a combination beam, which produces a spot and flood beam at the same time, or allows you to switch between the two.
Remember that visibility is a two-way street: while most beams are designed to increase what you can see on the road in front of you, they can also make you more visible to the other off-road vehicles in your vicinity if they’re mounted in the right place.
So don’t overlook the safety benefits of mounting LED pods on the back or sides of your vehicle, even if they don’t directly contribute to what you can see out of the windshield.
When it comes to brightness, you can find individual pods that produce 1,000 lumens, to packs that produce over 10,000 lumens of combined light.
While restrictions on brightness aren’t an issue for off-road driving, your power capacity is. You’ll need enough power from your alternator to power the lights, which can require as little as 20 watts to over 120 watts for a powerful set of LEDs.
Since LED pods are mounted on the exterior of your vehicle, you’ll also need to take the weather into account. If you’ll be driving in inclement weather conditions, choose a pod with at least an IP67 or IP68 waterproof rating.
Are there different types of LED pod mounts?
Once you’ve decided on the brightness and beam pattern, you’ll need to decide how to mount it. As mentioned, certain beam patterns are best suited to certain places on the vehicle, but you’ll most likely be mounting the pod on your bumper or windshield.
Bumpers are easy because some vehicles already have holes for accessories built into them; if not, you can drill your own in exactly the right place for your pod. The downside to bumper mounts is that you won’t have as much variety in your lighting angle, since it will be pointing in a similar direction as the built-in headlights.
If you mount the pod on your lower windshield, then you’ll probably end up using a pillar mount. This location gives you a little more flexibility when it comes to angling the beam, and you won’t have to drill any holes if your vehicle has them already. You may need to drill holes in order to connect the wiring, though.
A third option is to mount your pod above the windshield. This placement also relies on a pillar mount, and provides you with the best angle for spot beam patterns. Most pods are mounted with either cradles or brackets.
Brackets are perfect for vehicles that already have mounting holes right where you want them, such as on the bumper or the pillar of your car. These brackets may take the form of a hinge or U-shape and are designed to sit flush against your car.
For example, the JCR Off-Road 50” JK A Pillar Bracket is designed for use on the upper windshield when you don’t want your LED pods to reach above the roof when driving on roads with low clearance or obstructions.
The Hardrock /10A Cube Brackets allow you to mount multiple pods on a single bracket, while the Dodge 20” Hidden Bumper Mount fits into the bumper of a Dodge RAM. While some brackets are compatible with any type of vehicle, getting one that’s designed for your make and model can help ensure a perfect, visually-appealing fit.
The other type of pod mount you’ll encounter is the cradle mount. This one is designed to give you a little more flexibility when positioning your light on the grill or rooftop.
Cradle mounts can be short enough for a pod or long enough for a light bar, and usually offer an adjustable design with 180-degree rotation.
Some mounts, such as the Hawse Fairlead LED Light Bar Bracket, attach to your winch, giving you a central mounting point that you can bolt right on for easy installation.
Quick primer on installation
Now that we’ve looked at a few different kinds of lighting mounts, it’s time to install your first LED pod. Luckily, this will be far easier than installing other kinds of auxiliary lights, some of which require you to replace and rewire your existing headlights.
1. Attach the brackets.
First, attach the brackets to your preferred location on your vehicle. If you’re mounting them on the bumper or pillar, there’s a good chance you won’t have to do any drilling.
For a lower windshield mount, you should be able to attach the bracket directly to the bolts under the hood. You can use an extender bracket to adjust the positioning or to attach multiple LED pods in the same location on your vehicle.
2. Mount the pods.
Next, mount the pods onto their respective brackets. This is the easiest part. It’s simply a matter of screwing them on, positioning them correctly, and tightening the bolts.
3. Connect the wiring.
The wiring is the most complicated step, and depending on your setup, you may have to attach a relay, fuse, wiring harness, and other components, so you can control all of the lights from one or more switches in your dashboard.
Some dashboards have blank switches that you can swap out to easily link your lighting pods to the steering area. If your vehicle doesn’t have that feature, then you may have to drill a hole into the dashboard in order to install an additional switch.
Be sure to do the math to make sure that your lighting pods won’t drain your battery, and always disconnect the battery when doing wiring and other electrical work.
Check out LED pod mounts on the shop!
Choosing the right pod mount for your vehicle may require some research, but once you have your LED pods in hand, mounting them is fairly easy. Check out all of the pods at Inspired Engineering to see which ones are right for your vehicle, and contact us if you have any questions. We’ll help you choose the best pod mount for off-road use.