What is the difference between a Surface Mount LED Strobe Lights and a Hideaway Strobe Lights

Posted by Extreme Tactical Dynamics on Dec 30th 2019

When preparing your emergency vehicle for its future assignments, the right choice of emergency vehicle lights is one of the most significant factors of all. The lights are, along with the auditory sirens, vital for alerting other road users to your presence and the added visibility is crucial or navigating traffic-heavy areas, whether it’s a patrol or attending to a victim. Either way, surface mount LED strobe light and hideaway strobe light are two of the most common solutions by far.

While you’ve probably heard about both surface mount LED strobe lights and hideaway strobe lights, knowing which solution is right for your needs is another challenge altogether. Here’s all you need to know before making a calculated decision.

The Similarities Between Surface Mount LED Strobe Lights And Hideaway Strobe Lights

Before looking at the differences between the two types of emergency vehicle lights, it’s important to appreciate their similarities too. Aside from a shared primary purpose of gaining increased visibility on the road during various jobs, the two types of lighting solutions use LED lights for greater efficiency, increased brightness, and improved versatility or the user.

Both solutions are available in multiple options courtesy of different manufacturers. They can each be programmed to work in conjunction with other emergency vehicle lights for optimized performance. Meanwhile, both surface mount LED strobe lights and hideaway strobe lights utilize a range of colors and lighting patterns.

In most cases, the LED fitting will work in all of the standard and popular warning colors including red, white,blue, amber, and green. Solid lights, blinking, and alternating flashing colors are just some of the outcomes you can choose. The exact features will vary from one product to the next, which is why anyone purchasing emergency vehicle lights is advised to check the specifications of any chosen product.

Surface Mount LED Strobe Lights Versus Hideaway Strobe Lights

Despite their shared fundamentals, surface mount LEDs and hideaway LEDs are two very different types of emergency vehicle lights. Therefore, it’s important to learn a little more about each option before making the right decision on which is right for your vehicle. Here’s all you need to know about their unique characteristics.

Surface Mount LED Lights

Surface mount LED lights kits, including our popular Tracer 6 TIR Grille and Surface Mount set, offer a high-grade, robust, and versatile lighting setup that can be added to various parts of the emergency vehicle through a range of installment options. Popular locations include the front grille, mirrors, bumpers, tail lights, doors, trunk lifts, and A/C condensers.

The surface mount LED light kits are very cheap as a single unit, but most users will add multiple lights to the places mentioned above. Even so, with packs ranging from between 2 and 10 units available at excellent prices, this is a very affordable way to upgrade the visibility of the car during patrols as well as emergency situations. Not least because the multipacks can be synced with each other.

Surface mounts can come with 3,4, or 6 LEDs in each unit. This obviously impacts the power and performance, but also provides great flexibility as to the coverage gained on each part of the vehicle. In fact, it probably surpasses the layout options of the hideaway alternatives. It is also possible to take the lighting situation to new levels through the use of a dash light.

SAE J845 & J595 standards are met, as are California Title 13 requirements. The pattern memories can be wired for synchronization and alternation with ease. As such, those looking for multiple LED strobe lights around the vehicle can choose this option for added visibility to other road users as well as improved visibility of the road. Moreover, it’s very easy to unfix and remove them should you ever decide to change your mind.

Hideaway Strobe Lights

Hideaway strobe lights are small yet powerful LED lights that are virtually impossible to spot unless you know they are. They sit next to the standard lights within the setup before delivering a strong strobe of light when they are eventually needed. Once turned on, they increase visibility and produce a powerful light in the right direction while still offering great versatility. 

They can be surface mounted, but are commonly fixed into the headlight or taillight as this makes them inconspicuous until the moment that they are needed. The versatility is also reflected by the fact you can choose a range of flash patterns (the Hideaway 9 LED Strobe light, for example, boasts 19) as well as the fact that the easy installation means that the lights are guaranteed to work on any vehicle model. Meanwhile, through the use of a flange, you can fix them to any flat surface on the vehicle.

Whether opting for a solution with 6, 8, 9, or another number of LED lights, their power is very noticeable. The waterproof hideaways do not come with an on/off or flash pattern switch. So, if you don’t already have a power supply installed, adding a switch to operate these lights will be necessary. Still, you will be ready to produce a wide range of colors. As such, they can be used as emergency warnings (red, blue, etc.) as well as for white light and added visibility.

Most hideaways meet California 13 requirements and exceed SAE J845 and J945 expectations, particularly when synched with other lighting solutions. Ultimately, as the name suggests, hideaways are small devices that you can pretty much forget about until they are actually needed. For patrols and undercover cop cars, they are a stunning solution that offers great possibilities.

So, Which Is Right For You?

There is no single right or wrong answer. In fact, you may even use both types of emergency vehicle strobe lights simultaneously depending on the vehicle model and function. Now that you have the necessary information, you should be ready to make a calculated decision.

Alternatively, if you still require some help, you can contact our friendly team of experts for further support.

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