LIGHTEN UP!

THE WHAT'S WHAT OF LED DRIVING LIGHTS AND LIGHTBARS.

Light emitting diodes have been planning a wholesale takeover of the offroad lighting industry for nearly a century, since first springing to life in the laboratory of Soviet inventor Oleg Losev.

While early LEDs could only muster enough power to function as tiny indicator lamps on electronic devices, in recent years the technology has absolutely snowballed.

LED lightbars with a wide ‘throw’ have been a mainstay of the industry for a decade now, but it’s really only in the last few years that all the big manufacturers have been able to distill the LED tech down to deliver powerful, reliable and reasonably cost effective spotlights.

While the pricing of the best quality LED driving lights is still comparatively high when ranked against older tech HIDs and halogens, the market is only driving prices further down. And the key performance indicators don’t lie – this is a technology to get behind.

LEDs are more efficient than old tech driving lights and are now capable of offering up greater illumination in both the horizontal and vertical planes.

They’re a hardier, more durable product that doesn’t require replacement bulbs or maintenance: they also work instantly, without the warm up time that the old tech lights required.

Dive in and take a look at nine of our favourite LED driving lights and lightbars from the most trusted names in the offroad lighting game.

ARB INTENSITY DRIVING LIGHTS

The full package

Engineered in Australia and manufactured in the United States for heavy-duty use in corrugated, wet, muddy and dusty conditions.

Available in two sizes – the AR32 has a 245mm diameter while the smaller AR21 measures 212mm.

Submersible up to 3m underwater and vibration tested to military specs.

Protected by a virtually indestructible polycarbonate lens and die cast body.

Available in both spot and flood beam configurations.

AR21: RRP $578 per light

AR32: RRP $786 per light

www.arb.com.au

ARB INTENSITY LIGHTBARS

When performance is paramount

Engineered in Australia and manufactured in the United States for heavy-duty use in corrugated, wet, muddy and dusty conditions.

Two rows of 20 high-powered LEDs housed in a powder coated, extruded aluminium body.

Low profile design integrates with top tube of bullbar and won’t obstruct driver view.

Tube clamp mounting system sits out of view and delivers incredible stability.

Massive heat sink allows lightbar to operate at maximum efficiency when vehicle is stationary.

RRP $845

www.arb.com.au

LIGHTFORCE GENESIS LED DRIVING LIGHTS

Turn night into day

Designed and manufactured in Australia and backed by Lightforce’s three-year warranty.

Blasts light 1053m at one lux.

Lightweight unit weighs 2.4kg with a slim footprint.

IP68 rated for protection against dust and water damage.

Gutsy die cast housing plus robust fittings ensure the Genesis lights can be operated in trying, corrugated terrain.

RRP $669 per light

www.lightforce.com

NARVA ULTIMA 215 DRIVING LIGHTS

Top shelf solution

Backed by Narva’s impressive five-year warranty.

10,500 lumen power blasts light 900m at one lux.

Superior mounting bracketry suspension system suspends lamp making it impervious to shock and vibration.

A unique and customisable appearance enabling 12 possible colour combinations for individual taste.

Hybrid beam pattern offers excellent light throw and spread.

Built-in ‘Active Thermal Management’
enables lamp to run harder for longer.

RRP $599 per light

www.ultimaled.com.au

BIG RED BR9030 DRIVING LIGHTS

Big Red, big value

30 x 5W CREE LEDs output powerful white light matched to daylight.

Water and dust proof to IP69 rating.

Heavy-duty stainless steel mounting hardware plus indestructible polycarbonate lens.

Integrated shock dampening system protects against wear and tear and allows for use in heavy corrugations.

Backed by three-year warranty.

RRP $495 per light

www.bigredled.com.au

 

RATING LIGHT OUTPUT

When it comes to quantifying the amount of light a lamp or lightbar can output, the most useful terms to wrap your head around are ‘lux’ and ‘lumen’.

LUX is the agreed upon measurement of luminescence.

This means the amount of light that hits a one square metre surface that is one metre away from a light source emmiting one candela of light. The higher the lux, the brighter that light at that distance. As such, lux is the most useful measurement for determining how much brightness is thrown how far by a light source.

LUMEN or ‘raw lumen’ is a bit of a tricky term that refers to the theoretical brightness that a light could produce under perfect conditions.

This number is often greater than real output, due to manufacturing, electrical and environmental factors. As such, the lux rating of a light is the more useful number for consumers.

 

BUSHRANGER NIGHTHAWK DRIVING LIGHTS

Knockout value

Packs a serious punch with 16 German OSRAM LEDs per light.

Water and dust proof to IP68 standard.

Beefy die cast aluminum body and polycarbonate lens.

Vibration tested in Australia for heavy-duty use in corrugated terrain.

Supplied with stainless steel mounting brackets and fasteners.

Backed by three-year warranty.

RRP $320 per light

www.bushranger.com.au

BUSHRANGER NIGHTHAWK LIGHTBARS

Banish the night

Available in an impressive range of ten sizes from 5.5” up to a massive 51”.

High output German OSRAM LEDs that never need replacing.

Maximum adjustability with 200 degrees of rotation.

Stylish slimline design and lightweight build.

Impact resistant polycarbonate lens and protective cover.

Backed by Bushranger’s three-year warranty.

Contact your nearest Bushranger outlet for pricing info.

www.bushranger.com.au

 

LIFESPAN

One of the major bonuses offered by the LED lighting revolution is their increased lifespan over traditional bulbs.

A lot of driving light brands advertise that their lights have a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

This number is actually provided by the manufacturers of the diodes themselves and guarantees that the LED will still be able to output at least 70% of their originally advertised lumen after the 50,000 hours of active use.

This equates to years of fulltime use, and in the real world means that the diodes never need replacing as they’ll outlast the lamp they’re fitted in, and in some cases the vehicles they’re installed on.

 

ULTRA VISION NITRO 140 MAXX DRIVING LIGHTS

Maximum grunt

 Made in Australia and backed by Ultra Vision’s five-year warranty.

Available in combo and wide beam lenses.

 9,300 effective lumen output throws light 1.2km at one lux.

IP68 rating against water and dust ingress.

Die cast alloy housing, polycarbonate lens plus sturdy

4mm steel mounting brackets.

 Harness plus anti-theft nuts included.

RRP $695 per light

www.ultra-vision.com.au

 

ULTRA VISION NITRO 80 MAXX DRIVING LIGHTS

Lightweight, super high performance

 Made in Australia and backed by Ultra Vision’s five-year warranty.

Comes with stainless steel brackets and fixings.

IP68 rating against water and dust ingress.

Tighter 180mm diameter lens plus lightweight 2.25kg body.

Die cast alloy housing, polycarbonate lens plus sturdy 4mm steel mounting brackets.

Harness plus anti-theft nuts included.

RRP $565 per light

www.ultra-vision.com.au

 

FOR THOSE WHO CAME IN LATE…

So, what is the difference between Halogen, HIDs and LEDs?

Halogen: Similar to factory bulbs, halogen lights tend to run very hot and have a much higher rate of bulb blowouts, which requires keeping spares handy if you’re spending any amount of time in the bush. The wire filament in these bulbs can also be susceptible to damage from the vibrations of serious offroading. They are the cheapest of the options.

HID: Short for High Intensity Discharge. In general, HIDs are ‘whiter’ than halogen globes, yet they use less wattage and don’t have the overheating issues faced by wire bulbs. Although, like household fluros, they can take a minute to reach maximum light strength. While they are more expensive than halogen lamps, the bulbs can last up to eight times longer.

LED: Technology caused by electroluminescence – where an electric current rushes through a diode and releases energy in the form of light photons. LED lights retain
similar intensity to HID, yet are much more spread out. Unlike HIDs, there’s no warm-up time. No filament or gas also means they’re impervious to vibration damage. They can be an expensive outlay, although this has been decreasing in recent times, and there are no real maintenance costs. In general, LED bars also throw the most spread of light.