Best LED Headlights

Best Led Headlights
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Bright headlights are an essential tool for night driving and help to illuminate wildlife, debris and oncoming traffic as well as navigate inclement weather and storms. About half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit organization that rates new vehicles for their crashworthiness. Having LED headlights installed in your vehicle are a good way to ensure that the road ahead of you is lit with useful light. In fact, in IIHS’ rating includes a headlight evaluation and it cites LED lights as part of rapidly developing headlight technology.

Three headlight types exist. Halogens are the basic system—the headlight bounces light off a mirror behind the bulb—and standard on most vehicles. The color is warmer, yellowish and less illuminating than blue- or white-hued light. The lifespan is close to 1,000 hours, so they need to be replaced more frequent but are relatively inexpensive. High intensity discharge lights have white beams that reach further and last longer than halogens, but are costly and less durable. 

The third style is LED, which stands for light emitting diode. LED headlights are bright white and vastly improve nighttime visibility. They are the most efficient, run cooler and typically last 20,000 hours, or 2.3 years. LEDs also are the priciest. For cars that don’t come with LED lights or for older vehicles, there are aftermarket conversion that require careful installation and adjustment to ensure no glare occurs for oncoming traffic. 

Here is a list of the five best LED headlights, specifically focused on LED headlights for high and low beam plus fog lights across a range of vehicles and price points. 


Best Budget-to-Power Ratio for Headlights or Fog Lights: Fahren H11/H9/H8 LED Headlight Bulbs

Why We Picked It:

These cool white LED bulbs deliver a powerful output: 60 watts and 10,000 lumens per kit. The headlight pattern has a 1.2-millimeter beam that’s laser focused, allowing light to carry wider and further (200 meters) than standard halogens. They also have a super-white 6500K color temperature. These bulbs function as headlights (low or high beam) or fog lights, as long as the size matches: H11, H8 or H9. A hollow-carved heat sink and 12,000 RPM turbofan is incorporated into the design for efficient cooling.

Pros: 

  • Easy installation
  • Excels under all weather and light conditions 
  • Functions with the vast majority of vehicles as a headlight (high/low) or fog light

Cons:  

  • Some models may require an extra decoder
  • Overstated lifespan (nearly six years)
  • Considered too bright by some oncoming drivers

Best For Crisp Low-Beam Color: SEALIGHT S1 H11/H8/H9 LED Bulbs

Why We Picked It:

The color and longevity of these low beam headlights stands out overall. The pure white—6000K—LED headlights offer 12,000 lumens and 40 watts per pair. From the driver’s seat, the vehicle’s periphery and front is clearly more illuminated. The headlight design has an integrated passive cooling system that’s fan-free, so it’s quiet and has no chance of fan failure. The light is steady with no flicker. The low-profile headlight requires a quick 10-minute installation. 

Pros: 

  • Color temperature provides great definition 
  • Safe beam pattern does not blind oncoming traffic
  • Fanless design increases durability 

Cons:  

  • Low beam bulb only 
  • Unable to confirm the validity of this bulb’s 20-year lifespan as advertised
  • Decoders are required for LED bulbs to be paired with certain vehicle models

Best Economy Choice for Low Beams: HONCS H11/H8/H9 LED Headlight Bulbs

Why We Picked It:

Despite being one of the most budget options, these clear, bright headlights boast 6000K to 6500K whiteness. The beam pattern spreads wide and far on the road ahead of the headlights’ vehicle. The design is fanless for longevity and to eliminate noise. Rather, the headlights have an aluminum heat sink for cooling. The waterproof rating is IP67: at least 30 minutes of function while submerged under 5.9 inches to 3 feet of water. These lights are 50 watts.

Pros:

  • Legal beam pattern for safety of oncoming drivers
  • Compatible with a wide swath of vehicles
  • Straightforward installation and kit comes with a pair of white gloves

Cons:  

  • Recommended for low beam only 
  • Not the most durable: Use careful handling during installation
  • Could be considered too dim by some

Best LED Fog Light: Aukee LED Headlight Bulbs

Why We Picked It:

These 50-watt bulbs provide 10,000 lumens per pair. The design’s high-speed cooling fan dissipates heat from the LED chips and is non-audible. The 6000K headlights produce a bright, cool white. These headlights have the highest waterproof rating available: IP68, meaning the device withstands long periods of immersion beneath pressure and these headlights are durable for storms. The setup also includes an aluminum adapter for the H7 LED bulb to lock into the headlight housing. 

Pros: 

  • Fits with most original dust covers
  • Resistant to rain and snow storms
  • Built-in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) to prevent radio interference 

Cons:  

  • Does not integrate with all vehicle headlight retainers; drivers may need to make separate purchase
  • Only compatible with H7 headlight size
  • A bit finicky to install for some vehicles

Best LED Headlights Overall: BEAMTECH H13 LED Bulb 

BEAMTECH H13 LED Bulbs,6500K Extremely Super Bright 9008 30mm Heatsink Base CSP Chips Conversion Kit,Xenon White Small Size Halogen Replacement

Why We Picked It:

These H13 headlights are a 6500K color, which is a very bright, cool white. The light cuts into fog better and with less bounce-back than with halogen headlights. They provide 60 watts of power. For stoutness in turbulent weather, the waterproof rating is IP65: protection against low-pressure jets from all directions. The beam pattern is clean and even. The design incorporates both a heatsink and a fan for cooling. Oncoming drivers do not find these lights too bright, either. 

Pros: 

  • These bright white lights do not appear blue 
  • Cannot hear the fan cooling when the vehicle is on
  • Easy installation 

Cons:  

  • Able to hear the headlight fans run (less than a minute) when the engine turns off
  • Some setups need cable ties to secure the plug adapter to the wiring harness
  • Might need an adjustment after installation to achieve ultimate brightness

METHODOLOGY 

In order to determine the best LED headlights for your vehicle, Forbes Wheels considered the top-rated and most popular sets for low beam, high beam and fog lights. We evaluated LED headlight models based on ease of use and installation, light clarity and strength, durability and light color. We accounted for overall compatibility with a wide variety of vehicles as well as a spectrum of prices for both budget and high-end options. We also examined a full gamut of end-user ratings.


FAQ

What are the brightest LED headlights on the market?

The brightest LED headlights on the market usually provide 5,000 to 6,000 lumens per light or 10,000 to 12,000 lumens per set.  

Which is brighter: 6000K or 8000K?

Both 6000K and 8000K are bright and high kelvin (K) ratings for headlights though their hue differs. Car headlights that are 6000K are a brighter, whiter tone. Headlights that are 8000K are a brighter, bluer tone. 

How do I choose LED headlights?

To choose LED headlights, consider color preference. Color temperature is measured in kelvin (K). The lower the rating, the warmer, yellower the white light is. The higher the number, the cooler or bluer the white light is. Many LED headlights are 6000K or 6500K, bright as daylight. Determine the requisite headlight size using the car owner’s manual or current bulb. Confirm the manufacturer’s recommended use—fog, low beam, high beam—before purchase.     

Are 8000K LED headlights legal?

Check the motor vehicle laws in the state or states in which you drive. In the state of Colorado, for instance, green, blue, and red colored lights are all illegal to display on a civilian motor vehicle. The LED headlights that are rated 8000K are blue-tinted.

Which is brighter: LED or HID?

HID headlights are brighter and cover a larger area than LED headlights. HIDs are the brightest option on the market. However, the lifespan of HIDs are 25% as long as LED headlights and HIDs are not as durable.