Building and maintaining a wooden home and surrounding grounds takes hard work. Those long hours are incredibly rewarding when all’s said and done, even when those tasks require more time than daylight provides. When it comes to heavy lifting, long off-road treks, or construction projects that take you away from convenient outlets, you need your side-by-side or UTV to be able to pull its weight, even when the sun is sleeping. If you find yourself in this situation frequently, it might be time to get yourself a lightbar.
What is a lightbar?
A lightbar is a row of LEDs that mount to the roof of your vehicle and provide on the spot illumination for badly-lit or low-light areas. A lightbar should be able to handle the same punishment your vehicle can handle, so you want both appropriate power and ruggedized construction.
Why a lightbar?
You might already have a floodlight, but a lightbar serves a much different purpose. While a floodlight can help light up a distant building, animal, or hazard, a lightbar provides a shorter but wider area of light, greatly illuminating the landscape immediately present. This can help avoid hazards a spotlight may not reliably catch, especially when off-roading through a field or driving unfamiliar terrain.
When you’ve got work to do, you want to get it done, efficiently and with quality effort. There’s no need to mess around with aiming a floodlight, wrangling around full-sized area lighting, or struggling along with subpar flashlights, or worse, blind yourself with headlights. A lightbar can shine light down on your construction project and give you the illumination you need to work.
What do I Need to Know?
Lightbars will have IP (or ingress protection) rating that give a general idea of how punishment they can handle. An IP rating consists of a two digit number: the first is its resistance to intrusion by dust and particulate matter, the second is its moisture resistance. For example, an IP67 rating means that the device is completely dust-tight and can survive temporary immersion in water. IP67 is going to be pretty standard for a good quality lightbar.
You also need to consider your mounting strategy. Deciding where you mount the lightbar on your vehicle will be just as important as how, depending on the lightbar’s mounts and available options. Duct tape might hold the universe together, but you’ll want something even more reliable for what you’re doing.
Last but not least, amperage draw can make or break your decision. Amperage draw is how much power the lightbar pulls from your vehicle. If your vehicle is running, there’s likely not much concern. If you’re using the lightbar to illuminate a workarea or plan to turn off the vehicle for whatever reason, a high-amp draw will drain your battery. A low-amp drain lightbar will be more beneficial in the long run, especially if you want to be prepared for whatever life has to throw at you.
With all this in mind, check out Lightbar Liaison, a site that has done the legwork to review and rate five of the best lightbars available today, making it easier to research exactly what will fit your needs.