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If you have ever been driving at night and struggling with visibility while trying to see the road in front of you then you likely considered upgrading your headlights. The problem with getting new headlight bulbs for your car is that there are so many different options for you to choose from.
Not only are there many types of headlights to choose from but the recommendations seem to be endless on some websites. For example, I recently came across a site that was recommending the 50 best headlights! How do you know what to purchase with 50 options to choose from?
That is why I decided to write this article.
In this article, I will give what I feel are the 7 best LED car light bulbs on the market that you should get the next time you need new headlights. And truthfully, even if you don’t need new headlights right now, upgrading to these LED bulbs for your car is still an excellent choice.
What Are LED Headlights?
LED stands for light-emitting diodes. The unique thing about light-emitting diodes is they change electrical energy directly into light via the movement of electrons inside the diode‘s material.
LED headlights are hailed for their energy efficiency and are situated to completely replace conventional bulbs.
Although not everyone is a fan of LED headlights (especially when a large truck comes up on you and almost blinds you with them even when they are their low beams), there is no denying that they are much safer than traditional headlight bulbs.
With LED headlights you can see much more of the road ahead as well as potential hazards that are slightly off the road (like deer or other animals) because of the additional illumination.
Why Are LED Headlight Bulbs More Expensive Upfront Than Conventional Headlights?
A major reason LED headlights have a higher upfront cost than conventional headlight bulbs is that they use an LED chip with sapphire and gallium in the semiconductor. Also, the price of the other materials used in their manufacture, such as ceramic, rare earth phosphors, silicone, gold wire, etc. drives up the cost.
Finally, there is the cost associated with the need for additional calibration and standardization testing required for LED lights.
So there is no denying that these top LED headlights are more expensive than other replacement bulbs.
Is There a Cost Savings When Using LED Headlights?
The upfront cost of LED lights is higher. However, over time, there are significant savings with LED headlights because LED lights have a longer life than other bulbs and lower energy use when on.
Although the lower energy use doesn’t matter too much when talking about headlights, how long they will last when compared to a normal headlight bulb does make a significant difference.
Led headlight bulbs will often last so long in fact that once you replace your normal headlights with LED bulbs you should never have to buy another headlight… ever! Yes, you read that right!
LED headlights will normally last 20-30,000 hours of run time (but one on this list will last 50,000 hours). So if you drive an average of 30 miles per hour for the entire lifetime of your car then the LED headlight won’t need to be replaced until your car has 600,000-900,000 miles on it!
Compare that to a traditional headlight bulb that needs to be replaced every 500 to 1,000 hours and you will easily make up the extra cost of the LED headlight bulbs over the lifetime of your vehicle.
What Makes LED Headlights More Durable Than Conventional Bulbs?
LED headlights are also more durable because they do not use gas, filaments, or moving parts. There are no components to fatigue and cause the light to “blow”. Instead, they create light via a single-step process within the diode.
There is no glass to break or screwed contact points to loosen either so the bumps that your car encounters while driving down the road are less likely to be an issue with a LED headlight than with a normal headlight bulb.
How Should I Compare LED Headlight Output to Other Headlight Bulbs?
When comparing LED headlights to normal headlight bulbs I personally prefer to compare them based on the distance ahead of you that you can see (with both low and high beams). After all, that’s why you are upgrading, to be able to see the road or hazards ahead of you better.
According to the DOT, normal headlights will allow you to see approximately 350 feet ahead of you on the road. However LED headlights will allow you to see much further.
For example, Sealight LED headlights will illuminate 650 feet ahead of your vehicle! So you will be able to see almost twice the distance with LED headlights that you will be able to see with a normal headlight bulb.
How Do LED Headlights Provide White Light?
LED headlight bulbs do not actually provide a white brightness, rather a blue LED with a phosphor coating can be used to mimic white light via a process called fluorescence.
Another way bright white light is achieved is by varying the intensity of red, blue, and green chips to achieve white light.
What Makes LED Headlights “Green” Technology?
LED headlights consume less energy than conventional lights. They also have a longer life span, ultimately reducing waste.
As mentioned above LED headlights will normally last the entire lifetime of your vehicle whereas normal headlight bulbs will need to be replaced 10-20 times over your car’s lifespan.
Can LED Headlight Bulbs Blow Out?
Interestingly enough, LED headlights do not “blow out” in the way we currently understand it. What can happen is they go through a process called lumen depreciation, meaning they become increasingly more dim over time.
That said, the best LED headlights come with warranties for cases of mechanical failure.
LED headlights are designed to last many decades so their “blowing out” is a rare occurrence.
Are LED Headlights Hard To Install?
If you have decided that you want to swap out your old headlights with new LED ones you might be wondering how hard it is to change them. Do you just plug them in? Do you have to replace the headlight housing? Should you change your fog lights too?
Changing your headlights to LEDs is actually pretty simple. Most vehicles have easy installation for headlights and except for in the rarest of situations you won’t need to do anything beyond making sure you purchase the right bulbs.
LED headlights will have higher power consumption than halogen bulbs will but you shouldn’t need any special adapters or reflectors to be able to get the perfect beam pattern with your new LED headlights.
If the last time you drove in inclement weather you could hardly see the road in front of you don’t be scared. Swapping out your headlights for LED ones is a simple process.
How I Reviewed the Best LED Headlights
My goal is to provide you with a comprehensive review of the best LED headlights on the market. The products included in our review of the best LED headlights were judged based on the following parameters:
- Pros & Cons
- Where to Buy
We also considered their durability, light output, water resistance, lumen output, cooling mechanisms, consumer reviews, and build quality.
Overall LED Headlight Price Range
The average cost for LED headlights is between 35 and 100 dollars for a pair of headlight bulbs. The best LED headlights will have stronger warranties, be longer lasting, and produce brighter light.
They will also have a higher water resistance rating, which may be important for those living in climates with heavier rain or snow.
Many manufacturers of higher-end lights offer lifetime support and use more advanced cooling technologies rather than fans.
Whether these LED headlights are cheap or on the more expensive end of that range really depends on the brand. For an off-brand you can expect to pay $35-$50 for a pair of bulbs while LED headlights from Sylvania LED headlights will be much more expensive.
Akarui single-beam bulbs are made with Cree XHP70 LED chips. They have a light output of 9,600 lumens, a color temperature of 6,000 Kelvins, and a lifespan of 50,000 hours. It is worth noting that these headlights are very bright, though not the brightest on our best LED headlights review.
The set comes with an installation kit for those who need to make them compatible with their vehicle’s halogen or HID headlights.
These bulbs come with a two-year warranty and lifetime support.
The Auxbeam F-16 series emits 6,000 Lumens of light with a crisp white color temperature of 6,000 Kelvins. They use high-intensity Cree LED chips and fit in H8, H9, and H11 sockets. That said, they come with control drivers for better compatibility with the aforementioned sockets.
If you live in colder climates, they are safe to use down to -40 degrees Celsius. They have an IP-68 rating, making them safe during exposure to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.
These bulbs come with a two-year warranty.
Beamtech 9005 bulbs use double-sided Korean CSP LED chips. They produce 4000 lumens of 6500K xenon white light. They are also waterproof and have a lifespan of 30,000 hours.
While they are not a heavyweight contender on our best LED headlights list, they are ideal for smaller vehicles.
These headlights come with a two-year warranty.
Hikari Ultra LED bulbs are some of the best LED headlights on the market. They have a light output of 12 000 lumens and utilize high-quality Phillips LED chips called Lumileds Luxeon. The chips are near the height of LED technology.
Their LED array visually mimics a traditional halogen filament to ensure the beam pattern hotspot is precise.
The set comes with a two-year warranty.
As with some other bulbs on our best LED headlights review, NINEO LED headlight bulbs utilize CREE chips. They are five times as illuminating as standard bulbs. Their beam is consistent without dark or foggy spotting. The set’s mounting collar is adjustable, with a 360-degree rotation, ensuring an ideal beam pattern and light output.
They have a thinner side design that measures 3.45 mm and a wide viewing angle. Also, the cooling fan is a coverless and has dual ball bearings, it ensures ideal heat dispersing via a copper core thermal heat sink.
These bulbs come with a one-year warranty and lifetime support.
The Beamtech H11 may not be the most powerful bulb on our best LED headlights review, but they are a strong contender. The set has 8,000 lumens of light output and a color temperature of 6,500 Kelvin daylight. The lifespan of the bulbs is 30,000 hours. The LED chips used are CSP and a unique touch is that the cooling system is fanless. Instead of fans, the system uses an aerospace engineering metal called duralumin.
The lack of a fan means these bulbs use even less power than other LED lights. This set is truly one of our favorites.
These bulbs come with a one-year warranty.
The JDM Astar manages to produce 10,000 lumens without the use of an external driver. Instead, they use an aviation aluminum heat dispersion technique similar to the Beamtech H11. The lack of fan usage increases the 20,000 hours lifespan of the bulb.
The lights are suitable for use as fog lamps and headlights. They have a xenon color output of 6,500K Kelvins and are also waterproof. We are impressed with this set particularly because of the technology and lumen output for the price.
These bulbs come with a one-year warranty.
Before we get to our pick for the best LED headlights, let’s go over a few strong contenders. First are the Beamtech 9005 bulbs. They are not the brightest bulbs on our list, but I feel they are ideal for people who have smaller vehicles.
Since they deliver a crisp light that is far superior to conventional bulbs, I am not really put off by the fact their lumen output is only at 4000.
The SNGL Super Bright LED headlights can easily take the top spot when it comes to lumen output. They boast an astonishing 12,400 lumens. I also like the adjustable beam focus and that the Lumileds used are customized specifically for SNGL. The icing on the cake has to be the massive 50,000 hours of life, solidified by the bulb’s design.
They can withstand excessive voltage, undue current, fan failure, and even electrostatic pulse.
With 8,000 lumens of light and 30,000 hours of life, the Beamtech H11 is one of my favorites too. I like that their cooling system does not use a fan and opts for duralumin instead. However, they could not take the top spot because, for the price, I really wanted to see a longer bulb life.
While there were things about all the above bulbs we loved, none of them was a full package. I feel my top pick is by far the smartest buy on this best LED headlight review. The Akarui single-beam bulbs are on the higher end of light output at 9,600 lumens but are not as blindingly bright as some others on our list.
I absolutely love their generous lifespan of 50,000 hours. Add to that the included installation kit for cross-compatibility and I hardly feel you can do better. For the price and quality of the bulbs, Akarui is the clear stand-out set.
A lot of the decisions about what headlight to choose will be based on the bulb’s compatibility with your car’s socket. Be sure to check for a bulb that has the right blend of light, adjustability, price, and compatibility.
You will no doubt love the upgrade in clarity and efficiency that LED bulbs add to your driving experience.