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HID Xenon Color Chart - Ultimate Headlight Temperature Guide

What's the brightest HID bulb color? Understanding HID headlight color temperatures and Kelvin light charts.

Last updated: August 3, 2023

HID colors are typically expressed in Kelvins (K), such as 5000K or 6000K, which is a measure of temperature like Celcius or Fahrenheit.

As pictured below, the Kelvin scale ranges from warmer red colors (1000K) to cooler blue and purple colors (12000K), with white at the intersection of yellow and blue.

HID Headlights Colors - Kevin Scale

Contrary to common belief, a higher Kelvin measure does not mean a brighter bulb. An 8000K (blue) bulb, for example, is less bright than a 5000K (white) bulb.

The reason for this is simple, white light is the brightest, and white falls in the middle of the Kelvin scale.

When looking to upgrade your headlights (or fog lights) from halogen to xenon HIDs, you'll need to choose the color temperature of the bulbs.

Keep on reading to learn everything there is to know about HID color temperatures and which is best for your vehicle and needs.

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HID Color & Temperature Chart

HID bulbs come in a variety of colors ranging from yellows (3000K – 4000K) to whites (4300K – 5000K – 6000K) to blues, purples, and pinks (8000K +).

The best way to decide which color temperature is best for your headlights is by looking at our HID color chart below.

Kelvin Light Chart (Headlight Colors)

Xenon HID Headlights Color Temperature Chart Table

What is the Brightest HID Color?

The brightest HID bulb color is white, which falls in the 4300K, 5000K, and 6000K color temperature range.

From our testing and experience, we found that 6000K produces the ultimate light color when considering brightness and visibility.

4300K and 5000K will be close seconds but will have a very light tint of yellow (4300K) or a very faint tint of blue (5000K). Ultimately, it will come down to your personal preferences.

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Higher Kelvins, Lower Brightness

Most people shopping for HIDs believe that a higher bulb temperature will yield a brighter light but this is in fact not true.

As the bulb color temperature increases to reach blue and purple levels, the brightness levels will begin dropping quickly so don't get fooled.

Higher Wattage, Brighter Lights

HIDs create light using an electric current between electrodes to create an electric arc.

The light output (brightness) of HIDs is therefore proportional to the amount of electrical power that is supplied. So, the higher the power the brighter the light emitted from the bulbs will be.

That's why at XenonPro, we offer HIDs in 35-watt and 55-watt options, so you can pick what best suits your needs.

For maximum brightness and the ultimate nighttime driving experience, we recommend going with our 55W HID kit in white.

The bulbs produce an exceptionally powerful, dense, wide, and bright white light that is easy to install and compatible with almost all vehicles.

Watts (W) to Lumens (Lm) Conversion Table

Wattage HID* Halogen*
35W 5500lm 1100lm
55W (brightest) 8000lm 1400lm
* Total light output (brightness) from both headlights or fog light bulbs

As you can see from the table above, HIDs produce nearly 600% more light than your average dull halogen bulbs.

Breaking Down HID Color Temperatures

Yellow light (3000K)

HID bulbs with a color temperature of 3000K produce a golden yellow light that most resembles halogen bulbs and fog lights.

This bulb temperature is recommended for those that want to increase the light output from their headlamps/fog lights while maintaining the same color as their stock halogen bulbs.

White + Yellow (4300K)

4300K bulbs produce white light with a hue of yellow comparable to natural lighting.

This bulb color is perfect for drivers who wish to dramatically increase nighttime visibility without drastically changing their stock lighting color.

White (5000K)

With a slight tint of blue, 5000K alpine white bulbs will not only give you very bright lights similar to the 6000K but with a diminished bright and stylish blue hue.

White + Blue (6000K)

6000K is the ultimate bright light found right in the middle of the color temperature spectrum.

This bulb will unquestionably produce the purest white color with a slight hint of blue and is perfect to dramatically improve nighttime visibility.

Your lights will look like those of new luxury vehicles such as BMWs and Audis and will be most similar to LED headlights.

Blue + White (8000K)

If you’re considering blue or purple lights, you should be ready to compromise on brightness because these are for aesthetics.

These bulbs emit a powerful light-blue beam, which will only be marginally brighter than your stock halogens but will definitely look good.

Blue (10000K)

Like the 8000K, the pure blue 10000k bulbs are for looks only. These will emit a much darker blue compared to the 8000K and will be even less bright.

At this level of the color temperature color spectrum, the light emission drops dramatically as explained above.

Purple (12000K)

Reaching the end of the color temperature spectrum we get a purple light color.

These lights are very stylish and unique but unfortunately produce the same light output as stock halogen bulbs and potentially even less.

Comparing HID Colors

5000k vs 6000k

5000K bulbs are more white compared to 6000K which have blue tints.

Looking back at our Kelvin scale, 5000K lays closer to the yellow spectrum whereas 6000K is on the blue side.

HID Headlights Colors - Kevin Scale

6000k vs 8000k

6000K is a lot more white compared to 8000K, which is primarily blue with a dash of white light.

Both these color temperatures lie on the blue side of the color spectrum.

3000k vs 6000k

3000K is primarily a yellow color compared to 6000K, which is white with a dash of blue.

3000K bulbs are better for fog lights while 6000K are for driving lights.

4300k vs 5000k

4300K and 5000K are quite similar white color temperatures. The main difference is that 4300K is a bit warmer and contains some yellow.

6000k vs 6500k

6000K and 6500K are practically identical color temperatures. Both are white with a slight blue tint, except 6500K will be a bit more blue compared to 6000K.

What is the best HID color temperature?

Most people looking to upgrade their headlights to HIDs from halogens are doing so with the intention of improving visibility on the road, in which case the best HID color would be 4300K, 5000K or 6000K.

There is technically no single best color because that will entirely depend on what you are looking to achieve with an HID upgrade.

The following summarizes the best HID color temperatures for different purposes:

  • Imitating stock lighting: 3000K (bright yellowish light similar to halogens)
  • Maximum brightness: 4300K to 6000K (powerful and bright white color)
  • Nicest style: 8000K + (stylish blue to pink color)
Temp. Color Best for
3000K Yellow (95%) White (5%) Fog lights
4300K* White (90%) Yellow (10%) Nighttime visibility
5000K* White (95%) Blue (5%) Nighttime visibility
6000K* White (90%) Blue (10%) Nighttime visibility/style
8000K White (70%) Blue (30%) Stylish look
10000K** Blue (95%) Purple (5%) Stylish look
12000K** Purple (100%) Stylish look
30000** Pink (100%) Stylish look
*Recommended **May not be street legal in some jurisdictions.

It’s important to note that stylish lights (8000K and above) are the least bright and may, in fact, emit less light than your stock halogens.

If you want the perfect balance between brightness and style, we recommend going with 6000K bulbs, which are very bright and have a nice blue tint.

If you want a good balance between brightness and original lighting color, we recommend going with 4300K.

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Blue & Purple HID Headlights

Blue and purple HID headlight bulbs are very popular despite not being a great source of light. Drivers and car enthusiasts like to get these for the Fast and the Furious appeal.

Blue Headlights HID Xenon Kit


  • Stylish look
  • Expensive look
  • Unique color


  • Low light output
  • Not suitable for fog lights
  • Illegal in some jurisdictions
  • Impractical during snow, rain or fog

Best HID Color Temperature for Fog Lights

If you are looking to upgrade your fog lights to HIDs it is best to go with yellow (3000K) or white-yellow (4300K).

To learn more about this topic, check out our Guide to Yellow Fog Lights.

We strongly recommend against using blue or purple bulbs (anything 6000K) for your safety in times of poor visibility (fog, haze, rain, snow, etc.).

For the Nerds

Lumens (Lm) vs. Kelvins (K)

A common point of confusion on this topic is the difference between Lumens (Lm) and Kelvins (K). In brief, lumens are used to measure brightness while kelvins are used to measure color temperature.

Lumens are units of brightness and Kelvins are a unit of temperature just like pounds (Lbs) are a unit of weight.

The more units (lumens) a light produces, the brighter it will be. A lower temperature (kelvin) will result in warmer lights (yellow, amber, orange, red) and a higher one will result in cooler lights (white, blue, purple).

Lights with different color temperatures (kelvins) can theoretically produce the same amount of light (lumens).

Understanding HID Color Temperature Scale

The xenon HID color temperature scale is particular in that it features the brightest colors right in the middle of the scale while beginning and ending with dark and less bright colors.

It is important to know that an HID bulb color is commonly expressed as a bulb temperature (example: Alpine White = 5000K), which is measured in Kelvins (“K”).

Kelvin is an absolute color temperature scale that can also be approximated in lumens, which is a common measure of light output/brightness.

As a rule of thumb, bulbs with a higher color temperature produce a lower light output compared to lower-temperature bulbs as summarized below.

Converting HID color temperature (Kelvins) to Lumens (lm)

Temp Color Lumens *
3000K Golden Yellow ~3,000 lm
4300K Yellow-White ~3,100 lm
5000K Bright White ~3,200 lm
6000K Alpine White ~3,200 lm
8000K Ice Blue ~2,600 lm
10000K Pure Blue ~2,100 lm
120000K Purple ~1,800 lm

There is a common misconception that a higher temperature bulb will emit a brighter light output, but this is in fact very wrong.

The optimal HID color temperature for ultimate brightness stands right in the middle of the scale at 5000K or 6000K.

Although 3000K (golden yellow) and 4300K (yellow-white) have a higher light output (~3,200 lm) compared to the whites (~3,000 lm), the human eye can see better and more clearly white light comparable to natural sunlight.

The higher light output of 3000K HIDs also explains why they are most commonly used and recommended for fog lights.

The light output can be improved by almost two folds up to 8,000 lm by using more powerful ballasts, such as the upgraded 55-watt HID conversion kit by XenonPro.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

If you are looking to improve the brightness of your headlights, we recommend 4300K, 5000K, or 6000K.

Kelvin (K) is measure of bulb color temperature. The Kelvin scale ranges from warmer colors such as red and orange (0-4000K) to colder colors such as blue and purple (8000-12000K) with white in the middle (4300K-6000K).

Lumens (lm) are a measure of light output and brightness. The higher the lumens, the brighter a bulb is.

Watts (W) is a measure of electrical power output.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is provided free of charge to our visitors. It was prepared to the best of our abilities and with all the information available to us at the time of writing. We reserve the right to change, remove or update any information contained on this page at any time and without notice to improve its accuracy. The most reliable method to determine the bulb size is by pulling your actual bulb(s) and reading the part number indicated directly on the bulb. The information compiled on this page comes with no guarantees or warranties.