Customizing cars is something that I personally love to do, and what better way to do it than with some awesome LED light bars? I recently bought a truck and I have been trying to figure how I wanted to make it stand out from other drivers on the road. After searching all over the place for ideas, I decided to look into the best LED tailgate light bar I could get get..
LEDGlow 60 Inch
1-year limted warranty
60” Waterproof Red/White Tailgate LED Strip Light Bar
30 - Day Amazon Return
Rampage 60” APC
Recon Xtreme 26416X 60”
90 day warranty
If this is your first time installing a LED light bar on your vehicle, then you should probably know how exactly they work. They work by creating light by electroluminescence, which is basically a phenomenon that happens when an electric current or electric field is passed through a material emitting light.
Phosphors are then used to help filter the LED output light, which create a stronger light. Have you ever noticed that in the past, LED displays were best when viewed from an angle? Well, as the years passed, engineers created this harsher light so that the LED’s were strong from all angles.
LED’s aren’t known for being overly bright so why use them at all? Let me break this down for you and tell you why they are the better choice.
Traditional light bulbs only turn around 3% of the electricity it needs to function and the remaining 97% of energy is wasted on essentially useless radiant heat. LED’s, on the other hand, convert 90% of the energy into visible light and only 10% of the remaining energy is wasted. There is definitely a huge difference in between the waste used between the two.
Is it me, or do traditional light bulbs seem to burn out way too often? This is why I like LED’s. They have a ridiculously long lifespan. The reason for this is because of a semiconductor that works in unison with the electroluminescence that I was talking about earlier.
An LED lives safely inside of a sealed system that doesn’t need any kind of special gas mediums or filaments. A traditional bulb uses all of these things and burn up quicker. I drive past people who have lighted bars on their trucks that use traditional bulbs and they are usually missing a light because it blew and they don’t even know it.
It’s not very easy to find colored lightbulbs, which is why LED’s are the better option for tailgate light bars. If you don’t want that plain ol’ red light option, you can go with white, pink, green, blue, orange, or a combination. Although certain combinations may seem like a good idea, such as red, white, and blue if you are going for that patriotic look, it may not be ideal, or legal for that matter.
You should always check with your state laws about the legality of your lighted bars. Some states may allow some colors while others, on the other hand, do not.
Nope, there isn’t just one type of LED light bar for a tailgate, here are some of the other types to consider.
LED Tailgate caps are the type that attach right to the top of your tailgate instead of under. They are much easier to see and stand out a lot more. I have seen these on some of my buddies’ trucks and they look pretty sweet. These are most commonly found on Chevy Silverados’ or GMC Sierra’s because of the way the tailgates are made.
How to Install Anzo LED Tailgate Cap
The wires for these attach right to your factory lights, allowing them to blink and light up with your brake lights and turn signals. These increase your visibility and safety while you are on dark roads.
These are the more traditional ones. They wire into your lights and attack under your tailgate. These stretch to the full length of your tailgate and work with your brake lights and turn signals. These are widely available for most trucks on the market.
The mini LED bars are usually mounted in the center of the bottom portion of your tailgate, just above the license plate. These are more affordable than full LED bar’s but they can’t be seen as well as full ones. Although, they do still work with your running lights, turn signals, brakes, and reverse lights.
They can also come in multiple packs or bought separately. I have seen these on some trucks on the highways. They usually have 3 bars on the bottom of the tailgate that are broken up by a few inches.
Alright, who is the mastermind behind the light that makes these totally rad light bar’s possible? His name is Nick Holonyak, an engineer for General Electric back in 1963. He spent many years tinkering around with his hand-made semiconducting alloys and in 1962, he got his break, his first light.
From then on, LED’s continued to grow and is used in a wide variety of electronics, such as the light bars we use on our vehicles. He was able to claim many top prizes for his LED work such as the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Lemelson-MT Prize, and he gained a membership to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
If you are still unsure as to what you want to put on your truck, check out these LED tailgate light bar reviews.
The Redline LED tailgate light bar offers superior lighting with its 72 triple-core Alpha LED’s. These are some of the most durable and bright lights around. This bar is made with a top quality frame that’s rust resistant and is filled with IP67 silicone that’s watertight. I love this feature because I like to go off-roading in the muddy woods. I won’t have to worry about mine rusting or getting damaged.
The installation of this bar is simple. It has an easy “no drill” mounting system and it can be placed on any truck tailgate that has at least 48” of clearance with the included adhesive enhancer. The bar then connects right to your 4-pin tow connector that’s OEM standard or can be hard wire. This also works with backup cameras that now come standard with all new vehicles.
This lightbar is also ideal for those who travel frequently, especially in high traffic areas. Since these lights shine 35% brighter than the standard LED, other drivers will see your lights easier, even in the thickest traffic.
This tailgate light bar has 60 ultra-bright red LED’s and 22 white LED’s that are equally bright. Included with it you will get running, brake, hazard, reverse, and turn signal lights. I have seen many trucks that have one solid blinking light when they use their turn signals, which looks terrible and is essentially useless. So the fact that it has those functions is pretty great.
I have to tell you, if you want the full reverse function to work properly, this is achieved by splicing the wire into your truck’s existing reverse light power wire. If your truck does not have the standard flat 4 pin connection, you can just splice the signal wires to the wire harness which is included in the package. This makes your connection hard-wired.
The rest of the installation for this bar is quite simple. You can use the included 3M tape and self-tapping screws to secure the 60” long light. These light bars fit more full size trucks, but it is best to take a measurement before buying.
Here we have a 60” light bar that works for Ford, GMC, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Dodge, and Chevy. Quite the universal product we have here. It is also completely compatible with most cars, SUV’s, RV’s, vans, and trailers.
The light bar has two different colors-red for tail lights, turn signals, and brakes, and white for reverse. Although there are provided instructions, this company recommends that a professional installs it on your vehicle.
A feature that I think is pretty great is the waterproofing. I know a few people who have had light bars for their vehicles and once moisture got inside of the tubing, the LED’s stopped working. You won’t have to worry about that with this light assembly.
The Rampage 960136 60 inch tailgate light bar comes with two options-standard or with reverse features for your midsize truck. Honestly, I would choose the reverse feature. It’s easier for people to see you when you are backing up as opposed to those dinky reverse lights that come standard on your vehicle.
The long lasting bulbs will never need to be replace and they are extra bright for better visibility and added safety while you are on the road. Both styles-standard or with reverse-are waterproof. As you have heard before, even the smallest amount of moisture that reaches some of these light bars, make them not work anymore.
The plug n play feature is one of my favorites. Since I am a novice, I don’t think that I would be able to install the light bar if it needed to be hard wired. The plug n play feature allows you to hook up the wires directly into your 4-prong trailer light connector. If you choose to do so, it can be hard wired as well if you do not have that hook-up.
If you’re looking for a top rated LED tailgate light bar to make your ride stand out from the others, this could be it. The Recon has scanning amber turn signals, red running, hazard, and brake lights, and white reverse lights. I was unable to find out if it was waterproof, but if installed right and sealed tight, water and moisture should not be able to get in.
The plug and play feature is easy and will get your tailgate bar up and running in a matter of minutes. If you want to take the extra time to ensure everything is going to work the way it should, you can also choose to hardwire it into virtually any car, pickup truck, or SUV, as long as the measurements are correct.
This LED tailgate light bar is SAE and DOT approved for use, the only one to have these certifications on the list as far as I can tell. This would definitely make me feel better about using them since some of the lights found on vehicles are not street legal. The only colored lights I want to see in my rearview mirror are the ones from my buddies truck, not the five-o.
Out of the five products above, all of which have pretty even scores in my book, I would have to say the 48” Redline LED Tailgate Light Bar takes the cake. My reasoning for this is because it is right in the middle of the price range for the other ones, which means it’s not too cheap and not too wallet emptying. It is also the only one on the list that can work up to -10 degrees and is ideal for off roading, which is something that I personally enjoy.
With the ultra bright lights that will last longer than traditional bulbs, they will be easier to see, last longer, and will be the talk of the highway. This LED tailgate light bar is sure to be an awesome addition to your truck.
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