LED Light Bar Buyers Guide
- Buying The Right Light For You
- LED Light Bar Comparison Slider
- STEDI ST4K Series Light Bar
- STEDI ST3K Series LED Light Bar
- STEDI ST2K Series LED Light Bar
- ST3303 Pro Series Light Bar
- ST3301 Series Light Bar
- Lumens, Lux & Watts. What Does It All Mean?
BUYING THE RIGHT LIGHT FOR YOU
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 forms 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.
Using the slider below, you are able to select 2 different lights to compare patterns, intensity, and what will suit the desired application you are looking for. For example, as every light in our range has a different build-up of reflectors, LEDs, and circuitry, the light throw down the road changes between each dramatically. We are using photos from all light bars as close together as possible for the best comparison.
The ST4K series LED Light Bars are our most popular range as we often refer to it as the "jack of all trades". If you're looking for a driving light that will meet the lighting requirement of as many situations as possible the ST4K is definitely our most versatile light. The ST4K biggest strength is its relentless beam throw, thanks to it being built on the same tech as our Type-X V1.0 Spot Lights. Whilst the ST4K's claim to fame is market-leading beam distance, it still maintains a very useful flood beam. This is our 'go-to' light for a customer looking for a one-light solution. Versatile mounting systems with both sides and adjustable sliding brackets make these light bars well-suited to a wide range of vehicle makes/bullbar combinations.
ANTI THEFT KIT
For the ST4K LED light bars we offer 2 options regarding anti-theft kits, side bracket, or lower sliding bracket. As the components are different between the 2 kits, you will need to ensure how you will be mounting the light bar before purchasing the kit.
STEDI ST4K BAR BLACKOUT COVERS
A recent addition to our ST4K range is the ST4K Black Out Covers. These are optional accessories available for all sizes bar the 8 Inch and can be used as aesthetics or used when the total amount of driving lights facing forward exceeds a total of 4.
ST4K OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
If you are changing things up, misplaced the other brackets or just lost a few pieces along your travels, we have all spare parts regarding mounting and installation via the link below.
The ST3K series provides a powerful punch in the low profile design. With identical beam geometry to the ST4K series, the ST3K light bars offer excellent beam distance and a useful wide beam. Designed for applications that are tight on clearance, or for a customer that prefers that stealth low key look. The ST3K compared to ST3301 has a longer beam distance, but less overall brightness. The flood beam of the ST3K is not as effective as the ST3301.
ANTI THEFT KIT
For the ST3K LED light bars we offer a completely comprehensive anti-theft kit for the side brackets.
ST3K LIGHT BAR BLACKOUT COVERS
A recent addition to our ST3K range is the STEDI Black Out Covers. These are optional accessories available for all sizes and can be used as aesthetics or used when the total amount of driving lights facing forward exceeds a total of 4.
ST3K OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
If you are changing things up, misplaced the other brackets, or just lost a few pieces along your travels, we have all spare parts regarding mounting and installation via the link below.
STEDI ST2K SERIES LED LIGHT BAR
Unlike any other driving light on the market, our ST2K series is designed for those who need an 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 near field 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 applications 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.
ST2K OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
BEAM PATTERN ADVANTAGE
A lot of people ask what the advantage of the ST2K LED Lightbar is and the reason behind the beam output. We designed this light for the specific purpose of adding flood beam at a distance where your traditional combo beams flood will narrow to a spot. This is hard to explain so we now provide this slider below to present the beam visually displaying a 22" ST4K LED Light Bar with the slider overlaying the advantage of the 21.5" ST2K's beam. As you can see below the flood beam further down the road is greatly increased providing a field of visibility for wildlife that may obstruct your path down the track.
ST3303 OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
We offer an anti-theft kit for the sliding brackets as well as a range of spare parts and components for the ST3303.
ST3303 PRO SERIES LIGHT BAR
It’s our most expensive light bar ever produced. The price is right up there, and so is the performance. You're going to need to spend more money to order a pair of high-end sunglasses, or welders mask so that you can safely use this bar while driving at night. If we’re being honest, no one needs a driving light with this level of performance. We only made it because the LED geeks in our team insisted that: “...it would be freakin’ cool”. The type of person that buys a driving light like this has a very strong light fetish and thinks that dropping a Cummins 6.7L in a Daihatsu Charade is adequate and appropriate. If you have ever had the privilege of witnessing the performance of our other bars in our range like the ST4K, you’d probably say “Why on earth does anyone need more light than this” – Well, the ST3303 PRO is precisely that, more.
ST3303 PRO OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
With the update to the ST3303 Pro, there will be a growing range of accessories to follow shortly down the track. On release, we have 3 additional coloured end caps available, on top of the included orange and grey. We will also have a comprehensive anti-theft kit available for the side brackets with the existing ST3303 sliding bracket anti-theft still being compatible.
Our ST3301 range has been designed to offer very strong mid-field illumination thanks to its larger diameter spot beam, and excellent visibility on the road shoulders in the nearfield. Compared to bars like our ST4K & ST3K (which have a longer beam distance but slightly less overall brightness in comparison) our ST3301 forms a larger diameter spot which blends homogeneously with its wide beam, perfectly suits the customer who is mainly concerned about wildlife running out from the road shoulders or those who need a huge amount of brightness and coverage in the mid-short and mid-range. If you have pre-existing lights and are content beam distance you already have, then the ST3301 is a great supplementary lamp to take care of near and mid-field illumination.
ST3301 OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
The optional ST3301 anti-theft kit is available for either the side brackets or adjustable bottom brackets.
LED Light Bars and Lumens
Lumens (lm) are considered to be the measure of the total amount of light visible from a beam.
Lumens tell us how bright. 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 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 light bars - both with 10,000 Lumens - can have a very different lux reading at 100m. We have seen the 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 affected 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?
In brief terms, Watts is a measure of 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 a 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 once the LED is placed inside of a circuit.
Two different LED Lightbars with different LED emitters can consume an equal number of Watts but differ widely in light Lumen output (aka Efficacy). 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.
LED's 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 favor of Lux (Lx) and are 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 to carry out photometric 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 that 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 flagship products because taken in isolation is misleading in particular when customers 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 demands a different beam shape 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) 8360 9261, or if you are in Victoria, pop into our warehouse 7 Hammer Court, Hoppers Crossing VIC 3029.