LED lights have seen a surge in popularity over the past decade, due to their superior brightness and quality compared to halogen lights, as well as their decreasing cost.
But while it may be tempting to go out and deck out your Jeep in all the latest designs, it’s a good idea to be strategic about it. Not all LED lights are built to the same quality standards, and different types of lights come with different legal considerations.
Here’s everything you need to know about choosing LED lights for the Jeep Wrangler, as well our picks for the 6 best LED lights for the Wrangler this year.
How good is the Jeep Wrangler at off-roading?
Chances are if you own a Jeep Wrangler, then you have plans to go off-roading with it at some point. After all, the Wrangler is the iconic off-road vehicle in America. But what is it that makes it so good at off-road driving?
While every Jeep Wrangler model has its pros and cons, they all have a few features in common, such as 4-wheel-drive and a removable top. Since 2004, new Wranglers have a Trail Rated badge, which means they’ve been subjected to testing in five categories: maneuverability, articulation, ground clearance, traction, and water fording.
This means that you can count on certain key characteristics in all Jeep Wranglers. For example, the water fording standards mean that your vehicle’s underbelly is resistant to water, and you can drive through streams without damaging your circuits.
Likewise, the ground clearance and articulation standards help you navigate debris and other obstacles, from rocks and logs to potholes. In some models, steel bumpers and skid plates protect the frame and undercarriage from damage.
In short, no vehicle is invincible, but the Jeep Wrangler comes pretty close. It can make it through challenging terrain that other vehicles would struggle with, from mountains to deserts. It can also cope with adverse weather conditions like rain and snow.
Lights and accessories for the Jeep Wrangler
In addition to these factory-standard features, you can find a wide range of aftermarket accessories for the Jeep Wrangler, from safety features like LED lights to protective or decorative features such as tail light guards.
Because the Jeep’s built-in headlights come with halogen bulbs (except for some new models, which have LEDs), they’re one of the first things you should replace. Installing aftermarket lights will boost your visibility and help other drivers see you better.
Adding accessories to your Jeep can offer you even more off-roading capabilities, and can also give your Jeep more personality and make it stand out from the crowd.
You aren’t limited to standard street legal accessories, either. If you’re driving off-road, you can use RGB light bars or color-changing underbody lights that can be controlled with a Bluetooth app and flash in sync with your soundtrack.
Some accessories are universal and can be installed on any Wrangler, while others are designed for specific models. If you buy a plug-and-play installation kit, you’ll be able to install your new lights and accessories at home without any difficulty.
Exterior or interior lights
Aftermarket lights for the Jeep Wrangler can be broken down into two main categories: exterior and interior lights. Exterior lights include everything from LED light bars to pod lights, while interior lights include dome lights, dashboard lights, and more.
Most Jeep owners focus on exterior lights because they’re the most visible and because they’re a priority if you want to drive off-road. But interior lights can add some character and functionality to your Jeep too.
For example, LED dome lights have an output that’s several times greater than built-in interior lights, and they provide a cleaner color temperature that looks like daylight. They also use less power and won’t drain your battery if you leave them on. LED dome lights are great if you need to look at a map, repair something, or treat an injury.
Another type of interior light worth considering is an LED light strip. These lights come in a range of different colors and can be installed along your dashboard, floor, or seats, to give your Jeep a vibrant, colorful interior when driving off-road at night.
Finding the right LED light bar
Finding the best auxiliary lighting for your Jeep comes down to knowing what you want to do with that. That will help you narrow down your options and find the right fit.
First, determine how permanent you want the installation to be. A large 52-inch light bar may provide you with a lot of illumination, but it will take up the whole front of the roof or grille of your Jeep. If you’re going to be driving on paved roads, then it may be a pain to cover it up or take it down in order to make your vehicle street-legal.
Choosing a smaller 6-inch light bar or 4-inch pod lights will give you more flexibility, but you’ll need to mount and wire each light separately. The benefit to this approach is that you can install multiple lights in different places to get better coverage.
One other thing to consider is what kind of beam you want your light to have. The most common options are flood and spot beams, although you can also choose combination beams, diffused beams, and even infrared beams.
Knowing what you need before you purchase will help you make an informed decision and choose the right LED light bar for your Jeep.
The 6 best LED Lights for the Jeep Wrangler
No matter what kind of light you have in mind, there’s bound to be a compatible option for your Jeep. Here are our picks for the 6 best LED lights currently available:
6” Light Bar (RIGID Industries)
This 6” Light Bar made by RIGID Industries is perfect if you want one or more small yet powerful light bars to install on the front of your Jeep.
You can choose from either a diffused beam or driving beam, with a polycarbonate lens and aluminum housing for maximum off-road protection. It lasts for up to 50,000 hours of use, and comes with a harness and switch for easy installation.
30” - 50” LED Light Bar (RIGID Industries)
This LED light bar comes with a range of sizes, beams, and price points, making this a great customizable option for a full-size light bar. Choose from 30, 40, or 50 inches, as well as driving, flood, spot, and hyperspot beams, and black or white housing.
While this light bar is on the pricier side, it offers the powerful illumination you need for intensive off-road use, including power sport and marine applications.
It comes with a blacked-out circuit board and two stainless steel, L-shaped brackets so you can get it up and running in no time.
Adapt E-Series 20" LED Light Bar
This 20" LED Light Bar comes in at less than $1000, a great price for a light bar of this caliber. In addition to offering multiple beam patterns (scene, spot, and driving), it can switch between them automatically based on your speed and available power. It uses an internal GPS system to determine your speed, and an Active Power Management system to monitor your electrical input.
This allows you to focus on the driving, while always having the light you need without having to control it manually. You can mount it on the roof of your Jeep using stainless steel mounting brackets, with a hardware kit and wiring harness included.
Prismatic 20" RGB LED Bar
This Prismatic 20" RGB LED Bar is for drivers who want to add a little extra color to their Jeep. You can use it as a standard light bar, or purchase the RGB controls to unlock all of the color changing features, including strobe lights, music syncing, and more.
It has a light output of 10,000 lumens and a color temperature of 6000K, and works with both 12 volt and 24 volt circuits. It has an IP69K waterproof rating and a water resistant connector harness so you can use it in all environments and weather conditions.
Pro Series II 20" Dual Row LED Bar
The Pro Series II 20" Dual Row LED Bar is one of the most affordable on our list, at less than $150 for a 20-inch model. This medium light bar is only 2.5-inches deep to prevent wind noise, and comes with several mounting options for easy installation.
It uses 3-watt OSRAM technology and comes with an optional sPOD ready harness. It also has a rating of IP68 for significant protection against water and dust.
S Series 50" LED bar
This S Series 50" LED bar is another 50-inch light bar at an affordable price point. It has a single row of LEDs with ERS reflectors and projectors for spot and flood beams. Each LED is a 5-watt CREE unit for a total of 250 watts of power.
With a light output of 23,500 lumens, this is a great roof-mounted light bar for off-road driving in pitch black environments.
Other ways to upgrade your Wrangler
Light bars are one of the most effective ways to upgrade your Wrangler, but rock lights, backup lights, and fog lights are worth considering too. And don’t forget to protect your lights with stylish light guards that keep them safe from rocks and debris.
You can browse the categories at Inspired Engineering to find the best accessories for your Wrangler, or sort by make, model, and trim to narrow down your search.
Just give us a call if you have any questions or need a custom lighting setup!