What Are LED Work Lights?
LED work lights are designed to lighting wherever you are working in your vehicle.
You can use LED work lights nearly anywhere. They are incredibly popular on heavy-duty equipment. The best LED work lights are designed to be easy to install on off-road equipment, tractors, heavy-duty machines, mining equipment, trucks, and more. Voltage for work lights can vary, but it is typically 12 volts or 24 volts when designed for vehicle installation.
Why Choose LED Work Lights?
By choosing LED work lights, you get all the benefits of auxiliary work lights for your vehicles as well as all the advantages of LED. The combination gives you plenty of great reasons to choose LED work lights.
One important reason why companies and individuals choose LED work lights over halogen or other types of bulbs is their efficiency. Just making the switch to LEDs can save you as much as 75% on your electric bills. As a bonus, this also means that you are doing your part to help the planet.
Another way that LED lights to help both your pocketbook and the planet is through their long-lasting use. Typical LED work lights can last 100,000 hours, if not more. This is about four times as long as what you would get from traditional fluorescent lights.
You will not change the light as frequently. That saves you money, as you get more use out of each light. This also helps the planet by reducing the amount of light-related waste that ends up in landfills.
LED work lights not only last longer than other types of work lights, but they also require less maintenance while in use.
Better for the Planet Overall
We already mentioned that LED work lights are good for the planet in that they use less electricity and last longer than other lights. Yet another fact that makes them more eco-friendly than other options is that they don’t have mercury or other dangerous materials, some of which are found in other types of lights. This makes them much easier to dispose of without requiring specialized disposal methods.
When your LED light is finally coming to the end of its life, you don’t have to worry about it suddenly flicking off and leaving you without any illumination. That is because these lights start to dim before they completely die. This gives you enough warning to keep a new light on hand.
Turn on Immediately
Some types of lights, such as metal halide lights, do not start at their full brightness. Instead, they begin much dimmer and need some time to reach the desired light level. By contrast, LED lights turn immediately at their full brightness. This eliminates the need to plan or turn the light on ahead of time.
Many LED lights can work with dimmers, letting you adjust the intensity of the light. Notably, LEDs remain efficient even when dimmed.
No UV Rays
While traditional fluorescent lights emit UV rays, this is not a concern with LED lights. This prevents the risks associated with UV rays, including eye and skin problems.
Most traditional lights tend to get very hot when in use, especially for long periods of time. By contrast, LED lights to stay cool to the touch, even after hours of operation. This prevents the risk of burning yourself if you touch the light while also reducing the risk of your work vehicle overheating.
Compared to other types of lights, LEDs are incredibly durable. This comes from their lack of glass elements and filaments. While minimizing fragility is always important, that is particularly true of a light attached to a vehicle, as you don’t have to worry about knocking or bumping it.
Compared to other types of lights, you will notice that LED work lights are smaller, yet they deliver the same or more illumination. The small size means that not only do they take up less space, but they are also more versatile. As such, you can fit an LED work light in a spot that you may not have space for another type of light.
LEDs emit light in just one direction, something known as directional lighting. As a result, LEDs are particularly useful for work lights as they let you focus the light where you want it. This feature also contributes to their energy efficiency.
One of the advantages of getting LED work lights is that they are straightforward to install. You typically mount them onto the truck, connect the wiring, and are done.
Work lights also stand out with their adjustability. They are designed to be maneuverable so that you can change the angle of the light. This lets you use a single light to focus on the area in front of your vehicle or to the side of it.
Your Choice of Type
On top of all of the other advantages of LED work lights, there are also numerous types and styles available for you to choose from. This makes it possible for everyone to find one that best fits their needs.
How to Choose LED Work Lights?
Now that you know why you should get LED work lights, how do you choose them? Keep the following considerations in mind as you browse your options.
Consider the Planned Use
You should always start your search for an LED work light by thinking about how you plan to use the light. How often do you plan on using the light? What kind of vehicle will you attach it to? Where will you drive that vehicle and use the light? Will you use it in an area that already has another lighting, or will it be the sole light?
Pay close attention to the type of vehicle you plan to install the light on. This is a particularly common application as many workers need auxiliary illumination for their truck, tractor, trailer, or other items wherever it goes. Conveniently, many products are designed to work on nearly any type of work vehicle, including tractors, off-road trucks, regular trucks, mining equipment, and more.
Your answers to all of these questions will come into play with the other considerations on this list.
Find a Size and Shape That Works
Once you know the planned use for your lights, make sure that you select a size and shape of LED work light that can accommodate that. For example, if you are looking for tractor lights, then you have to check your tractor and ensure what size and shape of the lights can be installed.
Remember to Check Voltage
Another part of the lights affected by your planned use is the voltage. Most vehicle-mounted work lights will be 12 volts or 24 volts, and the one you choose depends on the output of your vehicle.
If you need 10 volts to 60 volts or 10 volts to 110 volts, there are also work lights available for these as well. However, most people will not need these types of light.
Decide on Illumination
One of your first decisions will likely be how much illumination you need from the light. You can look at lumens or watts to get an idea. Just keep in mind that LEDs are considerably brighter per watt than traditional lights. The following comparison for various lumen outputs can give you an idea of how many watts you need:
- 450 lumen – 6-13 watts on LED or 40 watts on incandescent
- 800 lumen – 8-15 watts on LED or 60 watts on incandescent
- 1100 lumen – 9-25 watts on LED or 75 watts on incandescent
- 1600 lumen – 16-30 watts on LED or 100 watts on incandescent
- 2600 lumen – 25-28 watts on LED or 150 watts on incandescent
Keep in mind that some lights are adjustable. This is an excellent option if you have two or more levels of illumination that you need at varying times.
Consider the Light Pattern and Type for LED Work Lights
Go back to your planned use and decide what type of light pattern makes the most sense for your needs.
The most common beam patterns for LED work lights include fog beams, flood beams, spot beams, and driving beams.
- Driving beams: Also called spread beams, these are great supplements to the regular high-beam headlights on your vehicle. The difference is that the beams reach a lot further and wider, making it easier to see while driving.
- Flood beams: As the name implies, these lights flood the area with illumination. They do so by producing a light that is wide both horizontally and vertically.
- Fog beams: You mount these lights below your headlights. They create a horizontally wide, vertically narrow light pattern known as a cut-off. That pattern makes it much easier to see while driving in fog, snow, dust, or rain.
- Spot beams: These are also called long-range lights. They can penetrate far into the night. Expect a focused, bright beam of light.
There are also numerous other options in between. The key here is that you shouldn’t need to compromise as there are plenty of styles of lights available, each with a slightly different light pattern.
Think About Mounting
In addition to the type of LED work lights you want, you will also have to think about how you mount the light.
For work lights designed to be mounted onto work trucks, they are usually either installed flush on the bumpers or mounted with U-brackets.
Contemplate Water Resistance and Dust Proofing
Depending on the type of work you are doing, you may also need to consider whether your chosen light is waterproof, water-resistant, and dustproof. You can check all of these by looking for the IP rating. For vehicles, you want a rating of at least IP67, as this ensures waterproofing and durability.
Consider Color Temperature
You will also have to think about the color temperature of the light that you choose to buy. You probably don’t want to choose a color temperature above 6000K, as this will create a cold white light that is nearly blue. That shade can increase eye fatigue. It can also add to worksite glare because of dust and precipitation. You typically want to stay below 6000K, although the color temperature you choose will depend on your preferences. The exception to this is if you want a color that approaches natural daylight, in which case you want to go with about 6500K.
The following can help you chose among the other color temperatures:
- 2700K – This color is similar to what you expect from traditional incandescent lights.
- 3000K – This color is a bit bluer. It is closest to the light from halogen bulbs but with inviting warmth and a hint of yellow.
- 4000K – This color is considered “neutral white,” as you won’t notice yellow or blue in it.
- 5000K – This shade is particularly useful if you need to pay close attention to colors around your work vehicle, such as when moving around textiles or prints.
For automotive work lights, in particular, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- 3000K – This color temperature is ideal for fog lights.
- 5000K – 6500K – These color temperatures are ideal for purposes other than for lights.
You can also remember that choosing a lower color temperature creates a “warmer” feel while higher color temperatures improve the color acuity.
Check the CRI (Color Rendering Index)
The CRI refers to the accuracy with which objects and colors appear underneath the light. The score can be between 0 and 100, with a higher score being better. If color is vital to your work, go with a CRI that is at least 90. If color is not critical, then a CRI of 80 or higher should be enough.
Check the EMC Rating
One unique factor when looking for LED work lights that you don’t necessarily need to consider for other types of lights is the EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) class rating. Opt for a fixture without one of these ratings for the best results. This will minimize downtime, radio interference, and potential machinery issues. If you do choose a light with an EMC rating, make sure it is ECE R10, better to choose CISPR25 Class 4 level.
Think About Controls
Consider if you have a preference for how you turn the work light on and off. This is not a major concern, as you likely just need an on and off switch. Therefore, your focus will likely be how easy the switch is to use.
Confirm Light Quality
You also want to make sure that the LED work light you choose is of high quality. If you get poor-quality light, you may find it hard for your eyes to focus due to shadows or hotspots. Or the light may simply not last as long as you expect it to.
There are several ways to confirm the quality of the light without buying it. You can start by looking at reviews and ratings. Consider both reviews of the light itself and others from the same brand, as most brands are consistently good or bad.
Look for Product Testing
You should also pay attention to what kind of testing the manufacturer puts the product through. The best companies will put the lights through rigorous testing to ensure that they can handle the demanding requirements of a worksite.
Tough Lighting, for example, puts all of its lights through numerous stringent tests. This high level of testing delivers confidence in the light, letting you know that it is unlikely to be damaged by the work environment or accidental bumps.
LED work lights are versatile and efficient and will save you money. If you still need help finding the right LED work lights for your vehicle, Tough Lighting is here to assist you.