The most adventurous of drivers would agree that any vehicle you take to your outdoor escapades needs a decent lighting accessory. As pretty as the twilight can be, it wouldn’t be fun getting stuck deep in the mountains as the light fades. Outdoors can be harsh especially if you don’t have the snappiest visibility of what’s ahead. Sure, your factory headlights can come in handy, but to cut the dark in a camping site, even high beams can’t do the trick. The market has got us some aftermarket driving lights that can best work for any outdoor trips. You just need to be wise picking which the best roof rack light that will work for your vehicle and of course, your driving lifestyle.
What are Roof Rack Lights?
Night driving with standard headlights can be stressful. Even with all the street lights in the city, it still doesn’t compare to the driving visibility you have during the daytime. What more if you’re driving at night, in the country?
You don’t want to feel strained in having to peer ahead every time to make sure there aren’t any obstacles to surprise you. They are practically lighting systems that you attach to your vehicle. They can be fastened on any part of the vehicle, but roof racks are where they are ideal to be mounted to. Why? Because attaching them to your roof gives you the largest lighting area.
At the same time, the higher they are, the less likely they get damaged from lower down hazards. No, they won’t match the same lighting conditions you have during the daytime, but it gives you a pretty close feeling.
Best Roof Rack Lights
To add not just safety but peace of mind on your driving adventures, roof rack lights are a must-have. Here are some of the roof rack lights that we studied and thought you might consider.
#1. SABER X Curved Offroad Led Bar – As bright as the day’s light
Founded fairly recently, Saber-X has kept up with a lot of lighting gears brand in the market in such a short time. With their own research and testing facilities, they are sure to have a full grasp of what 4wd-er needs when it comes to lighting their way.
Materials and fabrication: You wouldn’t miss a spot with how bright this light bar can serve you no matter where you are. The whole set is made up of 300W (100pcs x 3W) High-Intensity LEDs, spot flood combo beam that consists of 30° and 60° spot beam, 2 pieces of 18W LEDs, and 1800LM 4-inch pods cube driving fog light, all operating under 12V-24V. Producing that 6000K Cool White illumination. The rack is of high-quality aluminum with black finishing, adjustable stainless-steel mounting brackets plus shatterproof lenses. Worried about the sun and rain? It is IP67, so it is waterproof and can withstand any weather conditions. Its installation is easy with short circuit protection. This makes sure your vehicle and your vehicle’s battery is secured.
- Sturdy mount and easy to install.
- Life span of above 50000 hours.
- IP67 rating making it water, dust, quake, and corrosion-proof.
Fits on: Jeep Wrangler, Suburban, Chevy Silverado, Tahoe Polaris Ranger, Honda, GMC, Ford Explorer F-150 F-250 F-350, and some Farm Tractors.
|Better lighting effect, thanks to the high-density light spread||It isn’t covered by any warranty|
|Harmonic vibration is reduced|
|No moisture build-up behind lens|
Ollie’s Mom, a verified purchaser, installed this on their tractor after putting a canopy. She was very pleased with the adjustable mounting hardware and the well-constructed light. The work lights that it came with was very helpful with her back load too.
#2. Westin Off-Road Driving Lights – Universal Driving Light
For 40 years, Westin Automotive has led aftermarkets companies in terms of quality automotive products that give you the look and function you need to fit your dynamic lifestyle. Their tag line, “When you choose Westin, you roll with style,” surely is true as their products have been proudly designed, tested and engineered at their own facilities in California, USA.
Materials and fabrication: Brilliant light provided by quartz halogen long-lasting bulbs. Westin Off-Road Driving Lights are designed to universally fit almost any light bars or grille guard. Its stainless-steel with black powder coat construction makes it stylish, strong, and durable. Adding to its style is the black grill that covers it with the name Westin overlaying it. This grill doesn’t just decorate the lights, it keeps them from any damage caused by rocks or other objects that could get in the way. The switch that you can install on your dashboard is illuminated so you will know where to find it when you need to add some more lighting to where you are.
- Universal-fit lights give out that custom looks with a top-quality function for off-road vehicles.
- Bolt-on installation.
- Molded grills to keep the lamps from getting damaged.
Fits on: Westin Off-Road Driving Lights has been designed to universally fit almost any light bars or grille guards. Not vehicle specific.
|Long-lasting quartz halogen lamp||Replacing the lights can be challenging|
|Powder finished stainless steel cover||Doesn’t come with its own roof rack|
|Comes with 1 year of warranty|
Ivan S, a verified purchaser, says he had no problems installing the lights even with the minimum instructions it came in with. He thinks these are better looking than the ones he previously had and he’s happy he bought it.
#3. Vision X Lighting 10° Narrow Light Kit – Keep your vision lighted
Founded with a mission to transform the lighting industry, Vision X has been successful with their products’ unmatched quality. They have taken into consideration customer inputs and have tested them with their engineers to come up with what can really work. This method of putting customers’ feedback into ideas truly brought them to their A-game.
Materials and fabrication: Using only a single source of 25-watt LED, Vision X Lighting 10° Narrow Light Kit uses advanced IRIS reflector to create a focused beam pattern that can provide up to 1000-feet of working light. Enclosed in a tough aluminum polycarbonate hybrid with black powder finish for long-term durability at all weather conditions. This kind of cover allows patterns of light distribution such as spot, flood, or elliptical beams. Worried about lens getting scratched? Its impact-resistant polycarbonate lens is coated to leave you at peace with such scenarios. Set it up in single wiring harness with multi-volt 9-32V DC input.
- Narrow 10-degree spot beam that is ideal for high-speed and off-road driving.
- Single 25-watt LED paired with IRIS reflector produces 1002’ of bright light.
- Premium LEDs with 50,000-hour lifespans with electronic thermal management to maximize efficiency with minimal heat.
Fits on: Vision X Lighting 10° Narrow Light Kit has been designed to be easily mounted to any bumper, grille guard, bull bar, or roof. Not vehicle specific.
|Black powder-coated aluminum and polycarbonate||Wiring may be too short for roof or windshield mounting|
|Easy installation||Doesn’t come with its own roof rack|
|Each light can be adjusted to any angle|
|Comes with a limited lifetime warranty|
Devin S, a Jeepney Wrangler owner, loves Vision X Lighting 10° Narrow Light Kit. He is totally amazed at how the amount of light it can produce coming only from a 25W LED is astounding. He also purchased colored lens cover to change the look according to how he likes them. That’s just how easy it can be used.
#4. Optronics Off Road Lights – Better Lighting Value for your money
A lot of OEMs prefer Optronics Lighting system due to their specialization in interior and exterior LED and incandescent lighting for vehicles. Theirs is the product catalog that is the most extensive in the lighting industry. No wonder their Tulsa, Oklahoma headquarters is IATF 16949 certified. The quality in their manufacturing also got them under their belts ISO 9001:2015 certification for their distribution facilities in Muskogee, OK and Goshen, IN.
Materials and fabrication: Optronics Off-Road Lights give you the bright beam you need for your off-road driving. With 2 rows of 20 LEDs, all 40 of them outputs high-quality light that lasts for up to 200,000-hour lifespan. Will it break or shatter if faced with stones or other outdoor elements? Could be. But, would be tough with its sturdy and durable polycarbonate lens that are impact resistant. Its IP65 rating means it is protected against dust and moisture. The housing adds up to its sturdiness considering it is a rustproof black powder-coated die-base aluminum made.
- LED light bar delivers a flood and spot beam ideal for off-road driving.
- 2 rows of 20 LEDs give out that high-quality brightness that can last 200,000 hours.
- Withstands shock and vibration with its surface-mount technology construction.
Fits on: Optronics Off-Road Lights has been designed to be easily mounted to any bumper, grille guard, bull bar, or roof. Not vehicle specific.
|Black powder coated aluminum housing construction||Spot and flood beam can’t be operated separately
|Impact resistant from the polycarbonate lens|
|Comes with a lifetime warranty on LEDs|
Chris says he bought this as back-up light as their stock halogens constantly burn out. The lights have great coverage which he uses to his advantage when in very rough environment like the forest or a transfer station.
#5. KC HiLiTES Pair 9150 Apollo Pro 6″ 100w Spot Beam Light System – Built to last
A family-owned business turned a lighting empire, KC HiLiTES started with KC’s Daylighter in the early 70s. The company since then has studied and researched innovations when they noticed a lot of failures on their products. Their research backed by their testing made them develop in 1990s the HID lighting system. The idea that was based on the same concept used to brighten stadiums and sports complex. All the innovations they came up with are now applied to off-road vehicles.
Materials and fabrication: KC HiLiTES Apollo Pro 6″ 100w Spot Beam Light System gives you that light output with a beam distance of 886 meters through its halogen lights that output 1962LX. The optical glass lens that is computer designed adds up to produce brighter light output with more range and clarity. Specially designed for off-road driving, it features IP67 rated Polymax housing that protects it against the stone and other outdoor elements. Never worry about getting short circuit as the package includes Performance Wiring Harness with 2-Pin weatherproof connectors.
- Replaceable 100-Watt H3 halogen bulb.
- Slim Black Polymax housing with built-in stone guard.
- Features spread, spot, or fog beam Pattern
Fits on: Apollo Pro 6″ 100w Spot Beam Light System has been designed to be easily mounted to any bumper, grille guard, bull bar, or roof. Not vehicle specific.
|Includes relay wiring harness||Poor adjustment of light and can be subject to vibration|
|Stylish light covers||Gasket can help to seal the lights from getting fogged up|
|KC’s 23-year warranty|
Jedi, a verified purchaser, says he is extremely happy with his purchase. The light was very bright and was just as Yellow as most halogen lamps are. The plastic housing, lens, and rock guard don’t just make your vehicle more awesome, but lights are protected well too!
#6. Nilight Led Light Bar – Light in the night
Nilight, a brand under the corporation of ZNDER Inc., made its own name as an American Trademark registered in 2014. Despite it being established rather recently, it has been providing affordable yet high-quality products that work with a long lifespan. This has gained them a million fans around the world patronizing their lights.
Materials and fabrication: Nilight LED bar gives out a LED power of 51W. That is a combination of 17 high-intensity LEDs with 3W each. Its LED color temperature of pure white 6000K – 6500K works with a lifespan of over 30,000 hours. The mixture of flood and spot beams increases its efficiency as it gives a broad view and extensive illuminated distance. Wondering if it can hold up against outdoor elements and harsh weather? Thanks to its conduction silicone gel with aluminum alloy, the lights get the huge help with cooling. The stainless-steel mounting bracket is rust and corrosion-proof too, so no need to cover them against the sun and the rain.
- Durable metallic enclosure that endures harsh outdoor conditions.
- Superior cooling impact helps the lights to last a longer lifespan.
- Package includes mounting brackets to use with your roof racks.
- USA-made with a 2-year warranty.
Fits on: Nilight Led Light Bar has been designed to be easily mounted to any bumper, grille guard, bull bar, or roof. Not vehicle specific.
|Includes 10ft wiring harness, 2 sets of connectors to light fixtures||Those that came in colored housing (red ones) have been reported to fade|
|Effective management of heat dissipation||Poor sealing for some rainy conditions|
Steve H. installed this pair on his Tahoe and concluded they are bright. He also thinks they are tough and has got that clean look too. For 3 pounds each head, they are very light and can barely be noticed to be there.
Our Top Pick: Vision X Off Road Lights
Regardless of where you take your vehicle, lights are important and sometimes you can’t just rely on the factory-installed ones. Either, they aren’t powerful enough or they can strain your eyes as you try hard in seeing the path ahead. These accessories aren’t just for beautification but for performance and safety too.
Vision X Off Road Lights – CTL-CPZ110KIT looks promising with the bright lights coming from LED lights that can last up to 50,000 hours. The electronic thermal management even though weren’t necessary as LED lights don’t heat up that much allows the highest potential output with not much heat. It can be mounted anywhere and will be sure to add that rugged look to your truck. Just note, however, that this costs around $300.
If you need to get a lighting system that won’t break the bank, you may go with KC HiLiTES Pair 9150 Apollo Pro 6″ 100w Spot Beam Light System. For just above $100, you will get super bright lights that are protected by solid and durable housing. The glass fronts and grills protect your lights while giving that sharp look on your vehicle.
No matter what brand you pick, make sure your knowledge in wiring and confidence in drilling are enough to put them up. Even the sturdiest and most efficient roof rack light will fail if installed incorrectly.
Choosing the Best Roof Rack Lights
Whether it’s the darkness of the night you are treading on or the harshest condition of the weather, small light to let you see is better than nothing. But, having the right kind of lighting accessory, can get you a long way. With the advancement of technology, there are so many roof rack lights in the market for you to choose from and it could get overwhelming. With each one telling you, you need it and they can deliver it, how else can you say no? Read on to find out what you really need to consider in picking the best roof rack light.
What is this light intended to be used for? Trail-ride? Off road? Are you a part of the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) team who responds to the search and rescue called on the radio? Are you a hunter? Or maybe you just don’t want to be left in the dark at an extended stay at the beach. There are different lightings accessories in the market that fits every need. Here’s giving you a rundown of each type of light you can use.
- Forward-Looking Lights. Basically, they are just like your factory headlights but give more to illuminate the road ahead. This includes driving, fog, spot, or floodlights.
- Reverse Lights. It has similar functionality but should only be used when backing up.
- Chase and Emergency Lights. Those that have a multi-colored flashing light. Mostly used by the emergency team.
Type of Light Emitting Source
The kind of light source should also be considered in picking the best roof rack lights. These sources may either be too cheap but can work or expensive but can serve you better and longer. The most common are:
- Halogen. They are the cheapest to manufacture and have been the standard lighting equipment for years.
- HID Lights. High-Intensity Diode is the brightest available in the market. Most racers prefer them over others.
- LED Lights. The most efficient compared to halogen and HID. They can come in many shapes and sizes. Maybe cheap or expensive depending on the quality of LED lights used.
Whichever type of lighting you choose to use, it is always better to stick with the popular brands. You don’t want knockoffs to knock-out the fun as you drive, right?
Shape of light housings
This part can make your decision making even more puzzling. There are many shapes from, but you may stick firm by having in mind the kind of vehicle you have and the lighting upgrade it can work with. Some light bars can be custom-fit to most trucks and there are also those that need additional mounting. Roof racks are the best place to put your lighting to. They give you that shining-down-from-above feels just like that when you are working with lighting conditions at home.
While the bulb produces light, its rays point toward a directed path. This process produces a specific pattern, to which the most common are flood and spot beams. Floodlights produce lots of lights that spread out in all direction, they can’t reach that far but is compensated by the radius. Spotlights, on the other hand, are the opposite. They reach far distances, but anything not in the way or outside the line of light isn’t properly illuminated.
As they will be mounted on your roof, they better be good in withstanding the shuddering bumps and startling potholes along the way. Make sure they are sturdy and durable enough to endure any weather conditions and environmental situations.
Aside from these factors, another way to make sure you get the best roof rack lights is by reading reviews given by actual users. After all, the experience is the best teacher. And, the experience of other drivers can best help you with your decision making. This also helps you ensure you are getting your arsenals from only the best sellers.
Roof Rack Lights Installation
With lights placed on the roof of the vehicle coming as the best option in-car lighting gear, it is fitting to discuss how it can be installed on your roof. Most manufacturers include installation guides to help put it up. Each roof rack light is different, so installation could be according to each type. While we are not underestimating your manhood in the DIY department, it wouldn’t be such a shame to get help from an electrician as it involves a lot of wiring and hooking-ups here and there.
Before anything else, please make yourself aware of any laws that may be violated with these accessories. Some states and countries have vehicle standards that define the legal use of such driving lights.
Roof rack lights aren’t just there to add aesthetics to your vehicles. Sure, they look cool if added on, but without them, our driving adventures will lack clear visibility. More than embellishment, they are a thing of safety. They are the greatest methods to guarantee protection in the streets, especially at low light.
Good quality lighting isn’t an accessory but a necessity. We don’t want to be crossing an intersection with no idea what’s on the other side. Even more, hate it when you get stuck in a bushed yard with only your dim factory headlights on. There are a lot of lighting systems available that can be attached to your roof rack.
And, they don’t need to be breaking your bank. For as long as you weigh all the considerations (durability, prize, use), you will get the perfect lighting system that suits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
✅ Which should I get for my truck? HID, LED, or Halogen?
All these types are each of their own. They have their own key benefits and drawbacks. Halogen light bulbs are slowly going out of the market, primarily because LED has taken over. They have become common on high-end cars as well as trucks and SUVs. HID, although has been in the market for quite some time has been surpassed by LED. Its slow lighting up process after turning it on has been its biggest drawback because it could cause hassle if you are in a hurry. The answer really depends on how you use, where you use and what you use them with.
✅ Are wiring harness required?
If the vehicle is not yet equipped with a relay-controlled light, then yes, it is highly recommended. A customized wiring system can do the trick, but there are other benefits a harnessed wiring can offer such as; proper load switching, in-fuse line holder that protects the car’s circuits, direct connectors that match the lighting systems.
✅ What is Lumen? What is the difference between raw and effective lumen?
Lumen is the unit of luminous flux. It is the measure of the total quantity of visible light given by the source. In layman’s term, the brightness of the light produced by the source. Raw lumen is the theoretical value while the effective lumen is the actual measurement of light that considers the power level at which the light sources are given. In the raw lumen, it is calculated by multiplying the theoretical output rate of the LEDs by the number of LEDs in the lamp. In an effective lumen, high-tech photometry measures the output of the light.
✅ Is it legal to put additional lights on my vehicle?
The confusion about the kind of lights allowed to fit on vehicles is due to the terminology used to describe these lamps. Most vehicle owners think that the extra lights they attach to the front of the vehicles are spot lamps even when they’re not. A spot lamp can only be attached to a service car of doctors, emergency responders, or a breakdown vehicle. Generally, if the lamps are a set of fixed lamps and they comply with the headlamp requirements, they should be legal. Otherwise, they are not.
✅ How do I know if the lights I bought are waterproof?
Manufacturers often mark their products with IP ratings. IP (Ingress Protection) Ratings are the electrical equipment protection rate in a given environment. Ideally, these lighting systems should have an IP67 rating to be sure they are still functioning even with all the dust and getting submerged into water up to 3 meters deep. The rugged reinforcement should also stand up against harshest conditions.
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