Bell & Howell Light Bar Reviews

Bell & Howell Light Bar

Overall Rating

1.5

34 Customer Reviews

Summary

The Bell & Howell Light Bar is a portable, mountable LED-based device that claims to offer up to a day’s worth of light after just an hour of charging. Learn what customers are saying about this product.

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Customer Reviews

1.5 Stars out of 34 Reviews
5 Star:2% 4 Star:5% 3 Star:8% 2 Star:5% 1 Star:76%
15% Recommend This Product
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Posted on Dec 7, 2020

Puzzled!

By John L., Marianna, FL, Verified Reviewer

I bought a Bell & Howell Light Bar around a year ago and have had no trouble with it until now. I have kept it charged every 3 months on schedule and everything was going great. Today I took it out of the drawer to do its three months charge and I turned it on and the lights were very low, which was a first. I charged it for 10 hours and nothing has changed. I looked at the batteries and they seem to possibly be a wet cell of some kind and no water was in it so I filled it with distilled water, which it took very little. I tried charging again for about an hour but still nothing has changed and the lights are still dim. When you just plug it up and put it on SOS and then disconnect, it is still low. I am confused about what is happening. The batteries both read 4.30 volts charged but I still have very little visible light in the high mode and in the low just a little more light.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Originally it was bright

Did not last a year

Posted on Sep 25, 2020

A word about the reviews, some other information, and my experience

By Matthew C., Virginia, Verified Reviewer

Let me start by saying this is my own unbiased review.

I am not affiliated with this company and product in any way, nor have I been paid to write this. This is more of a review about the reviews. I will also leave my experiences along with some realistic standards along with some things the instructions never explain.

FIRST A REVIEW OF THE REVIEWS.

I've been reading a lot of the reviews about the issues people have been having, and while some issues are what I call legitimate due to either a defective product or damage from shipping, a lot of them seem as though people aren't reading the instructions correctly, or at all. People have actually listed things they did, which the instructions specifically say NOT to do, such as leaving it plugged in constantly.

Here is a list of things that are not explained in the instructions that should have been. I found this information by digging around and calling the company.

1. This light bar is not meant to remain plugged in. The plug is there specifically to charge the battery. Once it's charged, unplug it. It's never a good idea to leave things of this nature plugged in, it's not a lamp.

2. Usually when something is fully charged, the light goes out indicating that charging is complete. However, the red light on the light bar isn't a charge light, it's a power light, and does not go ever go out while it's plugged in. It's always going to be red to let you know there is power going to it.

3. The light will only last for 10-12 hours on low, putting the light on high will only give you around 5 hours of light.

4. This is a disposable light. While the claim is 100,000 hours of light, realistically it's more like 50,000-80,000. As with anything disposable, after a certain length of charging/use, it becomes worn down, becoming dimmer, and not lasting as long. The longer, and more you use it, the faster it will wear down.

5. You absolutely can overcharge this light, doing so will result in something called diminishing returns. Overcharging will cause poor performance and not last as long during current use (I could be wrong on this but I am almost certain diminishing returns does not affect the long term use wear-down).

6. Not using it, temperature, and other factors, can drain the battery charge. Even though it's a rechargeable battery in this light bar, it's still just a battery, which means anything that affects batteries (i.e. weather, direct heat, cold, water, etc.) also applies to the battery in the light bar.

7. One charge can last up to 10-12 hours (remember that length is on low). So what is one charge? Regardless of what anyone tells you or shows in a YouTube review, this light bar cannot be fully charged with just an hour. A full charge for this light is around 10 hours. It breaks down for every 1 hour of use, you need 1 hour of charge time which doesn't exceed 12 hours and that's pushing it (again remember that 10-12 hours is on low). After it's been charging for 10-12 hours, keeping it plugged in is pointless and most likely result in piss poor performance and also run down the life span of the bar faster,

The instructions say to regularly charge it for about 8 hours every 3 months. This will keep the internal battery working properly and near peak proficiency.

MY EXPERIENCE:

I am an urban explorer, and these light bars have been really good for what I need them for. I always have 4 of them. They are extremely lightweight, and the stand in the back is great for what I do with them.

During my last exploration I had one hit the ground and broke. I was not really surprised when it broke due to it basically being made of plastic. It was also my fault for not securing it like I normally do.

I never knew what the auto setting was supposed to do until I read it here.

I still have no clue how the SOS on it is supposed to work. I'm not even sure what is supposed to happen when SOS is switched on. Turning the switch to SOS is the same as having the switch on the light to off.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Sep 4, 2020

Junk

By Matt R., Fredericktown, PA, Verified Reviewer

Used it twice now, it won't hold a charge. Junk junk junk. I have nothing else to say besides they are cheap junk and don't buy them.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Jul 3, 2020

Don't buy! Fire hazard! Danger!

By Richard L., Holyoke, MA, Verified Reviewer

Had it for approximately 6 months. Plugged it in to use in SOS mode as an "Emergency Light". Little did I realize that I was installing the biggest emergency this light would live to see...the fire it started!

COMPLETE CRAP INSIDE! This product was a cheap disappointment all the way around, and now it's scorched and dead.

THIS DEVICE IS JUST A FIRE HAZZARD. AVOID.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Reputable (I thought) name

Power failure functionality

Their product almost burned my house down

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Jun 20, 2020

Light bar malfunction

By Michael M., Uniondale, NY, Verified Reviewer

Malfunction, no light, no recharge.

Can't recharge, recharge light is blank, no light at all, started blinking before crashing.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Reputation

No “cons” were specified in this review

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on May 22, 2020

Typical cheap China-made trash

By Jon D., Kelowna, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I got the 2 light bars for $19.99 and used them both for about 4 months with no real issues. I charged for 18-24 hours and could get a solid 4 hours of the so-called insane light. Then one day they just didn't stay bright. Charged for 200 hours and the red light doesn't go off and still dim after 30 mins. I ended up smashing one of them in 100 pieces due to frustration and when the second one died I took it apart and was amazed how thin the wiring was. The batteries are weird too. Only 4.25v each as per what my multimeter says. So I decided to take all the wiring out and replace with some decent sized wiring. Also switched the capacitors as well. The thing works alright now but I may just put my own rechargeable batteries inside it pretty soon. As far as I'm concerned, for my needs...it was worth $19.99, but the product is very cheaply made and I wouldn't buy again ever.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 13, 2020

The bars are awesome!

By Earl W., Virginia, Verified Reviewer

I received my order of light bars this summer and sold them to people for a profit. None of them complained about all the shortfalls I read about in the review. Still have two out of the eight they sent me and they work ok. I never had to try to charge them in a power failure so I can't say they are perfect but for the simple illumination I use them for, they are perfect!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Aug 5, 2019

Many great features, BUT...

By Charles I., Pittsburgh, PA, Verified Reviewer

Lighting is great, portability is great, it is lightweight and pretty sturdy. But I found the ultra-thin wires inside burn off if it is plugged in all the time. Mounted one at the top of an enclosed stairwell going upstairs, one at the bottom of stairs going to the cellar. Noticed once when the power went off they did not come on. (Yes I had it in auto mode and had tested them by unplugging them when I mounted them.) Opened them up to find a thin (really thin) yellow wire in each had burnt off at a connection. They were very very difficult to solder back on. One I could not and the other would no longer work in auto mode.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on May 30, 2019

Horrible and dangerous product

By Arthur R., Maryland, Verified Reviewer

Bell & Howell should be ashamed to have their name on this badly designed cheaply built fire hazard! The capacitor on the charging circuit blew. The wiring in series with the 2 batteries actually melted (desoldered) and the light coming on while charging and the smell (thank God I was home) alerted me to unplug and take apart to see what happened! SHAMEFUL Bell & Howell! Get your name off this trash!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 5 People Have Voted

Posted on May 6, 2019

Bell & Howell Light Bar

By Diana G., Spokane, WA, Verified Reviewer

As soon as I took it out of the package and hung it, it already needed to be charged. I charged it, hung it, didn't use it for a while. Turned it on, needs charging again. Would never recommend to anyone. I can't afford to waste money on junk. The only thing good about it is that it was as bright as stated. A lot of good that does if it doesn't even stay charged. Sorry Bell & Howell, thumbs down to you. Maybe you should spend more on your product and less on your advertising.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 5 People Have Voted

Posted on Mar 21, 2019

Very badly built product

By James K., Dallas, TX, Verified Reviewer

In 6 months or less, after being connected to power, it failed to illuminate when the power went out. Yes, it was set to auto. Upon inspection internally, the connections to the batteries were badly corroded/broken. These are UNSAFE! Maybe we shouldn't import these anymore.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 7 People Have Voted

Posted on Mar 14, 2019

A dud...

By Kenneth R., Valley Springs, CA, Verified Reviewer

I purchased this light at Costco last week. The red charging light never goes off after 24 hours of being plugged in. When the light turns on it is great for about 30 minutes and then goes dim. Whether it is plugged in or not plugged in does not make any difference. I tried to find the link to tell me how to replace the batteries as it is over 1 and 1/2 hours to get back to Costco. Cannot find anything, the light is essentially just trash.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 10 People Have Voted

Posted on Feb 28, 2019

Won’t work after a year

By Richard S., Franklin, MA, Verified Reviewer

I got a dud when I first ordered the light bar, and within days Bell & Howell sent a replacement set. Great service and great response. Several times during blackouts, the SOS worked as advertised. Now, one year on, the light bar lit for no reason and refuses to go out. Once dead, the unit won’t recharge. All units have now done the same thing.

I just hung up from Bell & Howell customer service and they said that the units are out of warranty so they can/will do nothing.

So, the product may last you one year, but after that, in the trash. I will never buy anything from Bell & Howell again. A real waste.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 8 People Have Voted

Posted on Feb 7, 2019

Not nearly as good as advertised!

By Alex P., Miami, FL, Verified Reviewer

Same complaints as everyone above - red charging light never goes off! Same brightness on either setting. Light only lasts an hour or two at best. Doesn't hold a charge long enough. Completely misleading!

Looks great, but it doesn't deliver on performance. Not even close!

I'm very disappointed in this product.

By the way, I never completed the purchase and they sent it two me anyways! I had put in my info, then reconsidered without completely processing the order, and they still charged me and sent it! BEWARE...

They're asking for my order number, but I lost my receipt.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 9 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 19, 2019

If it quacks like a duck

By Jeff L., Maryland, Verified Reviewer

I viewed an actual lightbar in a store and the brighter level was not labeled "Insane." I turned it on and got a 40-watt bulb power, the brighter level was closer to 60 watts. For my use, I just needed to buy a few more for the inside of a trailer. The website gave a number to order by voice. It took a while of asking for customer service but I finally got a human. She offered me the Family Pack of three bars for $29.95 plus $6.50 shipping but only after purchasing the original TV offer package. Still a good deal, until she asked me if I would like the "SPECIAL UPGRADE?" 25% more light power for only $10.00 more a light bar? I heard ducks quacking loudly. I asked for the second product spects. She read me the orginal light bar specs.

I canceled the order and asked for B&H's Customer Service, the rep gave me a stone wall. I emailed Bell & Howel home office and asked for upgraded specs. NO ANSWER. Buyers please beware - and don't get "ducked."

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 7 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 16, 2019

Bell & Howell are thieves.

By Dave S., Los Angeles, CA, Verified Reviewer

Bell & Howell are con men. Their disks light practically do not work and all. The advertising is fraudulent. They are thieves...do not buy anything from this company. They should refund my money and take their junk back. I swear everything above is the truth.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 8 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 28, 2018

Defective product for sure!

By David T., New York, Verified Reviewer

44 hours and the red charging light is still on. From the reviews I have read, this is a fire hazard. I tried to call the company and can't get through. For safety, I should throw it in the trash!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 10 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 28, 2018

Not worth the money

By Jay S., Wisconsin, Verified Reviewer

I bought two through the Bell & Howell website. I planned to use them to replace two emergency lights I had with failing batteries. Mounted them and set both in SOS mode, which turns on the light if they lose power, and tested them occasionally. Other than that, one was also used for about 5 minutes as a mobile light. One lasted two months, and the other stopped working just shy of three months. There's no mention of any type of warranty supplied with the products and emails I sent asking about a warranty or replacement went unanswered. Corrosion from the batteries inside, it ate through the tiny wires, which fell off. Note; a 60 watt LED replacement bulb puts out more lumens (800) than the lightbar (720). I wouldn't buy again or suggest anyone else waste money on one or any other Bell & Howell labeled product.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 9 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 10, 2018

Sparks and smoke

By Giovaina G., Manahawkin, NJ, Verified Reviewer

We followed the directions. The light went on very bright, we shut the light on the off button and there were sparks, noise, and smoke - it was light a firecracker going off.

This is very dangerous and should not be on the market.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 8 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 28, 2018

Am on the fence

By Little S., British Columbia, Verified Reviewer

We bought 8 of these to light our barn for a few hours each night. We charged them all properly and had them mounted overhead. The lights at full brightness only last 2 hours and became so dim there was little point. We charged them again and this time none would produce the full brightness of that first time. They have gotten progressively dimmer with every charge. Incredibly disappointed as these are $29.99 at Canadian Tire each and we have never really got full use out of a single one.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 7 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 12, 2018

They are a ripoff and junk

By John M., New York, Verified Reviewer

I bought six of these, and they worked fine for about a month. They advertise them that when they are plugged in, and the power goes out they will come on is emergency lighting. So that's how we kept them plugged in, period. After a month all the batteries in all six have gone bad. Now even plugged in they barely light up. Complete junk, a total rip-off. Buyer beware.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 10 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 10, 2018

Mine both failed within a few months.

By Larry S., Kenosha, WI, Verified Reviewer

I bought two Light Bars. One worked for two months before faling, and the other failed about a month later. Tech support from Nell & Howell failed to respond to a replacement request. I definitely would never buy one again or recommend it to anyone else.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 6 People Have Voted

Posted on Oct 8, 2018

Bad deal

By Freddy C., Louisiana, Verified Reviewer

I bought two Light Bars and charged them like they said. I had to use them today and only one works. It's hard to contact someone to try and get help. I will never buy from them. I had to send the first order back because they sent an order I didn't approve and had to wait for them to put my money back. They try to make you buy what they want.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 6 People Have Voted

Posted on Sep 20, 2018

This light is crap

By Alan R., Maine, Verified Reviewer

I bought two. Both ceased to work in less than six months. It is complete garbage. Too big to be used as a paper weight. Not round enough to be a sex toy. Do not waste your money. Buy candles instead. They don't need charging.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 6 People Have Voted

Posted on Jul 26, 2018

Bell &Howell Light Bar has a short lite span!

By Calvin H., Henderson, NV, Verified Reviewer

I purchased two of these light bars and have been using them for about a year now. Once fully charged, I only get about four hours of light from either one. I never get the super brightness that was advertised, just the same brightness with either switch position.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 7 People Have Voted

Posted on Jul 21, 2018

Nice light output but it blew up after four months

By Richard M., Tennessee, Verified Reviewer

I purchased two of these (one of them still works), but this one wouldn't charge since it came from "wally world" on the As Seen On TV. I bought two. Well, I took the back off and the board had smoked, it was black. Keeping the lightbar of LEDs itself maybe I can make a new board for it. For only having it four months I give it a 3.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Apr 27, 2018

Fail to work

By Deborah Good, Kentucky, Verified Reviewer

We purchased this as emergency lighting. I mounted it and plugged it in to charge and left it plugged in, then tested it the next day to make sure it worked, and it did. A few months later our power went out several times and each time the light failed to come on once it should have sensed the power was out. I tried different positions of the switch and it does not respond. I removed it to a different outlet plug and tried to charge it, which it should have remained fully charged as it was always kept plugged in; now I got it to light up and noticed a row of LED's are out (not lit) and the light will not turn off now that I have it plugged in to a different working (tested) outlet.

Don't waste your money, buy an LED flashlight instead. FYI, it is not very bright as advertised. I should have spent the money on lottery tickets. If there was a rating option of zero stars that would be how I'd rate this junk!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 8 People Have Voted
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