If you need lights for your boats or RVs, then you’re going to have to search for 12 volt LED lights off grid.
The lights you need just don’t run on line voltage, meaning they don’t run on 120- or 240-volts AC.
Instead, they generally run on 12V DC.
This post, its photos and table include links to products on other websites. If you purchase something through these links we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
Why Go with the 12V LED System?
Here are some reasons why the 12-volt LED lights off grid system is your best bet:
It’s a Common Voltage Platform
It’s simply a fact that the vast majority of vehicle battery systems operate on 12V DC, which is especially true for RVs and boats.
That makes the 12V LED systems your obvious choice, because no other choice makes sense.
The 12-volt LED lights off grid system won’t require extra power supplies or transformers to convert the voltage.
Instead, you can just plug in the matching LED lights directly into your boat or RV system.
Even if you need extra power supply units, it’s not really an issue because 12V is very popular and common.
You can find these 12V power supplies everywhere, and they’ll be quite affordable.
Line Voltage LEDs are Complicated
A line voltage LED (whether 120 or 240 volts) can be rather complicated in its design.
You have LED chips, and there are complex electronics involved.
The design requires capacitors to convert the AC line voltage into DC so your LED lights can use the power.
What’s more, these intricate components have to be shrunk to fit into the tiny circuit board inside the bulb.
Inside the bulb, the temperatures can rise because the LEDs emit heat.
The capacitor may even fail because of the heat, leading to issues like blinking.
But things are simpler with the 12-volt LED lights off grid system.
With this low voltage design, the transformer and power supply are set apart from the LEDs.
The location keeps these parts away from the heat emitted by the LED, and even this location may be vented to make it cooler.
This design makes the electronics a lot more reliable.
Easy Repair or Replacement
In addition, even if the electronics turn faulty the repair or replacement of the faulty parts will be much easier.
In other words, repairs are easier since you can just replace the faulty parts.
In the line voltage design, you normally have to throw the entire LED bulb if it turns faulty.
That’s true even if just a single capacitor fails and all the other LEDs on the bulb are fine.
Reduced Electric Shock Risk
It’s also a fact that 12V LED systems are generally safer.
You have a much lower voltage involved, and the built-in resistance of your skin is less likely to be overcome by this 12V electrical current.
This makes things much safer for you, especially if you’re the DIY type who likes to play around and experiment with LED strips.
So, if you happen to inadvertently cause a short circuit, you won’t get sparks (or noisy bangs) that you might get with the lien voltage systems.
Because of the inherent safety of the 12-volt LED lights off grid system, the product design of these items is therefore simpler.
These products are then generally more affordable, and also less likely to break down.
Our TOP 5 12-Volt LED Lights Off Grid Systems
Now that you’re decided on the 12-volt LED lights off grid system, the next question is: which one do you get?
Predictably, there are too many options available in the market today.
Not everything is the same, with some options much better than the others.
Here are some of these better options:
“Nice and Bright White Lights”
Our Rating: 5
These are available in packs of 2 lights.
Even a pair of these 12-volt LED lights off grid systems may suffice for your RV or boat interior lighting.
These aren’t small lights at all, as each unit of 2 LED lights measure 11.25 inches long and 5 inches wide.
They don’t protrude much from the wall or ceiling, as they’re only 1.5 inches thick.
Kohree actually offers a wide range of lumen levels with their RV lights, but we opted to go with the 320-lumens option.
That lowers the cost, and even a single 2-pack gives you a lot of light to work with.
If a single pair of these lights isn’t enough for you, then you can always get more.
You also have 3 options when you go with the basic white color for the lights: warm, cool, or natural.
- Cool white. This offers greater visibility, and it’s especially useful when you’re using the lights for displays or intricate work.
- Warm white. The atmosphere of this color temperature is friendlier, which makes it great for home use.
- Natural white. This is quite functional and neutral, and it’s the compromise between the pop of cool white and the homey vibe of warm white.
Each of these LED lights can last for a very long time, as they’re rated for a lifespan of 60,000 hours.
If you use these lights 6 hours a day every day, you’d expect the lights to last for about 27 years!
It does help that these lights are resistant to corrosion and heat.
Minimal DIY Installation
If you don’t know anything about electrical wiring, you may have to find someone who can install this for you.
But you may want to try this yourself, since the DIY steps are simple enough even for newbies.
The instructions are quite clear (with pictures), and you already have the nuts and screws you need to install it on your RV ceiling.
However, you will need the right tools, though most DIY hobbyists will generally have these tools already.
You will need a Philips and a flat blade screwdriver, wire strippers, and side cutters.
This has a built-in switch, with 3 options.
You can turn both lights on or off, or you can have one on and the other off.
Don’t worry about the power consumption too much, as this pair only draws 6 watts.
“Terrific for RVs”
Our Rating: 4.5
Now these LED light bulbs come in that reassuringly familiar design, so there’s no real need for any DIY skills.
Just unscrew the old bulb, and put in the new LED bulb.
The greatest installation challenge is to reach the ceiling, but surely you should be able to figure it out.
These light bulbs measure 4.7 inches long and about 2.6 inches in diameter.
Just make sure your standing base is the E26 medium standard base, and you’re good to go.
These light bulbs only draw 7 watts each.
Yet, the warm white color we chose is just as bright as your old-fashioned 60-watt or even 70-watt incandescent light.
That’s a lot more energy-efficient, and minimizes the energy drain on your boat or RV battery.
If you’re paying 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, your energy costs for 3 hours of daily use will be less than a dollar per year!
However, you do get a warning about not using the 2 lights per package inside an enclosed fixture.
Sure, you can do this (it does offer nice mood lighting that way) but you’ll also shorten the lifespan.
The 700 lumens you get from each light bulb is terrific in lighting up any interior (or even exterior) space.
At the same time, the warm white colorisn’t all that harsh, and it offers a more relaxing atmosphere.
Design and Materials
This should last for a long while, with its unique design that gives greater protection to the built-in chip.
With the built-in LED driver and the use of aluminum, the heat generated will dissipate more quickly.
This makes for a more stable platform.
Even the screw is made of nickel, which lasts longer than many other metals.
It’s strong enough, and also quite resistant to rusting.
Since these lights look familiar and offer terrific illumination, plenty of people use them for backup lighting at home.
They’re great if you’re worried about power outage during storm seasons.
You can set up a system using car batteries, or even solar kits.
If you use these bulbs for an average of 3 hours a day, you can expect the bulbs to last for 10 years.
That means using them for 6 hours a day (which really overuses these bulbs, to be honest) still gives you a lifespan of 5 years.
Our Rating: 4.5
With this option, we got 6 light bulbs in the pack.
That’s certainly enough for most RVs, though of course we can still get extra ones when needed.
While the Chinese brand name may be rather unimpressive at first, these are actually well-made.
It’s a great option for those looking for 12-volt LED lights off grid.
Size and Base
For this light bulb, you need to check that your base type is either E27 or E26.
Then it’s just a matter of screwing off the old light bulb and screwing in the new one.
The new light bulb is 4.44 inches long and 2.36 inches wide at its widest point.
Energy Use and Brightness
You don’t have to worry about insufficient light, as each light bulb offers 630 lumens.
That’s about as bright as a 40-watt halogen light bulb.
Since each bulb only draws 7 watts, the yearly cost for using each bulb 3 hours a day is minimal.
In fact, it may not even cost you a whole dollar to use a single light bulb for an entire year.
Warm White Color
While you do have a cool white option, we opted for the warm white instead.
It offers a more relaxing light that’s perfect for the small confines of an RV or boat.
The color is similar to what you get with halogen light, and it feels comfy and healthy.
The white color also lets you see the true colors around you.
The light bulbs also offer consistent brightness, and the uniform intensity is nice when you use them for different rooms.
There’s no UV or heat issue, and you won’t have to worry about other annoying problems like flickering or a buzzing noise.
Works Best with DC
Of course, these are only true when you work with DC power.
You may try these light bulbs with AC power, but there may be some minor flickering every now and then.
Even as a 6-pack, these bulbs don’t cost all that much.
In fact, the cost of a single light bulb is about the same as a cup of coffee in a nice café.
Maybe that’s to be expected for a Chinese brand name, but you can be assured that your fears regarding quality aren’t justified.
You won’t have to keep buying new ones after you’ve bought these.
That’s because these bulbs can last more than 31 years if you use them an average of 3 hours a day.
More specifically, they’re rated for up to 35,000 hours of use.
The longevity can be attributed to the high quality of the built-in driver, and it also comes with a good heatsink design.
“Warm or Natural White Colors”
Our Rating: 4.5
Okay, so this option won’t be too easy for non-DIY enthusiasts.
It involves actually wiring the lights first.
But if you have even the smallest inkling about electrical wiring, this is actually extremely easy.
You only need to deal with the 2 wires, and you also already get the needed nuts and screws to set this in place nicely.
Superb Lumens to Watts Ratio
This option gives you a pair of LED lights per unit, and you get a total of 1,000 lumens.
That’s certainly bright enough for even a large room, never mind an RV.
Yet this only draws 5 watts of power.
It’s almost free power, when you think about the power usage.
Long Life Span
Lots of good LED lights can last 30,000 hours.
But this is an especially long-lasting LED light, since the projected lifespan is 60,000 hours.
That may be enough to last the rest of your life, and makes the annoying installation issue worth all that trouble.
You may not even mind having an electrician or a regular handyman install this for you, knowing that it will last much longer than you yourself.
You won’t have to deal with the installation ever again.
Do the math, and 3 hours of average daily use gives you a lifespan of about 55 years.
2 White Color Options
Most people are often torn between choosing a natural pure white and a warm white color.
The warm white is quite cozy, and it encourages you to relax.
However, the natural light offers a much better light source for reading.
It also gives you a neutral white light that doesn’t change the colors around you.
So, which do you pick?
With this option, you can go with either at any time.
The on/off switch also gives you the option of picking either natural white or warm white.
So, you can use the natural white when you’re working on something or reading a book.
When you just want to relax, you can switch to the warm white option.
The lens cover here is removable, but you can always keep it in place.
The cover doesn’t cause any shadows at all.
“Great Value for Money”
Our Rating: 4.5
This is another great option you can use for your boat, as this time you don’t have to bother with wiring.
Unscrew the old lightbulb and screw in this one, and you’re done.
This works on the A19 base system, drawing 7 watts of power while giving you 630 lumens.
That’s about the same as getting a traditional 60W light bulb.
The design used here comes with efficient venting, which contributes to the long lifespan.
What’s more, the design looks great, so you don’t have to use it enclosed fixtures.
It also uses a separate driver design, which helps with heat dissipation.
All in all, each lightbulb here can last about 35,000 hours.
This comes with both a natural daylight white color, as well as a warm white color.
While the natural white looks great, the warm white is much more relaxing.
Either way, each option gives you a mostly neutral tint that doesn’t affect how you perceive the colors in the room.
If outdoor natural light has a CRI (color rendering index) of 100, these lightbulbs have a CRI of 85.
That means with the warm white, you still get accurate color perception even while your eyes feel more comfortable.
Works with Dimmer
No, these aren’t dimmable lights.
Normally, you’re not able to use non-dimmable LED lights with a dimmer switch, as it often leads to flickering or noise issues,
But the upgraded 12-volt LED lights off grid system here can work with a dimmer switch with flickering or noise.
Conclusion: 12 Volt LED Lights Off Grid System
With these 12 volt LED lights off grid system options, you’re able to illuminate your RV or even your shed a lot more effectively.
As power source it can use car batteries or solar panels.
That way, you can make sure you have proper 12V LED lighting in your RV even when you’re on the go.
At home, you’re also protected if you suffer a power outage.
These are simply bright and cost-effective light bulbs that won’t cost you a lot at all.
Go with 12 volt LED lights off grid systems, and you can really enjoy your RV experience!