When talking about lights for your vehicle, the most important are the headlights. They help your visibility at night and keep other drivers safe on the road. New vehicles usually come stocked with with halogen bulbs, but LEDs offer a lot of worthwhile benefits.
This technology is not cheap, but it is definitely energy-efficient. LED headlights are a long-term investment for your car, and you want to be sure they will be worth this extra expenditure.
The Best LED Headlights
1. Cougar Motor LED Headlights
These LED headlights boast 60 watts, 7,200 lumens, and 6,000 Kelvin of super-luminous bright white color with over 50,000 hours of use. They emit farther, wider, and clearer light, which is a good thing when you’re driving at night. No need for high beams because the intense daylight bulb makes up for it. The beam also spreads out evenly to illuminate everything around you.
These have a dual turbo cooling system that works as a fan and a heat sink. That way, you won’t have to worry about the headlights overheating or malfunctioning after long hours of continuous use. Aside from that, the headlights are also guaranteed to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as rain and snow.
The installation won’t take you long because of the plug-and-play feature. There are no additional wires, and the connector fits most automobile sockets. However, if you do encounter problems, the manufacturer offers lifetime technical support on top of the 3-year warranty
2. SEALIGHT S1 Series LED Headlight Bulbs
These LED headlights emit enough light for you to choose either a low beam or a high beam, or as they advertise, to achieve a better beam. With 40 watts, 6,000 lumens, and 6,000 Kelvin of bright white light, as well as more than 30,000 hours of use, this brand is a good choice.
The headlights themselves are not bulky and provide more space for air to circulate as they cool. The design fits the original halogen headlights, so you don’t have to worry about adjustments or changes in the covers. This is also why installing these headlights is quick and easy. There are no additional wires with the plug-and-play installation feature, so it will only take you a few minutes to connect them.
Still, the manufacturer strongly suggests that you consult your manual or a professional to see if the LED headlights are compatible with your vehicle's model before making a purchase.
3. SNGL LED Bulbs
With 55 watts and 6,000 Kelvin, these LED headlights emit super bright white light. The beams are adjustable and can fit most housings. The LED itself is also adjustable; you can change the direction and depth of the beam. It is said to have the brightest low beam, and it’s waterproof.
These feature a cooling technology, the SNGL Intelligent Constant Cooling System, which comes with both a cooling fan and a heat sink. The cooling fan has a dual ball bearing that spins fast to maximize airflow. Also, these LED headlights use red-copper thermal technology for better heat conduction. Thus, the system makes the headlights more durable and able to withstand more than 50,000 hours of use.
Aside from the very easy installation process that takes only a few minutes, the best feature of these headlights is the anti-glare. No matter how bright, the light will not hurt the drivers’ eyes on the other side of the road. Another good thing is that the warranty period lasts up to 2 years, and the manufacturer also offers lifetime technical support.
4. BEAMTECH LED Headlight Bulbs
These LED headlights offer 50 watts, 8,000 lumens and 6,500 Kelvin of Xenon white light. The design is similar to a halogen bulb beam pattern. Aside from that, they come with low-heat LEDs, which make the headlights quite durable with a lifespan of more than 30,000 hours of use.
Take note that because the LEDs are low-heat, there aren’t built-in fans. Instead, these have a hard aluminum body for better heat dissipation and thermal conductivity. Because of that, they don’t take up much space and are very easy to connect to most vehicles.
Since the beam resembles the pattern of the halogen bulb, your eyes can easily adjust to the lights. Also, other drivers coming in from the opposite direction won’t get too distracted by the brightness.
5. HIKARI LED Headlight Bulbs
This LED headlight conversion kit features high-tech bulbs with 46 watts and 12,000 lumens of extremely bright white light. It also has the best beam pattern, which resembles an original halogen beam.
You’ll get the brightest lights that’ll illuminate the road up to 150 meters, and an anti-glare feature that ensures the safety of the drivers you'll come across in the opposite lane. The lights are also waterproof and fogproof, further adding to their safety.
The ultra slim design, similar to the size of the original halogen, provides more space for the air to circulate. The design also makes these super quick to install. The bulbs can be replaced easily even without any professional help.
Though they use the latest technological advancements available for LED headlights, the manufacturer offers a warranty period of up to 2 years.
What to Look for in LED Headlights
There are a lot of factors you need to consider while trying to select LED headlights for your vehicle. To avoid confusion and mistakes, here are eight characteristics you should be on the lookout for.
Compatibility with The Vehicle
Because there are many types of headlights available, it is best to consult your car manufacturer or the vehicle's manual to ensure compatibility. Most online platforms allow you to check if a specific bulb will work with your vehicle or not as well.
There are some LED headlights that might not fit well due to the default size of your car’s headlight housing. This is the first thing you have to check because some bulbs require detaching and changing the entire headlight altogether.
However, there are others where you only need to replace the built-in halogen bulb with an LED. Either way, you have to double-check if the headlight you’re looking to purchase will work with the vehicle.
LED Bulb Colors
As with all LED lights, the color doesn’t just come in a single shade. You have to check the “whiteness” of the bulb on the Kelvin scale to measure the temperature of the light. The lower the Kelvin measurement is, the warmer the color of the bulb is. On the other hand, the higher the Kelvin, the brighter the light that comes out of the LED.
Warm white or 2,700 to 3,500 Kelvin is not advisable for headlights because of low illumination and shorter range of light. Usually, LED headlights with 3,500 to 5,000 Kelvin are considered normal. Still, the daylight or cool color with more than 5,000 Kelvin is the brightest white you can use. It provides the furthest and widest visibility, though it may cause eye fatigue if you stare at the road with this light on for too long.
Light Intensity or Brightness
Light intensity is measured in lumens. This is what you look for when selecting the right strength or brightness emitted by your LED headlights. Most LED headlights have 6,000 to 10,000 lumens, depending on the driver’s need.
Just like with the bulb colors, the ones with 6,000 to 6,400 lumens are on the lower end of the intensity scale. They are paired together with normal or daylight LED bulbs to provide enough light for up to 500 meters.
Those with 8,000 lumens are on the medium intensity level. If paired with normal or daylight bulbs, they can give you an adequate amount of light for up to 600 to 700 meters.
LED headlights with 10,000 lumens are extremely intense and can be paired with warm-colored bulbs for improved visibility at night. When paired with normal or daylight bulbs, the streets can be more illuminated and appear much brighter.
LED Beam Style
LED headlights emit either single or dual beams. For a single beam, the LED has two bulbs for each headlight. The first bulb is for the low beam, while the other is for the high beam.
In contrast, the dual-beam uses only one bulb that integrates the low and high beam functions of the vehicle. To know which beam of LED light to use for your car, check your old headlight and see if it contains single or dual bulbs.
The beam of LED lights also has different patterns, which is how the emitted light is scattered. Here are some of the most common beam patterns you can choose from:
As the name suggests, this beam is straight and focused. It doesn’t spill to the sides of the road. It works like a spotlight and projects light the farthest.
The flood beam’s light is wide and scattered. It illuminates the sides of the road.
This is a combination of the spot beam and the flood beam. Some of the best LEDs use this type of beam because you can achieve a far spotlight beam and be able to see the sides of the road at the same time. In essence, it’s the best of both patterns.
Once you have chosen your pattern, it’s important to note that you have to install the LED headlights in such a way that the beams point downward. Doing this will prevent you from distracting the drivers or blinding them and causing an accident.
LED bulbs have a tendency to get hot when in use and might even melt after a few hours. That’s why you need to choose headlights that have their own cooling mechanism.
There are two kinds of cooling methods. The fan mechanism consists of a built-in rotating device that produces cool air as soon as it is turned on. The heat sink, on the other hand, is a built-in cooling mechanism that decreases the heat generated by the headlights.
Installation and Wiring
Make sure that you get headlights that match the wiring and connections in your vehicle. There may be some easy-to-install variations, but it is best to consult a professional. You might need help with detaching and attaching certain parts, especially if you’re not familiar with switching out halogen bulbs for LEDs.
This video by SEALIGHT goes over installation of their S1 Series bulb detailed above:
LED headlights can last up to 30,000 hours or 50,000 hours. Depending on the quality and capacity of the cooling mechanism. The usual lifespan is around three to four years, but if you are careful with how you use your headlights, you will get about 6 or 7 years more before you have to replace them with new ones. That’s not bad compared to halogen bulbs.
With the LED technology and all the mechanisms that go with it, the warranty period of your chosen LED headlights should be enough to cover the average lifespan. The acceptable warranty period is at least a year. Usually the shorter the warranty, the less faith the company has in their products.
LED headlights can be a significant upgrade from stock halogen headlights. They offer improved visibility, all while lasting significantly longer. While they cost more initially, they pay for themselves over time.