The 10 Best Underbody Underglow Kits
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. There are few more affordable ways to attract attention to your vehicle than by installing underglow lighting. Whether you choose a set that pulses to the beat of your music or you opt for a demure setup that emits steady illumination, an underbody kit will make your ride stand out. If you plan to turn these on while driving, be sure to know your state's laws regarding their use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 02, 2020:
While the list previously had options to accommodate cars, trucks, and SUVs, today we rounded things out by adding an option made for RVs and campers. The LEDGlow RV features 20 acrylic tubes that are water resistant and can handle high impacts. In all, they incorporate more than 1,800 LEDs and are installed to the undercarriage of your rig using the included 15-degree angled brackets that position them to provide a large color spill. Not only can they produce 27 special effects, but they can also be set up to react to music. They come with USB extension cables that can add 10 feet of length to any of the tubes, giving you more mounting possibilities. The plug-and-play USB connectivity makes it easy to add more tubes to an existing setup, as well. A helpful installation guide for these walks you through the process step by step. They join the LEDGlow Slimline on the list, which comes from the same manufacturer and retains the top spot in today’s update. This set is designed for cars or trucks and comprises 324 bright bulbs that are a cinch to operate from the front seat using the dash-mounted control box, or they can be controlled using the wireless fob-style remote.
For a pod-style design, look to the Inorising RGB, which consists of eight durable aluminum pods, each of which contains three LEDs. Their tough glass will withstand impacts well from debris or rocks that might fly up as you drive. This versatile choice is suitable for use on boats, under wheels of vehicles, on your chassis, and more. You can control them conveniently through an app on your smartphone. Our selection even has something for your ride when hit the links. The OTP7 Aura Golf Cart comes with 10 flexible strips that cover all four sides of your vehicle. Be aware, however, that with this option, a voltage reducer might be required for installation on your golf cart.
As noted in the previous update, you should know that certain underglow lights are not permitted in some states on moving vehicles. As such, before investing in a set, make sure you’re aware of the regulations that govern where you live. For more lighting options for your vehicle, see our lists of LED strip lights for cars and LED headlights.
July 03, 2019:
Ground effects lighting is a simple, affordable way to brighten up your vehicle and become the center of attention. Underbody underglow kits typically mount to the chassis of your car or truck. Whether you’re looking for rigid pods or flexible strips, multi-colored or monochromatic, our selection has you covered.
While they can certainly be placed underneath your vehicle, the newly added Xprite Rock can also be installed in the bed of a truck. The slim, quarter-inch profile of these rectangular-shaped pods makes them easy to conceal, so they won’t hang below the bed rails. These bright lights can also be useful in providing illumination when you’re working on or near your vehicle after dark, without the need for a portable lamp. They’re also suitable for use as lighting for your backyard or underneath cabinets. When used in your vehicle, you’ll appreciate the simple on-off rocker switch. They come in at an extremely budget-friendly price in eight color choices.
The Oracle Four Piece, also new to our selection, offers a multitude of color patterns and shifting effects, and you can control them using your smartphone via the corresponding downloadable app. Thanks to the heavy-gauge wiring and waterproof construction, these LED lights are protected even in extreme conditions. They plug into a 12-volt power source and are ideal for your 4x4, Jeep, truck, or off-road vehicle. To accommodate different body shapes, they come with both flush and curved mounting bases. And with their two-year warranty, you can buy them with confidence.
In this update, the Ambother 1845 was removed from the list due to non-availability. Also making its exit is the Ambother 1862, as a result of some reported quality-related issues.
Before purchasing this type of product, be aware that certain underglow lights are illegal in some states. Common colors that are outlawed on moving vehicles include red and blue, due to the resemblance to emergency vehicle or police lights. Some laws also forbid any color of flashing light on the road. Know your laws and stick to using these lights in places other than on public roads, if necessary.
Getting The Glow
Both serve a similar purpose of alerting bystanders to your presence, the main difference being that whereas one is for a mobile machine, the other protects a pedestrian.
Regardless of how it's used or perceived, there is no denying that light is synonomous with power. Depending on its color, light can even be used to personify the qualities of good and evil. In his quest to reach the final level of becoming a martial arts master, for example, the fictional character of Leroy Green unlocks the mystical power of a body-surrounding, sublime golden glow, empowering him to defeat the bad guy in Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon. Okay, I admit that this movie was really cool to me back in the 80s, so no judgments. That said, this example shows that a "glow" can mean much more than just light coming from a lamp. It personifies a sense of being, power, and control. A great way to embody these very same qualities when behind the wheel is by outfitting your vehicle with an underbody underglow kit.
Also known as ground effects lighting, the underbody underglow kit is an aftermarket aesthetic customization consisting of a series of lights attached to a car's chassis, allowing for illumination of the ground below. Underglow lighting is broken up into two main categories, neon and light-emitting diode technology. While neon ground effects lighting has the advantage of being extra-bright on the road, its tubing is quite fragile. This makes neon underglow kits ideal for installation on automobiles that aren't driven on rough terrain, as even slight bumps can potentially damage their tubing. Installing a neon underglow kit usually involves wiring a transformer into a vehicle and bolting the lighting assembly directly to the car's chassis. Certain neon underglow kits are also compatible with specialized modules that, when wired into a car's audio system, allow the lights to change according to the type of music being played.
By contrast, LED underglow kits are sturdier, more compact, and significantly more durable than their neon-based counterparts. LEDs are a type of solid-state lighting that make use of semiconductors to generate light as opposed to super-heated gas inside a glass tube. Many LED underglow kits are vibration-resistant and more energy-efficient than neon kits. They are capable of displaying complex lighting patterns, including strobe, chase, and even fading effects. LEDs can also be mounted into small nooks and crannies of a vehicle. Common installation locations include a car's interior, inside the engine bay, on top of air-intake scoops, and even behind the wheel wells. Additional wiring can also be leveraged by an LED underglow kit to allow it to respond to your car's sound system or engine RPM.
Some LED underglow kits can be completely submerged in water, making them ideal for trailers in need of additional illumination to help light the road during heavy rains or snowstorms. Aside from their aesthetic value, don't forget that these kits serve an important function when it comes to overall safety, too. Whether you’re plowing through snow, fog, or just a long stretch of dark and barren highway at night, these lights will be noticed sooner and from farther away than ordinary front-facing headlights. Underglow kits provide a full 360-degree range of visibility that allows other bystanders to know where you are. I like to think of the underbody underglow kit on a car as being analogous to an LED vest. Both serve a similar purpose of alerting bystanders to your presence, the main difference being that whereas one is for a mobile machine, the other protects a pedestrian.
Being Practical When Tricking Out Your Ride
While both neon and LED underglow kits can be installed professionally, one of the major advantages to these aftermarket accessories is found in the customization available to the DIY enthusiast when tricking out a ride on their own. That said, if you're the type of person who wants to install an underglow kit yourself, it's a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of electrical wiring to ensure your safety. A pair of electrician gloves is highly recommended as well, especially if you're working around a car's sound system or engine components.
Depending on where you live, the laws may be different, so just keep that in mind before jumping into such a project.
Consider an underbody underglow kit that is Bluetooth-compatible with an ability to customize its brightness as well as the speed at which its lights will change color. Furthermore, if you plan to do any off-roading with a large pickup truck, the kit you choose should include durable light pods that can withstand potential impacts, while also being flexible enough to easily contour to the shape of your vehicle's underside.
Some underbody underglow kits also come equipped with a remote control, which makes it easy to operate your lights from up to 100 feet away.
As empowering as it is to imagine yourself driving on the highway at night with the radio blasting and those neon or LED lights pulsing on the road below you, it's important to understand the laws and legalities associated with these kits. Depending on where you live, the laws may be different, so just keep that in mind before jumping into such a project.
A Very Brief History Of Underbody Underglow Kits
Light emitting diode technology dates as far back as 1907 when electroluminescence was discovered by British inventor H. J. Round of Marconi Labs. LED technology didn't appear as a practical component application until 1962, initially taking the form of low-intensity infrared light. Today's LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, exhibiting very high levels of brightness from which most automobiles benefit on long stretches of dark road.
With respect to ground-effects lighting, the concept of LED and neon underglow kits have a relatively short history that began around 1987. These kits were developed by a man named Andrew Wilson who currently holds several patents.
Today's high-end LED underglow kits are available in several types, including pod-style lights, LED strips, and flexible LED tubing.