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Rigid Industries vs. Generic Chinese LED Light Bars

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  • Rigid Industries vs. Generic Chinese LED Light Bars

    Auxiliary LED lighting has taken over the automotive aftermarket in recent years and it's for good reason, LED lights are extremely efficient and allow for more configurations than typical halogen lights. Today, you won't find a professional rock crawler or trophy truck competing without an LED light bar. So the questions becomes not if an LED light bar is the right choice, but which LED light bar is the right choice?

    Rigid Industries is probably the biggest name in LED lighting at the moment and a lot of that has to do with the millions of dollars that they spend each year on advertising, yet we've always wondered if their products are really worth their price considering similar lights sell for around one tenth of the cost on Amazon and Ebay.

    Here is what we found out....

  • #2
    Rigid Industries does assemble their lights in the US, however, it is well known that their internal components all come from overseas and, while they can accurately claim that their lights are made in the USA, they are really made using the same components available to all other LED light manufacturers. While having a US facility and employing US workers does make their products more expensive to manufacture overall, that still does not justify an MSRP price that is ten times higher than similar lights.

    For comparison, the Rigid 50" RDS series light bar, a curved dual row LED light bar has an MSRP price of $1,999.99 and is listed around the web for $1,899.99 with free shipping. Amazon and eBay both list similar light bars with almost identical specifications for $219.99 to $239.99, also with free shipping.

    While the cheaper lights often ship from overseas directly from the manufacturer, Rigid Industries uses a distribution network of wholesalers and resellers, all of whom need to make their cut. At $1,899.99 the retailer takes 25% and the wholesaler takes another 20% leaving about $1,045 for Rigid. How much of that goes into the actual manufacturing of the light and how much goes towards advertising and profit? Your guess is as good as ours but it's clear that a very large amount of every Rigid light bar sale goes to pay retailers, wholesalers, advertising expenses, and of course into the owner's pockets.

    As for the lights themselves, we will let you be the judge, just take a look at the photos posted below. And for how the two compare in real world use? Let's just say they are both damn freaking bright! At the time of this writing, we've run both brands of lights for over a year and have been very pleased with their performance, reliability, and durability. We would highly recommend either brand.

    Note: Typical margins on off-road parts and accessories are closer to about 10% so by offering retailers over double the profit on their products they get them to push their product line more than other brands.
    Last edited by Insider; 02-22-2015, 11:22 AM.

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    • #3
      While the two lights are not completely identical, they are very, very similar. The biggest difference from this end was that one uses silicone to seal the end cap and the other uses a rubber gasket.

      Click image for larger version

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      Last edited by Insider; 02-22-2015, 11:12 AM.

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      • #4
        As for the mounting legs, again, more or less identical.

        Click image for larger version

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        • #5

          Finally, the LEDs and optics appear to be slightly different, however, their specifications on paper and real world results are practically identical.

          Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            One more side by side close-up shot to show the slight differences.

            Click image for larger version

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