Amber vs White LED Lights
The world of automotive LED lighting is massive, with many different manufacturers offering hundreds if not thousands of different models, and the sheer density of specifications makes it even harder to find out what will work best. That's why we're going to take a look at the difference between white and amber LED lighting, and which color temperature is better when it comes to auto auxiliary lights?
These questions have been raised for years by off-road enthusiasm, although some believe that amber lights are the only way to see in harsh weather, others suggest that white lights are safer and better. While neither one is inherently "better" than the other, white or amber may be a better bet depending on the specific climate and application, or how the rest of the vehicle's lighting setup. Remember that this can differ from person to person, one has to ask themselves all these questions and think about how they're going to use the lights, and not just rely on someone to tell them the exact light that's going to be perfectly fit.
Light Color and Color Temperature
Before we get into the differences between auxiliary LED light colors, we need to know that the temperature of color is the way color of light is measured. All light color is measured on the Kelvin scale, which rates color from amber to blue. If we look at the Kelvin scale's lower values, it will be more in the warmer colors like amber and yellow, while at the kelvin scale's high values will be the cooler colors like blue and violet. In general, amber lights sit somewhere between 2700K and 4000K while white lights are usually between 4300K and 6500K, with the vast majority at 5000K to 6500K. Kelvin ratings are very helpful in figuring out where a given light lays on the spectrum of amber to white.
Why Amber LED lights Are So Popular
From off-road vehicles to industrial vehicles, amber LED lights and light bars are used globe wide in a variety of industries, and they come in a vast array of styles to outfit any off-road or industrial vehicle. Professionals choose these amber lights because they're incredible versatility and extremely reliable. Programmable modes, multiple flash patterns, brilliant LED chips, ease of installation… the list of features goes on and on.
Amber Lights Get Noticed
Amber lighting is incredibly easy to get noticed, which makes them effective and very popular. The amber light also commonly called yellow light, it is one of the most popular warning light colors that can be seen on the road every day. It can be used as warning or indicator lights on vehicles that are slow-moving or making frequent stops like a city bus, garbage truck, farm equipment, etc. all these vehicles can be spotted using amber lights. Amber light is also one of the most popular permissive warning light colors, which often can be seen integrated with a dual-color light bar. Drivers also have formed their muscle memory to immediately react when they see amber lights flashing on the road. LED light bars with strobe amber light mode are the most popular light used in the emergency field, as well as in construction equipment, work trucks and utility vehicles.
There are three different ways an LED auxiliary light can achieve the amber color.
The first option is to apply an amber lens cover, which goes over the source of white light. Such amber covers are great but they are going to reduce a bit of the output from the light itself. In turn, the benefit of these light lens covers is that they allow us to have an amber light when we need it, but we can still have the white light when we don't need the amber light.
Another similar way to obtain the amber color is to use an amber PC lens or change the transparent PC lens to an amber one, except that it is a more time-consuming process and not as convenient as just snapping on a light lens cover.
What is the Difference between White Light and Amber Light? | Pros and Cons
White auxiliary LED lights are by far the more common offerings in the off-road or work site lighting world, considering their benefits, it's pretty easy to understand, though lots of that is due to how people's eyes perceive white vs amber. White auxiliary LED light generally gives a better irradiating distance and better general-purpose lighting than amber lights, so the drivers get improved all-around visibility in most conditions. White lighting is better for work site and dark forest roads use with very little dust, dryer and warmer climates with limited amounts of snow. But white auxiliary lights also have a few downsides.
The first downfall of white lights is that they give less contrast compared to a lower temperature of color or amber light. That is why the light output must have a minimum of blue or violet tint when choosing a white light.
The second drop in higher color temperature light is that they have shorter wavelengths resulting in more refraction. That means drivers will have more glare when driving in bad weather conditions like dust, rain and snow. More light will bounce back into drivers' eyes from the airborne particles. That is where the amber light shines through. But still, for getting maximum range and general forward lighting, white light is always the best bet.
The white lights seem to have much more available light and much more output, even though the actual power they consume is the same. So white light will appear to drivers' eyes brighter than amber light, but the amber light will surpass if there are bad driving conditions, including dust, rain, snow or fog.
The amber light has a longer wavelength. It can penetrate a little more than white light. That is the main advantage of amber light. Amber seems to be all the rage these days, especially in the use of fog light mount or A-pillar mount. While some of that is for the aesthetic of just having amber or yellow lighting in those positions, there are more than a few reasons why amber can make for a good choice for at least part of any vehicle's lighting suite.
Despite people's eyes not perceiving amber as well as white, yellow and amber lighting don't reflect off of airborne particles the same way white light does, which makes amber lighting excellent at penetrating actual fog, snow, and dust. If drivers are in an area with heavy snow or fog or in the desert where dust is an issue, amber off-road lights are a great tool to help keep them on the trail.
Amber lights also have some downsides, and that's probably why people don't want to make them the sole off-road lighting solution. The biggest downside of amber is that many LED auxiliary amber light models use amber lenses or amber lens covers to get the amber look instead of just using amber or yellow light emitting diodes. The issue with this is that the color of the lenses themselves adds some opaqueness, which hurts overall output to at least some extent. Thus, solely relying on amber for the entire lighting setup isn't always a good idea. Still, if users need dust, fog or snow penetration, amber lights are the way.
How to choose? Which is better? Amber or White?
With the differences between amber light and white light all laid out, which lighting color is better? The truth is that neither is inherently better than the other. Like anything, there are pros, cons, and nuance to the choice. Choosing an Amber or white light depends on people's needs and the conditions they see when driving. Ideally, people should put a mix of both amber and white LED lights on their ride's lighting suite. It's best to cover all the bases if possible, and having a set of amber or yellow fog lights certainly does look cool while filling out the rest of the truck with white lighting will give a nice forward lighting capability.
With an amber light lens cover applied to LED auxiliary lights, it offers users the versatility of having a white light and an amber light when they need it. For those who are always in areas with a lot of snow and super dusty during the summer, amber is a perfect choice. On the other hand, if the user is someone who doesn't face these driving conditions very much then getting a LED auxiliary light that is only white lighting is probably good for them.
OGA LED offers several series of top quality amber LED lights and light bars for off-road and worksite needs, and we love helping wholesalers select the perfect products for their market. To find the right amber lights for your market at our online inventory or give us a call for expert help with your selection.