Last Updated on
If you like night rides on your ATV or you’re generally just into upgrading the look of your ride, light bars are a great idea. A strip of LED lights can complement even the most experienced rider.
The majority of people use these for safety while using their ATVs for work. They will illuminate your path as you chug along, great for avoiding hazards. They can be attached to your chassis, most kits include mounting hardware, or it’s even possible to rig them up with zip ties if that’s your thing. If any of you have had the pleasure of hitting a bump in the dark, it can scare the heck out of you.
Honestly, it can be overwhelming trying to find a bar that’s both a good quality and price. There are things that you might be unfamiliar with regarding light. Like warmer colors(easier on the eyes) and the level of illumination.
Lots of LED light bars are getting pumped into the market with low production quality. As the popularity of these lights has gone up recently, finding the right option for your ride can be difficult because it’s pretty easy to just spit out a list of features and under-price the competition. You won’t know that you bought junk until a couple months later.
The only LED Light Bar that I recommend for ATVs is OZ USAs Single Row LED Light Bar 4D. In terms of build quality, price, and options pulled it away from the pack. It’s the best value we’ve found. This model breathes well, holds up to moisture, is made of high-quality materials(aluminum housing) and the lens/diodes will illuminate your path perfectly. It’s a combo beam, which means it’ll flood the area with light but when pointed directly at something you’ll see perfectly for a while.
Rigid ATV Light Bar Mounting Kit
Avoiding the Cheap Crud on Ebay / Amazon
There are a few ways to tell if you’re buying something that’s going to deteriorate within a year or sooner.
- You get what you pay for – we don’t recommend splurging your 401k on some bulbs that massage your back and tell you that you’re pretty, but we do recommend skipping the 0-20 range of bars as a general rule. Lot’s of companies these days are gaming the rating system for their cheap stuff on big sites. If you really are considering something under 20 bucks, see if you can find some forum posts of fellow users talking about how it held up.
- If it’s cheap, so are the diodes. Those little dots that emit light, those are the diodes. When these companies cut costs all the parts are affected. Even the ones that matter the most. If they’re using poor quality diodes then the LED won’t be nearly as bright as one of increased quality is capable of. This extends past diodes as well, the entire circuitry could be in shambles. But, that’s hard for an average user like us to decipher.
- Warranties on cheaper products. I have dealt with this myself, so I can only share my story. Getting the run around from a manufacturer after you are trying to get a return has to be one of the most annoying things that could happen. They proudly list their bullet points featuring a “lifetime warranty” and then ignore you when it goes wrong. That left a sour taste in my mouth.
- Beware of the Polycarbonate. If your LED bar is going to be exposed to sunlight, watch out if the lens is made of polycarbonate and doesn’t mention UV-resistance. It’s a thermoplastic polymer that has an amazing resistance to impact relative to other options, but a poor quality material will turn yellow eventually. You’ll have to replace them if you plan on using it a decent amount of time.
- Private Labelers Flooded this Market. Private labeling is the practice of companies buying the same product from a manufacturer and then putting some logo that they paid 5 dollars for on it. Then it’s theirs! But seriously, for LEDs this happens all the time. There is a sea of people shilling the same product with a very tiny modification and charging way more than it’s worth when you can find another brand at a reasonable price.
- Condensation – LEDs don’t produce a ton of heat, but your light bar will still produce enough to potentially condense water inside the housing if it is poorly built. Lot’s of Chinese brands don’t have thermal regulation, and they need to be properly ventilated to work well.
As a note – we don’t have something against cheap bars, they serve a great purpose. If you want something that you’re not worried about breaking then it totally makes sense, or maybe you don’t use them too often. For us, being on a trail in the dark of Arizona meant we needed something else. I don’t want my light bar to go out and to be attacked by a cactus. Or cactii.. That’s right, we actually have cactii here that will “jump” at you as you brush against it, and dear god they hurt.
What if I want a cheap light bar for my ATV?
We hear you, everyone has a different budget. Sure it will last you a long time and it’s awesome and the best thing ever but you don’t want it? Jokes aside, there are tons of cheaper options on the marketplace. There is even one that caught our eye. It has an aluminum housing and is “mini-option” for your ATV at 12 inches. The Nilight Led Light is a really good deal. Sometimes people have good experiences with cheaper bars as long as they don’t use them heavily.
Types of LED Light Bars
When you’re browsing away for the best LED bar for your vehicle, something may have stuck out at you. There are different shaped lens that house the diodes. These are referred to as 2D, 3D, 4D and even 5D. It’s just a classification of how light reflects through the lens.
By manipulating the path of travel for light, you can have two diodes sitting in different lenses and one will outperform the other. It will provide more “flood” because the light particles are pointed in a wider area by the way they bounce off the housing. It’s a pretty amazing way to manipulate light.
Is more better when it comes to the D’s? Isn’t it annoying when someone says “it depends” and you want a straight answer? Well I’m sorry but yeah, it does depend. A 4D light bar will suit you just fine. As technology improves, so do the abbreviations. A 5D bar will get you more light, if it’s well made.
Whatever you decide on, you will be satisfied you picked up a light bar for your ATV. When I first used one I realized how people felt the first time they got glasses. The world was clearer. I realized how much time I had wasted treading along carefully when the whole time I could have been zooming by with the peace of mind strong illumination brings.
On the counter to that, there is a high amount of crud in the market place for this product. Knowing what brands are knocking out cheap junk is a journey in itself. If you need some tips on how to install a light bar on an ATV, these guys did a pretty good job.
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.