Product Review : 20" L.E.D. Auxiliary Light Bar

offroadledbars.com

History/Introduction

A 20 inch LED light bar from offroadledbars.com mounted to a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with a Gorilla Light Bar and Skid Plate. I'm one of those guys who HAS to have something that makes my car or truck different from everyone else's because I feel the vehicle you choose to drive is an extension of your personality and expression of your individuality. Having said that, the easiest modification you can make to any vehicle is adding auxiliary lighting. As the technology in that area of aftermarket auto parts and accessories continues to improve, new products are coming out all the time. One, in particular, that I've been eye-balling is the L.E.D. lighting technology. However, I'm not here to give a lesson on what that is, you can search the web to learn more. I'm here to tell you that since receiving one in the mail last week, I'm absolutely thrilled to be writing a review on one.

First Impression

"Huh-Hooo WOW!" was probably what came out of my mouth when I opened the box - I might have to start filming my reactions. I was surprised because I was expecting two things; a plastic housing and a light-weight unit. Instead the light bar was incased in die-cast aluminum and weighed 9 lbs. Granted, this is the 20" model but because I was expecting a plastic casing I was also expecting it to be fairly light. Mind you, I haven't handled this product before and all other auxiliary lighting I've ever had and/or installed was plastic so it was a pleasant surprise to hold something that didn't feel like it would explode if dropped.

I was very much impressed with this product, to say the very least.

Critique

There is so much to like about this product but a little to not like For those who are looking for an awesome source of light for low-speed (less than 35 mph) off-road use this bar will not disaapoint you at all.

Good

I really like the rugged build quality of this light. It really feels like it can take a beating. As I inspected the light more, I realized the aluminum was chosen to conduct heat away from the lighting elements. It's just a bonus that it ends up being one sturdy housing for the lighting elements. I also liked the quick release power connector and the ring terminal connectors already crimped on at the ends of the wires. Both make it easy to instantly visualize how everything gets hooked up.

On that note, once power is fed to this beast it lights up the night like you wouldn't believe. In the days following the installation, I probably showed the light to almost 10 people and every single one of them had that "wholly-cow" look on their face shortly followed by a drawn out "wow". Yeah, it's that bright.

This bar is sturdy, strong, easy to install, and bright as can be. It also uses tempered glass, which means there won't be any yellowing, the lens will stay clear as the day you bought it.

Bad

This light is advertised as a spot light and fog light combination unit. I'm not sure if other people will share this interpretation, but I figured the light arrays would be controlled individually. But, the switch that came with the light is only an on/off switch. Upon my initial examination, I do not see an easy way to incorporate another switch without doing some DIY surgery/wiring - something I'm not quite ready to do right with this item right now.

If you're in the woods or in a field doing any moderate to heavy/extreme off-road driving or crawling this isn't going to be that big of an issue. The amount of light, as I've said, is intense and it does put the light everywhere. But, that is also somewhat of a draw back since the light doesn't seem to be aimed. So, for a rally driver (stage or rally-cross) who needs light to be focused in front and down the road as well as near the car at either side, a single bar isn't going to be the best solution. Having said that, two 12" light bars angled to either side of a rally car would definitely be great corner lights. And, maybe a light bar that is not a combo, just a spot light, would work for straight ahead distant lighting. But as the combination bar sits, the inability to choose which array of light (fog, spot, both) is turned on limits the usefulness of the light.

In addition to those two issues, there aren't any installation instructions. Even though it is a fairly straight process, the novice "wrencher" might be slowed down a little. Good thing help on something like this is just an internet search away.

Ugly

As much as I can appreciate and even be in awe at the amount of light produced by this LED light bar, there doesn't seem to be a pattern at all to the output. The lack of focus or concentrated light makes me wonder if it is called a "combo" because the light is just thrown out in every direction. I think there is something to say about a light pattern you can see. I have traditional halogen fogs and spots and with each I can see the light output and therefore I know where and how far it penetrates. This light puts so much light out, it's hard to tell just how penetrating it is. If there isn't depth to the light, things can get ugly if you can't tell what's coming at 50 to 80 mph in the dark of night.

Moving Forward

Being in constant contact with the distributor, I have learned there is a spot light only version of the light available - so I am working to get this unit replaced with one so I can evaluate that unit. I have also learned that further advancements in the lighting technology will allow 7 watt bulbs to be available very soon - these are 3 watts. This will also allow the unit to be a single row of lighting elements, rather than two. That has the possibility of being one wicked auxiliary lighting option for any vehicle, on or off road. I was also told they are working on a 10 watt bulb configuration too. That is something I'm very much interested in seeing as well.

Grade

B+



Related Links

YouTube - Light Demonstration
offroadledbars.com
Gorilla Offroad Company
Subaru North America
GoPro