Your truck bed is already the most versatile part of your truck, so why not make it more versatile with truck bed lights? Whether you’re camping with your truck or out working at night, the addition of lights to your truck bed can really come in handy.
The lights can help you locate your tools more easily or set up camping equipment. Even if you’re just on an evening shopping run, truck bed lights can help you put your cargo in the right place.
When you start adding aftermarket accessories to your truck, one of the best investments is a truck bed liner by DualLiner. Our truck bed liners protect the stock finish of your truck bed and help it last much longer than using a spray-on liner.
What are Truck Bed Lights?
If you drive a recent model pickup truck, you might have cargo bed lighting that is connected to the same housing as the brake light by your rear window. The cargo lights likely come on when you either open your truck’s doors or push a button in the cabin.
However, like many OEM options, this is a very spartan method of lighting up your truck bed and may not adequately serve your needs. Aftermarket additions can vastly improve the lighting level in your truck bed.
Why Do You Need Truck Bed Lights?
You might need truck bed lights if you don’t have any lights in your bed currently, or if the OEM lights in your bed aren’t good enough for your needs. The main reason anyone would need truck bed lights is if you plan to operate your truck at night or in low-light areas and you also need to see into your cargo area.
Most commonly this might include camping with your truck or in your truck bed, or it might include working at night on a construction or road crew site. Truck bed lights can come in handy for many situations.
How Do Truck Bed Lights Work?
As mentioned earlier, stock bed lights are usually on the same wiring as your rear cab-mounted brake light and are operated by a button in the cabin or come on automatically when the doors open. However, aftermarket bed lights can work in several different ways.
For example, some might have dimmable options, multiple color options, flashing options, a wireless remote, or a tailgate switch. The way your lights work will depend on the type of light setup you get.
Most lights will require you to connect wiring to your truck’s battery and install an included switch. This is very similar to how you would install aftermarket fog lights or other off-road lights.
Truck Bed Light Options
The good thing about aftermarket truck bed lights is that there are a lot of options for different styles. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
Bed Strip Light Kit
These are strips of LED lights that install beneath the bed rails of your truck. Most of these kits install using wiring to connect to your truck’s battery.
The lights can be turned on and off with an included switch, however, it is also possible to wire them to turn on and off with your truck’s door lights. Some kits might require you to drill into your truck bed for installation, which may not be appealing to some people.
Off-Road Light Pod Kit
Anything geared towards off-road enthusiasts is likely to be big and bright. These kits feature light pods with multiple LED lights to generate a lot of light. Some of these kits feature only white light, but others come in multiple colors and can flash or be set to music.
These lights are usually controlled through a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. The corresponding app can be used to control various extra functions like timers and colors.
OEM Cargo Lights
It’s also possible to find OEM-style cargo lights in the aftermarket. These lights typically only provide basic illumination, but they’re easy to install and wire into your dome light. OEM cargo lights can be more expensive than an extensive LED setup.
There are other types of aftermarket lighting billed as cargo lights that do the same thing as the OEM cargo lights, but these are typically battery-powered and affix to any area of your bed via a tough adhesive. These are arguably the easiest type to install and won’t require any DIY wiring knowledge.
When searching for truck bed lights, you might notice that the vast majority of them are LED setups. This is because LED lights have three major benefits:
- Low power draw
- Very bright for their size
- Very little heat generation
Many popular truck models have optional truck bed lighting that you can get with an upgraded trim package. One example is Ford’s “Zone Lighting” which is available on the 2021-2022 F150 XLT and 2022 Lightning Lariat trim packages.
Popular Truck Bed Light Brands
There are several brands that make some type of truck bed light setup. Niilight is probably the top-selling and top-reviewed brand that makes the strip style of truck bed lights.
Nilight sells various versions of the strip light product, some with only white lights, and others with colored lights.
Another popular strip style brand is Xprite. This brand specializes in color light strip kits with different sizes and features. Xprite also makes pod light kits in different sizes.
Excoup is another highly rated brand that makes bed light kits that install underneath the bed rails, which gives a bright flooding effect when activated.
In general, truck bed lights are not terribly expensive. Whether you’re looking for a simple strip setup, pods, or adhesive cargo lights, most kits are under $50. This makes it easy to double up on kits if you need more than the standard amount of lighting.
However you decided to accessorize your truck bed, you can’t go wrong with a truck bed liner from DualLiner. DualLiner’s unique bed liner system is durable and long-lasting with a protective no-skid rubber mat to make loading and loading cargo easier and safer, even in the dark.