Which LED headlights are best?
LED headlights are the most modern version of headlights you can buy for your car and your best option. While expensive, they last longer and provide brighter illumination than previous headlight technology. However, you must be careful when purchasing them as certain aspects aren’t legal, whether federally or by state and local laws.
The best LED headlights are the Auxito LED Headlight Bulbs. They are easy to install and provide a powerful brightness. They are also rated to last for up to or more than 30,000 hours.
What to know before you buy LED headlights
LED vs. high-intensity discharge vs. halogen headlights
It’s essential to understand the differences between headlight types to make an informed decision about what’s best for you.
- LED headlights use light-emitting diodes powered by an electric charge. They are brighter, last longer and use less energy but become hotter.
- HID headlights use two electrodes that create an arc between them by traveling through xenon gas. They aren’t as good as LEDs but cost less.
- Halogen headlights use halogen gas to increase the brightness and lifespan of a heated wire. They are cheap but dim and short-lived.
Single- vs. dual-beam
Some cars use single- or dual-beam headlight setups. You cannot use a single-beam LED headlight in a car with a dual-beam setup and vice versa.
- Single-beam headlights use one bulb each for low and high beams, so you’ll need four individual bulbs.
- Dual-beam headlights use one bulb to serve both functions by using two filaments.
Controller area network bus system
Modern cars use CAN bus systems that allow the various digital pieces of your car to communicate with each other. If your car uses this system, your LED headlights need to be CAN bus compatible. If they aren’t, you can find special modules that add the functionality, but this increases the price and installation complexity.
What to look for in quality LED headlights
Brightness and color
The light of the headlights is described with brightness and color.
- Brightness is given in lumens. Most LED headlights have at least 7,000 lumens, though most have 10,000-plus. Comparatively, halogen and HID bulbs struggle to surpass 1,000 to 5,000 lumens.
- Color is given in Kelvin. LED headlights typically have 6,000K to 7,000K — this emits a clean white light. More than this, the light starts to become blueish, which is illegal. Comparatively, halogen and HID bulbs typically have 4,000K to 5,000K, which emits a yellowish light.
LED lights generate high levels of heat, which decreases efficiency. So, LED headlights include heat sinks and fans to combat this. Better headlights use smaller heat sinks and fans, making them easier to install.
How much you can expect to spend on LED headlights
LED headlights usually cost $25-$100 for a pair with better options typically costing around $40-$60. Similar headlights may have a considerable gulf in cost if one is meant for common cars and the other is for something rare.
LED headlights FAQ
What makes LEDs the best headlights?
A. There are three main reasons LEDs are better than HID and halogen headlights.
- LEDs emit a bright white light that reaches full intensity instantly for superior night vision.
- They have the same brightness throughout their lifespan rather than growing less bright as time goes on like HIDs and halogens.
- They don’t reflect on snow and fog as badly as HIDs and halogens.
What are the laws surrounding LED headlights?
A. Most LED headlights are perfectly legal, but a few factors may render a few illegal.
- They must be DOT compliant, meaning the Department of Transportation has tested them for safety.
- Their color must be white or yellow. Other colors are illegal. Blue is the most common of the illegal varieties.
- They cannot be bright enough to affect oncoming traffic adversely. The only way to ensure this is to have them inspected and compared to your state’s regulations.
Are LED headlights hard to install?
A. Yes and no. The first step is making sure your prospective headlights are compatible with your car’s make, model and year. You don’t need to have a mechanic’s experience for the actual installation, but you still need to have the proper tools. The entire process can take anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
What are the best LED headlights to buy?
Top LED headlights
What you need to know: These are extra-bright and extra-long-lasting.
What you’ll love: Most purchasers found these bulbs exceptionally easy to install, plus they are CAN bus ready and error-free. They are compatible with H8, H9 and H11 sockets. They provide a combined 12,000 lumens of brightness and are a 6,500K cool white color.
What you should consider: Purchasers with projector headlights had some issues with the brightness being lower than it should be. Others had issues with the bulbs fading after a few months.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top LED headlights for the money
What you need to know: These work with a large range of vehicles.
What you’ll love: These fit most common cars and especially older models of common cars. They are rated to last for up to seven years and 30,000 hours of use. They have a brightness of 8,000 lumens and a cool white 6,000K color.
What you should consider: The 8,000-lumen brightness isn’t as powerful as most headlights. A few shoppers struggled a little to install them in their cars.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These are excellent for short-range illumination.
What you’ll love: These bulbs provide a staggering 14,000 lumens worth of brightness with a crisp white 6,000K color. They are rated to last for 50,000 hours of use and up to 5 years longer than the average LED headlight.
What you should consider: As these are designed to focus on short-range illumination, their long-distance illumination can be poor. Installation can be difficult, thanks to their long bulb housing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.