MAP Light vs Dome Light: Which is Better?

Do you know the purposes of a map light or a dome light on your vehicle? No? Okay, don’t worry, today I will cover everything about map light and dome light.

You will get detailed information and will be able to differentiate them. Lights are essential for safe driving, especially on dark roads; map light will assist you in reading the map when you do not have GPS in your phone, while the dome light in the middle of the vehicle’s ceiling will radiate.

Both have similarities and differences; keep reading map light vs dome light for better understanding.

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Map Light

two types of map light

You may have seen the small lights on top of the vehicle, these small size top lights are the map lights. Sometimes these lights could also mount on the car ceiling aimed at specific passenger positions and this allows for the driver to have no disturbance. It is pretty easy to operate; just by pressing the button on their lens, you can turn the light on.

Purpose of Use:

The primary purpose of map lights is to assist the driver in reading the maps and other instruments for the safe and proper way of driving; it is helpful when you are driving on new roads or do not have GPS in your phone or vehicle. 

Size and Weight:

Their size and weight may vary, but generally, a map light comes in a range of 0.634 ounces to 2 ounces weight, and its size is about 5 x 0.6 x 3.2 inches. But its lengths and size could vary depending on models and brands. Some popular shapes are square, round, and rectangular. Its 360-degree lighting angle design helps the driver see all the car’s parts and on the road. 

Source of Power:

The map light is clear or white in color; it is almost 400 lumens. It needs 12 V AC and consumes a maximum of 5 watts of power for functioning. Its average life is 50000 hours.

Dome Light

dome light

In comparing dome light with map light, we found dome lights are used for buses, cars, trucks, and other automobiles.  Dome lights are generally installed in the middle of the vehicle’s ceiling. There is no need to turn them on because dome lights automatically turn on with your vehicle start.

Purpose of Use:

Dome lights help the vehicle users perform functions easily, such as fastening the seat belt, exiting, or entering the vehicle. 

Size and Weight:

We also compare their size; it has more than map lights; the average size is about 3.2 ounces, while its dimension is 4.3 x 0.86 x 2.7 inches. The popular shape for dome lights is square or round, and its length average is 114mm and size average is 4.6 inches.  While comparing their view angle, it has 180 degrees view angle while map lights have 360 degrees.

Source of Power:

The voltage and power are almost similar to map lights. It emits warm white or cool white light of 320 lumens. The average lifespan for dome light is up to 50000 hours, same as map light.

Map light vs dome light – Quick Comparison Chart

Bases of ComparisonMap LightDome Light
InstallationTop of the car , closer to driverMiddle of the ceiling of bus, trucks, and cars
OperationTurn on by pressing buttonTurn when vehicle starts
Purpose of Useto read maps and instrumentsAssist in small functions like exiting, entering
Size5 x 0.6 x 3.2 inches4.3 x 0.86 x 2.7 inches
Weight3.2 ounces0.634 ounces to 2 ounces
Available Shapessquare, round, and rectangularsquare or round
Lumens400 Lumens320 Lumens
Average life50000 hours50000 hours


1. What is a Map Light?

Answer: Map lights are a common lighting option for vehicles. The map light is typically installed in the door panel or ceiling of the passenger side. Most cars usually have a map light, even if it is not equipped with a map reading light.

2. Why Use Map Light?

Answer: Map lights produce a lot of light, which is helpful when driving in the dark and driver and passenger can see the road in front of them.

3. What is a Dome Light?

Answer: A dome light is a light on the ceiling of a car, or on the roof of a house. It’s typically used for visibility when entering or exiting a car or house.

4. Why Use Dome Light?

Answer: The dome light is on a car for a variety of reasons. The most common is for the driver and passengers of the car to use when they enter or exit the vehicle. Other reasons include providing a light source in the car when the headlights are off, or when the sun sets and it gets dark.

5. What are the Differences Between Map and Dome Light?

Answer: Map lights are typically mounted on the front of the vehicle and cast their light downward. This type of light is more useful for illuminating the ground immediately in front of the vehicle, rather than illuminating around the car.

Dome lights are typically mounted near the top of the windshield and are used to direct light downwards, usually onto the dashboard.


Map light and dome light are installed on the front of the vehicle, but they have many differences; the major one is their purpose of use. Other differences are their view angle, dimension, weight, light color, and lumens. I have also found similarities such as average life, voltage, wattage, and light type.

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