In this article, we will explain the differences in the various pod light options, as well as advantages and disadvantages to different models and light types depending on how you plan to use them.
While this article will go in depth on the Rigid Industries POD lights specifically, these explanations and examples, other than the specific light output, can be applied to similar beam patterns of light bars and other lights of both Rigid Industries and Baja Designs
Types of Light Beam Patterns-
As the name suggests, a “Spot” light just gives you a “SPOT”. A spot light is designed to have a LONG and narrow beam. Think about a pencil or a pen. A spot light goes a LONG distance, but it’s very narrow beam does not illuminate your surroundings, just a focal point far away. A spot light is great in combination with other lights, but not by itself.
Just like a spot light, this is a long and narrow beam. It is just a more focused and longer beam.
Again, as the name suggests, a flood light floods your surroundings with light. Unlike a spotlight, it is a light pattern that surrounds the area with light but does not go a great distance. A flood light combined with a spot light, gives a nice combination of light both near and far.
A driving light is designed with a beam pattern to project a wide and midrange light focused on highway type driving. This light pattern gives both ample distance and width with a specific purpose. To see well while driving. Depending, Many people may select a Driving light pattern instead of a flood light since both patterns are fairly similar, but the driving light tends to project light slightly further and in many cases, such as the Rigid Pro light, it has more LED’s and a higher lumen output. When choosing between a Flood or a Driving light, compare the cost as well as the light output. In some cases, while the Driving light may have more lumens, the extra cost may make you lean mor toward the flood version, or vice versa.
The diffused lenses are available with many of the light patterns listed above. A diffused light simply has a lens that is designed to scatter light and eliminate bright spots when looking directly at the light. You can in many cases get any of the lights patterns previously listed with a diffused Lens.
An SAE light is another term meaning that it is certified “Street Legal”. SAE stands for “Society of Automotive Engineers”. Another term for a street legal light is “DOT” meaning “Department of Transportation”. Typically, STOCK lights from the OEM manufacturer are only referenced as DOT rated. This means they are certified as street legal. Aftermarket light companies such as Rigid Industries, Baja Designs, KC HiLites and others have lights that are rated by, and use the term “SAE” as well as “DOT”. You will typically hear this term in aftermarket lighting. There are several tests lights must pass to be certified as “Street Legal”.
If you are looking for a street legal light to drive on the road and in traffic, make no mistake. If you do NOT see the term “SAE” or “DOT” listed in the name or the description, it is NOT Street legal.
Now, that being said, we cannot condone using off-road lights on the road in an illegal way. However, for information purposes only, we can tell you the fact that there are many people who have the brighter off-road lights and they live in densely populated areas such as in the country, or the desert and they use such NON street legal lights on the road for better visibility. Especially in areas with fields where deer or other wildlife may leap out and they want more visibility. In many cases, such as a vehicle that may hold 2 or more pairs of lights, consumers often pair one or more off-road lights with an SAE light pair. On another note, in some States (Such as Pennsylvania) laws require any lights installed on a vehicle that are not SAE or DOT approved, to have a snap on cover installed when the vehicle is driven on the road. There are covers available for all lights if you are in a state that requires this. Most states do not require covers.
The Rigid Industries Side Shooter model comes in 3 Beam patterns as mentioned above. It is available in a Driving, Flood or Spot beam pattern. What makes the Side Shooter unique is the additional 3 LED’s on the sides that project 90 degrees to the side (one side of each light). This gives additional sideways illumination in a very unique light
An Amber LED light has a warmer temperature that produces a yellowed light. In the case of a TRUE Amber LED, the lens is actually clear. You can only tell the light produces yellow/amber light when the light is on. Light temperatures can vary from light to light and even between companies on how they make their light. LED light temperatures (both indoor and outdoor lights) typically range between 1,000K and 10,000K. The “K” Stands for Kelvin, which is a scale to rate color temperature of light. The lower the number, the more yellow the light appears. The higher the number, the bluer it appears. A “Daylight” temperature is around 4,000K-5,000K. At that range it is as white and clear as possible right at the cusp of turning a bluish color.
Without getting off track, lets go back to the Amber Light. The ONLY reason ANYONE would want an Amber/Yellow LED light is for better visibility in low visibility situations such as when it is snowing, raining hard, or it’s foggy. Why? Because white light reflects BACK off of things, where yellow light absorbs and doesn’t reflect back as much making it much easier to see. Before selecting an Amber light, you need to ask yourself these questions. Do you have, fog, snow or rain in your area often? Do you have the ability to add more than just an amber/yellow light for versatility for normal situations?
The terms Amber and Selective Yellow can easily be confused. Both are similar in their end result, but how they get there are in different ways. As explained previously, an AMBER LED has a clear lens, but the LED itself illuminates in a yellow temperature. A Selective Yellow light actually is a white light that passes through a YELLOW lens which changes the color output to yellow. So, think of it like a filter. Both have a similar result in the end.
The last Group are the Radiance & Radiance Scene Series which are “2 Stage” Lights. The Radiance and Radiance Scene both have a choice of Red, Blue, White or Amber backlight. Now, this is important. Don’t confuse the colored backlight with the light color of the main light. The Radiance series ALL have WHITE lights. The backlight produces a 2nd stage colored light effect for a luminescent “Glow” around the vehicle. The backlight is NOT bright enough to see with while driving. The only difference between the Radiance and Scene versions are that the Scene version main white light is 3X brighter. The backlights are the same brightness.
The 360 Series Round lights are a newer model and very unique because they take some of the traditional light patterns, as well as the colored backlights that are available in clear, blue, amber or white. As with the Radiance series, the main lights are WHITE. The light patterns available in the 360 series Round lights are Driving or Spot. There is also a diffused model which is only available with a white backlight.
There are 2 SAE Street legal models available in the 360 Series light (Shown Below)
The SAE Version is available in a clear main light or a Selective Yellow (Which was explained above in light types).
The SAE Models DO NOT have an Amber Backlight. Unfortunately, part of getting these high-powered street legal lights certified, meant eliminating the colored backlight. The 360 models offer a unique look with the roughly 4x4 inch round case vs the 3x3 inch square case.
You can also get a yellow snap on lens cover for those rare environmental situations which takes the white light and passes it through the yellow lens and it changes the color that is shown to a more toned down yellow just like the Selective Yellow light. This alternative gives some added control to have both options in one.
Lens covers don’t just come in amber though. For most lights, you can get a smoked clear, clear, blue or BLACK which is not translucent for those situations that require lights to be covered.
Hopefully this has been an informative source to understand the many choices you have when selecting your lights for your vehicle. Be sure to check out SPVparts.com for your lighting needs.