7 Best Tailgate Light Bars of 2020
If you own a pickup truck, chances are that you have heard about tailgate light bars, their uses and also their benefits. Basically, these light bars are strips of light that are fitted at the back of the truck, usually between the tailgate and rear bumper.
Once installed, these lights work together with the rear lamps to broaden the rear-light view from behind, by acting as turn signals, brake lights or reverse lamps.
However, the lights can also be used for general visibility, as well as to give your car a unique and good-looking appearance that can be spotted from afar.
That said, there is a wide variety of tailgate light bars in the market, which means that getting a suitable piece for your truck can be somewhat challenging. For this reason, the review below covers 7 of the best tailgate light bars, from which you can take your pick.
7 Best Tailgate Light Bars - Review
1. Nilight TR-01 (Cheapest)
2. OPT7 BHBAZUKAZIND3731 (Best Opt7)
3. Putco 91009-48 (Best LED)
4. Mictuning 6598343764 (Long Lasting)
5. Recon 26416 (SAE & DOT Approved)
6. Partsam 107978 (Good)
7. Ambother NI-04 (Highly Compatible)
1. Nilight TR-01
2. OPT7 BHBAZUKAZIND3731
3. Putco 91009-48
4. Mictuning 6598343764
5. Recon 26416
(SAE & DOT Approved)
6. Partsam 107978
7. Ambother NI-04
1. Nilight TR-01 – Cheapest Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 60 inches
- Number of LED: 108
- Lifespan: 30000 hours
Tailgate light bars are not usually expensive but if you are on a very tight budget, Nilight has got you covered with this single row unit.
Despite being this affordable, quality is still maintained, with a flexible and durable housing that is rated IP67, which means it protects the LEDs inside from snow, raindrops, dirt, and sand as you drive.
Even though the included LEDs are only 108, they are designed to shine 35% brighter than normal LED chips so as to ensure your car is seen even in thick traffic.
These LEDs are also designed to provide different functions, which include running, braking, turn signal (all 3 in red) and reversing lighting (in white).
Installation is quite easy because no drilling is required. Instead, an adhesive enhancer is included, and it has 5 times the strength of normal adhesives stickers. You only need to clean up the car’s surface and align the bar properly, which can be easily done as a DIY project.
2. OPT7 BHBAZUKAZIND3731 – Best Opt7 Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 48-60 inches
- Number of LED: 780-1200
- Lifespan: 50000 hours
OPT7’s Redline light bar is quite an expensive product but it is one of the best from their lineup, and it is available in 2 sizes, with the shorter 48-inch bar comprising of 780 LED chips packed in 3 rows
The larger 60-inch light bar packs 1200 LED chips also in 3 rows, and the result is a solid beam that almost resembles a fluorescent tube due to the smooth redline that is formed.
That said, the unit has multipurpose uses, which include acting as running and brake lights in red color, reverse lighting in white, and a sequential 1-2-3 amber colored turn signal that gives your truck or RV a distinctively sporty look.
Installation is simplified with the use of a heavy-duty, 25-pound rated adhesive, which sticks very strongly to the car’s body surface throughout its lifespan.
Once fixed in place, the light bar has a rust-resistant -20°F rated aluminum backbone and an IP67 water-and-dustproof coating that keeps the LEDs protected inside from the elements.
3. Putco 91009-48 – Best LED Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 48-60 inches
- Number of LED: 2000
If you don’t mind spending to get a high-end tailgate light bar, then this piece from Putco should be your go-to option.
Being the top-rated tailgate light bar in this review, the unit features a whopping 2000+ high power COB LEDs in a maximum distance of 60 inches, and this provides a brilliant-and-defining light output, especially considering that they are packed in a single row.
In addition to the brilliant, solid beam lighting, these LEDs are designed to provide reverse lighting in white color, running and brake lighting in red, and left/right turn signal in amber color, giving them multipurpose use.
With 48- and 60-inch size options, this light bar is custom designed to fit all full-size trucks due to its extremely slim body that is 3/8 inch wide, and a completely sealed polycarbonate housing that is IP69K rated for water, weather and dust proofing.
Overall, these features make this the best tailgate light bar, although it does not have a sequential turn signal.
4. Mictuning 6598343764 – Long Lasting Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 60 inches
- Number of LED: 180
- Lifespan: 100000 hours
This light bar stands out as one of the best units for trucks because first, it shines 30% brighter than single row LEDs and second, it has a very long lifespan of 100,000 hours. Basically, the strip will outlast your car in normal use.
Inside the bar are 180 premium top-grade LED chipsets that give this long lifespan, and feature an in-line fuse for short circuit protection plus IP67-rated water and dustproof silicone housing for protection against the elements.
These LEDs are split into 120 red and 60 white chips, with the red ones being for brake, running and turn signal lighting while the white is for reverse lighting.
For installation, self-adhesive tape is used, which can be easily taped on any smooth surface. A standard 4-pin flat plug is also included and the LEDs have a universal fitting power requirement of 12 volts, making them highly compatible with most trucks, RVs, SUVs, etc.
However, the bar is only available in a 60-inch length and lights up in red and white colors only.
5. Recon 26416 – SAE & DOT Approved Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 49-60 inches
Recon’s 26416 tailgate light bar is available in two sizes, which include a 49-inch bar that fits most flare-side smaller trucks and SUVs, and a 60-inch bar that fits most full-sized SUVs and trucks. All these sizes are SAE and DOT approved, making them street legal in all US states.
With a single row of LEDs, this tailgate light bar features white and red LEDs that function as white reverse lights, red running, braking, parking, hazard, and turn signal lighting.
An extra strong 3M adhesive tape makes the installation process quite easy, while a plug and play standard flat 4-pin connector further simplifies the process, making it an easy DIY project. However, it can also be hardwired to the taillight wiring for permanent installation.
Other features include a fully sealed polymer housing that is weatherproof and an in-line replaceable fuse for power surge protection.
6. Partsam 107978 – Good Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 60 inches
- Number of LED: 90
This tailgate light bar from Partsam is made from a highly durable rust-resistant strip that is very flexible, and it is coated with an IP67-rated silicone housing that is water and dustproof for LED protection against the elements, including from freezing temperatures of up to -20°F.
Inside the bar are 90 LEDs, which are divided into 60 red and 30 white, in which the red ones are used for parking, braking and turn signal lighting while the white chips are used for reverse lighting.
A self-adhesive 3M tape is included for installation, and the kit comes with 4 screws, 2 clips and an installation manual for secure installation.
On the downside, the strip is rated at 12 volts and therefore, is not compatible with 14.5- and 16-volt car electrical systems.
7. Ambother NI-04 – Highly Compatible Tailgate Light Bar
- Length: 48-49 inches
- Number of LED: 72
If you are not sure about the amount of voltage running through your car’s electrical system, then you should buy Ambother’s 5-function tailgate light bar. This is because it has a working voltage of 10-16 volts DC, which basically covers a huge chunk of cars, if not all.
72 LED chips are included in the single-row strip, and these are divided into 48 red and 24 white. Combined, these provide 5 functions, which are left and right turn signals using red chips, brake and running lights using the same red chips, and reverse lighting using the white LEDs.
With a single-size length of about 48-49 inches, the LED strip has a flexible clear rubber build that is very durable, and waterproofs the chips inside with its IP67 rated construction.
Other features include a 44-inch power cable with a 4-pin connector and a high-quality adhesive enhancer for easy installation.
How to Buy the Best Tailgate Light Bar
In choosing a tailgate lightbar, the strip of light can only be useful if it is compatible with your car. This is usually to do with the car’s electrical system because different cars feature different wiring systems that are run in either 10, 12, 14.5 or 16 volts.
All tailgate light bars have their own voltage ratings and it is important to check this and match the one in your car so that you do not over or underpower the unit, which might cause the LED chips to burnout.
2. Number of Rows
LED light bars are usually available in 1, 2 or 3 rows.
1-row light bars might not be as bright as the ones with more rows, but this depends on the number of LEDs that are packed in that space. The more the number of LEDs, the brighter and the better.
However, the benefit you get with this piece is that it is thinner and more compact, and because the chips are packed in a narrower space, the resulting beam is usually more solid.
Two row light bars are wider than their one-row counterparts, but they pack the LEDs on a larger area, creating a highly visible beam that can be spotted from afar.
This type is the widest and it creates a beam that is visible even in heavy traffic. The other benefit with this type is that most feature amber lighting due to the multiple LED chips included inside.
Buying Guide: if your truck has a narrow space on the recommended installation area (below the tailgate, above the bumper), then you should get the narrow one-row light bar. Otherwise, selection should be done based on personal preference.
With most tailgate light bars having a length of 48-60 inches, it is recommended to take the measurements of your truck bed before making any purchase. Keep in mind that the area in consideration is the space between the tailgate and rear bumper.
Read More: 10 Best Bumper Guards
4. Ease of Installation
Most of these units feature adhesive strips, which are easy to fix on the vehicle’s body surface. Basically, you should pick a light bar with such a feature because no tools will be required in the process.
Clips and screws are also an optional installation method, but these might require drilling, which makes the process more labor intensive. However, this creates a very secure connection between the strip and the vehicle.
Another thing to check is the built-in connector, which should have universal fitting ports for a simple plug and play installation process.
A durable product is always better and when it comes to these light strips, the first thing to check is the lifespan of the LED chips. Measured in hours, the longer the number of hours, the better.
The other thing to check is the construction, in which the light bar should have a sturdy and durable structure that can withstand rough handling from bumpy roads.
In addition to being durable, the product should be weatherproof, which in a way contributes to the durability factor.
The best light bar should at least have an IP67 rated construction that keeps dust, water, snow and the like, from making contact with the LED chips, which might otherwise damage them.
Other desirable features to check include being able to withstand freezing temperatures, especially if you live in a zone that experiences winter seasons.
As you can see, some features are quite common between these tailgate light bars, such as being waterproof, dustproof and featuring the modern LED lighting technology. This leaves certain differences in the number of rows, number of LEDs and LED colors.
Therefore, when selecting the best tailgate light bar, it is important to consider these factors, then pick the one that suits your truck and your needs the most.
- 7 Best Tailgate Light Bars - Review
- 1. Nilight TR-01 – Cheapest Tailgate Light Bar
- 2. OPT7 BHBAZUKAZIND3731 – Best Opt7 Tailgate Light Bar
- 3. Putco 91009-48 – Best LED Tailgate Light Bar
- 4. Mictuning 6598343764 – Long Lasting Tailgate Light Bar
- 5. Recon 26416 – SAE & DOT Approved Tailgate Light Bar
- 6. Partsam 107978 – Good Tailgate Light Bar
- 7. Ambother NI-04 – Highly Compatible Tailgate Light Bar
- How to Buy the Best Tailgate Light Bar