Each and every one of us has experienced it at one time or another—the blinding rays of the sun while behind the wheel. Not only can these blinding rays be an annoyance, they can also be deadly. To reduce this glare, drivers typically don a pair of cheap sunglasses, an often inadequate solution when it comes to blinding glare. That’s why we were intrigued when we came across the Rosen Insight Sunvisor booth at the 2019 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Unlike sunglasses, which are prone to breakage and becoming lost, the Rosen Insight Sunvisor is always there when you need it and features multi-directional adjustability. This is a review of the Rosen Insight Sunvisor System.
Based out of Eugene, Oregon, Rosen is the number one source for quality sunvisors. The company manufactured the first multi-positioning, see-through visor for the aviation industry in 1985 and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Rosen Sunvisors are OEM in many aircraft, including Cessna, Bombardier, and Boeing, some of the biggest names in the industry. Rosen makes sunvisors for the marine, military, transportation, and first-responder industries as well and expanded its offerings to include the automotive industry under the Insight Sunvisor System brand name in 2010. Today, Insight sunvisors can be ordered for popular domestic and import trucks, SUVs, and passenger vehicles. The price for a pair of Rosen sunvisors varies anywhere between $230 up to $700 for the military-grade, Humvee-style of visor. Unfortunately, you can’t order any visors directly off of the Rosen website. Instead, you’ll need to call the company toll free at 800-284-7677 or email them at [email protected].
As you’d expect for any product affiliated with the aviation industry, Rosen’s Insight Sunvisors are well-made. The Rosen system features a distortion-free acrylic lens supported by a machined-aluminum, anodized black articulating mount. The beauty of the Rosen’s patented multi-positional system is that it offers the driver (and the passenger riding shotgun) complete protection from the sun. The lens features a non-polarized, neutral density tint that reduces eye fatigue and doesn’t alter color perception in any way—greens remain green, and reds remain red. Not only that, the tint in a Rosen lens goes all the way through the acrylic, not just on top like cheap imitations. As a result, the Rosen lens filters 99 percent of the harmful ultraviolet rays, reduces glare by 94 percent, and heat by 86 percent. Each Rosen Insight Sunvisor comes with a three-year limited warranty.
The lens, of course, is what makes Rosen Insight Sunvisor system special. With a thickness of 3.175 millimeters, the lens is made of a durable, lightweight, rigid themoplastic material that has many times the breakage resistance of standard window pane glass. The acrylic is built to withstand exposure to the blazing sun (an important consideration for summer temperatures in the desert southwest), to extreme cold, and to sudden temperature changes between 180 degrees and -40 degrees F. More importantly, the lens will not deteriorate after years of use because of the inherent stability of acrylic. Unfortunately, the acrylic can also become scratched—wedding rings are the main culprit. Fortunately, a good acrylic polish and a microfiber cloth can remove these smudges and light scratches quickly and easily.
Rosen Insight Sunvisors can be purchased as a permanent replacement for your vehicle’s OEM sunvisor, or as a clip-on style that attaches directly to your OEM sunvisor. Unfortunately, permanent mounts are available for a few select vehicles only like the Toyota Tacoma, the Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeeps, and motorhomes, meaning truck camper owners will have to settle for the clip-on style instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something that needs to be pointed out before purchase. As a result, we got the clip-on style for our 2013 Ram 3500, and the permanent style for our 1998 Jeep Wrangler. Fortunately, the clip-on style can be adapted to any full-size truck like the Ford F-150, Ram 2500, and Chevy Silverdado 3500. Smaller lens options are currently in development for passenger cars and mid-size pickups.
As you’d expect, there are pros and cons associated with each style of mount. The clip-on style has the benefit of having a stronger supporting mechanism and stays firmly in place better on washboard roads than the permanent style. On the other hand, the permanent style looks cleaner and less cluttered than the clip-on style, though it won’t support a garage door opener without scratching the lens. Which style of mount is better? If we had a choice between the two, we’d definitely choose the permanent style because it just plain looks better and looks OEM. We wish the permanent style was available for full-size trucks like our Ram 3500. If we had one complaint about Rosen’s extensive catalog, this would be it. A wider selection of permanent visors for full-size trucks is needed for those who want it. I know I’d pay for one if they had it.
The installation time depends on the style of mount. Rosen’s clip-on style, like the one in our Ram 3500, takes only a few seconds to install—simply slide the mounting assembly over the end of the OEM sunvisor and lock it into place by hand. No tools are needed. The installation time for Rosen’s permanent style takes a little longer. For our 1998 Jeep Wrangler, we needed a T30 torx bit to remove and install the two small screws for each sunvisor, a quick and simple task that takes about 20 minutes total to both remove the old visors and install the new ones.
How it Works
We’ve used our Rosen Insight Sunvisor for several months and have driven 2,500 miles using the product. We love how its always there when you need it and love how it keeps things in the cab of your truck bright, but not too much, unlike sunglasses, which can make everything appear dark, a big peeve of mine. Indeed, the Rosen Sunvisor offers better contrast, clarity, and color compared to cheap imitations and most sunglasses. The Rosen quality is also top-notch. We especially like how the mounting system is made of aluminum which resists damage from extreme temperatures that can occur over time.
We do have one caution and one minor issue with the sunvisor’s use, though neither is what we would call a showstopper. If you plan on using the sunvisor along the driver side window, we recommend deploying it while parked or while stopped at a traffic light. Due to its length, extending the sunvisor can be somewhat distracting and requires some head movement to get it completely into place. The only “issue” we’ve experienced with the product is with the tiny knob that keeps the sliding mechanism locked into place—the knob has tendency to vibrate loose and fall to the floor when driving on washboard roads if it’s not fully tightened. Not a big deal, but something that consumers should be aware of when using the product.
When it comes to driving safety nothing is more important than being able to see. The Rosen Insight Sunvisor maintains visibility when the sun’s glare is at its worst, early morning and late afternoon. Indeed, it’s been our experience that the Rosen Sunvisor works better than sunglasses in reducing blinding glare, which explains why pilots love this product so much. But a quality sunvisor does more than provide safety on the road, it also provides comfort—if you’ve baked in the afternoon sun through the driver side window know what we’re talking about. Yes, the Rosen Insight Sunvisor is a bit on the expensive side, but like we always say, you get what you pay for. Sure, you can buy a cheap imitation, but it won’t work as well, look as good, or last as long as a Rosen. What would we rate Rosen Insight Sunvisor System? On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, we enthusiastically give it a rating of 5 stars.