Those of us who love nothing more than off road driving have likely encountered the struggle inherent with driving at night. The tracks we love are surrounded by darkness after hours, and that's one reason why LED light bars are one of the most popular vehicle modifications.
There are countless companies who manufacturer LED light bars and deciding which one to purchase from is no easy task. Let me give you an insider's tip: most manufacturers ensure quality in their products by fitting with Cree LEDs, a brand commonly considered to be amongst the best LED manufacturers in the industry with a position at the top of the market.
I would say that given the sheer amount of LED light bar brands, it's a wise move to choose a product that is fitted with Cree bulbs. That's why I've done my own Cree LED light bar reviews to help to find the best product.
TMH® Cree 20
Shanren Cree 50
Auxbeam Cree 12
MicTuning 22 Cree
Cree is widely considered to be a producer of the most dependable LEDs, their main competitor being Epistar. I'm not really in a position to say who's best – it's mostly subjective and the science behind LEDs is a very different discussion – but I would certainly vouch for the high quality you can expect with regards to their bulbs.
Needless to say, there's more to consider when buying a light bar than just the bulbs (I'll touch on those aspects briefly a bit later), but high-quality and durable lights are a major factor that should influence which light bar to buy.
This company was founded way back in the 80s, 1987 to be exact, and they soon brought the first blue LED to life in 1989. Sticking with the blue theme, they introduced a brighter version in 1993 before launching a nitride-based blue LED in 1995.
If you're lost already, blue light refers to the color you'll visibly see with a minimum color temperature of 6000K. To put it simply, it's supposed to be more powerful regarding illuminative capabilities than the daytime light provided by the sun. Indeed, pretty brilliant stuff.
Since then, to cut a long story short, Cree have been pioneers in reducing the energy consumption required for super bright lights and have entered into the commercial market outsourcing its LEDs to a variety of light manufacturers amongst companies from other industries.
Nowadays, this company is a market-leader in its field with Epistar being its main competitor. It's not just light bars where you'll find this company's LEDs; it's also found in laptops, mobile phones, and various other products. I'm not in a position to explain the technicalities behind exactly how these lights work, but I can say you'll be spending your money wisely by purchasing a product fitted with Cree's bulbs.
When you haven't tried a company's products for yourself, awards are a good way of determining what kind of authority said company has on the market. Cree has proved itself a genuinely innovative manufacturer in the eyes of the industry through various awards.
One of the most impressive awards this company has won recently was being ranked number one on Fast Company Magazine’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Energy list. That should give you a decent idea of how well Cree does at ensuring energy efficiency with its bulbs (perfect for your vehicle's battery).
Also, the company also ranked in the same magazine's Top 50 Most Innovative Companies Worldwide list. With both of those awards given in the same year – 2015 – you should now be gauging just how highly the quality of their products is perceived by those who have a vested interest in the industry.
Going back just a little further, Cree won the 2014 Lighting for Tomorrow Award for Solid State Lighting Design at the American Lighting Association Annual Conference. The details are a little overwhelming to digest, but Cree managed to impress those in charge of awarding by minimizing the power output needed to make its bulbs shine brightly on one of its latest innovations.
Before I dive straight into my reviews and revealing what I think is the best Cree LED light bar, I’m going to share some quick but vital tips to help you decide which product is perfect for you. Each product on my list is top rated, but there are differences in use that could affect your purchase decision.
Light bars are a popular modification mainly for offroad vehicles. If you're looking to modify a small ATV, you might want to look for a compact unit that can fit anywhere with ease. Alternatively, if it's a huge 4x4 you're looking to modify, you might want to consider the 50-inch side of things for maximum illumination.
Regardless of what vehicle you have, off-roading is synonymous with harsh terrain and as such, you'll need to look for the features a product offers in the way of durability. My advice is to go for something that has an IP67 rating, as that means it’s been tested for its rugged waterproof, dustproof and shockproof abilities.
Off-road vehicles aren’t just used for tackling adventure trails, they’re used for illuminating construction sites at night and can also function as a spot beam. I would say the best multi-purpose products are those that feature a combo of both flood and spot angles.
By now, you’re probably well aware of the fact that Cree are a dependable company. They’ve been in the business for years, and their market-leading position coupled with recent prestigious awards helps prove its products are of high quality. Here’s a list of my five favorite Cree LED Light Bar reviews to help you decide which is the most appropriate for you.
One of TMH’s top rated light bars is its 20-inch combo beam unit, ideal for attaching to almost any vehicle including off-road, emergency service and construction vehicles. As the name of the product suggests, it has a length of 20 inches, and I think that's an adequate size for use with an ATV.
It provides great resistance to corrosion with its Cree LEDs nestled in full aluminum housing, and its IP67 rating shows it's resistant to shocks, its components are protected against dust and is waterproof up to one meter.
It shines a bright bluish color at a color temperature of 6000K and kicks out 2060lm of light. With a total of 32 LEDs and both flood and spot beams, I'd say this is a good product for the price.
This light bar has a total length of 50 inches making it perfect for providing the maximum illumination required to make construction work easy. In addition, it features a curved design to ensure a broad viewing area. If you're driving a UTV or 4x4, you won't miss any track hazards with the product.
It features a combo beam of both flood and spot angles, 30 and 60 degrees respectively, and kicks out a total of 1,260 lumen, which is significantly less than the previously reviewed product by TMH.
It boasts an IP67 rating making it impervious to dust, shocks and water up to one meter, and claims that it’s easy to install which could prove useful if this will be your first vehicle modification experience.
I've chosen this product to review next because it's a quality unit with a size almost directly in the middle of the previous two products with a total of 32 inches in length. It's fitted with a total of 40 high-intensity Cree LEDs that kick out a total luminosity of 12,000lm – extremely impressive, one must admit.
It’s proved its worth when it comes to durability with its IP67 rating, shines a color temperature of 6000K, aka pure white (though you’ll likely see a hint of blue) and features the combination of both flood and spot beams.
This is considerably more expensive than the previous two products on my list, but what illumination powers it possesses arguably make it well worth its price.
I don’t think my review list can be truly complete without looking at a product on the smallest end of the scale, and that’s why I’ve chosen to feature this best-selling item which has a total length of just 12 inches. Sure, that might seem like a baby compared to other products, but it might be perfect for off-road vehicle drivers who simply want to provide extra illumination on a dark road.
It's also superbly lightweight at just 1.8lbs, making it ideal if you want to use it on a variety of different vehicles, and it kicks out a very impressive 5,040lm for its small size. It boasts a very durable IP67 rating, works in temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius, and shines a dazzling color temperature of 6000K.
I'll end with a product that returns to a size which I think is suitable for any vehicle with a length of 22 inches (and I wouldn't recommend going much bigger than this for an ATV). It's also another product that features a curved design to maximize its viewing area.
What I think is super impressive about this product is its long lifespan of 50,000 hours compared to the average of 30,000 (such as the products featured in my reviews) as well as the fact that it comes with a free 12ft wiring harness. That means it's easy to install almost anywhere on almost any vehicle.
Its 40 Cree LEDs are protected by full aluminum housing and it shines a color temperature of 6000K. Honestly, I think this is an all-around fantastic product for such an affordable price.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know I don’t make a habit of saving the best for last, but I can’t see a reason why the Chinese made Mictuning 22 inch LED Light Bar wouldn’t be the clear winner.
It boasts excellent luminosity as well as curved design to maximize its broad viewing area, and it has a larger warranty and lifespan compared to any of the other top rated products on my review list. Plus, it's compact size and 12-foot wiring system makes it adept for almost any vehicle.
Last but not least, its price is – in my opinion – about as good value as you’re going to find. It’s certainly a wise purchase that’ll allow you to see everything on the road or trail ahead.
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