Shopping for the best LED Light bar or Driving Lights is a lot like shopping for a car, in that different customers have different lifestyles and therefore different requirements. Each one of our driving lights form different beam shapes, so the best light bar really does come down to the best light bar for the given application.
In our buyer’s guide, you will find night shots we have spent a lot of time and effort in producing and ensuring are as accurate as possible. The night shots are there to help you get the best possible characterization of the overall beam shapes, and brightness levels of the different lights within our range.
As always if you still have any questions, feel free to give us a call on 03 9369 8845 or visit our showroom located at 1/12 Hammer Court Hoppers Crossing VIC 3029.
STEDI ST4K SERIES LED LIGHT BAR | DOUBLE ROW
STEDI ST-3300 SERIES | SINGLE ROW 10W CREE LED LIGHT BARS
Our ST3300 range has one the most usable beam shapes of the entire range, and one of our top picks for buyers that place an equal importance on both the wide and spot bea.
What makes this bar so capable is the 10 Watt CREEXML-2 LEDs sitting inside 35mm parabolic reflectors, which come together to produce great penetration, whilst still retaining quite a large diameter spot beam. The flood beam angle is 45°, and as can be seen in the above images the flood transition very well with the spot beam, creating a very smooth wall of light. The ST3300 are slightly warmer in colour temperature at 5500K.
Customers that don’t have any pre-existing spot lights, and prefer a single light solution that will meet as many of their driving needs as possible, should not look passed our ST-3300 Series single row lights bars. Size available 80 Watt, 120 watt, 160 watt, 200 watt.
The ST3300 range come with adjustable lower mounting brackets allowing you to mount to pre-existing mounting holes.
STEDI ST4000 SERIES LIGHT BARS | DOUBLE ROW CREE
Our new ST4000 Black Edition rips apart the old statement that 10W LEDs are superior to 3W. The CREE emitters in our ST4000 range have the highes efficiency per 1 Watt of input power of our entire range. This series of LED Light bar will output a 50° flood beam, whilst still maintaining excellent long range spot beam (8.9°). Like our ST3300, the ST4000 is also an excellent stand-alone driving light, we often refer to this light bar as the jack of all trades as it strike a really nice balance between spot and flood. The ST4000 is an excellent choice for those wanting a little bit of everything at an unbeatable price. The peak beam distance is very comparable to our ST3300 range, however th ST3300 has a marginally wide spot diameter, whilst the ST4000 has slightly longer beam throw.
STEDI ST3K SERIES | LOW PROFILE SLIM LED LIGHT BAR
STEDI ST2K | SUPER-DRIVE LIGHT BARS
Unlike any other driving light on the market, our ST2K series is designed for those needing excellent mid to long range light distribution. It is important to note that the ST2K only starts to become effective at 150 to 200m, and will require a minimum of 100m of clear to form its beam. For this reason, we do not recommend the ST2K for dense bush & forest tracks. Due to its unique rear facing LED with hooded reflectors the ST2K will produce very little light in the nearfield, but will produce a huge amount of coverage in the critical 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock region. Excellent for high speed applications, or application that warrant long braking distances. Often compared with our ST4K, the 2K & 3K are almost opposites in light distribution, but at the same time they go about achieving the same thing in a different way, picking between these two ultimately depends on the customer’s application.
STEDI ST3302 SERIES | DOUBLE ROW 10W CREE LED
The ST3302 uses 2 Row of the same 10W CREE XML-2 LED found in our ST3300 range, albeit in behind a different optical module. Many would describe the ST3302 as overkill, and generally recommended for scenarios requiring a very high level of brightness. The wide beam optics scatter light at a 130° angle, and as shown in the above images there virtually is no dead spots on the immediate left and right of the vehicle. The wide beam blends very smoothly with the spot which is on the wider side at 19°. The ST3302 throws a huge wall of uninterrupted light which is relatively free of any significant hot spots. Our advice is the same anybody that inquires about this light bar, if you're comfortable at this price point, buy it, we guarantee it will not disappoint
Lumens, Lux & Watts. What does it all mean?
LED Light Bars and Lumens
Lumens (lm) are considered to be the measure of the total amount of light visible from a beam.
How many lumens? If only we had a penny for every time we were asked this question. Certainly the lumen rating plays a part in determining the brightness of the light, but should never be the single deciding factor when choosing which LED light bar you should purchase. The reason we say this is, the ANSI standard for measuring lumens is in an integrated sphere, in other words the lumen output is measured at close proximity to the light source.
In off-road driving light terms, lumen output is not the best indicator of the performance of any particular LED light bar or driving light, given we are more concerned about our driving lights performance at 20 to 300m. As an example you could have two light bars side by side with equal lumen ratings, but different reflector or lens configurations with hugely varying light output at say 150m. In short the delivered light (lux) is the more appropriate rating. Two different lights bar both with 10,000 Lumens can have very different lux reading at 100m. We have seen Lux measurement of similar spec bars vary by 50% or more at a mere 10m, despite having identical on paper Lumen output. If we remove all of the optics or reflectors from any given light bar, the delivered lumens count doesn't change (in fact it is likely to go up), but needless to say the beam performance is effected drastically.
Aside from the fact that most Lumen numbers we encounter are totally fictitious, there are many other important metrics that should be considered.
MORE WATTS = MORE LIGHT, RIGHT? WRONG.
Have you ever wondered why the cheapest LED driving lights seem to have the highest “Watts”, and the premium gear produced by the most respected manufacturers have far less in comparison? The eBay market in particular is guilty of attaching some seriously high "Watts" to their listings. The most flagrant we've encountered to date is a 12inch light bar being market as 300W! We've had the privilege of testing one of these eBay specials and found that the LEDs which were marketed to be 7W each were in fact 1.5W LEDs.
In brief terms, Watts is a of measure the amount of energy consumed by any given luminaries. Thanks to older incandescent light bulbs, people are used to looking at Watts to determine light output. With this older style technology, it is correct to assume that 100 Watt light bulb is likely to be brighter when compared to a 60 Watt bulb. This same logic however cannot be applied to LED driving lights or LEDs in general. When it comes to LED, it is ok to think about Watts as measure of input power, but it’s never ok to think of Watts as a measure of output. There is no relationship between Watts & Lumens and no relationship between Watts & Lux when it comes to LED Driving Lights or LED Light Bars.
Two different LED Light bars with different LED emitters can consume equal number of Watts but differ widely in light output. For example, one 3W LED may have an efficiency of 128Lm/W where another may only have 65Lm/W, therefore, deciding which LED light bar or driving light to purchase based on Watt is very misleading.
LEDs very existence is low power, high output. Big power consumption and big Watts go against the very existence of LEDs. All the high end cutting edge LEDs being released by the top tier manufacturers are consuming less and less current/Watts but produce even higher Lumens. In 2006 CREE's best LED on offer at the time was producing 131 Lumens Per Watt (LPW) - in 2014 their best emitter was producing 303 LPW.
The comparison shot below drives this home perfectly.
DRIVING LIGHTS & LUX - A very important metric, but not the end all be all.
Lux is defined as being the measure of light intensity, as perceived by the human eye. It is the measure of light at a given distance on a surface. Driving light manufacturers have pushed aside Lumens in favour of Lux (Lx) and is 2016 latest buzz word in the driving light arena. Lux distance data is definitely an important metric, but is misleading if considered in isolation. A laser pointer could theoretically have a peak beam distance of 5km at 1 lux, but i think we would all agree that a pair of laser pointers will make for an awful driving light.
When driving light manufacturers carry out photo-metric testing to obtain isolux data, the goniophotometer used to test this metric only measures the peak intensity at the center of the entire beam, which is great, but what about the rest of the beam? If 5 different driving lights all have 1 lux at 500m, which one do you buy? To obtain remarkable isolux numbers it is simply a matter of focusing down the beam, but beam focusing comes at the expense of light coverage. The very best driving lights are the ones which strike the best possible balance between brightness (Lm) and beam throw (Lx). Some of the best of the best driving light manufacturers refuse to quote lux distance numbers on their flag ship products, because taken in isolation is misleading in particular when customer's are comparing Lux data between separate manufacturers. The best driving light isn't necessarily the one that achieves the longest beam throw. The best driving lights in our view are the ones that have a well formed usable overall beam shape, and most importantly, the one which is best suited to the customer's application. In this regard even the customer geographical location plays an important role. The nature of the roads in far north Queensland demand a different beam shapes to that which is found in Victoria.
We hope this blog entry has answered some of your questions, but as always if you still need some advice, please feel free to give us a call on 03 9369 8845, or if you are in Victoria, pop in to our warehouse 1/12 Hammer Court, Hoppers Crossing VIC 3029.