Strobe Tube Kits vs. LED Hideaways

Posted by Extreme Tactical Dynamics on Jun 26th 2019

If you want better visibility on your vehicle, you should add a strobe tube kit or LED hideaway. These different light types offer many advantages and some cons as well. To help you decide, we will go over the basics of each light type and technology used.

Strobe Tube Kit Basics

Strobe tube kits are usually sold with a power pack. The power pack can vary in available wattage and heads. Some of the most popular kits on the market today include:

  • 65-watt, 2 head
  • 80-watt, 4 head
  • 120-watt, 6 head
  • 160-watt, 8 head

Due to its design, the power pack of a strobe kit will include an on/off switch and flash pattern switch. Most systems will also allow you to choose hi or low intensity to adjust to any situation.

Many EMS, construction, farm, undercover vehicles, and government agencies install strobe tube kits in their fleets because the units can be installed in headlights, taillights, and reverse lights. When installed properly the lights are concealed until powered on. When powered on, the Xenon technology used in the tubes allows it to create a bright, white light.

LED Hideaway Basics

LED hideaways are popular emergency vehicle lights because they are extremely versatile. Like strobe light kits, hideaways are easy to install in headlights, taillights, and reverse lights. However, with an LED hideaway, you have more versatile mounting options. With the aid of a mounting flange, an LED hideaway can be surface mounted on any flat surface.

Hideaway strobes also differ from strobe tube kits because they are waterproof and don’t come with an on/off or flash pattern switch. Unlike a kit that comes with a power pack, there is no way to power this type of lighting without an additional on/off switch. What this means is if you don’t already have a power source installed, you will need to add a switch to operate these lights.

Hideaways with LED technology are also easy to synchronize with other units in a set-up and meet or exceed SAE J845 and J945 expectations. Most hideaways also meet California 13 requirements, which makes them ideal for POVs, patrol cars, and utility vehicles. As you can see, there are quite a few subtle differences between the two different light types, but we haven’t quite cracked what the big difference is yet.

What’s the Big Difference between LED Hideaways and Strobe Tube Kits?

You’re probably wondering what the big difference is between these strobe lights for cars. From here on out, we are going to discuss the technology used to create each of these light types. The biggest differences between these lights is technology-based, because each uses a different process to create light and use various sources of energy.

Strobe Tube Kits are made with Xenon Bulbs

A strobe tube kit is sold with tubes with Xenon gas inside. This gas is used to heat the wire inside the bulb. When the bulb is heated appropriately, white light will be produced. The wire inside the tubes also help the bulb not catch on fire. Due to its design, if a strobe tube is dropped, it will shatter releasing Xenon gas. A Xenon gas strobe tube is similar to an incandescent light bulb that is used in many homes and businesses. LEDs use a different technology and process to create light output.

LED Hideaways USE LED Technology

LEDs are designed with a 2-lead semiconductor and a light-emitting diode. The design of this type of hideaway forms a p-n junction that will create light when activated. Unlike strobe kits that only produce white light, hideaways use diodes, which can be created with different colors.

Now that you realize technology plays a big part in distinguishing strobe tube kits from hideaways, it’s important to discuss why these differences should be significant to you. Below, we will go over the pros and cons of each light type. After considering all of the facts below, you should be better prepared to determine which type of lighting meets your emergency vehicle set-up better.

Strobe Tube Kit Pros and Cons


  • Very bright
  • Last a long time
  • Been around longer
  • Create good illumination in daytime or nighttime hours


  • Tube will shatter if dropped
  • Relies on filament gas to operate
  • Uses more power than LED technology
  • Only designed for utilization in headlights, taillights, and reflectors
  • Don’t last as long as units created with LED technology
  • May cause a harsh glare due to excessive brightness

LED Hideaway Pros and Cons


  • Small size
  • Extremely durable
  • More energy efficient
  • Uses newer technology
  • Relies on electrons and diodes
  • Can be surface mounted with a mounting flange
  • Offers more versatile mounting options than strobe tubes


  • Expensive

Which Light Type is Right for You?

Now that we’ve gone over the differences between strobe tube kits and LED hideaways including the pros and cons of each light and their respective technologies, it is time to help you determine which light type is right for you?

To do this, you will have to consider your budget, color choices, mounting requirements, and emergency consumption expectations. If you have a smaller budget, only need headlight and taillight brightness, and aren’t worried about energy consumption, then a strobe tube kit is a perfect solution for you rather than a strobe light bar.

If you want to create illumination in the same areas, have a bigger budget, may want to install some surface mount lighting, and are only interested in solutions that decrease your energy consumption, you’ll want to choose LED hideaways for your vehicle.

If you have any questions about the strobe kit or LED hideaway options, please feel free to contact our expert team that will help you select the best choice for your vehicle.

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