If you’re looking for pod lighting, the Baja Designs Squadron Pro series can be a great choice. If you’ve been around the off-road racing scene, you’ll know Baja Designs. They’ve been extremely innovative with their designs, being on the cutting edge of new features and the Squadron Pro is no exception.
The Squadron Pro is considered semi-compact in size. At about 3 inches high by 2 ¾ inches wide and 3 inches deep, it can be mounted flush or on brackets in a variety of locations, including many bumpers and fog light receptacles. The Squadron Pro currently runs at $220 per pod. If you’re looking for a cheap, disposable pod to get you through a day or two of fairly moderate conditions, this isn’t the best option for you.
Squadron Pro Brightness and Temperature The forward facing lumens on the Baja Designs Squadron Pro is 4,900 lumens per pod. This is bright by today’s standards, compared to other lights of similar size. Why is forward facing a big deal? Many cheap lights sold online measure total lumens at the bulb, not taking into account where that light is going to end up. The temperature is 5,000 kelvin, meaning the Squadron Pro emits light most similar to daylight. This is an ideal balance between brightness, and being easy on the driver’s eyes. Temperatures under 5,000 kelvin appear more yellow, while over 5,000 kelvin appear blue.
This is also where lens quality comes in. Baja Designs makes it a point to use hard coated polycarbonate lenses and takes extra steps in the finish. This means that unlike no-name lights you find online, Baja Designs’ lenses don’t blue or dim the light because of poor quality. A closer look at the lens also reveals a unique design: the lenses are designed to actually help intensify and focus the light.
The Squadron Pro is available in several patterns, including spot, driving/combo, wider cornering and work/scene lighting. The lenses help direct the light to achieve these patterns and are swappable. This is referred to as the U-Service feature by Baja Designs. The U-Service feature keeps the cost of the Squadron Pro lower than a light that might have multiple beam patterns built-in, and keeps you from having to buy multiple lights.
What is the Quality of the Housing? As with all Baja Designs lights, the machined aluminum housing is specifically designed to dissipate heat. This is important, as lights that get too hot tend to dim over time or fail prematurely. The housing’s materials and design are one of the important differences between premium and disposable budget lights.
The Squadron Pro is rated at IP69k, which means the light is protected from dust and close-range, high pressure, high temperature water spray downs. This is a higher rating than most lights claiming to be waterproof as most are rated at IP68k, which means the light can be submerged under certain conditions. The IP69K is currently the highest water resistance rating for off-road lights. So, spraying your lights in the car wash or submerging them while driving across a stream isn’t a problem from the Squadron Pro. It is also worth noting that the Squadron Pro has an IK10 impact rating, meaning it is designed to handle direct impact. This is the highest impact rating an off-road light can have.
Installing the Squadron Pro The Squadron Pro has vehicle specific harnesses available, making it plug and play for most applications. You can also get a universal harness if your vehicle isn’t on the application list. Note though that the harness is sold separately unless you are buying a pair of Round Squadron Pros as a package. This adds about $65 to the price. You can also add splitters, allowing for additional lights.
Is the Squadron Pro a Good Value? The Squadron Pro is a premium, compact light that offers a combination of brightness, durability, water resistance, and flexibility that is tough to come by in the market. If you’re looking for that combination, this light just might be for you.