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Shopping for LED headlight bulbs can get very confusing, very quickly. All the different bulb sizes, lumens, brightness, wattages, colors, color temperatures gets overwhelming.
When it comes to upgrading your headlights, most people who do any level of research will soon realize that LEDs are the best choice the majority of the time.
Brighter lighting, more efficient, longer-lasting, and more durable bulbs combine to make LED headlight and fog light bulbs the hands-down favorite of discerning motorists everywhere.
While other types of lights are available, LEDs win in terms of specifications, and drivers around the world over are switching out their old halogen headlights for LEDs.
But not every kit was created equal, and depending on your buying decision you could be left feeling as though the improvement wasn’t worth it with some lost money and bulbs dimmer than your stock halogens.
Quality is of the utmost importance when buying LED headlights. A premium LED bulb is one that lasts up to 10 years, provides brilliant and pure light, and doesn’t damage your assembly and power supply or blind other drivers.
LED headlights are more effective than both halogen and HID headlights, but you need to make sure you are buying a quality product that is suited for your needs, rather than just buying the first thing you see or the least expensive option you find.
Unfortunately, there are many inferior quality headlight kits around, so knowing what to look out for is crucial if you want to be certain you are buying the right lights for your car and your driving.
So, how do you find a high-quality LED headlight or fog light bulb? Consider the following factors when shopping around.
LED diodes are the little dots on LED bulbs that emit the light. In case you didn’t know, LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
You want to buy bulbs with premium diodes (also known as LED chips), such as CREE, NICHIA, Lumileds, etc. for a durable product with perfect illumination.
For example, our LED products use premium SuperCharged CREE LED chips for best-in-class performance.
As explained earlier, LED drivers are the translators between your car’s halogen system and your car’s power supply. A high-quality bulb will have smart drivers that adapt to your exact car and efficiently manage the connection between the bulbs and your vehicle’s power.
Basic or low-quality drivers may not do their job properly and result in the LED bulbs damaging your assembly and power supply.
Our bulbs come with smart, integrated LED drivers that will keep your assembly and vehicle’s power supply safe and sound.
Most LED bulbs have cooling fans to manage heat and moisture within the headlight or fog light assembly. But again, not all LED bulbs were created equally and neither are their fans.
Ideally, you want to buy a bulb with a powerful yet silent fan. The smaller the fan, the better in terms of installation. Some cars/trucks have very limited space inside/behind their assembly so bulbs with big fans will simply not fit.
Our automotive LED headlight bulbs use TurboCharged, silent micro-fans in sturdy aluminum housings, keeping our bulbs cooler and brighter for longer.
You may find some LED bulbs with heat dissipation strips instead of fans. Those are still pretty new and have mixed reviews about their effectiveness keeping the bulbs and housing cool.
Wiring is one of the most underrated and overlooked aspects of LED headlight bulbs. If a wire is cheaply made, it will fail, rip or melt, leading to your LED kit failing prematurely.
You want to find a kit with a premium build, dense protective rubber protecting the wiring and solid plugs to ensure a tight connection to your car’s power supply.
In our products, you’ll find only premium, durable, heat resistant and weatherproof wiring.
Last but not least, the product’s warranty. Nothing speaks about the quality of a product like the warranty backing it.
If LEDs are supposed to last up to 10 years, why do 99% of retailers offer warranties ranging from 6 months to 2 years? It sounds like they don’t have much faith in their products.
High-quality LED headlight bulbs will have warranties ranging from 3 to 10 years (essentially lifetime warranties), so try to keep that in mind as well before ordering a set of bulbs.
All XenonPro LED headlights are covered by our industry-best Lifetime Warranty.
If you’re in the market for LEDs, you’re likely looking to upgrade the light output from your current dim halogen bulbs, which makes brightness a key deciding factor when buying LED headlights.
Brightness, measured in lumens (lm), measures the amount of light being emitted. For example, halogens have a total light output of approximately 3200 lm.
When looking at various LED headlight products, you’ll come across kits ranging from 5000 lm all the way up to 15000 lm. LED kits that are below 6000 or 7000 lumens are typically poor quality and those above 10000 are typically overstating their brightness, illegal, will blind other drivers or damage your vehicle.
Our automotive LED headlight bulbs produce up to a combined 9000 lumens of brightness, operate at a low wattage and come with our proprietary anti-glare technology, so you can be sure to never blind oncoming traffic.
Brightness and wattage are closely related. High-quality LED bulbs will make better use of power to produce a given amount of light, while poor-quality kits will use more power.
Many of the kits on the market that produce over 10000 lumens of brightness using 50- to 60-watts or more. Not only is this a sign of a poor-quality and low-efficiency bulb, but more importantly, it will damage your housing and can completely destroy your car’s power system.
Another factor to consider before buying an LED headlight kit is color. Most kits on the market come in the standard, pure white (6000K) color, which is optimal for nighttime visibility in low and high beams.
However, some LED headlight kits, such as ours, come in a variety of colors. For example, we carry the classic white 6000K LEDs, golden yellow 3000K LEDs, pure blue 8000K LEDs as well as purple 12000K LEDs.
Golden yellow (3000K), for example, are ideal for fog lights. Emitting a white light in a foggy environment will not be very effective.
Blue and purple LEDs are more stylish and ‘fun’ colors for car enthusiasts and street racers but are not optimal for nighttime visibility. For more information on this topic, visit our LED Headlight Color Guide.
When it comes to buying the best LED headlight bulbs, ease of installation is a key factor. You’ll find that most kits are advertised as Plug & Play but some aren’t at all.
There is nothing worse than buying a kit, only to find it isn’t appropriate for your needs, or it’s impossible to work out the installation process.
A true Plug & Play kit will have bulbs that have the exact same locking tabs as your original halogen bulbs (fitting) and the same factory plugs as your halogen bulbs and car’s power harness (where the bulbs connect to draw power).
At XenonPro, we’ve perfected both aspects, ensuring you get a 1-to-1 match with both your factory bulb fitting and plugs, for an effortless installation.
All our kits are designed to be installed by non-technical people, and it takes as little as 15 minutes per side to switch in a light. The ease of installation is a key reason people choose our high-quality LED headlights kits. Check out our LED Headlight bulbs installation guide.
If you’re struggling or simply don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can always seek the help of a mechanic.
Another crucial factor to consider before buying LEDs is to know whether your car has projector-type or reflector-type headlight assemblies.
The reason for this is simple, LEDs will not perform as expected in terms of light output in projector-type headlights for various technical reasons.
For more information on this topic, see our article on the differences Projector vs. Reflector Headlights.
LED headlights are usually sold in kits, with all the relevant components parts necessary to replace the lights on your car. Although kits vary from one manufacturer to another, they typically include:
The LED drivers are typically part of the bulbs wiring and can be found between the bulb and the plug that connects to the factory power harness.
The LED driver is a module that controls the flow of current from your car to the bulb. You can think of it as the translator between your stock halogen housing and your car’s power supply.
The LED warning canceller (capacitor) is an accessory required on some cars to prevent your lights from strobing and to eliminates warnings on your dashboard. This accessory is required on certain cars, which varies from manufacturer to another.
Some car manufacturers, typically German makes such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz may require some car-specific clips/adaptors to hold the LED bulbs in place.
You should note that these never come with an LED kit and you will need to get these separately at a local parts shop or online. The good news is that they only cost a few bucks.
There are some LED headlight kits on the market that are proving to be more hassle than they are worth - cheap imports.
It is crucial that you only buy LED headlights that are manufactured to exacting standards, and do not skimp on the quality of manufacturing. Ideally, you buy an LED conversion kit that sources its components from Japan, Korea, Germany, Canada or the U.S.
It is widely known that some dodgy cheap headlights cause damage to cars, as well as being a complete and utter waste of money - just don’t take the risk.
All our LED headlights are guaranteed for quality, so you can be certain you are getting a well-made product that is built to last and assembled in either the U.S. or Canada with premium components such as USA-made CREE LED chips.
LED headlight conversion kits can be purchased almost anywhere although most of them are sold online, such as in our online store.
When choosing which type of headlights to install, many are torn between LED or HID xenon headlights, which also offer many of the same benefits in terms of efficiency and improved lighting quality.
Overall, LEDs will:
For many, these are key deciding factors for choosing LEDs over HIDs. However, LEDs are more expensive than HIDs and will not work optimally in projector-type headlight systems as explained earlier. LEDs also offer fewer color options (often no options) compared to HIDs. If you still can’t decide, read our LED vs Xenon HID Headlights Guide.
HIDs come in a wide range of colors and most LEDs on the market only come in white, however, some LED products such as ours, come in 4 color options.
The future for LED headlights is looking promising, with the technology already a prominent part of car assembly at manufacturers the world over, especially for high-end luxury vehicles.
Many new vehicles in Europe are now required by law to have LED lights installed, and manufacturers are now choosing to include LED headlights on some higher-end models, as the costs continue to make this much more feasible for manufacturers.
More motorists in the aftermarket switch to LED headlights every day and our roads are already busy with drivers enjoying the full benefits of more efficient LED-lit driving.
There are plenty of reasons motorists everywhere are choosing to upgrade their headlights, from safety to brightness.
If you think you would want to upgrade your headlights in the future, or you are over 5000 driving hours since your last headlights change, the best time to buy your LED headlights is now.
The sooner you get these installed, the sooner you can take advantage of the savings and efficiency gains that come from running lower energy headlights, not to mention the luxury of a more illuminated drive at night.