When you’re riding in a boat and you enter dusky conditions, it’s critical to be able to see clearly. That’s where LED light bars for boats come into play to help when visibility is low. Here are the top three brands that sell high-quality, reliable light bars to ensure your safety.
What Are the 3 Best Light Bars for Boats?
The 3 best light bars for boats are from the following brands: Rigid, Black Oak LED, and Diode Dynamics. These companies offer durable products to fit a variety of boating vessels, and they can withstand the elements and offer better visibility.
Please keep reading to learn more about these brands, their various models, and what features make them stand out against the competition.
Selecting the Best Light Bars
Having been a boater for years and experiencing hundreds of different products, I feel confident that there are only three brands of lights that I would trust on my boat. I’ve been in mostly saltwater, but I’ve also tested these lights in lakes.
I haven’t had any problems with the Diode Dynamics lights or the Rigid lights, and a friend of mine runs the Black Oak LED lights, and his installation technician swears by them. I bypassed some other quality brands, but I had to narrow down my choices based on personal experience and critical features.
You want to focus on light quality, durability, and voltage compatibility. Don’t get lights that are super bright to the point that they blind you, nor too dim to the extent that they don’t serve the purpose of illuminating your surroundings.
Most electrical systems for your standard boat are between 12 to 24 volts. Therefore, 12V lights are generally sufficient but make sure they are a match. Power saving is also a consideration, as LED lights are more efficient than other bulbs. Check the lumens per watt to verify that you’re consuming less energy while still getting excellent light output.
If ever someone asks for a recommendation of the best boat lights, these three brands are my top picks. So, let’s get into the spec and details of what they offer.
Rigid Marine Lights
Rigid marine lights come in 30 different series, ranging from 2 to 50 inches in size. There are numerous models suitable for on and off-road vehicles and boats. Some of their more popular models are the SR-Series Pro LED Light Bars, the E-Series Pro LED Light, and my top choice is the boat deck light kit. It contains between four and six of the A-Series lights.
Here are the best features of each series:
Boat Deck Light Kit
Rigid’s boat deck light kits are engineered specifically for night fishing. These lights are an effective and simple way to light up a boat deck for night use. You can get a kit that features four to six A-Series lights with a 27-foot harness that can be installed on boats up to 24 feet in length.
Furthermore, these A-Series LED lights have water-resistant die-cast aluminum alloy housing. Additionally, they feature a built-in thermal management system to extend the life of the lights and polycarbonate lenses.
The kit comes with wiring and a voltage distribution block, switched, and mounting hardware to facilitate a simple install. You can choose from a variety of colors according to what best suits your personal style and needs.
SR-Series Pro LED Light Bars
If you’re looking for a low-profile lighting solution, the SR-Series Pro LED Light Bars offers this with a company and sleek design that measures less than two inches tall. These lights have more light output than ever before due to enhancements in LED technology.
The SR-Series Pro uses LED lights situated in a single row in conjunction with your choice of patented Specter or Hybrid optics. Moreover, they have a variety of light beam patterns.
These LED lights are perfect for situations where space is scarce; furthermore, the SR-Series Pro is designed to project light across huge distances thanks to its powerful light source.
These lights are available in a variety of configurations and lengths. These lights are so versatile that you can use them for nearly any application, whether agricultural, industrial, marine, or in an off-road vehicle.
E-Series Pro LED Light
The E-Series LED light features many beam setting options, including hyper spot, flood, driving, spot/hyper spot combo, midnight edition, spot beam, flood beam, combo beam, and driving/spot combo.
Even though the E-Series Pro LED lights were designed for off-road use, you can use them for many different settings and situations. These lights are suitable for marine activities, first responder situations, power sports, and automotive uses.
Black Oak LED Lights
There are three different categories to choose from of Black Oak LED lights that fulfill your lighting needs: Spreader, Accent Lights, and Marine Light Bars.
Depending on the situation, each category of lights can be more advantageous than the other. However, each of them is durable and accompanied by a warranty.
Transom Underwater Lights
The Fathom LED Underwater line offers some of the most robust and brightest lightin on the market. Furthermore, Fathom LED Underwater can be very useful when docking and attracting fish, not to mention it adds a modern look to the boat’s aesthetics.
Their transom lights, such as the Fathom LED Underwater Light, are uniquely designed to be mounted on your boat, pontoon, dock, or center console seamlessly. These lights are an excellent way to illuminate dark spaces at night. Choose Black Oak LED to light the way.
Black Oak LED can give you the lighting effect you’re looking for, no matter the size of your boat. They have a collection of LED lights to meet all of your needs, including spreader, transom, light bars, and more.
Marine Light Bars
Once the sun goes down, it will be virtually impossible to see other boats in the distance, and you could risk crashing into another boat due to low visibility. Failing to have a marine light bar can lead to tragedy because nothing is visible without them during the night.
Quality lights should be capable of standing up to ultraviolet light and other hazards that they will be exposed to. Here is where Black Oak LED excels, thanks to the fact that they have some of the highest durability and IP ratings on their light bars.
These lights can stand up to some of the most challenging situations and conditions. Intriguingly, Black Oak products are of such phenomenal quality that they are trusted by the US military and commercial fishers worldwide.
Perhaps the two best light bar models from Black Oak LED are the Pro Series 2.0 versions, and they come in multiple sizes.
Pro Series 2.0
The Pro Series 2.0 is a versatile source of lighting that is waterproof to boot. This light bar is a six-inch model that you can place wherever you want for floods, spots, or a combination of patterns.
Thanks to Black Oak’s mounting system, you’ll even have the choice to move the light down or up. When you consider how durable the housing is that holds the LED lights, it becomes evident that this is one of the best choices if you don’t want to constantly invest in new hardware.
The Pro Series 2.0 is excellent as a deck light, a Jon boat light for the bow, loading and unloading equipment as floodlights, and more. The lights come with a wiring harness, relay, switch, fuse, and stainless steel mounting brackets for easy installation.
These lights have ceramic coatings to stand up to the turbulent seas and harsh marine environment. The barnicoat ceramic coating was engineered as three-part protection against corrosion, salt water, and UV rays. Ceramic coating has become increasingly popular for boats and vehicles and is standard for all Black Oak Pro Series 2.0 lights.
The boating kit comes with a 20-inch Marine Series 5 watt combo, and it is capable of launching light over 1100m. This, of course, makes it easy to see buoys and channel markers at far distances.
The Diffused Pod Lights can shine light at a 120-degree angle, making them perfect deck lights and giving you the freedom to move and work conveniently. This light comes with a wiring harness, two spotlights, and one light bar of 20 or 30 inches.
Or, you could get just the small spotlights like their two-inch Marine Diffused LED Pod Light.
Spreader and Accent Lights
The spreader lights provide the best illumination for the boat deck, making it easier to perform specific tasks at night, such as docking.
It’s not always the best option to choose the brightest spreader lights. That’s because brighter lights than necessary may adversely affect your night vision. Therefore, it could actually blind you and make it harder to see obstacles and surrounding boats in the water.
You might want to consider a dimmer in addition to the spreader lights if you want to be able to control how much light you use at night.
All the lights have a unique design for boating, beginning with the anti-corrosion housing, which comes sealed to prevent water damage. The spreader lights that have LEDs reduce the occurrence of broken bulbs (since you don’t have to replace LED bulbs) that sometimes happens when you use incandescent bulbs.
The best models from this category are the four-inch Marine Spreader Light Scene – Black Oak Pro Series 2.0 and the two-inch Marine Diffused LED Pod Light. They are excellent for anglers who love staying out late and getting up early in the morning. They have 3,120 raw lumens, which is plenty of light output.
These series are stylish and heavy-duty, as the Marine Series POD has an aluminum build. It withstands saltwater and prevents rust and other forms of corrosion.
The LED light bars from Diode Dynamics are an excellent addition to your boat. This company prides itself on using the latest technology, durable construction, and state-of-the-art design.
They use total internal reflection (TIR) optics which causes the high-intensity LEDs to produce light in a valuable and functional beam pattern. These lights have a sharper focus than some older models on the market. It’s easy to mount the lights to the boats using the brackets provided.
You can easily mount these lights onto any vehicle using the included brackets. Their SS5 CrossLink 3-Pod LED Light Bar and the Stage Series LED Light Bar are the most popular models from this series that you can use for boats.
The CrossLink light bars use patented CrossLink technology, linking three SS5 LED pods to create one light bar. It gives you the brightest output of all the five-inch LED pods available today, and you receive a warranty to protect your package.
For maximum functioning and light that gets the job done without being too much of a hassle or needing multiple lights, try the CrossLink light bar for night fishing or sailing early morning.
Usually, the traditional optics on a lighting bar will lose light due to glare, meaning all of the light doesn’t focus on the target. Thanks to the custom-engineering of the SS5 CrossLink, all the light gets focused where you want it, which improves lighting efficiency and reduces glare.
When it comes to the Stage Series, it shares many of the same features as the CrossLink bar, with a few added benefits. They range from 9-24 volts, and they provide plenty of power despite being more compact. If you lack space or the area is a little tight, the light’s narrow profile can still slide in seamlessly.
This light bar is lower than 42mm, so you can easily install it in places where a standard dual-row bar wouldn’t fit. It’s also lightweight with a heat dissipation design, helpful in reducing wind noise.
If you’re constantly going fishing or boating in areas with low visibility, be sure to try out one of these light bars to create a safe space where you can still enjoy yourself. You should always be able to see where you’re headed, perform tasks onboard and be visible to other boats as you sail.
The Ridge brand, along with Black Oak LED and Diode Dynamics, have the best light bars for boats, and they are the only brands I trust to take me out and bring me back in without a lot of hassle. The lights from these brands are easy to mount and affordable, and they have a long life span. So check them out today for a better boating experience!