4D or 5D? Curved or Straight?
The biggest decisions to make, other than the size of the light bar, is what type of lens to go with, and if a curved or straight light bar is needed. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so here's a little guide to help you sort it all out.
What is the difference between 4D, 5D, 6D and 7D light bars?
All LED light bars use the same basic premise; a number of small LED chips placed in a row to light up an area. However, how efficiently the light is used is the key difference between light bars. An led with no lens will have a light pattern that is very diffused and unfocused, which lights up a very wide area, but with a very weak light. 4D light bars contain 4D technology, which adds a fish-eye lens to the LEDs. This lens helps to simultaneously spread and focus the lights of the LEDs, which helps to illuminate far in front of your rig. Newer 5D technology add a reflective cup behind the led, which spreads the light even more, giving you more total area illumination, as shown in the graphic below. Just released 6D light bars are even better, with all the benefits of 4D and 5D bars, plus hexagonal, anti-dazzle lenses for a stronger beam and less glare, and a sensor that automatically turns the light on in low light environments, such as night time, or during inclement weather.. These, however, are a premium light bar and are priced like one. 7D light bars are the latest ones on the market, and feature cross beam daytime running lights, and removable flood lenses, and a sensor that automatically turns the light on in low light environments, such as night time, or during inclement weather.
Already convinced? Browse our selections here. If not, read on!
While it seems like a no-brainer, the 5D, 6D and 7D lenses also come with a higher price tag, often times over 20% more. So if you are looking for quality, nothing beats a 5D light bar. However, if you are looking for a more economical choice, a 4D light works just fine.
So to sum it up:
- Older technology
- Fish-eye lens helps to focus light farther out
- More economical choice
- Newer technology
- Fish-eye lens + reflector cup provides wider illumination
- More expensive choice
- Newer technology
- Fish-eye lens + reflector cup + hexagonal, anti-glare tech
- Automatically come on in low light situations
- Cross Beam daytime running lights
- Changeable spot/flood beams
Should I Get A Curved Or Straight Light Bar?
There are two main factors when choosing a straight or curved light bar. Besides the obvious design element, you have to decide if you want a narrower, more intense light, or a broader softer light.
Truck or Jeep?
This is the biggest issue most people talk about when deciding on a curved or straight bar. Most people like to keep the design of their accessories along the same lines as the body design of their rig, and trucks and Jeeps have two different types. Most Jeep owners, especially Wrangler owners, opt to go with the straight bar, as it better fits the clean, straight lines Jeeps are known for. Truck owners, on the other hand, tend to go with the curved light bars, as that better fits the look of their body. Straight light bars also work better for Jeeps owner who want to put one in the grill guard or bumper, while curved ones work best for truck owners.
Wider or Brighter?
The other major consideration for buyers is whether or not they want a narrower, more intense beam, or a wider, softer beam. Even though both bars may feature a spot/flood beam combo, the curved light bar will obviously light up a wider field of vision than the straight light beam. The beam, however, will not be as intense in the middle, and you will be giving up a bit of beam strength for the wider beam area. The straight light bar has a narrower field of illumination, but is much more intense in the center. On larger, stronger beams, this may actually work against you, however. Some people have complained the spot lights in the middle are so strong, everything else seems to get washed out, and an object right in the middle of the spot beam becomes harder to see.
So, the two main points you need to consider when buying a straight or curved bar are:
- Aesthetics. Do you have a clean lined, boxier vehicle, or a curvier, sleaker vehicle?
- Beam Type. Do you want a wider, softer beam arc, or a more narrow, intense beam?
Hopefully this answers all of your questions. The only left to do is buy now! Check out our collection of light bars and get one today!