LED, Halogen, or Strobe: Choosing the Right Light

police emergency light

Emergency lighting is a basic safety requirement for vehicles used in responding to emergency situations like police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Emergency lights are also available to construction and utility trucks, serving many purposes. They produce maximum lighting output on a target area, protect construction and utility workers at the work site, and alert other oncoming motorists of their presence.

Heavy machinery like excavators, bulldozers, and cement mixers used for road widening or repair projects also need the right lighting to ensure workers are protected from oncoming traffic. Right lighting also helps in preventing work-zone chaos and accidents, whether workers are on-ground or operating machinery. Emergency and warning lights are installed on a truck’s bumper, cab, and grills while some are attached to windows or are permanently mounted on the truck’s exterior.

In a fast-moving and busy environment, choosing the right type of lighting is important to keep the area well-lit and safe all the time. Lights must be highly visible even from a long distance so every party is protected and forewarned. Many lighting options are available, but LED, halogen, and strobe lights are the ones commonly used by emergency lighting outfitters.

Here’s an overview on each type of lighting, including the features that make them a great lighting option.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

he roof-mounted light bar of an emergency vehicleKnown best for its energy-efficiency and high-intensity, LED lighting is the most in-demand emergency lighting option today. Emergency LED lights offer great visibility, especially at night and during extreme weather conditions. While LED lights may be more expensive than other types of lighting, they are more durable and usually come with longer manufacturer warranty. As LED lights offer more illumination with less number of lights, using LED lights also significantly reduce costs and energy consumption. In addition to providing exceptionally bright light, LED lights have a longer life span which means they don’t need to be replaced frequently. Having a longer life span also means less carbon emissions. Unlike fluorescent strip lights, LED lights are eco-friendly because they don’t contain mercury which may contaminate the environment when disposed in a landfill.


Halogen is the oldest type of lighting and at one point, the only choice of lighting available in the market. Halogen light bulbs contain a small amount of halogen gas and a tungsten filament. Like incandescent light, halogens produce warm light but use less energy. Once switched on, halogens get to their full brightness and does not need time to warm up like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Halogen lights are bright enough to pierce through rain, making them a good choice for emergency lighting.


Tube-style strobe lights are very bright, making them easier to see from afar. They are less expensive than LED lights, but they require a power source to operate. Strobe lights can last up to six months while the power source usually has a two-year life span.

The three different types of lights mentioned above have their own advantages. Choosing which lighting to use for a vehicle will ultimately depend on one’s budget, amount of use, and just plain old personal preference.

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