Lights serve a range of very practical purposes on boats. And they can also make your craft look a real beauty when the sun goes down.
But if you’re looking for new lights, the choice on offer can be bewildering. Fortunately, we’re here to help!
We’re going to check out eight of the best LED boat lights out there. We’ll look at lights for a range of different needs. And we’ll share their good – and not-so-good – features to help you make the perfect pick.
So without further ado, let’s find out what’s on offer …
These interior utility lights from Shangyuan will give you light wherever you need it. They come in packs of six, and you can choose from clean white light or blue, red, green or yellow.
Each light measures 3.8 inches long overall and uses 12 volts of DC power. The illuminated part of the light measures 2.95 by 0.8 by 0.2 inches and provides 120 lumens. They’re waterproof and shockproof.
They’re easy to install, with just two wires – black for negative and white for positive. You’ll also get a screw set and foam tape bases to make mounting them a doddle.
They work brilliantly as courtesy lights, or to highlight steps, the center console, cockpit or transom. They won’t get too hot when they’re in use. And they have an impressive lifespan of 50,000 hours.
They’re not particularly robust, though. Be careful not to overtighten the mounting screws, or you may crack the plastic.
And note that they need to be mounted on as flat a surface as possible. There’s no flexibility in the plastic, so any curves will mean they’re not flush against the wall.
Six lights at a very economical price
Very easy to install
Waterproof and shockproof
A little flimsy – don’t overtighten the mounting screws, or you may crack the plastic
Need to be mounted against a completely flat surface to stay flush.
Exzeit’s marine lights provide flood lighting with a range of 120 degrees. They come in pairs and use OSRAM LEDs to give a bright, crisp light in a choice of blue or white.
They’re perfect for night fishing or as navigation, cockpit or courtesy lights. Each light measures 6.3 inches across and 1.7 inches tall. The depth is 2 inches.
They have aluminum housing, so they won’t rust. And the mounting brackets and fixings are all made of stainless steel, so they’ll cope with the rigors of marine life.
Every light goes through a strict 2-hour test to check it’s waterproof. If there are any issues within two years of purchase, Exzeit guarantee a replacement free of charge.
One thing to note is that the mounting bracket is rather small, which makes installation a bit fiddly. And we’ve heard of a few minor issues with the fixings. But the price is low enough to offer great value, even if you end up buying an extra screw.
Choice of blue or white light
Come with a two-year replacement warranty
The mounting bracket is quite small, so installation is a little fiddly
We’ve heard of a few minor issues with the fixings.
Strip lights are a great way to jazz up your boat after dark. These 12-volt lights from Vbakor offer a huge range of different colors and effects.
Each pack contains a 16.4 foot long roll of lights together with a 44-button remote control. The latter will allow you to select different effects at the push of a button.
You can choose from multiple colors and flash, fade and jump effects. You can speed up or slow down the sequence. And you can store up to six of your own preferred programs. The remote control will work from as far as 26 feet away from the lights.
Installation is easy, as long as the surface is flat and dry. The adhesive on the back of the strips is nice and strong. You’ll also get ten 3M tabs to provide extra grip at corners, ends or any other spots where it’s needed.
Cut points are marked after every three LEDs to allow you to make adjustments if the strip is too long.
The lights stay cool when they’re switched on. And they meet the IP65 standard for being waterproof.
We have, however, heard of some issues with quality assurance. Some people have found that the odd LED doesn’t work. And if you’re using more than one strip with a switch, note that you’ll need a separate connection for each strip.
Switch between different colors using the remote control
Eight different lighting effects
Meet the IP65 waterproof standard
We’ve heard of some issues with strips containing defective lights
If you want to use more than one strip with a switch, you’ll need a separate connection for each one.
If you’re looking for some super-bright navigation lights, these from Oznium should make your shortlist. They come in pairs, with one red light for port and one green light for starboard in each pack. You can choose from either black or silver housing.
The LEDs will stay cool no matter how long they’re switched on for. The green light shines at 31 lumens and the red at 19 lumens. Both will be visible from 2 nautical miles away.
Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the forward angle of the lights. That means that unless your bow is angled perfectly, they won’t meet the US Coast Guard regulations on front and side angles. They’ll be fine for use inland, but not at sea.
They’re very easy to install. All you’ll need to do is drill a hole an inch in diameter and connect up the two wires. The black wire is negative while the red is positive. The job takes only a few minutes. You might, though, want to add an extra couple of screws to avoid them rotating.
They’re designed to take marine conditions in their stride. They meet IP68 waterproof standards, and the anodized aluminum housing is very tough. They come with a lifetime replacement warranty too.
Visible up to 2 nautical miles away
Meet 1P68 waterproof standards
Come with a lifetime replacement warranty
You can’t adjust the forward angle, so these may not meet regulations for use at sea
You may find you need a couple of extra screws to prevent them from rotating.
Seaponer’s flexible LED lights come in a strip 16.4 feet long. They have a self-adhesive backing for easy installation, and you’ll also get ten LED strip clips and screws.
The lights here are a single color, an attractive shade of blue. The strips can be cut at intervals of three LEDS to get the perfect size for your boat. They look great illuminating gunwhales, cockpits, decks or center consoles.
They meet the IP65 standard for being waterproof, but that doesn’t mean they’ll cope with being submerged! Don’t try using them to illuminate baitwells – at least not without enclosing them in vinyl tubing first.
One other thing to be aware of is that the self-adhesive backing isn’t as sticky as it could be. You might find you need to give it extra help with some spray-on glue.
Attractive blue color
Can be trimmed to the perfect length
Comes with self-adhesive backing and ten clips and screws
PSEQT’s interior LEDs provide light in six different colors – blue, green, amber, purple, red and white. They can be used to illuminate steps, cockpits, the central console – anywhere you want better visibility after dark. And they come in packs of ten.
Each light includes six LED bulbs in ABS housing. They meet the IP67 waterproof standard. And they’re designed to resist shocks and dust, with a working life of 50,000 hours.
They come with foam tape bases, but you don’t need to rely on adhesive to hold them in place. There are two holes and mounting screws for each light, and two wires to connect up.
They’re nice and bright – 120 lumens. And they come with a five-year warranty.
They’re not the heaviest duty lights out there. And if you’re trying to install them on surfaces that aren’t completely flat, expect it to take a while. But these are very modestly priced, and they look great.
Great value for a pack of ten
Waterproof to IP67 standard
Come with a five-year warranty
Not particularly heavy duty
Installing them on surfaces that aren’t completely flat is a bit of a pain.
Partsam’s round LED lamps provide an attractive blue light that works beautifully on a bow, stern, swim platform or transom. They come in packs of four, each one with a diameter of 3 inches.
They have an electroplated plastic bezel and polycarbonate lens, so they’re strong but lightweight. They’re also resistant to corrosion in the challenging marine environment. And they achieve the IP67 rating for waterproofing.
They’re designed to be surface mounted, and they’re easy to install. They come with all the mounting screws needed too.
Getting them to sit completely flush, however, takes a little more work. That’s because two tabs at the back of the light get in the way. As a result, you’ll see light leaking from the back of the unit.
To deal with this, you can drill a pilot hole for the screw, then a larger hole for the housing. Alternatively, some people have shaved down the tabs.
We’ve also heard of one case where the light was purple, rather than blue. That’s a cautionary tale to check that the color is what you want before you start drilling into your boat!
Boaton uses two strips of LED lights to act as navigation lights. Both strips are 13 inches long. One strip has red LED lights for port, the other has green for starboard.
They use eighteen 5050 LED chips to create a light that’s far brighter than traditional navigation lights. They can be seen up to 4 miles away.
The lights are 12 volts and are rated to the IP767 waterproof standard. Their shell is made of high quality silicone, and they have a life of 50,000 hours. You’ll also get a one-year warranty for peace of mind.
They can be installed very easily, without the need for any drilling. Simply remove the protective backing and press the self-adhesive surface into place. They’re flexible enough that they can be installed on surfaces that aren’t completely flat too.
The adhesion is designed to be strong enough to hold them in place, while still allowing them to be moved. If you want a stronger bond, add extra marine grade silicone.
Note too that because these are strips, you won’t be able to adjust the angle. So while they’re fine to be used as accent lights, they won’t meet regulations for navigation lights at sea.
Very simple installation
Can be installed effectively on surfaces that aren’t completely flat
Come with a one-year warranty
You may want to add extra silicone for a firmer bond
Fine as accent lights, but they won’t meet coast guard regulations for navigation lights at sea.