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    Categories: Electronics

Best LED Headlights – Buyer’s Guide

You’re looking for the best and brightest bulb upgrades for your headlights in your car? Well, then chances that you’ve got a halogen light bulb in it are pretty high. And you’re still confused on HID or LED and what’s best? Then we’re going to break down the differences between them and explain everything clearly in our buyer’s guide. We will determine the best heatsinks design, connectors and LED types and choose the best products for today. So, if you’re not familiar with LED bulbs and technology then I strongly recommend to start with our buyer’s guide.

Best LED Headlights Bulbs 2018

With no further delay let’s see the best LED headlight conversion kits that are good enough to make it to our top 10 LED Headlights Kits of 2018.

ModelPowerLumensColorLED chip 
HIKARI LED
(Editor’s Choice)
N/A9600LM6000KCree XHP50 Check Price
Simdevanma All-in-One
(Editor’s Choice)
80W8000LM6000KAdvanced Check Price
OPT7 Fluxbeam
80W7000LM6000KCREE MK-R Check Price
Kensun Kit with Cree Chips60W 6000LM6000KCREE Check Price
Glowteck EXTREME36076W8000LM6000KCREE XHP50 Check Price
Auxbeam F-S2 Series
72W8000LM6500KBridgelux COB Check Price
GENSSI Elite80W8000LM6000-6500KPhilips Check Price
YUMSEEN LED
72W6600LM6000KNo-name Check Price
Auxbeam F-1660W6000LM6000KCREE Check Price
XtremeVision 7G72W16000LM6500KNo-name Check Price
ACRATO Car LED72W7200LM6000KNo-name Check Price

1. HIKARI LED Conversion Kit CREE XHP50 – Exceptional Quality with Outstanding Brightness

A very impressive output with very easy installation. These bulbs put out 9600 lumens so it’s enough for almost any situation. Compared to HID bulbs there’s also no need to be familiar with wiring or other stuff with a big old ballasts. So, LED nowadays are brighter and easier to install and that’s a big plus. They also take less power away which means a better lifespan etc. Just plug them in and turn on. Simply as that.

The big thing about these HIKARI are Cree XHP50 chips, similar to Glowteck EXTREME360. These are impressive in terms of brightness delivery even if your car is 5 or 7+ years old. They feel even more brighter than a more popular Simdevanma C6, but really, you can’t tell it for sure without special equipment to get the exact output. Also, they were compared on two different cars and there is no exact numbers you can rely on. The things is they feel very similar, with slight advantage in terms of brightness to HIKARI I would say. It looks like HIKARI is better in a close range, but Simdevanma seems to be better on long distances. Again, they were installed on my friend’s car and that’s quite personal to see the difference between these two. I guess choosing HIKARI would wise for something more massive like trucks or large SUVs outdoors, while C6 is more suitable for everyday city driving business/compact class cars.

Materials Quality

Materials are very solid and there’s no question about product quality. It also has a great value, being almost a twice cheaper than top rivals from the list. And that’s the strongest point of these. The difference in not near TWICE in terms of price and quality. Again, they are very well made with 50,000 hrs lifespan and a strong 6K Cool White beam. If you’re looking for the best price-to-output product that’s definitely the One.

Light sample

Pros
  • Great price
  • Cree XHP50
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Less effective in bad weather conditions

2. Simdevanma All-in-One – Best LED Headlight Conversion Kit to Buy

It’s the C6F. It puts out 8,000 lumens and is rated at 6,000K for color temperature which is pure white. There is no external LED driver box. The reason for that because they’re integrated the driver inside the bulb and this gives it a very compact design.

If we take a closer look at one of these LED lights we see we have two LED COB chips on each side. The aluminum body and the aluminum heatsink at the bottom and there is an integrated fan the bottom.

LED light color is pure white and the beam pattern actually matches the factory very well. You don’t see a lot of glare at the top edge on the LED side. Nevertheless you might need to align it and lower just a little bit. They’re pretty closely matched.

Beam Power and Performance

I can tell you I’m very happy with the performance of these only lights. The reason I say that is because it closely matches the previous installed halogen pattern. It’s actually very hard to achieve because I’ve tested other LED headlights where it might be much brighter, but when you install these in the reflector housing it can cause all kinds of problems with these LED lights.

You don’t have more glare than what the halogen itself. Also I find these LED lights puts up just the right amount of light onto the road. It’s safer driving but it wasn’t putting out so much like I was blinding for other oncoming vehicles which is very important. I can’t stress enough that I’ve tried other LED headlights where they claim to have a lot of movement. They probably do, but it just caused so much problem when you install those into native housing and these ones are just fitting perfect.

Conclusion

If you’re going to be installing these in your vehicle I still recommend that you properly align the headlight. It’s very simple you just need to have a vehicle and the headlight against the wall and back your car up 25 feet and there’s an adjustment screw right behind the headlight assembly. If you turn that screw counterclockwise it will lower the lightning and then if you turn clockwise will raise the lightning.

Simdevanma All-in-One is well build, easy to install LED convertion kit. You won’t be disappointed with it’s performance or quiality.

Light sample

Pros
  • Philips LED chips
  • 8000lm with waterproof and shockproof body
  • Dark spots removal technology
  • No external driver
  • Easy plug-n-play installation
  • 2-Years warranty
Cons
  • Could be not as bright as you may expect from 8000 lumens. You will need projector type headlights to feel most of these numbers.

3. OPT7 FluxBeam LED Headlight Conversion Kit – Best Selling LED Bulbs of 2017

Hi there, today we are reviewing the OPT7 FluxBeam LED Headlight Conversion Kit that helps to convert your halogen headlights into LEDs.

Now, first off, let’s go over the specifications. We are working with the 9007 series socket, which has been known to have some compatibility issues with aftermarket products.

Total, this unit pulls 80 watts with both bulbs. Both bulbs produce a combined output of 7,000 Lumens. The color temperature is 6,000 Kelvin, has an estimated lifespan of about 50,000 hours, and it comes with a two-year warranty from OPT7.

Packaging and Quick Start

So now that we’ve gone over the specs, let’s actually talk about the bulbs themselves. Going over everything that comes in the box, obviously, we get the LED itself. It is this nice fancy bright red. The color is really not of any real concern here. We also got the controller. If we open up and dump everything out, you’ll see that nothing comes really pre-wired. In fact, even the blue part does not come pre-wired. Yes, they did do this on purpose.  At the end connection, this would plug into your factory wiring harness. In order to figure out how to put this on your factory wiring harness, there is also some instructions.

In fact, they have included a bunch of pamphlets and a document with a quick start guide. There’s not really any critical information in here if you’ve been replacing LED headlights already. More importantly, we have the wiring guide for this part and it’s not hard to put together. It’s not really all that intimidating with only three wires.

Socket compatibility

Since we’re working with 9007 (HB5), basically we put the blue part left to right: blue, brown, whites (see on your quick start guide). When it clicks into place, you hear a good solid click. It shouldn’t come out.

If you do need it to come out, you would press down or up on the actual pins on it. You press it up and then you can pull it out and readjust to configure to whatever you need it to configure to. The point is that they didn’t do any of that work for you. It’s kind of weird, this being one of the more expensive units on today’s market. This unit costs easily twice as much as most of the other popular kits.

Let’s talk about the compatibility issues with 9007 socket headlights. The reason we have issues with the 9007 series is because if you have a 9007 series headlight, you know that you have to use the circular retainer lock. Normally, with the case of a standard OEM halogen, it’s not a problem because you would plug the halogen in and then you would take the circular retainer lock. Put that over it, twist it and lock it in place, and then connect the power.

As you can see, if we were to go in that order, you plug this in and – “Whoops!”. You can’t get the retainer lock in place in between the gasket and the heat sink. Just don’t worry. Most LED manufacturers have noticed this issue and have engineered around it. Everyone does it a little different, but the most common tends to be the twist method. This is actually locked in place. If you twist it, it should unlock and then you’d be able to get the retainer lock in place.

Installation process

Now, in this particular unit, it’s a pretty firm lock. You just pull that up, put it off to the side. One thing that I was afraid of is that this wouldn’t fit with the standard retainer. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and it is an extremely tight fit. It just barely allows itself to sit in place. Keep that in mind. Try not to break anything because there is a lot of friction holding stuff in place when you put the gasket back on. Don’t forget that it is key, to meaning that it can only go on one way.

There’s a little notch on each side. That corresponds to the holes in the gasket. One notch is bigger than the other. You would have to put this on in a proper way in order to get it to fit, and then you would twist it the opposite way that you twisted it to get it off. That would be the end of that. You would have the retainer lock in place. With that being said, after you do that, you hook up the rest of the wiring harness and everything should just plug into the factory OEM harness inside of your car. Plug it up and give it a shot. Very simple and easy.

Beam Power and Light Scattering

The patchiness and scatteredness of the beams are much less than expected. Whether it’s the snow or the actual pavements there are certainly a ton of dark spots and patchy spots. Something that this light bulb manufacturer in the advertisement claims will not happen with their bulbs due to the arc beam technology that they claim to be using. But anyway, actually caused by projector type of your vehicle. So you need a projector style unit in your car to get the most of this LED conversion kit.

If you look at most newer vehicles, you’ll see they have what’s called the projector style unit. This type of unit focuses beams in a very directionalized manner. These reflector units tend to be designed with the concept of a halogen light bulb in mind. So keeping that in mind, this is why it’s so hard to find a good pair of LEDs for a standard reflector unit.

But let’s turn on the high beams. It’s a little bit of a different story. The high beams seem to cover up the patchy spots a lot better.

Final thoughts on the OPT7 LED Headlight Conversion Kit

Well as far as the standard two-sided design goes, I think it would work really fine in a projector unit (see the sample from my Honda Accord below). As for a reflector unit, it simply does not provide the diffused light that is expected. So it really depends on your headlight unit. The first kit for Honda still works great, while the second one for older Jeep has some issues with dark spots and light scatter. I guess it really depends on your car model and headlight type will you like the new LED kit or not.

Remember that all reflector units are slightly different from each other. As they’re designed with OEM parts in mind, particularly halogens. Projector units are different. Projector units have a very similar design about them and the way they throw light is completely different from a reflector unit. It’s important to remember that reflector units may have a ton of what’s called unusable light which has light that is there but it’s not bright enough to physically make a difference for you to let you see the road any better than what you can. But it does tend to throw light out in a bunch of different directions that is not useful to you.

A halogen emits light 360 degrees from the center. Meaning, all light in all directions. Diodes are extremely directionalized and unless you have a three or preferably four-sided bulb. Anyway, OPT7 is one of the best conversion kits on today’s market – top notch build quality combined with an impressive light output and CREE branded chips on board.

Light sample

Pros
  • Arc Glass Lens with no black spots
  • CREE MK-R LED on-board
  • Instant turn-on with no warm-up time
  • 50,000 hours of continuous light with heat protection
  • IP67 Waterproof and rain-resistant
  • 2-Year warranty
Cons
  • High price

4. Kensun Kit with Cree Chips – Best Branded Kit from Famous HID Manufacturer

Basically Kensun are known as the best affordable brand name for aftermarket HID headlights for years. They have made HID headlight kits which are supposed to be some of the highest quality on the market that won’t bankrupt you and now they’re starting to use LED headlight bulbs to keep up with new market trends.

I’ve been using aftermarket LED bulbs for quite a long time. I try to buy from a real brand name that actually heard of and got much better experience than when just bought from generic Chinese brands despite the price difference. My buddy had a pair of 6000k HID bulbs from Kensun four years in his reflector housing on a 2002 Toyota. I think he had just one go out shortly after he installed it and he got a new bulb under warranty. This is clearly a good company to buy aftermarket products.

Kensun advertises that bulbs are for offroad use only which is a way for them to say – “Hey if you get a ticket we’re not responsible!”. To say the truth, they did not produce a significant glare in my headlights so I’m not sure if it’s a big deal.

Packaging and Quick Start Manual

Kensun Kit comes in an aluminum case which is pretty cool. Usually it more likely to come in a paper box but this one is pretty nice. There’s like a foam padding up to protect the lights, operation manual and the glass filters (not plastic!) or the screens where you put over the headlight to change the color temperature. You don’t have to worry about any sort of reliability issues or physical defects. They are not going to melt from heating.

Let’s say you want like a more blue or white like a blue tint to it, so you want to put one of these on or you want to get like natural daylight colors that you put those on select 6000K or 5000K or 4000K.

Quality and Experience

I’ve driven all times of the day and night with dry conditions as well as heavy rains. So the good things. Kensun lights are top quality. Every part feels sturdy and well built, nothing is shaky or worrying and it feels like a product that will outlast the car like it should. LED lights are typically supposed to last for 50,000 hours of use when they’re manufactured properly and trust me that doesn’t always happen. In fact actually, that’s very rare.

Beam Power and Light Output

The light output of each one of these is actually 3000 lumens. So the total output they’re going to use is about 30 watts per bolt. It’s 6000 lumens in total which is pretty good. It’s going to be pretty much bright compared to the traditional halogen headlights, but definitely not brighter than HID. But it’s going to be a step up from what you currently have with the halogens.

A normal, high-quality halogen bulbs, produce about 1500 and 1700 lumens of light. Halogen high beam bulbs produce about 2600 lumens of light. These Kensun LED bulbs are brighter. So I absolutely believe that 3000 lumens coming out of your low beams are enough. A 4,000lm would be too much while some other companies supposedly produce like 4500 lumens or 5,000lm. That’s not really necessary.

Overall

It’s the Cree LED so it’s going to be pretty good with life span. Overall this heat sink on the back side in this metal heatsink has a good way to get quality and seems really well-built for that price. And these are not very pricey.

Light sample

Pros
  • Instant turn-on with no warm-up period
  • CREE LED chips
  • IP68 Waterproof
  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Great technical support
Cons
  • Beam pattern is slightly scattered
  • Difference between low and high beams is not that big

5. Glowteck EXTREME360 – Authentic Headlight Convertion Kit with Superior LED Chips and Materials

So this is a Glowteck EXTREME360 LED Headlight Conversion Kit. There are a tremendous amount of copycat manufacturers thats uses this design. Tha’ts what happens when there’s a blanket manufacturer that makes the product and can customize it a little bit.

Once they customize it, then individual sellers can tout it as their own item. You’ll see a little bit of a difference in specs and quality, but in reality they are the exact same products. This is not the only design that’s been copycatted. Just be sure to buy these as they are authentic and not overpay for similar designed.

Packaging and Installation

Let’s take a look though. Once again with the 9007 socket. The 9007 socket is known for having compatibility issues with aftermarket products, which is why I like working with it because it really tests the engineering of a product. This particular model claims to have 8000 lumens combined between the two, and pulls 76 watts according to the information and has a two-year warranty. Once again, it’s a two-year warranty, and it’s an original product.

Engineering

We have the fan and heatsink right here in the bottom,a gasket twists and a ball-bearing sort of thing. This is what allows you to move it because in the socket of your 9007 housing, the gasket will stay in place but you’re able to turn the bulb itself in what looks to be one fourth turn increments. This is theoretically how it allows you to adjust the beam angle. The top diode has a reflector that will make the light go top and to the side. If you can imagine it coming towards you and then to the left and that’s in order to try and mimic what a halogen does.

The reason why halogens works so well in a halogen style headlight assembly is because from the center of the bulb radiating outwards in all 360 degrees, there is a light. LED’s have a very hard time mimicking this and because of that we get things like beam scatter, patchy spots and in some cases really bad throw distance. In other cases like with the most copycats, we get completely unusable light for the most part.

Build Quality

The build quality itself is pretty good. The aluminum is all nice. The diodes are very well placed. The construction of everything is very nice, but does it work is the main question. We can talk about how nice it’s made but I was actually going to see how well it works. One thing that makes the 9007 socket a little difficult to deal with when it comes to aftermarket LED’s, is the fact that the heat sink prevents you from putting the circular retainer lock on. Normally, there’s a way to get this on without having to modify anything. In this case, the gasket just comes off. We can place the retainer lock and put the gasket back on. This is hard to do with one hand, but we are able to get it all the way on without modifying the retainer lock at all. This is truly plug-and-play.

Well Documented

The documentation actually was much better than any other LED documentations I have seen before. They recommended that the high beams face a certain direction and the low beams face a different direction. We are going to go ahead and chose that by default. Here’s the information that comes with the Glowteck lights versus the other ones. This is actually helpful because the ideal position for the LED chips are to be facing to the right and left inside the housing.

The high beams should be reflecting upwards. In this case, the high beams may be backwards because in the diagram it shows that the one reflecting upwards is the top diode. Then we lock it in and everything fits. The connection for the controller simply just goes right into the factory wiring harness of the 9007 socket lights.

Conclusion

I really like the pattern, the color and the build quality. There is no dead spots and these is a mechanism to change the pattern in case of any issues. This product in definitely one of the best on today’s market.

Light sample

Pros
  • CREE XHP50 LED chips
  • Easy plug’n’play installation
  • AirFLUX Dual Cooling Technology
  • Water resistant
  • Great brightness
Cons
  • Reply time of customer support

6. AuxBeam F-S2 Bridgelux COB DRL Highbeam LED – Strong All-Arounder

This bulb is from Auxbeam. They are rated at 72 watts 36 watts per bulb and the lumen is about 4,000 each. This one is using a bridgelux COB chip LED. There’s one on each side and nothing on top of it. This is made out of aluminum, plastic and has a fan on a back side. All construction is waterproof as well.

And on the opposite end is a plug for a 9005 socket. So as you can see there is no separate LED driver. This all built-in within this LED bulb so this is the plug-and-play and the marking is very clear on which side is positive and which side is negative. The color is rated at 6,500K. This will be pure white as far as LED is concerned.

The high beam is going to full voltage which is about 14.1 with the engine running and so it doesn’t show any flickering or stroking. The beam is bright and powerful. Definitely recommended kit.

Light sample

Pros
  • Aircraft grade Aviation 6063 aluminum case
  • Bridgelux COB chip (USA)
  • High speed mute fan (12000R/Min) technology
Cons
  • Short locking tabs may lead to installation problems

7. GENSSI Elite LED Headlight Bulbs Kit – Best Fanless Design

So, let’s see what’s inside the box and talk about some of the very unique features that this kit has.

With the kits you have instructions which gives you a few different ways of installation and how to utilize them in installation to get the best result of the headlight. The package is nice overall and you have two bulbs, two ballast. This one is a complete plug-and-play as usual.

Installation and Features

Let’s take a closer look at the bulbs. There’s low and high functions with a reflector to give you a good beam and cut off line. There are two small holes to unscrew the heatsink for easy installation in tight spots and then once you install the actual bulb you can reattach the heatsink. Otherwise if you have enough space then you can just go ahead and just put it into place. That’s pretty good.

The second feature allows you to move the base of the bulb, so that way if you do install the bulbs in the headlights and you realize that it is facing the incorrect way you can easily unscrew and move the bulb to the correct location. It allows everyone depending on your car to essentially adjust the lights to accommodate for the beam pattern that you’re looking for or that works well with the car and with the headlight assembly that’s designed for your car.

When it comes to the base itself everything stays the same. There’s a hole on it. There’s an allen wrench to this screw. All these holes here that allow you to correct beam pattern. All you have to do is hold on and move it until it clicks and you find the right parent.

Conclusion

Essentially the biggest point of this kit that nobody else on the market provides actually allows you to get a consistent light pattern instead of just being stuck with the way that bulb was designed.

Light sample

Pros
  • Philips LED Chips
  • CANBus error prevention system
  • Great beam pattern
Cons
  • Fanless design

8. YUMSEEN LED – Best Materials for a Price

The specs are following: each bulb produces 3300 lumens. Each bulb consumes 36 watts and has an estimated lifetime of 30,000 hours. There is nothing mentioned about a warranty of any sort.  A lot of good bulbs will either have a one, two or lifetime warranty that comes along with them.

Let’s get on with the actual bulb itself. One of the things LED headlights have to do in order to simulate the way they throw light out like a halogen is they have to throw light omnidirectionally. It can’t be in any directional way otherwise it won’t throw the beam of the headlight correctly and you will end up with scattered beams which make the bulb useless.

What this bulb attempts to do is instead of having any clever proprietary design, they just went for a simplistic approach where they have three LEDs, two facing one way and one in the back to try and get 360 degrees of light going around it, to try and simulate what halogens do.

Heatsinks and Materials

As far as the materials go, this is by far the beefiest LED I have yet to handle. The metal is definitely constructed a little more heavily here. There’s a lot more metal to it. It feels stronger but there is a downside to that. In order to dissipate heat faster, you want the fins to be thinner and you want to have a lot of fins.

I know this because I am a technician and we deal with sort of thing on a CPU heatsinks all the time. Thinner fins mean faster heat dissipation and because they are thicker that’s probably why it’s heavier, but it also feels stronger. It’s not going to fall apart easily. Moving on to the wiring set, this is also an interesting thing. Every other LED headlights that I have tried out, has had a controller unit between the 9007 plug and the bulb itself. This one has an integral unit which is probably why the bulb itself feels a little heavier and probably why it’s shrouded in heavier metal to protect the controller unit that’s integral to the system.

Installation and 9007 Socket Issues

So, 9007 socket is infamous for having compatibility issues. Here’s why. Normally when you have a light bulb, you plug the bulb in and the gasket keeps it in place. Next, you would take the circular retainer lock and put it over the bulb and lock it in. That will prevent the bulb from moving and then you plug the wiring harness from your car into the bulb. You can’t do that in this order because the heat sink doesn’t allow you to get the retainer lock all the way up to where the gasket it. Have no fear. Pretty much every LED headlight that uses a fan system and not a passive cooling technique has already thought of this issue. And most of them have the gasket turned to the side, unlocks it and you can slide it up.

Take Notice

But here’s another problem with this. Granted this is a design for 9007 sockets, you should be careful because every 9007 retainer lock is not made the same. If you’ll notice there are little ridges on this retainer lock and all three of these little pieces is raised up by a few millimeters. Those few millimeters make a huge problem. Because if you put the retainer lock on the way you would imagine it would go and then try to get the gasket back on, you can’t. That’s a problem.

Those ridges are making the retainer lock sit up higher than it should and because it’s sitting up higher than it should, the little grooves inside of the gasket right here can’t slide under this metal piece where it would slide over and then twist and lock in place.

The 9007 circular retainer lock has these big grooves that are only a few millimeters tall that prevent you from using the entire lock socket in the first place which means this light socket is no longer considered plug-and-play. All the other brands that I have worked with have always said it is plug-and-play, no issues.

Beam Power and Light Scattering

So, everything is good to go. It ain’t going to move or do nothing. The nice thing about this system is because the controller is integral, we don’t have wires going everywhere like we did with all the other LED units. You just plug it in, turn it on and just let it do its thing.

Thankfully the lights are not scattered like on the lower end units. There’s a lot of units in this price range that just don’t have a design that can properly diffuse lights. I would have to say it’s slightly patchy based on my real world view of thing and that’s not so bad. Patchy is livable but not what you should expect for your money. In fact the usable distance of light that we have from here is probably about 45 feet and then after that it starts to taper off and get dimmer and dimmer as we go down which is to be expected. Because headlights are pointed at a downward angle so that way we don’t blind the person in front of you.

One of the things that I’m seeing is although the light is definitely not scattered, which is very good, too many lights have scattered beams. What I do notice is a slight patchiness and what that means even though we have light in all the critical areas in front of us, there are certain parts of the portion in front of us where light is a little dimmer than others straight down the path in front.

360° Beam Angle or Not?

What they did try to do is have lights all around the bulb to make up for that and throw light in as many directions as it could to try and equal the amount of light that comes up all around from a halogen. The problem with their design is they only met it about half way. They had two bulbs that were at a 90 degree angle. They had two diodes that were at a 90 degree angle of each other, and then the last one just skipped that. It didn’t do another 90 degree and then a 90 degree. We had three bulbs and it’s a triangular design and I feel that triangular design is ultimately what’s causing this downfall. And it is not super properly diffused because of that. That’s ultimately why we have slightly patchy spots of light.

Overall Impressions

Yes, I would say they are good if you’re looking for a bulb in this price range. It does widen the beam arc though, you can see more to the left and to the right and it is a little brighter directly in front of you. For all intents of purposes, yes, this bulb does work and it’s not great but I would consider it adequate for it to be safely used if you want to switch to something that will give the road a higher contrast.

But as far as good usable diffused light goes, the halogen light bulb is still king. Until we come up with the design that is able to throw light truly in all 360 degrees around the bulb, halogens still seem to have the best diffused light. More diffused light means more usable light. It doesn’t matter if the light bulbs throw a 10000 lumens, if the light is scattered or patchy it makes it dangerous and inoperable.

But I would say that this is a contender. It’s not the best, the design could be better, but it’s one to consider in this price range. Keep in mind the price range is still an entry to medium level bulb, so entry to intermediate. For a price class, the product is worth trying.

Light sample

Pros
  • Shock and corrosion protection
  • High lumens output
  • Lights are tight
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Need to contact the manufacturer for warranty
  • No-name LED chips

9. Auxbeam F-16 – Good Looking and Long Lasting

Tthis is their premium LED conversion kit. It’s 80 watts and 7200 lumens so that’s pretty much. Let’s look closer. I’ll say the anodized gold is pretty cool. Although you don’t really see it ever but it’s pretty neat to look at. They’ve got really good quality build stuff, wirings are nice and there’s actually nothing to criticize. Clamps are nice, four LED, nice rubber seal (these are IP68 rating so they are fully waterproof), a little controller and a fan.

After everything buttoned up we turn them on and wow I really the color of them. Really nice and white. There’s definitely an improvement from halogen and so you can see road much clearer. I did notice a big difference while on road, especially with the high beams you could definitely see further. My overall impression is you that this kit could be a nice little upgrade. It’s actually an all-arounder with no superstrong points unless you to to use them in reflector housing. So yes, you will need a projector type headlight to get the proper lighting from this kit.

Light sample

Pros
  • CREE LED chips
  • IP68 water and dust-proof
  • Efficient cooling system
Cons
  • Won’t work with some car models due to CARBus
  • Honestly, not for reflector housing.

10. XtremeVision 7G CSP LED Kit – Best for Old Cars with Reflector Headlights

XtremeVision LED headlight conversion kit is about to convert your halogen headlights in your vehicle to LEDs. Each bulb produces 8,000 lumens and pulls 36 watts. They have a color temperature of 6,500K and have an estimated lifetime of 30,000 plus hours. Just like with all 9007 socket headlights we have a circular retainer lock that needs to be in place in order for this to keep the bulb from falling out of the socket.

Installation

Now this is where we have a lot of problems with aftermarket products is, generally, we have an issue with getting it in there because, well, we have to remove the gasket. On top of that, there has to be enough clearance in between this gasket and the heat sink to allow the circular retainer lock to fit, because if we take one of the retainer locks, you’ll see, we have several millimeters of gap that comes standard. Now, in some cases, you would file them down but thankfully, in this case, there is no modification to the retainer lock necessary.

Beam Power and Light Scattering

All right, so turning on these are at low beams. Personally it looks relatively, decently diffused. The high beams, I mean they feels to be just a little brighter. All right. That’s an impressive light diffusion. I would say it’s almost as good as the four-sided LED lights that I’ve tried. There’s no dark spots or patchy spots, it’s actually doing really well.

High beams leave a little to be desired. They don’t throw distance very far and not sure why that is. But anyone who go ahead and take them out on a drive will see just how well they actually do. I feel really comfortable with these lights on the low beam. I’m delightfully surprised to see how well the light is diffused with these. I was not expecting a triangular design to do this well. So guys, these are definitely recommended to buy.

Light sample

Pros
  • 6063 Aviation Aluminum Body
  • Shock and water resistant
  • 2-Year warranty
  • Great for old cars
Cons
  • No-name LED chips

11. ACRATO Car LED – Best Value Headlight Kit

ACRATO Car LED is a headlight conversion kit and these are actually to replace the halogen beams. As you know halogen beams build up a tremendous amount of heat. These lights are LED so they produce much less heat and it’s supposed to be a much brighter than halogen.

Halogens, as you know, give you a yellowish glow on the road and these lights are about to be a whiter brighter light than normal halogen.

Packaging and Installation

The package comes with the installation guide and the lights themselves, zip ties that looks like some double sided sticky tape to mount.

To install take off outer ring and mount this in the car first and then install the headlight back into the lock and lock it in place. Very simple.  There is a fan inside it to cool the light down. There’s a significant amount of difference between the lights. Original’s  a very yellow which tinge to it and new one is white as white can be. There’s a very big difference in the lighting from the halogen. With high beams there’s also a significant difference in the lighting. This is a more white natural light versus the standard yellow lights.

Conclusion

It is a tremendous difference between the normal halogen beams that come with the vehicle and the LED. It’ll give you a much more visibility. You’ll be able to see anything that goes across the road or any kind of stop signs. Just anything without blinding the people coming in the other direction because the lights are still pointing down on the ground where it’s supposed to be pointing. These are not waterproof so be sure not to apply on off-road vehicles.

Light sample

Pros
  • Well-built aluminum body and materials
  • Easy plug-and-play installation
  • 3-Years warranty
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • No-name LED chips

What is LED Headlights Kits and how do they work – Buyer’s Guide

Everybody already knows about HID conversion kits. You’ve got your halogen replacement HID bulb the adapter wiring and it goes to a ballast. Now the ballast is pretty big, they’re heavy, they take up a lot of space and if you’re installing low/high beams and fog lights on one vehicle you really gotta plan this out. The ballast is this big because it’s actually a pretty complex piece of equipment you take your 12 volts DC and it converts it to a high-voltage AC ignition cycle to start the HID bulb. Then it converts to an operating DC voltage to keep the bulb going and aside from that it also has safety features built-in. It has canvas integration features built-in the ballast does a lot not just keep the bulb going.

How to choose a modern LED light kit. What’s the difference between old and modern models?

When you look at an LED headlight bulb at least the newest styles, you still have some kind of a box inside. It’s not a ballast. Totally different technology. Basically what it’s a constant driver. It takes your 12 to 24 volts DC or your 8 to 16 volts DC and it converts it to whatever voltage LED bulb needs to run. Bulb itself does not operate at 12 volts DC it operates a different DC level and this box is what keeps it at that level.

Earlier Versions

If you look at some of the earlier LED headlight bulbs you see that they were pretty complex. It looks like a HID kit but the bulb is an LED. When you’re shopping for LED headlight bulbs you want to stay away from this style. It has more than one cable going from the ballast to the bulb number two. It also has these funny universal connectors on the side for the input you should be looking for a driver that plugs into your vehicle. Number three. Half the connectors aren’t even waterproof. Connector that actually powers the LED actually a pretty decent connector, but then they put on this funny little molex connector. That’s cheap it’s not strong and it’s definitely not waterproof. That’s going to be a massive failure.

Again, you’ve got the LED power and the fan power. They should all be together and they shall be waterproof. If we look at another version of the same type of thing there’s a universal input, non-waterproof molex and a bulb power. Stay away from these.

Connection Types

Another style that is different, but really not desirable is the one that doesn’t give you a whole lot of freedom in terms of installing. That’s going to be a failure. Not to mention this connection is not waterproof.

There’s absolutely no reason to have this something like this as should have a lot more engineering involved to make it a better product for your install. So with that style with too many connections and bad connections in this style. You have no connections with the input all the way into the bulb and so have a driver.

What your best LED headlights kit should look like

First, it should have a really nice molded connectors to plug into your vehicle wiring and then there should be nothing in between the connector on the bulb. Just a cord. The best way when there is just a plug-in based on the bottom of the light bulb. Then when you go to these ones they’ve got no connection between the input and the bulb driver is external. So these are really nice because if you ever have something that’s defective you don’t have to be concerned about is that the driver or is it the bulb because you don’t even have a choice.

It’s kind of up to you. Do you want to have a choice or do you want to be able to test the different components to see where your problem lies or would you rather just throw the whole thing away and get a new one.

Removable connections

The third type of connection that you’re going to see when you’re shopping for LED headlight bulbs is a high-quality external driver separating connector. Avoid ones that had really terrible connectors or no connection at all. This one actually allows you to separate the bulb from the ballast and this could be really useful in installation and troubleshooting. There’s different levels of quality and sizes of these removable connections. Some of them have o-rings some don’t, some have four wire some have three. It all depends on a power. Also, if it got a fan on it then you’re gonna have even more wiring.

Most of the modern ones have pretty much a similar design. It just depends on you to know what type of an o-ring they use, what type of connection we use I like the ones that have the keyway in them. So you can’t mess up how the plug-in you’ve got. Also the thing that you want to watch out for is when the connector is really small it doesn’t have an o-ring or doesn’t have a keyway sometimes. In some cases there is a metal retainer and that’s pretty cool, if not the risk of corrosion.

LED Kits Heatsinks

Let’s talk about the heat sink or the way that the bulb cools when you give the driver your 12 volts DC.  However the manufacturer made it determines how much power goes to the LED bulb. It’s quite simple – the more efficient cooling method the LED bulb has the more power they can give which makes them brighter. So efficient high-tech cooling method will allow the manufacture of the bulb to create a brighter and more reliable bulb. And now we have such a funny bulbs. They have huge driver and a huge fan but it doesn’t even perform very well.

Better design with Fan

Now, it’s a myth that people think if it’s got a fan then it is a failure point sure technically. But so are each of the LEDs every piece of the bulb is a failure point. What’s the truth is that the fans generally aren’t the part that dies. In a ninety-nine percent of applications the fan isn’t an issue. Generally issues of fans come with poor fan construction the screws holding the fan the type of fan used but in general a fan isn’t a bad thing on an LED headlight bulb.

The difference in temperature with and without fan is quite huge. Heatsinks with fans produce heats to around 80 degrees while non-fans produce around 180 degrees. It’s a thing to consider when buying one.

Choosing the right LED chip type

Yes they all look for the most part the same but before you invest in an LED headlight bulb it’s really important to find out what LED is on it. You really can’t tell this unless the manufacturer states it. A lot of them are from Philips, many of them are from Cree, but some of them are from companies like Apostar a cheaper Chinese brand or different knockoff type leds from Korea or Taiwan. So you really don’t know what you’re getting unless you look at the specs. It’s super important to know exactly your LED type. The name brand ones are more expensive because they’re higher quality and they don’t sell the junk. So hope you guys get the best!

Derek Chase: Derek Chase is a 28-year-old car enthusiast. Currently working at a major startup company. Experienced in electronics and security systems. Tears down, repair, and rebuild power systems, exhaust systems, suspension, sound systems etc. of own cars. Read More.

View Comments

  • What would be the best LED Can Bus conversion kits to fit my 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off road with 6500K for the Hi & low beam headlights & Fog light with plug & play ?
    Thank You,
    Floyd J Roe
    503-581-8776

    • One problem I'm running into is that the length of the LED bulb means you can't use the stock plastic housing protector. It seems to me that any leakage there will let salt spray into the lamp area. A big issue when you live in the Northeast.
      Thanks for your research.

  • Hi there,
    I have just seen your great page here reviewing led headlights.
    I have an "old" Mercedes W124 - 1989 model 200E.
    I am looking at upgrading from the old Halogen globes to much more powerful LED globes.
    I live on a Greek Island, and I do not have that many options locally.
    Do you have any recomendations?

  • Hey there,

    Can you help me with choosing the best led kit for me? My car is Volvo V50 2008 with projector lens with halogen bulbs. I will appreciate your professional opinion.

    Thank you!

  • The article mentions power conzumption of LED lights at 36W and also some numbers on luminosity. Did the author measure it or just used the (misleading) marking on the box? I measured few LED bulbs mentioned and the current is between 1.8 and 2.4A at 12.6V. Multiply these two and you get median of 25W. There is about 90% efficiency of the regulator, so LED gets around 22W. The best reported efficacy of Cree LED is 300lm/W, with median for auto leds at 150 lm/W. That brings me to the light output between 3300 to 6600lm. Very good, but much less than many vendors advertise.

  • The fan models make more noise. Can you please mention the level of noise each of the fan models make? Will i hear that noise in the car cabin?