Cube and Pod Lights
Customize your Ride and Light Up the Night with These Great Lighting Accessories
Whether you like to head off-road or just need a little more lighting when heading home at night, these various aftermarket lighting accessories will help you get there and do so in style. And these particular light pods are designed to fit just about anywhere. Whether you’re looking to add a pod light to a bumper or want to mount some cube lights on your roof, the lighting options you need are going to be here.
And for added style many of these options come with various color options for both casings and the light itself, so if you’ve always wanted a Green LED accent light for your Jeep, we’ve got you covered.
The question will likely be more about comparing quality than looking at just a single option for what you want or need. But before we dive too far into that one, do note that most of these products, especially certain colors of pod lights, are illegal to use when on the road. In other words, when you’re driving down the street, you’re going to need to have these turned off.
Code varies from State to State, but for the most part, blues and reds are a no-no for the obvious reasons of the fear that someone might use these kinds of lights to impersonate a police officer.
Likewise, most spotlight style lights are not street legal because they might be used to blind oncoming traffic, whether accidentally or unintentionally. We highly recommend that if you have an option for a cab mounted switch like a Rocker Switch Harness, that you purchase that alongside the light itself and have it installed so that you can have the ability to easily turn these lights on when you need them and are off-road (or in the middle of nowhere) and to have them off when you’re in highly populated areas and /or driving on the street.
Just a little Pro tip, there.
So let’s run through some of the other things you might want to consider when looking at picking up some Pod or Cube Lights.
LED vs Halogen
While we mostly carry LED Cube Lights, we do feel that this is worth mentioning because it is likely to be one of the first things you will see as far as difference in products and pricing, so it seems like a good place to start your pod light discussion.
For instance, you might see something on another site that looks very similar to a pod light we are selling, but is listed at half the cost or at least $50 cheaper or something like that. Buyer beware. The first thing you should check to see is what kind of lighting this is.
There are two main bulb types or lighting methods out there for Cube Lights: LED and Halogen lights. And there’s a huge difference in price, style, and longevity (or how long the product will last).
And the truth is, to sum it up quickly, in every single case and category above, the LEDs are the better option out of the two. But don’t worry. We’ll explain why.
Let’s start with the really obvious stuff here and talk about the difference in how they work.
First, Halogen lights are old school incandescent lights. Incandescent lights work by running an electric current through a tungsten filament inside a sealed bulb filled with some kind of gas. Halogen style bulbs are filled with Halogen gases. Xenon or HIDs are filled with Xenon. Xenon makes the lights brighter and requires less energy to light up, but both work the same way.
The tungsten filament gets hot and starts to turn to vapor. The gas in the tube or bulb reacts with the vapor and changes the new substance back into a solid that coats the tungsten filament.
Over time, no matter what, this tungsten will burn out. You’ve seen this happen tons of times with old school lights. Anytime they pop and go out, or burn out, you’ve seen the black powder inside the bulb.
Once this happens, these babies are toast, and there’s nothing you can do about it except replace them with new bulbs. This is a very old school technology--in fact, so old school that we no longer use incandescent bulbs in most household applications.
Which leads us to the new school--the LED.
LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diode, is a newer and much more efficient method of making light. These LED’s are like mini-semiconductors that put out light when electricity flows through them. But unlike tungsten, they don’t burn out rapidly, and LED’s require way less energy to light up.
This is the main reason why they are so much more efficient and hence better than old school halogen lights. You see, when an incandescent light, like a Halogen bulb, makes light, it also loses upwards of 90% of the electricity or energy put into as heat. Imagine throwing power at something like a light bulb, and what you want to get out of it is light. But instead of getting light for all the energy you put in, 9 tenths of what you put into it comes back as heat which is wasted heat, by the way, and only 10% is actually put off as the light you wanted.
Honestly, when you put it that way, it just sounds ridiculous. You have to wonder if this technology isn’t so old school that it dates back to the infamous Tesla v. Edison debacle. Oh, you mean this tech really is that old? Oh. Makes sense then.
Anyway, the LED works way better, is way more efficient, and it lasts upwards of 50 times longer than those old school halogens. So these babies are better over time too because they save you money by lasting way longer than those halogens.
When you look at it that way, basically you have to reconsider the price. So image you’re considering a pair of cube lights from another website that is listed at $100 for a pair. Then you look at some Rigid Radiance Cube Lights from us, and the pair with harness is closer to $250, or something like that. I’m just estimating random numbers here, but imagine the LED’s cost over twice the halogens. You might be tempted to go with the cheaper option. But let’s say that cheaper option only lasts like 10,000 light hours. You might burn out those cheap halogens in the course of a single year. But those LED’s, which might cost 2.5 times the halogens, will last closer to 45,000 light hours, which might very well be the life of the vehicle you’ve installed them on. That’s crazy value.
Imagine you bought the same amount of halogen replacement bulbs every year to make those knock off cheap cube lights last as long as the LED’s from Rigid that we sell. You might end up spending close to twice the amount you spent on just one pair of Rigid LED Cube Lights from us, and you’ll never have to replace anything. They are just good to go.
Once you lay it out this way, you can likely already see the huge value in going with LED’s over old school halogens. In fact, this value is so clear and obvious that many manufacturers and sellers are moving away from even offering or producing the halogens in the first place.
Beyond all this, LED also offers some great additional advantages such as the option for all kinds of different shades or colors of lights.
Most halogen lights are in a color temperature from amber to white. But LED’s often come in a vast variety of colors. Some LED lights can even be controlled via an app on your smart phone to make them change colors on the fly, covering nearly any color you can imagine.
Again, when it comes to style and longevity, you’d be hard pressed to find something better than an LED Cube Light or Pod Light.
What the Heck are Lumens?
Once you’ve gotten past the type of lighting and the cost, you’re probably going to be asking yourself that question: what the heck are lumens?
Lumens are just a method of measuring the intensity or brightness of a light. The higher the lumen number, the brighter that light can get. Sometimes manufacturers will talk about Raw output of other styles of measuring light output. No matter what these numbers or units might be, they are simply a way of measuring light output.
Now you might be tempted to think that the brighter the better. But let me give you pause there. Really what you want is directed light that’s going to light up an area you want to target. In other words, you don’t need to light up everything. You just need to light up what’s in front of your vehicle, in general.
Obviously, if you’re looking for a police style spotlight that you can move and direct to help you spot deer in the woods in the middle of the night, that’s different. But you get what I mean.
In general in terms of brightness, Halogens are the least bright. Next comes LEDs. Finally, you get HIDs or High Intensity Discharge lights, a.k.a. Xenon filled incandescents.
So if you really want the brightest of the bright, Xenon is worth taking a look at. When it comes to cube lights, you’ll probably at least currently be hard pressed to find any Xenon lights. Most of the time Cube Lights don’t need to be maximum brightness as they are meant to be directed or targeted light sources. We’d still recommend LED’s in this case.
Yet again, hate to use the same example, but for a spotlight, a Xenon HID might be exactly what you’d be looking for, though you need to keep in mind that you would be wasting some heat by using these style of lights.
Xenon HIDs don’t last that much longer than halogens, so again, cost wise they tend to be a little too expensive, largely because Xenon gas is expensive.
Some other terms you might hear bandied about are color temperature, which is not to be mistaken with bulb temperature, and power or watts.
Let’s start with temperature.
If it is listed as a K value or Kelvin, then it is probably Color Temperature, which is a clever way to give you a range of possible color this light will naturally put out. Often times you’ll see this with headlights or any light source that you might want to be daylight equivalent, which would be somewhere around the 6,000 K range.
If you like that soft blue and white look, often associated with HIDs, you’ll be looking for a Cool White color temperature or something in the 4,500 K range.
Finally, you’re old school halogens are going to be more of a soft white, that is often almost yellow. That temperature falls in the 3,200 K range.
All of these Color Temperatures are not to be confused with Bulb Temperature. Bulb temperature is the actual heat or hotness of a lit bulb of this type. Many halogens and HIDs can get up to and over 100 degrees fahrenheit, for instance. This means you will not want to touch or replace these lights without gloves or at the very least, make sure they have been powered off for a while so they can cool down.
LED’s on the other hand should stay around room temperature at all times of operation, so they are generally safe to handle even when they are turned on.
Finally, some companies list their bulbs Power in Watts. Whereas with Lumens you want the number to probably be higher, with Watts you want the draw to be lower.
The Wattage is the amount of power or current the bulb needs to draw or pull in order to turn on. So if this number is lower, like 3 Watts for an LED light, that means it will use way less power than say an old school halogen, which might require more like 60 watts. This is why current CFL lights we use in our homes still say 60 watt equivalent, because even though they don’t require that much of a pull, they put off the same or equivalent amounts of light effect to old school 60 watt halogen bulbs.
Fun facts about lights!
Alright, enough of that.
So basically with cube lights and pod lights what it comes down to beyond price, style, and longevity is the look. So if you like the way a cube light looks and how it is going to integrate with your vehicle, don’t worry too much about some of these numbers or terms. Just go for it. And know that there are certain brands we highly recommend, including Rigid, Diode Dynamics, and ZRoadZ. In fact, if it is listed on our website, we recommend it, because if we don’t like the products or think they are inferior, we just won’t list them on our site. So when in doubt, if we’ve got it listed, it’s probably a top quality item.
We hope this little lighting guide helps demystify the cube lights and the various terminology associated with them. But when you doubt know you can always hit us up via Chat or phone to ask any additional questions. We’ll help make sure you get the right product for your ride.